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Switchblading the Surf

Switchblading the Surf

For years we have been fishing the surf with metal lures and the odd hard body, but over the last few years I have been fishing blades in the surf with great success. On a recent Fraser Island mission I had quite a few anglers quiz me when they saw a blade tied on to the rod I was fishing with.

Blades are perfect for fishing the surf. They're heavy enough to cast a long distances, they create plenty of flash and vibration so fish can easily find them in the foam and they work at almost any speed from a slow roll to a burn, allowing you to fish top to bottom in the water column and speed up or slow down with the wave action. With a 3/8oz Switchblade tied on I can walk a section of beach and spin fast to cover plenty of water for queenfish and trevally, slow it down and pulse it for dart or through a school of tailor and then plunge it into deeper holes and hop it slower along the bottom for flathead and mulloway. One lure, a myriad of applications.

I use 3 main retrieves when fishing blades in the surf. Burn - a fast retrieve is especially effective when fishing turbulent water, points and areas of wave action where you are likely to come across aggressive feeders and speedsters.

Slow roll - a slow wind allows the lure to spend more time in the strike zone emitting plenty of vibration. At times when there are sharks or large predators around, it becomes almost impossible to get schools of tailor and other species to eat a metal lure retrieved at speed. Change to a Switchblade, slow roll the lure and the tailor seem to be unable to resist, when seconds before they chose to avoid the high speed metal.

Hopping the lure along the bottom with a lift, lift, pause and drop the rod tip to wind up the slack retrieve will still catch tailor, and trevally, but is deadly on species such as flathead and mulloway.


Light - For throwing lighter blades I fish a Gary Howard 703 (7') rod with a 2500 Shimano Stradic Ci4 loaded with 10lb braid and 20lb leader.

Medium - Step up to the mid-weight blades and the 1oz and start targeting larger fish and it's up to the 7' 5-10kg rod, 4000 Shimano Stradic Ci4, 20lb braid and 40lb leader.

Heavy - If I am specifically targeting big fish in big surf I throw the 1oz Switchblade on a 13'6" surf rod and 6000-8000 Shimano Stradic loaded with 30lb braid and 40lb leader.

Blades are super effective in the surf and appeal to a wide variety of species. Favourite colours include pearl, silver and blue, but I still haven't found a colour they don't like.

Which Blade should I choose?

Below is a basic guide to what I will tie on when throwing blades in the surf. I often step up in size when the wind and tide are stronger and when very long casts are required.

Whiting - 1/12 Ghostblade / 1/8 Switchblade

Dart - 1/8, 1/6, 1/4, 3/8oz Switchblade

Flathead - 3/8, 1/2oz Switchblade

Smaller Trevally - 1/4, 3/8 Switchblade

Golden Trevally - 1/2, 1oz Switchblade

Giant Trevally - 1/2, 1oz Switchblade

Salmon - 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, 1oz Switchblade

Tailor - 3/8, 1/2, 1oz Switchblade

Queenfish - 1/2, 1oz Switchblade

When I spot Mackerel, Tuna, Kingfish, Cobia etc. cruising I throw a 1/2oz with the hooks and rings upgraded to Decoy Jigging Singles and Decoy rings and use a Decoy Egg Clip at the attachment point. Alternatively a 1oz Switchblade HD straight out of the packet is lethal and allows increased casting distance.

SUNDAY, MARCH 18, 2018
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