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Ladyfish

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Paul Arden
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Ladyfish

#1

Post by Paul Arden » Mon Mar 22, 2021 1:35 pm

Next month we shoot an episode fly fishing for Ladyfish. Has anyone fished for these? I think I caught some in Darwin, but maybe they were a different species or even fish :D

Does anyone have any useful info to share please? 8WT? 6WT?

Thanks,
Paul
It's an exploration; bring a flyrod.

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Graeme H
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Location: Perth, Western Australia

Re: Ladyfish

#2

Post by Graeme H » Mon Mar 22, 2021 1:43 pm

Yep, I love catching these fish. They are called Giant Herring in Australia and they are the same species (I believe).

They are incredibly fast and very acrobatic. Landing them is very difficult and they are a bit fragile when you do handle them. Better to have the thrill of the hit and first part of the fight, then have them self-release at distance if you can.

I catch them on 6wt in the Swan River (mainly fish to 50cm but get up to 120cm on rare occasions). I use 8 or 10wt in Exmouth because they are mainly a by catch.

You'll need an abrasion resistant tippet (20lb at least). Check the tippet after EVERY hit, even if it appears to be a glancing blow. I prefer small, light-weight flies because they are harder for the fish to throw when they are tail walking.

Cheers,
Graeme
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James9118
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Re: Ladyfish

#3

Post by James9118 » Mon Mar 22, 2021 8:22 pm

Cudas love em :oh:
CIMG0940.jpg

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Paul Arden
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Re: Ladyfish

#4

Post by Paul Arden » Mon Apr 26, 2021 3:08 pm

So I will fill in a few details. At some point in the year I’ll write an FP on the subject. I’ll do this when the episode is aired. But I thought I would get some notes down and share them with you.

So in Langkawi around full moon and new moon the Ladyfish feed on baby Rabbitfish of 2-3 inches in length. This happens for 12 weeks of the year. You need to be fishing for the 5 day window provided by the moon. On the other days activity is much less. So there are are 10 days of fishing per month for three months. And one month is Ramadhan!

There are several sorts of activity. Big bust ups, and also smaller numbers of fish feeding. There is a lot of bait. It’s fast, quick, seat-of-your-pants casting. Anglers will still catch fish if they can’t do this but maybe only 1/3rd of what fast accurate casting will give.

I was picking individual fish out of the bust ups. This was far more effective than simply casting into the activity. But the most fun for me was picking out fish that could be sighted swimming near the surface not in a bust up. So it is sight fishing to individual fish, in both circumstances. And actually good fun.

During this trip I realised what Snakehead shots has done to my casting / shot taking. I mostly cast without false casting now. On a long shot I’ll make one false cast. Never more. And the speed is incredible. It’s just all the Snakehead casting techniques coming through now into my regular shot. I know others have mentioned this to me before, but this was the first time I’ve personally put it to use outside the jungle environment. It was a real eye opener! I need to develop the teaching of this.

On the first day I was fishing muddler bunnies just subsurface however I missed a lot of fish. When the Ladyfish follows and takes it speeds up when it eats and then immediately turns and spits the fly. So I tied some of the dislocated pencil poppers that Gary showed me in Rabbitfish colours (dark olive green and brown). This way I could clearly see the eat and it was a lot more successful and also more interesting for me.

Like Graeme says they give it all and consequently if you don’t bully them they might turn belly up. When my hooks started to straighten I fished on. This way I could get the eat, the run and then long distance release. The fish did go back when we took our time. So they definitely need to be released carefully. But also, quite frankly, I’d rather lose them. I mean once you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all right? And besides they are snotty!

That first run is something! Literally 200m with a 4.5KG Ladyfish.

Beq is a really top guy. Excellent company. Beq was using Chernobyl Ants(!) but I think he’ll be using the pencil popper now because you can really match the hatch and you can tie about 50 of these in one hour :p Fly is the most successful method here, far more effective than spinning. The 8WT was perfect. They use bite tippet of around 40lbs. The fish are not leader shy. They like to follow sometimes before the eat with quite a few refusals. I think the pattern can be improved upon but we caught a lot of fish.

We had 15 to 20 in the boat (the third day was fairly quiet and I wasn’t really nailing them on the rabbits the first day. Also quite a few LDRs and some quick releases too. The second day was the most action.

I think it will be a great episode. Good banter with Beq. It was nothing at all like I expected!

Cheers, Paul
It's an exploration; bring a flyrod.

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queenfish
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Re: Ladyfish

#5

Post by queenfish » Tue Apr 27, 2021 2:24 am

20210220_064634.jpg
Yes we get them here in suburban lakes mostly during summer.
Hard to keep the hook in the mouth specially with no barbs, great runners.
Best flies here are small bait fish pattern about 5 cm.
here is one off mine very fragile fish.

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Paul Arden
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Re: Ladyfish

#6

Post by Paul Arden » Sat May 01, 2021 2:01 pm

Yep I like them but would rather lose them! I was talking to Beq today and he tells me that the Dark Moon is better than the Full Moon. That doesn’t surprise me.
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