Luderick or blackfish have somewhat of a cult following in their home waters, which extend from southern Queensland and right through the NSW coast to Victoria, and some parts of Tasmania. There is something about the peculiar techniques used to catch them that endears them to their most loyal followers. Onlookers who watch the oldtimers standing along breakwalls drifting floats and weed baits on long rods may think this is an expensive exercise, but they couldn’t be more wrong.
In fact, gearing up for luderick is pretty cheap and straight forward - it doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. One of the nice things about luderick gear is that, other than your terminals, everything should last you for years if looked after. This is why many luderick anglers will have rods and reels that are upwards of 30 years old!
To catch luderick the traditional way, you’ll need a fibreglass rod, centrepin reel, floating mainline, light 4-8lb trace, hooks, sinkers, swivels, float stoppers, and of course, a float.
For rods, you can’t go past the Gary Howard Estuary Blackfish 10’6” 3-5kg 2 Piece Mid Mount, and if you mount an Alvey Black Fish Float Series 47VN2X centrepin reel on it, you’ll have one classy looking luderick set-up!
Having a mainline the floats is important, as you are fishing with a pencil float and will want the ability to direct and ‘mend’ your line regularly, and this is best achieved when your line floats. Heavy braid such as 15-30lb Daiwa J-Braid Grand Braided Fishing Line floats well, or you could use Sunline Fine Float Mono Floating Line, which is specifically designed for this style of fishing!
For traces, a nice light fluorocarbon such as Berkley Vanish Fluorocarbon Clear Leader will do fine.
Hooks are a big consideration, and once again there are hooks specifically designed for this odd style of fishing! Mustad Needle Sneck Green Hooks are a square configuration, and prevent the weed baits commonly used for blackfish from sliding off. Their green finish also helps to hide the hook in the weed bait!
Sinkers, swivels and float stoppers are all cheap and available, and the key to these is to keep them small. It also pays to have some split shot sinkers handy, as these can fine tune the weighting on your float.
Finally, the all important float! Luckily for you, these are cheap and available too. The JW Blackfish Float or Sure Catch Blackfish Float are perfectly adequate for a bit of estuary luderick fishing, and will balance nicely if weighted correctly.Once you have these essentials, you’ll be able to set yourself up for many seasons. In a future post, we will delve into the specific technique, but for now, give our little estuary battlers a thought, and don’t let this style of fishing go out of fashion!
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