At this point it’s worth contrasting the Daniels’ approach to fishing the rocks with mine.
While my 10kg freespool outfit is spooled up with nylon and armed with two fixed 6/0 Gamakatsu Octopus Circle hooks tied to a very short 37kg trace, the two Ds are ‘huntin’ bear’, their relatively basic 13-foot 6-inch Shimano Eclipse surfcasters paired with Shimano Thunnus 12000ci4 reels loaded with 80lb/37kg Daiwa braid. Terminal tackle consists of double 10/0 Saltura recurve-hooked rigs, with one hook sliding, attached to thick, strong 200lb trace.
The reasoning behind their no-nonsense tackle is that when ‘the big ones’ are hooked (as happened during the Beach and Boat), they generally stay hooked, with the heavy gear able to hold the fish harder and/or drag them out of the weed if necessary. Should the Daniels’ gear snag up, they can apply brute force to rip it out of the kelp they’re caught on, or tip over offending rocks. Failing that, the hook usually opens up. This sees very few fish lost and left trailing tackle, and the reefy area isn’t left festooned with broken lines. I can also appreciate why the Daniels enjoy fishing at night: such heavy gear is less obvious in the blackness than during the day (which is when I did well).
My own approach is all about offering a relatively subtle, natural presentation. I rely upon the stretchy nylon to mask my presence when a wary snapper bites or runs off with the bait, as well as helping to steadily increase pressure so my snooded circle hooks slide up and set themselves in the fish’s jaw. Re-curved hooks also snag up less often than conventional hooks, thanks to their inwardpointing points.
While I understand the appeal of ‘baitrunner’-style spinning reels, I prefer free-spool outfits. This style of reel means I can easily release line in response to the pull of the tide, movement of the swell, or the tug of a biting fish. They also let me retrieve any slack line quickly and easily with a flick of the fingertips. In short, stray-lining success often depends on an angler’s ability to maintain control of the baited rig at all times, and an overhead reel does this nicely.