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Des

FINESSING

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Catching a bag or 2 … or 6! of Yellow Fin Whiting has not been a problem recently. There are always plenty around in the right places.However I have struggled to land many of the better size fish. I have had my share of bites, even plenty hook ups, although I was not happy with the hook up rate. And lastly and most frustratingly staying hooked up. I have had some big blistering runs, from big bruising YFW on light tackle in the shallows. Only to find my hooks pulled. Yes they are definitely YFW and not Flathead. You can tell by the distinct differences in their head shakes. The Flathead thrash and swing their heads from side to side whereas YFW tug their heads downwards trying to get back down to the sand. And on occasions I have seen their tell tale silver flash. They are nearly always hooked on the longest cast when you do not get much of a chance to see colour. I have never landed the best of the Yellow Fin Whiting that I have hooked.Well I can find them. I can get them to bite, although with a poor hook up rate and when hooked up my hooks would pull once we were into a fight. I had to have a rethink about what I was doing.

 

I paid a visit to a congenial veteran of the tackle industry, Trevor Rea at Gotcha Tackle on Magill Rd Stepney. Trevor has extensive experience as a land based fisho with many an unbelievable tale. There has been plenty of tales of monster size YFW, but Trevor is the only person I know that can look me in the eye and tell me he has caught a 55cm YFW. Albeit a while back. And a mate of his has had 60+ cm fish, whilst fishing along side him. When he digs up photos, which I am urging him to do I will scan & post them up. Well you cant buy that experience and it soon became apparent.

 

Trevor listened intently to my problem, then quietly walked down along a display shelf, returning with a packet in hand saying “This is what you need. Give up the long shank hooks” In his hand was a packet of Gamakatsu #4 octopus hooks. He looked at me and said “stop thinking Yellow Fin Whiting and start thinking Bream” Big Yellow Fin Whiting behave more like Bream than whiting. The penny dropped. I have always inspected the stomach contents of the fish I catch. I find the bigger YFW always have, apart from worms, crabs, nippers, prawns, whitebait, and even a baby octopus. Below a pic of stomach contents from a previous catch.

 

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Exactly the type of food you expect a Bream to eat. So they could be expected to attack your bait in a similar manner to bream. I once had a huge YFW attack and hang onto for a while a whole pilchard on 3/0 hooks intended for Flathead. I described my current trusted and very reliable rig (below) to Trevor.

 

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He said “you are assuming it attacks the worm from the bottom” Well yes! He was challenging my hard and fast assumptions. Great! I was getting a fresh look at what I was doing. This is the rig he suggested and assured me from his own experience, of changing his own technique, that my hook up rate would double. This is his suggested rig;

 

BloodwormOctopusX2bp.jpg

 

I have tried this rig out in my last 2 sessions. On the first session it was very windy and the big YFW that normally hang around the shallow nipper beds are not around in these conditions. I did finish with a bag of YF between 30-34cm It was interesting to note all the bigger YF took the top hook and I doubled my hook up rate. It was only small YF and Puffers that took the bottom hook. Yesterday the weather was looking good and I headed out with great anticipation. It was on the first 2 casts that I found a couple of 31cm YF. From then on I tried to avoid them. There was an easy bag of fish for the taking, in the 29-33cm range but my focus were the bigger specimens. So I focussed on areas that hold less but larger fish. The rig works well! I did not lose a single good fish today and probably only missed one great bite. I kept 15 fish 31-40cm.

 

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The best sizes were; 2 @40cm, 2@38cm and 2@36cm

 

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Taking up the whole shelf of the fridge while chilling down before filleting.

 

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I thought I was doing pretty well, but there is always room for improvement. Listen, review and have a rethink. Well it is satisfying to have changed my rigs with great results.Now a 50+ cm Yellow Fin Whiting can realistically go onto my bucket list! ;) Cheers, Des

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great session yet again Des and another detailed insight for us all to devour and have a go they do get up there in size I know that, my best is 48 from Rogues Point, at this size the fight is incredible and as you know the girth on these things is unreal appreciate the info keep it coming cheers 4THA

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Great information des and a cracker catch ,i had to wonder what the first photo was and i was right ,your posts always have good theories and are always backed up with practical proof good on you mate i always look forward to seeing what you have caught :clap:

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Great stuff Des. Saw something similar a few years ago in Northern NSW, where a guy I was fishing alongside was using a tiny trebble as a stinger hook on beach worms. He hardly missed a fish whilst I was there, (can't say i had the same hookup rate)! His method was to keep the worm bait moving at all times by SLOWLY winding in keeping the bait on the bottom and the whiting were pretty much hooking themselves as he wasn't striking at bites, just continuing to wind in. He had slow actioned rod about 9 or so feet long (like a nibble tip) that had a decent curve in it just retreiving the bait and used mono right through to the hooks.

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Hi Des,yes,I have talked to Trevor and Mozzie down there on many an occasion,great and knowledgeable guys.One question,i see you run your sinker all the way down to the hook,how does that compare with keeping it back off the hook for bite / hookup rate? I thought it may put the fish off biting having it so close to the hook but obviously with your results it doesn't ,what are your thoughts either wayMonkey

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"One question,i see you run your sinker all the way down to the hook,how does that compare with keeping it back off the hook for bite / hookup rate? I thought it may put the fish off biting having it so close to the hook but obviously with your results it doesn't ,what are your thoughts either way"Short Answer;It is more successful than my previous rig of a 1 mt trace below a running ball sinker. Although I have to revert to this in windier conditions when a heavier sinker is required. I am using a fairly small (00) sinker which does not put the fish off. The Reasons;Presentation: I think it presents more naturally. Much like a soft plastic jighead. No distracting second object (the running sinker) running through the sand and water. Bear in mind I am always moving my bait. It collects a lot less weed, making a better presentation of your bait and rig overall. The worm is always down on the sand.Sensitivity: You are in direct contact with your bait & hook. No running sinker interrupting the feel from the hook. Casting: With all the weight and bait concentrated in the one spot I can cast it, in most conditions an equal distance to the running rig. A soft plastic style rod helps. Try "Pflueger Trion" or "Bushy Lure Legend long Cast" The running rig with bait and sinker a metre apart can cart wheel through the air reducing your cast distance.

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Gee, firstly what a great write up! Secondly... I've never targeted yellowfin whiting before, but now you have got me thinking! Will a t-curve 1-3kg matched with a 2500 symetre reel do the trick? It's spooled with 6lb braid... Might invest some time into catching some yellowfin!

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Another great post there Des.Your old rig managed the missus and i a yfw dinner a few weeks back but i like the look of that new rig, does seem towards the 'stinger hook' approach i hear them use over east. Also had a yarn or 3 to Trevor and found them a most helpfull bunch of blokes there.Question regarding your bait: are you using freshly collected od frozen worms?

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Gee' date=' firstly what a great write up! Secondly... I've never targeted yellowfin whiting before, but now you have got me thinking! Will a t-curve 1-3kg matched with a 2500 symetre reel do the trick? It's spooled with 6lb braid... Might invest some time into catching some yellowfin![/quote']An ideal set up for YFWGood Luck!Cheers, Des

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Des,Tried out your new finesse rig off the beach and got myself a 37cm fat sand whiting! Slow day but it was a nice fish that made it all worthwhile.I can confirm the smaller pest fish attacking the lower hook; I had puffer and ST either nipping the trailing part of the worm or eating the bottom hook only! Cast weight of a 10g bean sinker worked nice this time but might try go down to 8g if it's calm enough next time!Do you think that the sinker kicking up sand as it runs along the bottom helps or hurts your chances with whiting?

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Des' date='Do you think that the sinker kicking up sand as it runs along the bottom helps or hurts your chances with whiting?[/quote']Helps. I have since experimented further and left a gap of 30cm between the hooks. The top hook with the weight gets the fish 80% of the time. The puff of sand is similar to that made by worms & nippers.Cheers, Des

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Hi Des,

 

I'm a bit out of my comfort zone as a dyed in the wool freshie fisho but I was pointed in your direction (the YFW whisperer) by more than one angler as I've taken a fancy to catch YFW along the metro coast this season.

 

I have caught YFW on poppers but only as by catch when bait fishing for other surf fish.

 

I was fascinated to read how you changed your rig to a two hook set-up which is identical to that advocated by Andre Georgescu in his Australian Bream Fishing video series to catch his bream. (the videos' if you haven't come across them are all shot locally in the Pat and the Onka among other places) I have used Andre's rig to catch bream with bait (I use white bait, froggies or blue bait) but the lure of luring has taken me away from bait fishing as much as I used to.

 

Cheers, tonyb

 

 

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