Luke Ryan – Tips to Locate Fish Consistently

“If you think you have a spot that nobody fishes except you, think again.”

Fishing is continually changing, from the tools that we use to locate and find fish to the gear that we purchase to actually catch the fish we are targeting. Heading out in search of larger bottom dwelling targets, the likes of Dhufish, Pink Snapper and Balchin Grouper, has become so expensive you really need to have your skills perfected, so as to not waste valuable time out on the water.

I speak to so many anglers that think it is as simple as heading out offshore, finding a random lump and getting into some decent demersal action without too much hassle. My response to this is that it isn’t that easy targeting demersal fish and it is actually extremely difficult in local waters. Understanding how and why fish do what they do and eat when they eat comes down to the time you spend on the water. By spending time on the water and learning the ways of the ocean and its beings, you will then be able to effectively learn to target fish and “crack the code”.

New anglers these days are extremely fortunate with the progression of technology when it comes to boat electronics.  Anglers who are keen to head offshore are able to use these innovative electronics to their full potential, allowing them to target fish far more effectively than in the past. Sounders and GPS units are so advanced these days, that even inexperienced anglers can use them to find fish.  After getting your head around the type of unit you have, you can then start to have an understanding of the echo sounding information that is relayed back to you.

Catching fish is not as simple as it’s made out to be. I believe my consistent catch rate of quality fish is due to the amount of time I spend on the water and the knowledge I have developed over time.

Being able to find the right type of ground that fish will consistently hold on can be very challenging. Many anglers always try to look for large lumps or different contours on the GPS maps, they head out to them and catch very little but don’t understand why. What you will find is almost every boatie that heads out will pretty much do the same thing.  You can only imagine how many other boats have already done the exact same thing over previous days on the same spots.

Another thing to take into consideration is that there is no such thing as a secret spot. If you think you have a spot that nobody fishes except you, then think again.  This is also a reason to farm your spots efficiently, as continually going back to the same one will surely wipe it out.  To be honest, the majority of spots where I consistently catch quality fish are small lumps and rises. I have spots that are no more than a metre high that hold great fish. In saying this, if you find a nice looking bit of structure but there are no fish on it, doesn’t always mean you have found a dud spot. Fish move around a great deal, so I am always marking spots whilst cruising. Quite often I find spots when on my way back in after a big day, so I simply put a mark on a nice reading. I rename it “try” so I know where to head to next time I am out.

When looking for ground, especially smaller lumps and rises, you need to drive slowly. If you’re cruising around at 20-30 knots you will risk missing something worth fishing, as the sounder is trying to compress too much information on the screen. Whilst searching for new spots, I tend to sit on roughly 8-11 knots and observe the bottom for anything that may hold fish. I run two 12” Simrad NSS Evo2 touch screen units. The advantage I have with my units being linked together is when I see a reading come up, I am able to put an exact mark on that location by simply touching my finger to the screen where the spot is displayed.