Top 10 Fishing Tips! Good jobs for when it is cold and wet outside!

Painted brass trout spoons.
Painted brass trout spoons.

Top 10 Fishing Tips

What does the trawler fisherman do when the sea is too rough to go out fishing? The answer is; he stays in port and mends his nets. He also sees to any maintenance that needs doing. That could be changing the oil in his motors, greasing the deck winches, scraping the hull, doing his paperwork, or even painting his daughter’s bedroom at home. The important point is that he keeps busy and doesn’t waste his non-fishing time.

The amateur angler can apply the same philosophy. These things will definately help you to catch more fish. On cold wet winter days why not make the most of your downtime by:

1. Tying more fishing flies so you have a good supply ready for next spring and summer. You don’t need to do this all in one go. Leave your vice set up and just tie a few as the mood takes you!

2. Tying up monofilament fishing rigs. Put them in labelled zip-lock plastic bags. This saves valuable fishing time later. Make up some mullet rigs with small hooks for catching bait. Tie double-hook sea-run trout rigs and wrap them around a cardboard toilet roll centre, then insert in plastic bags. This avoids the need to waste valuable fishing time at the river and even worse tying them in the dark.

3. Repairing and overhauling your trout, salmon, boat and surfcasting reels. The off-season is a good time to order any spare parts that may be needed. Take your reel into the shop if you aren’t sure of the parts required. Some of the leading stores can make repairs to reels for you.

If you are a salmon angler order a few spare pawls and worms for your baitcaster reels. These are always worth having in your tackle box for emergency repairs at the beach or river. You can tell if these gears are worn out in your baitcaster reel because the line will pile up on one side of the spool instead of being spread across evenly. Then when you cast a birds-nest will result. Very bad news when other anglers all around you are hauling salmon up the beach!

For this reason, I strongly recommend you invest in at least one spare salmon reel for extra insurance. Imagine walking 3km all the way down to the mouth of the Rakaia River only to have your reel suffer a horrid birds nest, or some other problem, soon after you arrive.

4. Replace the old monofilament or braided line on your fishing reels. Better yet why not try spooling up a couple of reels with braided line, if you haven’t tried it yet, to see how you like fishing with it. Many spin, boat and surf anglers prefer braid and don’t use mono at all nowadays. They just use a rod length or two of monofilament as a shock leader as trout don’t like the braid. Sufix is a good reasonably priced brand that has worked well for me. There are other good ones too.

5. Check and replace broken rod guides. Cracked line guides ruin your expensive line very quickly. If your eyesight isn’t that good you can check for cracks and chips by pulling a woman’s nylon stocking through the guide. The fine nylon will catch any breaks in the ceramic or agate rings. Replace the guides yourself, or get the shop to do it for you. This is a must, especially for salmon fishing where you are casting all day. The line will wear out very quickly when drawn over the sharp edge of a cracked line guide. My eye site isn’t what it was. These sort of line damaging cracks can be difficult to detect with the naked eye. 

6. Fix leaks in your waders by patching up or replacing them if they are old (over ten years) as the rubber will likely be perished. Once that happens you are fighting a losing battle as any repairs will soon be replaced by fresh leaks.

Nothing beats a new pair of chest waders for trout and salmon fishing. They are an absolute must for whitebaiting. Quality fitted waders are always best if you can afford them. It is worth paying the few dollars extra and have waders specifically made to your measurements.

7. If you are a whitebaiter then you need to be repairing your net and patching up any holes or weak spots. Pole-net bags last a long time but eventually, they start to perish and rip easily, at which point they need replacing.

8. If you are a salmon or trout angler, or sea angler and you fish with lures, now is a good time to get them out of storage and make repairs; replace any dicey looking split rings, replace or sharpen your treble hooks, and apply prism tape to salmon ticers. Salmon anglers can take all the hardware off their ticers and zed spinners and have them all re-silvered to look brand new. Another option is to take off the hardware and give them a coat of white paint along with a stripe of paint in a contrasting colour (pink or green work well). Painting salmon spinners.

9. Boat anglers consider getting your outboard in for servicing over winter instead of leaving it until the last minute. Sort the wheel bearings, registration and warrant of fitness. If you’ve been thinking of getting a new fish-finder or perhaps a downrigger, the winter is a good time to get it sorted when you are in less of a hurry. When the high country opening weekend comes around on the first Saturday in November you will be all ready to go, not to mention you will be all ready to go for the summer!

10. If you have a quad bike for salmon fishing there is a lot of maintenance you can get done on it over the winter. You can do quite a few things yourself to save money: make and attach new rod holders or rocket launchers, send the foot pegs in to be galvanized, make a carrier to fit a chilli-bin or whitebait net, service the motor, replace the battery if necessary, paint any rusty parts on the frame, squirt CRC on the undersides to keep the rust at bay, check and inflate the tires, have the hole in the seat fixed, even give the plastics a good polish. Don’t overlook your trailer if that is how you carry it to and from the beach.

You can probably think of many other things you can do over winter to prepare for the fishing season ahead. Some hardy anglers are not deterred by the colder weather and shorter daylight hours and still head out on regular weekend fishing trips.

Winter Fishing

Winter fishing can be very good if you don’t mind the cold. Some of the best fishing takes place over the winter months. The Twizel Canals produce plenty of spawning rainbow trout even when the air temperature is below zero degrees.

In the central North Island, some of the best fishing takes place over winter. Brown and rainbow trout migrate from Lake Taupo up the Tongariro, Tauranga-Taupo, Hinemaia and Waitahanui rivers on their spawning runs. The fishery is open 12 months of the year. There is no closed season. Some of the very best fishing takes place in the lower sections of these tributaries between June and September! According to the Department of Conservation, as many as 10,000 rainbow trout run up the Tongariro River alone!

Calm still winter mornings are ideal conditions for coastal sea fishing. I have had some of my best fishing off the Canterbury Coast over winter. Though the days are short there is often much less wind meaning the sea can be almost flat.

If you are taking a break from fishing over the winter months the idea is to seek out ways maximise your fishing time when you eventually do get back out on the water or arrive at the beach or river. Even little things you can do often help a lot. Paint your rod spikes fluorescent yellow or orange so they are easily spotted when fishing the beach at night. Spend the cold winter nights reading up about different places you might like to fish. In summary, keep in mind that only a dumb fisherman fixes his nets while at sea. It’s the little things that make all the difference when it comes to maximising your time on the water. Better using of your time means you’ll catch more fish!

Metal trout spoons.
Metal trout spoons. If you are a salmon or trout angler, or sea angler and you fish with lures, now is a good time to get them out of storage and make repairs; replace any dicey looking split rings, replace or sharpen your treble hooks, and apply prism tape to salmon ticers. You will catch more fish with a little preparation before heading out on the water.

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