ROCK FISHING TIPS FOR BEGINNERS
Fishing from rocky outcrops can be incredibly fun, but there are many anglers who are intimidated by the prospect, and rightly so. Rock fishing isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially if you’ve never done it before. There are also certain safety risks involved, so you must be prepared for all the dangers it can bring. Here are some pointers I compiled for anyone getting started in rock fishing.
The most crucial out of all the rock fishing tips is to stay safe. There aren’t enough words to stress how important this point is. You must think about your own safety above catching a whole bunch of fish.
Since you’ll be fishing on the rocks where the tide can reach you, you must know how to swim in hazardous conditions. Take an advanced swimming class before your rock fishing trip. Make sure you also wear a life jacket to keep you afloat. The tide can sweep you off your feet and pull you in without warning, so staying alert is also crucial.
It’s also advised not to wear any heavy clothing that can drag you down further into the water. Invest in a good pair of cleats or non-slip water shoes, as the rocks can be very slippery. Holding your ground can be much easier if you’ve got the right footwear. I highly recommend wearing a Type 1 PFD.
GIVE OTHER ANGLERS SOME SPACE
It’s a good idea not to set up at a spot right next to another angler. If there’s plenty of space to go around, there’s no reason to crowd one area. You’ll also avoid cutting or clashing lines this way. Fishing can bring people together, but casting into someone else’s space can bring anglers together in a bad way.
CONSIDER THE TIDE
Before you decide on a fishing spot, you must take the tide into account. Some areas are easily accessible during low tide, but they can be terribly dangerous during high tide. Consider the time of day when you’re going rock fishing. Do some research on what time low and high tides occur in your chosen area. If you get to your spot and notice that the water level is rising, it is time to move to somewhere safer.
CHECK FOR SWELL SPACE
Fishing on a rock ledge can put you at risk when a big swell comes in – that’s just part of the equation. It’s a smart idea to leave a good amount of space behind you where you can back up in case of a big swell. Also, don’t leave your fishing gear scattered everywhere or you might just have to say goodbye to them if a wave manages to pull them into the water.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF BERLEY
Sometimes, you’ll stand on the rocks for hours without so much as a nibble from a fish. Don’t be discouraged; bad days happen. However, there’s something you can do to try and excite the fish.
If you find yourself stuck in a fishing rut, use some berley to attract the fish to your area. You can use a variety of berleys for this, but the smellier the better. Try using cat food that you’ve thoroughly mixed. Salmon berley works great, too, because of its oil content. Berley mixes are also readily available from retailers.
TRY AN EXTRA HOOK
If you find that there are smaller fish stealing your bait, a good tip is to attach an extra hook. Take a small hook and fasten it to about 20cm of light line. Then, tie it to the leader. This enables you to catch both the small fish and your bigger target at the same time. You can then use the smaller fish as live bait.
CARRY A CATCH BAG
Some anglers take home their bounty, while others choose to catch and release. If you intend to bring your trophies home with you – provided they’re within the approved size and weight – consider taking a catch bag so you have somewhere to keep them. Take some ice with you, as well, so they stay fresh.
PACK A MULTI-TOOL
A multi-tool can come in very handy on your rock fishing trips. There’s a wide range of these on the market, but you must make sure to select one that best suits your needs. Invest in a multi-tool that boasts a knife, pliers and a diamond hone. The knife helps with cutting just about anything, while the pliers are great for crushing barbs or removing hooks. The diamond hone, on the other hand, can sharpen the point of your fishing hook. Dull hooks often result in losing a catch.
INVEST IN A DRY BAG
You probably plan to bring your valuables and personal items with you on your trip. However, they’re bound to get wet since you’ll be spending the entire time out by the rocks. As a lot of electronics out in the market today are water-resistant, one can never be too sure. For this reason, it’s better to put your personal belongings in a dry bag to keep them free from moisture.
RINSE YOUR GEAR
If you’ve ever fished in salt water before, then you know what it can do to your fishing equipment. The salt content in the water damages your gear at a much quicker pace. It’s a good idea to rinse them in fresh water after use. I always start with a sponge down using soapy water and then a quick rinse with tap water. This doesn’t take long and it is best to get it done as soon as you get back.
Rock fishing can seem intimidating to an outsider, but as someone who has been rock fishing for a while, I can tell you I love it. And while there are some things you must keep in mind to have a safe and fruitful experience, there’s nothing like the feeling you get after a successful fishing trip. The most important aspect of rock fishing is staying safe.
Is there anything you can add? Share your thoughts below.