A few words from the editor
or seasoned professional, fishing success on any given day is all about gathering good intelligence. Where are the fish? What are they eating? Which techniques are working ? What time of day is hot, or not? All of these questions and more are considered by the very best every time their boat leaves the dock.
If this January holiday break is the first opportunity you’ve had to wet a line for months it will be extremely difficult to garner enough valuable fishing intel to have any confidence of success. With this problem in mind I thought I’d jot down a few tips to get holiday-only reader/ fishers up to speed as quickly as possible.
If you’re planning to spend a few days or more at a single location with the intention of fishing as often as the weather allows the best thing a holiday angler can do is charter a local professional before throwing your own boat in the water. Ask around before commiting and make sure you hire someone who has both a reputation for top fishing performance and a welcoming and open personality.
While on the trip, pay attention to what’s going on. A good operator’s going to know where the fish are, especially in January when they’re doing two to three fishing trips a day.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Try to understand what the skipper is thinking. Why are they working the area of focus? When are the bite times likely to be? What’s the thinking behind the methods utilised? Any skipper worth his salt will be working a well thought out plan based on the intelligence he or she’s gathered over the last few days.
Now you’ve got one (hopefully) successful trip under you belt using someone else’s smarts, it’s time to have a crack yourself. The sooner you get out there after the charter trip, the better. Leave it too long and much of the information learned will no longer be valid and you could be starting from scratch.
Assuming you’ve got an idea of where fish are, or were recently, formulate a plan to repeat the experience you just enjoyed. What tackle and bait do you need to replicate the techniques that were working? What time of day are you planning to fish? How will the weather effect your plans?
On fish timing, it is important to optimise your trip around the time of day most likely to yield results. Charter operators don’t usually have this luxury as they are governed by a schedule, but you do so make the most of it. I swear by Solunar tables and you can find our version in this mag on page 111; there are many others on the web that will vary slightly depending on the creator’s personal thoughts on how they should work.
Most will offer major and minor bite times - obviously major bite times are the best. It is worth remembering that fish also bite during sunrise and sunset. If a solunar bite overlaps the sunrise or sunset you should be in for a particularly good session.
The tide is also important, particularly if strayline fishing when the plan is to use the current to carry your offering to the waiting quarry. Think about the structure you are planning to fish. What tide and wind direction is most likely to be favourable at this spot.
So there you have it. January fish trip planning explained in no more than 600 words. Have a great break and see you next month.