Are You At Depth?

Barra season opens in just over three weeks, so let’s start some mental preparation.

This year I’d love Masterclass anglers to focus on lure presentation at depth, by visualisation.

Picture it, is your lure at the depth of the fish or way off the mark? This is one of the biggest killers of results. I watched it for decades and understand how CRITICAL this is.

It starts with sounding, ID the barra, then ID the depth of the water, then ID the depth the fish are sitting. Eg, a school of 12 barra, in 17ft of water, with the barra sitting at 14ft below the surface, (3ft above the bottom).

Boat Positioning comes next, remember the whiteboard cast angle descriptions? Swinging Curve for example!

Once in position, lure choice comes next. This definitely doesn’t mean casting the lure that just happens to be tied on the rod from the trip before, this means chosing a jighead weight or a diving lure to suit the present situation, which also includes the speed of tide flow.

Firstly, you must reach the depth of the fish, I care not much for the latest, shiniest swim bait on the market, instead focus on a lure that addresses the fish depth, then changing lure types or sizes as long as depth isn’t sacrificed.

It’s here where 20cm in depth presentation can make or break you, so stay attentive to sink rate counts and true diving depths. A 6m diving hardbody doesn’t reach 6m on cast and retrieve. Don’t be afraid to add weight to the lure to increase depth capability.

Focus on depth, for here is the starting point. Truth be known it’s only the starting point once sounding, fish ID and boat position has been mastered.

If you’re iffy on sonar skills do my sonar course, that’s what it’s there for, to help you master the art.

Give credit to the fickleness of all you do, every aspect is fine-lined. Ignore boat position and it will bite you in the arse. Ignore depth presentation and you are highly likely to go home fishless.

When using jigheads, the biggest killer of maintaining depth is winding too fast. Doing so lifts the lure well above the target zone.

Winding too slowly is indicated by a lure constantly dragging along the bottom, monitor the handle speed, if the lure never touches the bottom you really have no idea where it sits in the water column.

Visualise the lure during the retrieve, where it is in proximity to the fish and to the bottom. Adjust speed to suit- most anglers wind too fast and lose depth and therefore lose contention.

Monitor technique and kindly self- critique until results come.

Johnny Mitchell