A Little Angling Luck

Fishing is just luck? As Rod MacKenzie explains in this article, there are skills involved when catching big fish in snags and I think patience is the key when you get snagged as it can be profitable! File 2-03-2016, 9 20 50 AM You will see them at the pinnacle of any sport you care to mention. Men and women who have the uncanny ability to create an air of magic as they consistently conjure something from nothing. Brilliant, legendary and gifted are just a few of the terms used to describe their skills. In angling we are not quite as generous with our praise and those who achieve such feats are most often referred to as lucky and in some instances are even said to have pulled it from below their belt. The sport of fishing is no different to any other, where special moments are more often born of skill than that of luck or any other part of the anatomy. I have been privy to numerous examples where good anglers, some well-known, others not so, have conjured all manner of fish from the most unlikely of situations. Luck might play a greater role if these happenings were a one off, but to do it time and time again equates to something more along the lines of skill. Such happenings change our appreciation of what can be done, and create new and exciting possibilities. An all-time favourite shown to me many years ago would have to be the act of turning a snagged lure into a giant fish—taking something that all lure fishos dread and transforming it into something they all desire. Now that’s a magic trick the great Houdini himself would no doubt applaud! I was fishing the Murray River with notable angler and fishing scribe Rod Harrison when Rod snagged his lure. Having just positioned the boat a good ten metres upstream of where his lure had become snagged, the customary flick of the rod tip set the lure free. The distance between boat and snag was Harro’s call and much further back than I was accustomed to travelling. Detached from its sticky lair, instead of winding the lure straight in as most anglers do, it was allowed to rise a few feet in the water column before a slow, staggered retrieve sent it back down amongst the offending timber. File 4-03-2016, 7 49 53 AM The response was immediate as the rod jarred down hard from the strike. The reward for forward thinking was a beautifully conditioned Murray cod of about 30 pounds. This lesson has provided me numerous large Murray cod over the years the biggest to date a thumping fish of around 40kgs. Such opportunities are lost without the skills passed down by thinking anglers that see opportunities that others miss. Harro later divulged with a cheeky smile this simple technique worked to good effect on Barramundi too. In a similar vein, Dave Hodge—or Hodgie, the Barefoot Fisherman as he is more commonly known—uses a slingshot technique when he snags a spinnerbait. Pointing the rod straight down the line directly at the snag, he draws the line out to the side like a bowstring and allows it to snap back. The force transfers down the line in a tight wave, pushing the spinnerbait back and in most cases off the snag. It is not uncommon to crank the free falling spinnerbait into gear only to have it smashed as soon as the blades begin to rotate. If your idea of fishing revolves around casting spinnerbaits, or hardbodied lures for that matter, this is undoubtedly one of the all-time greatest tricks you will ever learn. File 2-03-2016, 9 21 10 AM Just recently, I watched a giant cod caught in this precise manner much to the jubilation of the angler in question. Casting to a deep snag with one of the new Bassman 4×4 spinnerbaits, the fluttering lure was allowed to free fall amongst the submerged timber before it was drawn to the boat. Mid way back, the spinnerbait had the misfortune to hang up on a snag—as they often do. The slingshot technique was used to effect, freeing the spinnerbait on the third sharp snap of the line. A few winds of the reel and no sooner had the rotating metal meal sprung to life than the familiar strike of a giant cod shut it down again. Off one snag and the giant fish turned into another as it headed for the deep. Ten minutes later, the true worth of this simple method revealed itself in a monster Murray cod that would easily have tipped the scales at over eighty pounds. Talk about your magic moments in fishing, they don’t get much better than that. The ability to turn snags into fish is just one of many conjuring tricks that we can all use. It’s been said good anglers have a lot of luck, I think it’s only fair to say that the better ones make their own and bring along a little magic as well.
Rod MacKenzie

About Rod MacKenzie

One of the most passionate anglers you will meet, Rod simply loves his fishing and is eager to share the wealth of knowledge and experience he has picked up over the years.

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