My first recollections of slide fishing start back in the mid eighties, fishing for garrick off points like Brazen Head in the Transkei, using mullet and blacktail as slide baits from the cliffs, sliding them down with a snap-on swivel all before the first non-return slides were available in early 2000.
Natal fishermen seemed to be the pioneers of slide fishing and made a good job of winning lots of nationals using this method.
Over the past few years anglers from around the country have perfected the art, and it has become widely used. The introduction of the long boom sinker for better grip also became popular, as it helped give the sinker more anchorage, but it also caused more burn-offs.
Slide fishing is, no doubt, one of the most effective ways of catching big fish along our coast. The main reason for this is the ability to get large-sized bait out to where the fish are feeding.
The slide also trails a long, bloody oil slick behind the bait as it passes through the waves and this is normally eaten on the way down. Most fish feed mid water and this is another reason this method of fishing is so effective.
Fillet one side of the mackerel and turn the fillet inside out so that it exposes the flesh, then cotton it on.
The next step is to insert the first hook towards the tail end, making sure the hook is standing proud and facing straight up.
Use a toothpick with a bead pushed onto it to stop the hook from twisting in the bait when you get a pull. The bead acts as a stopper to prevent the toothpick from slipping out of the eye of the hook.
The next step is to push the top hook through the nose of the bait fish and tie it off with a cable tie to stop the hook from pulling out of the bait. This is especially important if fishing with barbless hooks when sliding.
Using some sharp scissors, cut the cable tie as close as you can to make a neat bait.
Once you have finished the bait will look like this.
I then add two fresh mullet fillets on the side of the bait for extra smell. Sharks cant resist a fresh bloody mullet fillet. This will make a good bait for any shark and most ray species, especially raggies, gullies, bronze whaler sharks, and diamond, black and spearnose rays. Even a big kob wouldnt pass up this oily bait on its way to your sinker.
Some useful tips
When sliding, make sure to use a line thickness of at least 0.50mm to avoid unnecessary burn-offs.
Once you have slid your bait until you feel it has reached your mark, pull your sinker loose and wind in a few turns to make sure the non-return slide has reached your swivel on your leader this will reduce the chance of a burn-off.
You can also use a lighter piece of nylon from your sinker to your O-ring so that, if the sinker is stuck in the sand, it can break free easily.
Tying a piece of nylon-coated wire in the front section of your O-ring will decrease the chance of a bite-off or a burn-off when the slide meets the O-ring.
I find using 12/0 Mustad Z-Steel circle hooks most effective when slide fishing; as you cant strike when the fish starts taking you down, they are used for long-line fishing.
However, hooks are a very personal thing, so use what you feel most confident with. I still use j-hooks as shown in the presentation, a toothpick or pin to position the hooks and a rubber skirt to attract a bite.
The slide trace can be fitted with a skirt for added visual appeal I find shocking pink is one of the best colours to use.
You can use some red insulation tape to seal your knots and stop your mainline from snagging on your trace.