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THE VIBE

Nick Whyte

The first time I saw a flat metal vibe I thought 'how the hell is this thing going to catch a fish.' The first time I swam one and felt it through a rod I thought 'this thing is awesome and how many fish is this lure going to catch!'

I have been a long time vibration bait fan, since the first bream I caught many years ago. There aren't too many species that won't eat them. The TT Switchblade has become one of my "go-to" lures and these lures are such a versatile bait for so many species and situations. They come in an array of sizes to suit different target species, conditions, depths and tidal flow.

I love slow rolling and hopping them over the flats for bream and flathead, with the 1/12oz Ghostblade and 1/4oz being the best option for this situation. The 1/12, 1/8 and 1/4oz are great sizes for fishing deeper for bream or over shallow reefs for squire and the 3/8 and 1/2oz are probably two of the most versatile sizes in the range, catching everything from bass, cod and yellowbelly in the freshwater to flathead, snapper, jew, threadfin salmon and the list goes on in the salt. Switchblade HD 1,1 1/2oz and 2oz are heavy duty models and these are great for deep, hard running water for large reef species, jew and large flathead in the estuaries.

The 1/2oz is my favourite size. I love this size for flathead, jew and one of my favorite estuarine species, the king threadfin salmon. Threadfin salmon can be found all around the top half of Australia and I like to target them in the Brisbane River as they can be found in big numbers, have great fighting capabilities and are also not too bad on the chew.

The Threadfin move throughout the system but seem to congregate in the lower reaches over the summer months. To catch double figure scores of metre plus fish is not uncommon during this time.

The threadys can move around a lot and be quite spread out at times. Having a quality sounder and being able to read it is a massive benefit. I like to sound around, using the structure scan side imaging on my Lowrance HDS 12s to find the biggest congregation of fish and set myself some drift lines through the fish to vertically jig my 1/2oz Switchblades.

Quite a lot of people like you to 'Spot lock' on top of fish in deep water and try to cast to them. I find this will pretty much cut down the time that your lure spends on the bottom to twenty five percent. From casting, to sinking your lure down and having to wind it back up to repeat again. Vertically jigging or tea bagging with the tide will present the lure a lot more naturally and keeps your lure in the strike zone for 95% of the time.

While fishing Switchblades a lot of people really rip the lure hard and fast. Small movements with your hand are really exaggerated when you have it extended out to the end of a 7' rod. I have found when fishing Switchblades to really slow it down and lift the lure just fast enough to get the rod tip to start vibrating. Fishing slow is something I concentrate on with nearly every species, bar pelagics. There is always exceptions to the rule, things change from day to day and sometimes short sharp rips can switch the fish on when they seem shut down, however usually as a rule slow is the go.

Fishing deep for threadys can be quite tedious at times, with multiple fish marking up on the sonar but no fish biting. Sometimes I will sit on fish for two to three hours without a bite. Even feeling the blades rubbing over the fish's backs. They will switch on and when they do you can boat five fish in twenty minutes. So persistence is a must.

When you do finally get that bite it can be a very small pop, almost like a small bream peck, which is not what you would expect from a metre long speedster. When you feel these fish suck in your Switchy make sure you drive the hooks in. Set and forget. You're best off losing the fish at the bite rather than at the net because you didn't get a good hook up.

As far as colours go for my Switchblading it's the same rule I use for all of my fishing. Natural colours for clean water and brighter colours for dirty water. In clean water I like Silver Minnow, Green Slimy and Gold Noggin. While in dirty water I like Golden Boy, Brown Mongrel, HS Mango and Pink Bimbo.

I always make a habit of applying scents to my blades to get that second bite when they miss the first swipe. I like the Pro-Cure Mullet Super Gel Scent and also the Shrimp.

Here are my key points for chasing deep water threadfin salmon on Switchblades and all of these points are also relevant for chasing jewfish as well.

* Spend the time to locate fish with your sonar.

* Vertically jig on the drift.

* Slow is the go.

* Constantly apply Pro-Cure scents.

* Natural colours in clean water, bright in dirty water.

* Be persistent.

Another important thing to remember is that these fish don't like being out of the water for long and when pulled from deeper water fish can suffer from barotrauma. If you wish to catch and release you will need to carry a release weight or a venting tool. They are a great table fish and its worth taking one every now and then. Just try and look after the fish you want to release.

Flathead are a great species to target on Switchblades. They are readily available around the country and are an aggressive fish that won't let much swim past them. There are many different places to target them, from a foot of water on the flats through to sixty foot at bar entrances. On the flats we are not going to throw a 2oz Switchblade HD in a foot of water and in sixty foot of water a 1/12oz Ghostblade is not going to be the ideal lure. Here's a little how I use the TT Lures stable of blades to put some flat fish in the boat.

On the flats I like to run a few different sizes. Ghostblades can be a great lure to hop nice and slow around the weed patches when concentrating on an area. The slow sink rate is what you really want in these ultra-shallow conditions.

The 1/4 and 3/8oz Switchblades I still like using in very shallow water and I work them quite fast. Even just a consistent slow roll is effective at times over the broken weed bottom, to stop fouling up and to cover a lot of ground really quickly, to locate the congregations of the fish. They are both also a great size to fish that sharper edge, where it may drop from three to ten foot really fast. They are still smallish baits, however the vibe attracts all flathead not just the small ones.

The 1/2oz is a great size for a lot of different situations. You can cover a lot of ground on those deeper weed edges in four to eight foot of water really fast on the cast and it's perfect for casting those deeper edges and to submerged structure like trees and ledges. It's also a great lure to vertically jig in the slower parts of the run around bar entrances.

The big boys in the Switchblade HD range, 1oz, 1.5oz and 2oz, are designed for deep water, hard run and big fish. I use these Switchys when targeting 60+cm fish around bar entrances, where there is strong tidal flow. Most of the time I will vertically jig with these big guys, however the fast sink rate and wide wobble action is also great to hop and walk down the deep ledges and bottom of rock walls where the big flathead lay and wait for an easy feed.

Here's my top tips for Switchblading flathead:

  • Match the weight to the situation.
  • Slow roll heavier weights over weed to cover a larger area faster.
  • Match lure colour to water clarity. Natural colours for clear water, brighter for dirty.
  • Fish slow when around structure.
  • Use Pro-Cure Super Gel scents.
  • Keep the lure close to the bottom where the flathead lie in ambush.

There is a TT's Switchblade to suit every condition and species. They have definitely earned their spot at the top of my tackle box. Get down to your local tackle shop to check out the colour and size range to find your favourite Switchy.

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THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2017