Casting soft plastics close to shore and bouncing them down steep rock walls can be a great tactic for all estuary species. Mulloway, estuary perch, tailor, bream and even XO sized flathead will hold along rock walls within back-eddies and current breaks during harsh tidal flow. This type of country is generally gnarly and unforgiving to the finesse angler. The rocks are typically encrusted with line-shredding obstacles such as; barnacles, mussels, and oysters which can make this style of fishing extremely difficult. And worse: the fish species that frequent this habitat play dirty, and know where to find these line-shredding nasties when hooked! Light line and finesse rods won’t cut it when prospecting this environment; besides, the weight of your offering is generally heavier when working deep rock walls, so you’ll need a stick that is able to cast and work your plastic. Most deep edge prospecting is much more productive when the current is flowing hard, so you’ll need to increase the weight of your jig-head to work the entire column successfully. I favour creature-bait soft plastics between 2” and 3” for this caper; and depending on tidal flow, typically use a 1/6 jig head to ensure my offering is getting down to the mark without being swept away with the current. Leader class differs with some scenarios; however, I start with 10lb FC, and drop back to 8lb or even 6lb if I’m not getting bites. Fishing any lighter can be a waste of time when fishing in this country as you’ll need to apply a descent amount of drag pressure to control a rampaging fish. As far as braid goes…I’m loving Daiwa’s new J-Braid, and I run 8lb breaking strain when working plastics. J-Braid boasts great knot strength, and lays on the reel spool well.
When setting up, try to position your boast so you’re able to cast up-current, and then hop your plastic out from the shoreline and down the wall at 45 degrees. This ensures your plastic is presented in a natural manner, and that you’re covering the entire water column to determine where the fish are holding. Keep prospecting new ground by creeping slowly along the contour of the bank with a bow mounted electric motor. Monitor your high-vis braid and try to detect any signs of a take from a fish. If you see your line twitch, strike hard and crank like crazy to drag them away from their lair. This is real “white-knuckle” fishing, and not for the faint hearted. Snags and lost lures are par for the course; however, with the right tackle…you shouldn’t lose too many fish once you hook up. Rods with fast tappers and line ratings around 3-5kg will serve you well when working weighty presentations along step rock walls; plus, the muscle associated with this size stick will aid an angler when attempting to pry a hard fighting opponent away from nasty cover.
I have been using a Black Label V2 701MLXS lately, and can’t sing its praises enough. It feels a little pokey in hand due to the extra fast taper, but actually folds away nicely when loaded. Bringing your plastic to life is achieved with the slightest of twitches, which helps control the positioning of your lure. I just love the power that this rod conveys, and it knocks over powerful fish with ease. The rod is light in hand, which is important, and it is very responsive which aids setting the hook upon the strike. The cork grips not only add to the aesthetic appeal, but I believe it adds to the overall sensitivity. When a fish bumps your offering…you can feel it through the rod! I have been a long-time fan of the Black Label rods, and can confidently vouch for their performance. Since using the BL V2 701MLXS, I can honestly say that this rod will be my “go to” rod for deep edge work with plastics from now on. I recommend that you match this rod with a 2500 sized reel, as it balances the outfit nicely as well as providing extra cranking power. I can see this combo also being great for bass fishing, and for chasing snapper with soft plastics too.