Can’t fish? Then get ready to fish!

Many West Aussie fishers are stepping up and making the big sacrifice for their families and community by staying at home and not going fishing unless essential in line with Government guidelines to help slow down the spread of COVID-19.

So for those of us choosing not to fish right now – what can we do to get our fishing fix? We suggest now is the time to to prepare for when we can go fishing and turn your hand to all those boat, tackle and fishing related activities.

On the other side of this, fishing is going to be more important than ever for its mental health and wellbeing benefits and the economic boost it will provide for our community – so we encourage everyone to focus on when we can go fishing again and prepare for those good times now!

Here Recfishwest’s Mike Minutillo offers some tips of what you can do in your sheds, garages, driveways and from the comfort of your couch to get your tackle box and boat in order for when we can hit the water again

Log servicing reminders in the Recfishwest app under ‘my tools.

1. Boat and safety Maintenance

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of going out on the boat to try your luck and hopefully catch that next fish of a lifetime. However, we often forget to do those pesky little maintenance jobs that keep everything ticking over and running smoothly. Now is the perfect time to take a moment and go through some of those jobs, so that when it’s safe for us to wet a line, it’s smooth sailing. Some maintenance tasks Recfishwest staff will be doing during this down-time are check our safety gear, such as the expiry dates of our lifejackets, flares, fire extinguishers and EPIRBs and logging them into the Recfishwest app –  check out this video on how to inspect your lifejacket.

Photo credit: LR Custom Built Rods & Reel Servicing.

2. Reel Maintenance

Now is the perfect time to give your reels a bit of TLC. Before you go digging too deep into your reel, check your warranty to prevent voiding it. Some simple maintenance jobs that you can do is cleaning all the salt and sand off them, clean and regrease the drag washer, and replace old noisy handle and roller bearings. Remember to keep your drag loose to prevent the dreaded ‘sticky drag’ of a compressed drag washer. And for those who are not keen to break down their reels, almost all your local tackle shops will offer reel-servicing for a relatively low cost.

3. Learn new knots and rigs

Try learning some new knots.

Don’t you hate it when you just broke off a lure or rig and you have to re-rig your line? Then out of nowhere you see a school of fish busting up and everyone on the boat hooks up, while you’re stuck tying knots when you should be fishing! Why not spend this time preparing for your next trip? We suggest stocking your tackle box up with pre-tied rigs such as the trusty paternoster rig and storing them in zip lock bags, or if you are likely to be tangling with some toothy critters make up some single stand traces. For those who are looking at taking their fishing to the next level we can recommend learning some advanced knots such as the famous FG knot, bobbin knot or the classic Bimini twist. And if the boredom really kicks in, our most dedicated fishers will often practice their knot-tying while watching a movie with a couple of old spools of line so that next time you’re in a rush or fishing bad conditions (poor light or the boat is rocking around) the art of knot tying is built into their muscle memory making sure that more time is spent fishing and not re-rigging. We have plenty of ‘how to’ videos on our YouTube channel to get you started.

4. Tacklebox stock-take and sort-out

If you are like us at Recfishwest, no matter how much time you spend with your tackle box, there is always something else to organise. When you spend your hard-earned money on tackle and lures it is important to know where everything is when you need it the most. Spend a bit of time going through your tackle collection and organise it into occasion-specific tackleboxes – for example make up a salmon fishing tackle kit that has some of your favourite lures or a boat fishing kit with all the various hooks, swivels and sinkers you’ll need on the day. This is a fantastic exercise as it allows you to reflect on what works, stock-take on all the gear you have, declutter your tackleboxes and most importantly what gear you are missing and need for your next trip. Support the WA tackle insustry by shopping local for your tackle needs.

5. Lure maintenance

If you are a lure enthusiast, you’ll have no doubt noticed those once razor-sharp hooks have gone a bit blunt or even worse, rust has started appearing on your old trusty lure. Get onto your local fishing store website and order some replacement hooks and a hook sharpener to get your prized collection of lures back to performing at their best. Don’t forget to check those split rings as well, as they are the only thing connecting the hook to the lure. While you are at it, try swapping your treble hooks for single hooks, we at Recfishwest are big believers in singles hooks due to their less damaging nature and high effectiveness.

6. Cooking techniques

The author with a lovely, tough-fighting spangled emperor – the fruits of well maintained fishing gear.

One of the best things about being a fisher is getting to eat what you catch. Everyone has their favourite way to prepare and cook their fresh seafood, but the beauty of cooking is there is always a new recipe to try. Why not spend some time browsing the internet and those cookbooks you have laying around to stimulate some new ideas? For those who go camping regularly, making up a camping cookbook could make your next trip that much more enjoyable. Be sure to check out Recfishwest’s free sustainable Scale to Tail cookbook which is loaded with mouth-watering recipes and ways to get the most out of your fish while minimising waste.

7. DIY Lures

It should be on every fisher’s bucket list to catch a fish on a lure they built themselves. The feeling of catching a fish on something you made by hand is very rewarding and well worth having a crack at. Youtube is loaded with ‘how to’ videos or come up with your own design, perhaps  Pinterest is a good place to start for some ideas. Another great benefit to this is a better understanding of what makes a lure work and a deeper insight into lure selection. Plus the kids can get involved and get creative too; don’t forget our 2020 members edition fishing lure was designed by eight year-old Abigail Meyza! Check the story out here. Our next competition starts in a few months, so why not prep the kids and start designing, as there’s an superb lure prize-pack up for grabs from our partners at Halco Tackle.

Start a fishing journal or reflect on previous catches.

8. Fishing bucket list

Ever thought about a list of fishing species, spots and techniques you want to try one day? Whether it is to catch a metro mulloway, chase an Exmouth marlin or give your casting arm a crack at fly-fishing, now is a great time to think ahead and create your own personal bucket list of fishing related activities and put a plan together of how you can turn those dreams into reality. If you’re are looking at target species, research the best time of year and where and how to catch them. We suggest starting a fishing journal with all the tips you learnt and all records of the fish you have caught noting the how, when and where you caught them, this will help identify patterns and lift your fishing game.