The importance of burley

A weekend away up the coast with the Next Gen team proved very successful on a wide variety of species from Mulloway to Dhufish. My usual waters off the South-West capes involve reversing the boat over a specific lump and dropping baits or lures on top of the fishes heads, however around Cervantes and Jurien creating a constant burley trail and using lightly weighted baits and lures was deadly. Instead of the large jigs and enourmous baits I gennerally use around Dunsborough, fishing lightly weighted or even unweighted smaller baits and fishing slightly lighter lures was by far the most effective way of fishing. Combining this with anchoring up and keeping a constant burley trail we relied on the fish finding us and they certainly did.

It was our last day before heading back to Perth, with the weather looking almost perfect we dcided to give it one last shot. Packing the three boats we had with us and launching at first light we were treated with clear skies and calm seas. Heading only a few kilometres out we started trolling attempting to lure  a Mackie if we could, although our lures remained untouched. The water was clear and we could see fish in the sounder so in came the lures and we headed to a reef patch Russel Waterman had fished before. On approach we saw tuna busting and plenty of life. Before we had even begun our drift Michael spotted a massive splash on the surface and flung his 5″ Madeye Paddle Prawn into it, burning it back at high speed and hooking into a very quick fish. After a few burning runs the shape of aimage mackerel appeared under the boat, careful not to put too much pressure on the fish we gently guided the large Shark Mackerel next to the boat and tailing it in. Not a bad start, a thumper shark mack which was later followed by Russel landing a small Bluefin Tuna on one of his drift baits.

There was plenty of fish on the reef, although Russel suggested a new area in slightly deeper water. The idea being to anchor up and get a burley trail working, allowing our baits and lures to drift back through it. The idea was a winner, on arrival I diced up a block of muellies and got the burley going. We landed small Dhufish and Baldchin Groper before the burley started working. Soon the larger fish had shown up with Sambos and Yellow Tail Kingfish swimming right up to the boat, and down on the bottom the demersals species really came on the chew. First good fish went to Russel with a very nice Pink Snapper around 75cm in length. This was followed by me losing a nice Dhufish just after I had a imageglimpse of it, and Michael landing his first Harlequin fish once again on the 5″ Madeye Paddle Prawn.

As the burley worked, more and more fish came in, I rigged up a fresh fillet on a double snell of 5/0 hooks and let it sink down through the burley trail. The bait hit the bottom and instantly took off connected to something large and hell-bent on putting me in the reef. Locking up I got the fish out and after a short fight up came a monster Baldchin Groper. The fish came in at 69cm and was shortly followed by Russel landing another Baldy imagearound 65cm. The burley was working like magic and a school of Yellow Tail Kings came back to the boat. As Michael phtohraphed my Baldchin his rod in the holder screamed off, luckily he was able to put the brakes on the fish and brought up a nice sized Kingy. A few quick snaps and the fish was released straight back into the esky. As the action died down I down sized my leaders, rigs and gear in the hope that whatever fish was around I could fool more easily. I drifted down an unweighted muellie on my 5000 Shimano Biomaster combo leaving it in the holder, soon enough line started  peeling off fast, I set the imagehooks into something big with the fish screaming off. A long fight on light gear and we could finally see a big sambo in the depths, the fish surfaced and Michael and Russel tailed the fish in the boat. An awesome fish which after a few quick photos was sent straight back into the drink. Afterwards we called it a day and went back to fillet the fish and clean the gear. The burley had worked its magic and resulted in a red hot mornings fish!

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