After Wayne Swan delivered a killer budget this week and the ‘R' word still being dropped in conversations all over the country, there is bound to be a few disgruntled people who will now have to start tightening their belts. Perhaps your other half has just informed you that in order to make ends meet this year there will have to be some big sacrifices on your behalf. Maybe you're finding it necessary to work more and more to fund your recreation and relaxation activities. Or do you feel like it is time to start saving up for the big purchase of a new car or boat?
Well this week we are going to see how we can cut down on costs in the department of fishing without squeezing your passion right out of your life...much to your mother's/girlfriend's/wife's dismay! Fishing historically has been a cheap activity - you just have to look at evidence of our ancestors using sticks, bones and twine to land a big one. Over time technology has played a major role in the way we fish, what tackle we use, how we find fish and even the manner in which we document our angling prowess has become hi tech and expensive! Here are a few easy-to-follow steps for recession-proofing our much loved national hobby: fishing!
It's been proven that you don't have to own the most expensive rod and reel to catch the big fish. The best way to get value for money in any rod and reel is to make a purchase which fits your budget and then take proper care of your investment. The saying "Nothing lasts as long as it used to" is frequently heard in tackle stores when anglers come in looking for a new product after their last reel only made a year's worth of fishing trips.
Store your rod in a safe place, high enough so it's out of reach of tiny hands. Wipe down your rod after each fish as salt degrades to resin and epoxy which runners and tips are attached with. A rod bag or tube will also lengthen the life of your rod. If you do happen to snap off a tip or break a runner - all is not lost! For only a few dollars you can buy a replacement tip and many tackle stores will help you glue it back on, or there are also Rod Repairers who professionally replace tips or runners for around ten dollars and you'd never be able to tell the difference.
To get the best out of your reel:
1. Always wash it down with warm fresh water to minimise the amount of sand and salt getting into the gears and mechanism, then let it sit in the sun after washing to allow it to dry out completely;
2. Apply a product like Lanox (similar to WD40 but enriched with lanolin) to the crank/gears to keep the mechanism well oiled and lubricated. This will protect the reel from the elements and salt corrosion until your next trip.
3. Service your reel at least twice a year - this involves unscrewing the spool and giving the area a good clean and lube up. Also take off the handle, clean and lube as well. You will be surprised the amount of dirt, sand and sometimes line that can be caught in these areas, ultimately leading to corrosion and having the mechanism seize up! If you are not sure about pulling apart your reel for fear of putting it all back together properly, take it down to a local tackle store for assistance or get out the manual for reference.
Hooks, sinkers and swivels may be relatively inexpensive when bought in small quantities but over a year you may find you have purchased quite a bit. Buying in bulk requires bigger commitment of funds initially but in the long run each hook or sinker is individually much cheaper. To get the most out of hooks, get yourself a hook sharpening stone - they're less than $5.00 and they can sharpen up dull and blunt hooks as good as new in only seconds of sharpening. Keeping swivels dry and out of the salt will prolong their life - I make sure they are dry in my tackle box before putting it away in the garage. Only take a handful of swivels out with you and put the rest into a glass jam jar in your garage for safe keeping.
I am a firm believer in being self sufficient wherever possible...bait included! The best free option is pippies-requiring little more effort than some bending over and digging with your hand. The best places these days for Pippies include the NE tip of Bribie, Yaroomba, the more secluded beaches in Noosa National Park and North Shore to Double Island. Pippies are mainly used in surf gutters, by placing a whole Pippy on the hook to target whiting, dart, bream and occasionally tailor. You can even eat pippies - I have tried Barbequed Pippy Kilpatrick back in the day when my family lived on Fraser Island.
While sand worms are great bait, they're highly elusive and extremely hard to catch. Very few local beaches have sand worm populations anymore due to overdigging. Many locals have found success from self-dug bloodworms from up in the mangrove areas of the Noosa, Maroochy and Mooloolah Rivers. However, garden worms are a cheap alternative also.
If you have received your stimulus money, paid all your bills and have a little left over then I can suggest making the investment of purchasing a cast net. Cast nets, provided they are rinsed after use and stored well, will last for many years. They are the essential element for the live bait angler and virtually pay for themselves within ten fishing trips or equivalent of ten packets of 200 gram prawn bait. Both herring and prawns are easily caught in cast nets as they move up and down the river systems on a high tide in large schools.
Cast netting is a skill you learn which will stick with you a lifetime. The best option is to have a fellow angler or someone in the industry demonstrate for you. Once you have the knack and start catching prawns, herring and even little poddy mullet, you can target anything from big flathead and trevally to jew and tailor. With these species; the livelier the bait, the better your chance.
OTHER THINGS TO THINK ABOUT:
I also have a few suggestions that locals have mentioned over the years for keeping costs down.
Every little bit counts, especially at present when so many individuals, families, businesses and communities are feeling financial difficulty. Wouldn't it be great if the things we enjoyed most were not affected by budgets and the credit crunch? At least some of the abovementioned suggestions may ease the burning sensation at your hip pocket for a little while.
Noosa: Coral trout and sweetlip caught at Sunshine Reef earlier this week - worth a try this weekend Tailor, bream and dart along the Noosa North Shore. Flathead taking lures and bream on the incoming tide between the river mouth and Munna Bridge. Trevally in Woods Bay and around Goat Island.
Maroochy: Dart and tarwhine during the day and a few tailor at night along Mudjimba and North Shore beaches. Gar and bream between the Twin Waters Weir and Chambers Island. Chopper tailor in the Cod Hole. Whiting, bream and grunter bream near Bli Bli bridge. Mud crabs in Eudlo Creek.
Kawana: Sweetlip, squire and snapper to 3kg on both Gneerings the past few days. Dart and tailor along the beaches, best near the Kawana Surf Club. Bream and trevally along the bank at La Balsa Park. Schools of gar along with a few whiting near the Coast Guard Jetty.
Caloundra: Chopper tailor and dart along the southern end of Currimundi beach. Squire, bream and chopper tailor in the bar. Jew in the deep holes and channels of the Passage. A few flathead off the Boardwalk and in Coochin Creek entrance.
Allen Morgan and Andy Gunn hit Mudjimba Island early in the day for this feed of squire, yellowfinn tuna and parrot.
Kevin Boucher fished for this glistening trevally at his favourite position at Yinni Street.
Robert Polzin struggled to hold up this beautiful 15kg amberjack caught on a recent trip to Mudjimba Island.
Lucy Graham was grinning from winning! Two big muddies from her pots in Eudlo Creek.