guide to slide baiting
Andre Henn with a nice tiger shark caught off the rocks at Waddy Point, Fraser Island.

Guide to slide baiting

guide to slide baiting
A Shimano Torium 30 with Giant Abrasion mono.
guide to slide baiting
Waiting with bated breath.
guide to slide baiting
Professionally tied slide trace with flasher, available from KingFisher Australia.
guide to slide baiting
Heavy-duty non-return slide rig.
A 9oz slide grapnel. Note the hook for clipping to the stopper when casting.

THE aim of slide baiting is to get big baits into the strike zone, often 80-120m out from shore.

To achieve this, you need the right setup and a desire to hunt the big ones. So, what do you need to successfully go slide baiting?

Rod

You’ll need a rod capable of casting 6-10oz weights. It must also have enough backbone to apply the drag pressure of your reel, and assist with working your bait out to the strike zone, and needs be long enough to clear the shore break.

Reel

Your reel needs to hold a minimum of 500m on line but preferably more and needs a minimum of 20lb of drag. Common procedure is about 500m of 50lb braid backing and 200m of 0.5-0.55mm high-abrasion mono. Mono line is essential to sliding because braid is too direct.

Leader

You want 10m of 1mm mono leader or Rhino braid leader to assist in handling the fish on the shore and preventing sharks and rays cutting the leader during rolling. The leader is attached to the swivel on the stopper ring. The reason we attached the leader to the swivel is the slide will ‘sit’ on the swivel instead of directly on the knot when fighting the fish.

Sinker

Attach about a 60cm length of 20lb mono from the stopper ring to the grapnel sinker. The breaking strain of the sinker line should be about half your main line to allow it to break when you hook up. The sinker needs to be heavy enough to anchor the bait in the conditions you’re fishing. Size of the bait and sea conditions will determine the size you use. The slide grapnels need to have 1.6mm (up to 6oz) and 2mm (7oz-plus) spring steel wires as anchors. These need to able to give way when pulled on hard and consistently.

Slide

The slide needs to be constructed of at least 1.6mm 316 stainless spring steel. It needs at least four turns in the coil. Attached to the slide is a 60-100cm bite trace, generally of 200lb carbon-coated wire. It is fitted with one or two hooks. The top hook is snelled and the bottom a figure eight. A good idea is to add a flasher or skirt for a bit of movement and colour. The hooks always need to sit ‘proud’.

Baits

Baits needs to be fresh (or alive) and need to match what is in abundance. Dart have proven to be the best bait for spanish mackerel on Fraser Island. A 30cm-plus tailor will attract both sharks and big GTs. The bigger, more alive and fresher the better.

Technique

When slide baiting off the beach, cast the slide grapnel out and wind up the slack straight away. Let the sinker settle in while you prepare or catch the bait. Lower the main line and attach the slide with the bait. Bring the rod upright and let it slide until hitting the shore break. Work your rod backwards and forwards in quick, short strokes, pausing when a wave hits the slide. Continue until the slide disappears under water, then change to longer strokes. Do this for about 10 minutes or 100 long strokes.

If you think the slide is at the stopper, go for another few minutes. If the slide is not at the stopper you might get burnt off. If your sinker dislodges, start over, perhaps with a heavier sinker or the wires set wider.

Keep your main line tight and place the rod in the holder. Loosen the drag and set the ratchet/clicker. Have your rod bucket/gimbal belt, torch, pliers and so on at hand (and the cold beer).

When you get picked up, don’t strike, instead tighten your drag slowly and wind in, putting tension on your sinker line and waiting for it to release. If your line goes slack, pick it up and wind like a madman until you reach the stopper.

My setup is a 13’6” KFA Poseidon HMG Extra Heavy (8-12oz) rod with a Daiwa Saltiga Dogfight LD60 reel, 600m of TripleFish 48lb Gator braid and 500m of KFA Giant Abrasion Gold 0.55mm 52lb mono. I run about 10m of 200lb (0.8mm) Rhino braided leader. I use the KFA Saltwater pre-made slide traces (two 10/0 hooks on 200lb carbon-coated wire) and 9oz slide grapnel sinkers.

This setup allows me to slide large dead mullet or live tailor between 40 and 60cm in length. Get out there and try it – you’ll be surprised how easy it is (if you’re set up correctly).

Head to kingfisheraustralia.com.au for a wide range of slide baiting products and any more information you require.

Tight lines!

Don Butler

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