Column: Fishing with Tony Lincoln

Column: Fishing with Tony Lincoln

Hornibrook Bait and Tackle owner Tony Lincoln tells us what’s biting where, and how to avoid line breakages.

I hear regular stories of line breakages while fighting fish, so thought I'd talk about drag settings this edition.

Break-offs due to drag settings can occur for several reasons - excessive drag for line class, excessive drag for rod rating, uneven or lumpy drag when under load, or poor quality drag components.

The generally accepted rule for drag settings is one third of the breaking strain of our line. i.e. 6kg line = 2kg of drag. I measure this with an accurate scale straight off the reel, and then, through the guides with the rod loaded up to its designed working curve. I prefer a maximum 90 degrees, as more than this increases pressure on my line, increasing risk of bust-off. Example: line travelling a gentle curve travels with less resistance than line travelling around a, "u".

Line coming off a reel under pressure should run smoothly. Bumps or unevenness cause strain on the line to fluctuate or surge significantly, putting extra stress on line and connections. Regular care and maintenance help to eliminate this.

I rarely change drag settings while fighting a fish. If I need more drag during the fight, I lay my finger gently on the spool to add extra pressure. Very little pressure is needed for a marked increase in drag. If a fish looks like he's going to take me into a snag or around a rock and I need to lock up, I simply hold the spool, lay the rod over to try and turn the fish, and hope that I don't break off. Sometimes the fish win.

I set and check my drags before leaving to go fishing - I get a mate to pull line off over the rod, to check the working curve and I rarely change them. Occasionally, if I've felt the line rubbing on rock or I've had an extended fight on larger fish, I may back the drag off slightly when close to landing. If I do this, I use my scale to reset.

Weekly report

  • Still a lot of bait in Bramble Bay
  • Tailor to 50cm caught at the southern end of the peninsula
  • Squire, snapper and grassy sweetlip on the rocky points and inshore reefs
  • School mackerel, bonito, queenfish and trevally in Bramble Bay, off Woody Point Jetty, and around the corner to Scotts Point, (remember to stay out of the Green Zone)
  • Flathead in Hays Inlet, the Pine River, Scarborough Spit and foreshore, and the mouth of the canals
  • Mangrove Jack and trevally in the Newport canals
  • Sand crabs at Scarborough and Deception Bay
  • Prawn starting to move out to the creek mouths and into the inshore bays
  • School and spotted mackerel wider in the bay, particularly around the beacons and longtail tuna inside Moreton Bay
  • Snapper and tuskies on the artificial reefs inside Moreton

Hornibrook Bait and Tackle is at 146 Hornibrook Esplanade, Clontarf. Phone 2104 2659 or visit the Facebook page

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