I am the first to admit I am a sucker for new gear particularly when it is from my favorite supplier, however 2016 has seen me end up with too much of it. Soft baits, Jigs, Reels, Rods, my garage and boat is filled with them and I was determined not to buy any more gear…….until I saw Daniel De Jong post on facebook about the new Sinking Stickbaits by Fish Inc (distributed by Ocean Angler Auckland) and the XL snapper he was nailing in Whangaparoa Bay. That was my downfall and the “Stay Away From The Tackle Store” enforced ruling was broken. So what are these new lures, why should you use them and more importantly how do you use them to catch the good sized fish.
Fortunately I was able to speak with Daniel and glean some information from him which I can pass on to you. Daniel has more than proved that the lures work with XL Snapper and Kingfish boated in the last month. So let’s take a look and cover off some of the more common questions you may have.
What rod to use?
No need to buy new rods here, a well made soft bait rod with 7’7 length, a whippy end and strong butt section is fine for use with sinking stick baits. The longer rods make the long sweeps back to the boat easier (More on that later) .An ideal rod is Ocean Angler Microwave Rod version one or two. A fine whippy end and a solid butt that can take the big fish. Quite different to the usual rods we associate with stickbaits.
What are the different types of Sinking Stick Baits
Fish Inc have released three models in New Zealand with a wide variety of colours in each lure and of course different weights aimed to increase your chances of large snapper and other species. The Fish Inc Sinking Stick Baits are named and weighted as follows:
Flanker at 28 gram 5 Colours
Wing at 50 grams 8 Colours
Prop at 62 grams. 5 Colours
The Flanker is the smallest and thinnest of the lures, while the Wing has the appearance of a normal stick bait used for surface fishing. The Prop is similar but has a heavier body and is lethal on King Fish. The Sinking Stick baits as the name suggests sink slowly to the bottom wobbling as they go to attract maximum attention from would be predators.
Colours range between bait styles such as Mackerel and Sardine through to some Pinks Greens, Golds and Blues. It’s a bit early to pick a winner as the lures have only been on the market for 3 weeks and reports are all colours are doing well on a wide variety of species. As example the Prop Sinking Stick Bait in Green, Gold and Blue caught a beautiful Trevally last week, weighing in 4 kilos in just 12 metres of water. All the lures come with a large 3 hook profile and very strong bodies designed for New Zealand conditions.
How to fish a Sinking Stick Bait.
It would be fair to say that you can fish these in a similar manner to a 7’ softbait. The best conditions are low wind and a slow drift as the lure is designed to attract attention on the way down, much like a large soft bait. Having said that the lures were battle tested in very windy conditions and proved a winner there too. (little flicks up and down on the sea bed proved too much for some XL snapper who smashed them). The best technique to use with a sinking stick bait is to cast ahead of the boat so the lure will be near the bottom by the time it passes the boat, much like Softbait Fishing. In doing so remember to keep in contact with the line for any strikes on the way down. This way you can cover most of the water column including the midwater where snapper also hang out when spawning. Once on the bottom, use big slow sweeps back to the boat, and hang on tight. Slow and steady wins the race with these lures. Be careful of foul as the 3 hook rig is a bit more prone to snags than a jighead for a softbait as example
What are the best areas to fish?
Ridge lines and drop offs are a great place to start if you can not find the schools on the sounder. If you are new to an area look for ridges that run parallel with the tide. I also look for a gentle current and a variance in depth between the ridges. Drifting along the edge of these areas and working the lures to annoy the fish (short flicks on the bottom and a slow retrieve) will produce the bigger fish.
What can you do to increase your chances?
Slow pitch Jigs, inchiku jigs, soft baits and sinking stickbaits all benefit from some enhancements particularly over winter. I use Ocean Angler Secret Sauce (Drag Juice) and find this can help. It may be that extra boost you need to get the big boy to smack the lure hard.
So next time you are out try the new sinking stick baits and see how you get on. It is very addictive. As always be safe out there, always let someone know where you are going, and remember to update your crew and passengers on safety at sea, things can change very fast out wide. Keep safe