How to find new reef that produces trophy fish

12 October 2011 Categories: Articles

This article would be one that I hope readers find useful and actually understand with confidence to put some simple ideas to practice in hope of improving your fishing dramatically. Often you hear fisherman say they went to a location and the fishing was extremely poor and there is no fish left in the ocean. But then they see, hear or read how many big fish have been caught and they think gee I wish I had that persons marks or that person must have had some luck on his side but the truth is he probably catches great fish all the time because he understands what is needed to catch fish and can continue that on a regular basis. If you’re a person who trip after trip complains about the poor fishing you are experiencing and lack of good fishing spots you have but just keep going back too, then please take notice of this article.

Just think, all fishermen started off the same way, but what is it that separates a successful fisherman from an unsuccessful fisherman? Some may think it’s because a special bait or special rig is used but a lot of it comes down to LOCATION. Sure bait, rigs, tides and moons affect your fishing but there’s no point using them in a poor location. You could do many things wrong in a good location and still catch fish so this is why LOCATION is the key. 

It amazes me to see spots such as Hutchies out from Moreton Island or even the Pinnacles out from Double Island Point populated with a stack load of boats all bottom fishing in such a small area while another heap of boats troll around them turning the fish off the bite. There’s many reefs around SE Queensland like this and the reason is simply because people find it easy and most get marks out of a GPS book or off a mate but really who is going to give there good marks away for another to go and flog. Don’t get me wrong good fish can still be caught in these highly fished areas but nowhere as much as a spot that rarely gets fished.

Most people think finding their own spot is too difficult and won’t even try, but it’s that attitude which will see you rarely bringing decent fish home and being frustrated with your fishing. If you want to catch fish and find your own spots then its simple and with time and patience you will be rewarded and soon find yourself a successful fishermen and the days of sitting on a popular reef with 30 other boats drowning a bait will be over.

The most Important part of finding new fishing grounds would be your sounder/transducer setup. If you don’t understand how to work your sounder to a reasonable level then please go and talk to people who do, as it’s a very important part of fishing. A lot of people who aren’t happy with their sounder think it’s the unit itself but most of time it’s the transducer setup and it’s so critical to have this right. You can get so many different opinions about the correct position of your transducer from books and experts but the truth is every boat is different and it’s just a matter of trial and error. Generally the lower you can keep the transducer the better but this also creates a lot of spray which can throw water over the motor so its important to find a happy medium and always keep the back of the transducer slightly lower then the front as per instructions of the manual. Try to keep the transducer towards the lower part of the V but still keeping some distance from the motor as this will cause a lot of turbulence/air bubbles so once again a happy medium is required and you may need to change the transducer position several times until the best position is found so you can sound at a decent speed with the Gain/sensitivity turned up to 10 percent of the water depth which should be able to give a clear reading of the bottom and also water 10-15 mtrs above the bottom.

Remember that your only interested in the very lower part of the water column when reef fishing so if the picture shows a fuzzy screen (interference/air bubbles) above this it’s perfectly ok. Adjusting the gain/sensitivity to suit the water depth is very important and to do this you need to run your sounder in manual mode as the auto mode will adjust itself but usually not even close to where you want the settings to be. I don’t like sounding at really high speeds due to the fact that even with a great transducer/sounder setup you can run over little schools of fish and small reefs which might only show as a small speckles that you wouldn’t bother looking at but it’s the speed of running over these areas which gives a false impression and usually a sound back over the mark will see better bottom reading and schools of fish that can be large so keeping a speed of around 15 knots will make sure you miss nothing.

Knowing that your transducer/sounder setup is good you now need to find an area that may interest you or better still the fish. You can choose an area around a known area to start with but you really want to be away from these areas and find isolated reefs that others may not have accidentally come across while heading to the populated reefs. Set yourself an area that you can specifically target and have boundaries that make you stay within. The easiest way to set yourself boundary’s would be to study maps or better still the maps on your GPS unit and mark in your GPS those areas or boundary’s you wish to look at. You may want to set out an area that is square or rectangular which can be up to 5km square or what ever you feel you can cover in the time you have allocated in finding new fishing grounds. This may mean you only cover an area of a couple of km squared for many hours sounding but it maybe very rewarding or you might find very little but at least then you know you have had a good look at that area and continue exploring other new areas.

Spending the time trying to find new areas can be boring and very uneventful but if a year’s worth of good hard looking and sounding around meant you have found some great spots which you can then enjoy and fish for many years to come then it’s really worth it. Using these above methods has found us some great fishing grounds but you must be patient and stick with it even if you have had several trips which resulted in no new fishing grounds found then take those and keep a record stating that you have covered those areas and found very little.

Remember persistence and patience is the key to successful fishing.

Greg Lamprecht

9 comments on “How to find new reef that produces trophy fish

  1. Greg, Very interesting article. I agree totally with you forget about the “marks” that you got from a mate who got them from a mate and that place has been flogged to death.
    Since last year we have migrated north to fish as even offshore Maloolabar has and is still being flogged by trawlers and the mobs every weekend.
    We now prefer to spend the six hours to get up to 1770 and then spend time looking for new ground each trip while still landing a few good quality fish each trip.
    I do not have any great knowledge of fish finders/sounders and have had the boat now for about 5 years and to be honest still know very little. I have talked to various people who make it all sound very easy that’s why I was very interested in your comment “If you don’t understand how to work your sounder to a reasonable level then please go and talk to people who do” where do you find these people? We have been along to numberous boat shows over the years and they all want to show you the latest features of there units but where do you get the basics to start with.
    We have played with the transducer in several positions and it definately makes a difference to what you see on the screen but most manuals regardless of the brand give very little information about whats good and whats not good in the set up.
    We have been reasonably successful in finding “Reds” off 1770 but the area’s that we get them do not show any fish on the sounder, to me that does not seem right and in talking with different people back at the ramp they all say the same thing, nothing showing.
    The sounder we currently run is a JRC FF50, I’m told they are surposed to be a fairly good unit but don’t really know for sure. It actually spat the dummy a couple of weeks ago on our last trip to 1770, power on blows fuse so its currently getting checked out.
    So in 5 years I’m thinking the technology has probably come along way in sounders so thinking of maybe upgrading, but whats the point if I don’t really know how to drive the thing of got anyway and with a new unit would still have the same trouble.
    I know quite a few people with boats that know where the power switch is to turn their sounder and GPS units on but that’s it. My son spent $1600 on a Raymarine unit that has not been turned on yet for instance.
    Any information that you may have on people or courses that are run on sounders and GPS units would be much appreciated as this is an area that is sadly lacking in knowledge for a lot of people including myself.
    Looking forward to your DVD when it comes out.
    Keep up the good work.
    Cheers Hibbo

    • Hi Hibbo sorry about the slow reply things have been very busy of late.

      My comment about talking to people who know their stuff about sounders etc are people like Trymax marine and Bill Corten but it seems you have already been down this avenue. Hopefully in the next couple weeks I will write an article on sounder settings and also how to read them. This will hopefully answer your questions along with many others.


  2. Nice advice Greg
    And thats one of the reasons that i fish midweek if I can.
    I am planning a trip to DI in the near future as that is probably one of the only places that I have not fished yet is relatively accessible from Brissy for a weekend
    1770 for me is a long 4 or 5 day planned trip

    Keep up the good work

  3. Hey Greg, well the boys at Trymax say the JRC Sounder has bit the dust and is beyond repair as far as they are concerned.
    So that fixes that problem. Would still appreciate your input regarding sounders and the people that may be available to give useful down to earth type info on the operation.
    Trust your trip went well last weekend, sure beats unblocking underground stormwater pipes at home.

    Cheers Hibbo

  4. Hey Hibbo,theres nothing wrong with the jrc mate.Greg had this unit for years on his old boat and it served them well,even the likes of Bill Corten has run this unit on all his boats that are used for offshore fishing coarses.I to run a jrc and love it.My second choice would be the furuno 585 if i had to place a new unit on my boat.If you need a hand im happy to help out and can be contacted through this site.
    Cheers Mick

  5. Hey Mick , thanks for the reply. I have had contact with Billy Corten who did assist me greatly with the set up of the sounder after attending one of his offshore fishing coarses. I think Bill now runs a FF 60 JRC on his latest rig next step up from my ff50 that just spat the dummy and has gone to the big sounder heaven in the sky. So the question is were does one go from here, you say Furuno 585, I’ m lead to believe that anything Japanese is good compared to the likes of Raymarine, as they are only built to a price, what’s your thoughts ?
    Thank you for the offer of assistance, maybe we can catch up at some time to chew the fat.
    Cheers Hibbo

    • Hi Hibbo,

      Sorry to hear about your sounder as they are a great unit and I had no problems using one for many years.

      Personally you can’t go past the Furuno 585 as a replacement. Easy to use, quality product and big screen makes them a leader in the market. Be happy to pass on all my settings and knowledge of the 585 if you go down that path.

      As I said hopefully I will have article on sounders and reading them finished soon to answer your questions


  6. Hey Greg
    Thanks for your reply, have been over today and had a chat with Jim from Trymax re sounders after doing a lot of research over the past few days on what may be the best way to go. I had all but decided on either the Koden or the Furuno as best suited to what we are doing. Only difference appears to be the bottom decrimination feature. I personally favoured the Furuno mainly due brand name and they have been around for years. Your comments reinforced that decision, Your trip report from DI early November really makes the FCV-585 Shine, just makes me wonder when the new model may come out, but what’s the old saying if it ain’t broke don’ fix it. Looking forward to your article on sounders and how to read them. Should have the new unit installed within the next week or so. Thank again for your help, keep up the good work with a great web site info like you provide is awesome for people starting out. Cheers Hibbo. will be keeping an eye out for the DvD

  7. hibbo i am after tranducer 4 a ff50

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