Sliders – How to be more successful
The SHAKE-DOWN™, Non-Return Slide, Pondo-Trolley, or whatever you choose to call it, is no doubt one of the most significant developments to hit the rock and surf fishing fraternity in recent years. It is certainly a system that works, particularly for people that struggle a bit when casting big baits. The exciting thing is, it creates a whole lot more opportunities and brings the thrill of huge fish to more anglers than ever before.
At this point in time casting a bait, rather than sliding it, should still be one’s first choice, as there is no doubt that more fish are lost when sliding or shaking down big baits. In a fairly crowded situation, it is also not desirable to have relatively inexperienced anglers trying to slide a bait in the middle of a crowd off a point or in a hole that is working.
The situations where one should be sliding a bait, rather than casting one, are as follows:
- The bait is far too big to cast;
- The back of the bank, or the deep water, is just too far out of reach with a sinker and a bait; or
- Conditions are so adverse that a bait that is cast does not get out far enough and is very quick to be washed in the current, whereas the slide sinker has a chance to find purchase before the additional pull of the bait adds to the drag
It is always best to try to find a rip when sliding a bait, unless you have identified that your target fish is likely to be patrolling the beach in the surf zone and you don’t have to pull the fish using smell in a rip. The following factors are very important and contribute enormously to your success with slide baits:
Every angler has a specific sinker weight that casts best for him on a particular rod. One should always stay with that sinker weight and there should be very little variance otherwise it will affect your cast. The anchoring abilities of the sinker are determined almost entirely by the angle that the grappling wire legs are set at, as well as the diameter of the wire and very importantly, the length of the boom on the sinker. A long boom sinker also provides stability and flight and it will always cast better as it does not sway in the air.
It is also nice to be able to just slip the sinker off when moving from one location to another instead of having to cut it off and re-tie at the other end as they do tend to scratch and dent when swinging around. See attached system for easy on-off and weak-link casting. If the boom is very short and especially if the sinker is fairly squat, it has the tendency to run across the bottom like a spider rather than sinking the wires into the sand. The weight of the sinker is definitely not what gives it its anchoring ability and “weedeater-leg” sinkers should never be used when sliding a bait. It is very important to ensure that your sinker sets firmly in the sand.
The SHAKE DOWN™/Non-Return Slide/Pondo-Trolley
Always ensure that the inside of the friction area is smooth and doesn’t have any jagged or rough edges, which can fray your line. This occurs when the wire develops little folds where it is bent if temperatures are not correct. Sometimes it is the tooling that leaves a rough finish. There should be as few clips, pieces sticking out, etc., that line can snag on or go underneath. This is a common problem and if one is using a Non-Return slide, it is best to grind down the little end on the clip. Make sure it fits very snugly around the wire boom and then buff it to ensure that it cannot cut the line. Only top-quality swivels should be fitted. Silver soldered joints must be new and corrosion free. Both welding and a coating process that involves high heat, causes weaknesses in the metal. Avoid twisted eyelets as line often snags in the coils.
There are certain conditions when one should definitely be using a weight on the boom and others where you should not be. When fishing off a high vantage point, the sinker on the boom certainly helps from a timing point of view. In very rough conditions and heavy surf, the sinker helps to avoid tangles and gets to deep water faster. The downside of the weight on the boom is that when fishing at extended range over the back of a bank, or even just on a gradual gradient beach, it is almost impossible to hold the line or pull the line tight enough to ensure that the weight on the boom doesn’t pull the line down into the sand long before it gets to the stopper. This means the bait doesn’t go the whole way out and worse than that, when the fish picks it up and runs, it almost always results in a burn-off.
One of the main forms of propulsion for this system is wave-action. The shorter the trace, the quicker it will move down the line, because even the smallest of waves passing by it will set it in motion. If you have a long trace in a short chop, whilst the bait moves backward and forward in the water, the device remains motionless. Try to use approximately 450mm – 700mm between the slide and the lead hook and it is advisable to put a short piece of the same breaking strain wire above the stopper ring (approximately 300mm). If you are fishing in a particularly rocky environment and need to contend with mussels or sharp rocks close by when landing fish, it is advisable to go considerably longer on the piece of wire above the stopper ring, the full length of your drop when casting, in other words from your tip eye to the stopper in the normal casting position. The downside of this is that you are now limiting the amount of stretch in your trace and if a shark rolls the trace, it could break the wire a lot easier than if there was some “stretch providing heavy mono”. The obvious advantage on the other hand, is great protection from the rocks when landing big fish on a rocky platform.