ROCK FISHINGRock fishing can produce some excellent sport for those who are proficient at it. It must be stressed that this is not for the rank amateur. Of all the types of fishing styles, it is the most dangerous. There is some hard and fast rules you must obey if you are contemplating fishing from the rocks. Never fish alone, always go with a mate, preferably someone who has had rock fishing experience. Always keep your eye on the sea, and if possible retreat at the first sign of a dangerous swell. If you are caught by a wave surging over your spot, stand with one foot in front of the other, with your weight on the front foot facing the surge. Watch out for the water sweeping in around your position. Bad weather and rising tide will create dangerous conditions, so spend time observing the sea conditions on the spot you want to fish before committing yourself.
The white water caused by waves breaking on submerged reef and rocks plus channels and gutters between, offer cover to fish. You can bait spin these areas with the same bait and tackle you would use on the beach. The line should be heavier (10kg plus) and the rod, though more powerful should still have some action in the tip. A direct wind 700 or 650 Alvey are the best reels to use.
Fishing on the bottom will naturally result in lost tackle due to the wave action sweeping you gear around rocks. If you can put up with this, good fish such as Bream etc. can be caught again using the same bait and methods you would use on the beach. Fishing under a float will minimize lost tackle and allow your bait to move with the surge. A large running "bobby" float with the bait set just short of the bottom is the best method.
When you hook a fish from the rocks strike with the same lift and wind method, but play the fish out in open water before bringing it close in. Some fish, if there small enough, can be lifted out of the water, but large fish may need gaffing. A rock gaff should be about 3 to 4 meters long. Gaffing the fish is the most dangerous part of rockfishing. The gaff man has to expose himself to danger by getting low to reach the fish. His eyes can leave the water as he attempts to sink the gaff. His partner playing the fish must be ready to warn him of impending danger.
Spinning off the rocks with lures is just as successful as on the beach. Use the same lure types and methods, but be prepared to lose a few of them to snagging on rocks. If you have to bring your lure or tackle over shallow rocks, lift the rod and wind it fast to skip it over.
The knots used by anglers are many and varied. The best and simplest knot for monofilament line is the four turn half blood knot as pictured below. It is quick and easy to tie, even in the dark. It can be used to tie line to swivel, swivel to trace and trace to hook. The most important step is to wet any knot with saliva before pulling it tight. Tying a knot dry, can halve its breaking strain.
SUGGESTED SWIVEL AND LINE COMBINATIONS
No. 14 Swivel - up to 5 kg line.
No. 12 Swivel - 5 - 8 kg line.
No. 10 Swivel - 8 - 15 kg line.
No. 9 Swivel - 15 - 20 kg line.
The only essential called for in sidecast angling is that an ordinary small running swivel is placed above your rig. Any type of rig, spinner or float can be used below the swivel, but nothing on or attached to the line above it. In this position the swivel will, for all practical purposes, keep line free of twist from any cause whatsoever.
The use of too large a swivel is often another cause of line twist, the swivel being to heavy for the light line to turn.