ISO for the beginner
Article I. Tutorial for Iso Fishing
The concept of Iso Fishing itself is quite simple, many landbased fishos know that the most effective way of fishing off the rocks is to present the bait in the most natural way to the fish by floating a lightly or unweighted bait in the wash down a burley trail. Iso Fishing is the most effective way of doing this through the use of the Iso Float which makes it easier to indicate a bite.
This tutorial will help you understand the technique involved in Iso Fishing, explain the tackle and rigs used and how to effectively catch fish off the rocks by Iso Fishing. In-depth guides will soon be available.
Article II. What is Iso Fishing
ISO Fishing is a popular fishing style in Korea,Japan and China and is rapidly expanding in Australia. This fishing style incorporates very finesse tackle which seeks for exhilarating fun and techniques which are gained with experience. This finesse tackle is used since fish respond better to this gear due to the fact that fish can also get very sensitive at times and may be hard to catch with heavy, dense gear. Iso Fishing also brings forth a more enjoyable lifestyle to fishing that demands new skills and techniques. Iso fishing seeks to enjoy fishing as a lifestyle and tackle fish less forcefully. ISO Fishing provides fisherman a new meaning in terms of excitement and lifestyle. In order to start ISO fishing, understanding of the gear and how the rig works is vital.
Article III. Fishing Style & Gear
ISO fishing presents a new frontier to fishing compared to the Australian methods of fishing. Iso fishing uses more finesse and smaller gear to target fish species such as bream, blackfish (luderick), black drummer, small kingfish, salmon, tailor and so on.
Section 3.01 Iso Fishing Rods
Telescopic rods with lengths ranging from 3.6m to 5.3m are commonly used. Telescopic rods are often labeled from 1.0 to 3.0. These numbers represent the strength of the rods, similar to Australia rods which represent the strength of the rod through line class. All the telescopic rods are made from high carbons of different grades which often determine the price and quality of the fishing rod. The rods may look fragile and weak, but are in fact durable and long lasting if treated properly. Improper use of the rod will end in damages and the breaking of the telescopic rods. Most damages are caused by the user, by misusing the rod. For example, not cleaning it after use, scratching the rod or simply not taking care of it. Transporting the rods and nets are also convenient as they fold up and are alot lighter than the classic fibreglass fishing rods.
The ISO fishing rods are designed so that when you are fighting the fish, the rod makes it easier to catch in a way due to the rod having of an “elastic” type movement which basically makes the rod pull the fish out almost by itself. This is often due to the stiffness of carbon and its fibres trying to regain their original state, providing a fun and easier way to catch the fish as the rod will stand back up by itself. The high carbon mix in these rods make the rod light and strong at the same time. The retraction force of the ISO rods are balanced towards the the lower half of the rod where it takes most of the force and "cushions" the power of the fish whilst retracting the rod back to its normal nature.
The ISO rod is built for rock fishing. The length makes it easier to fight the fish and steer the fish away from rock ledges and reefs. The rods also help during rough conditions when it is hard to fish with shorter rods or over ledges. The length of the rods also help the rock fisherman when fishing on the rocks as fisherman can stand further back and avoid going close to the edge.
Just to provide an example of the strengths of the rods, here is a brief guide on which fish would be suitable for each rod.
1.0 – Most suitable for the smaller fish such as bream, blackfish, trevally of smaller sizes. As you fish and gain experience, it is possible to catch rat kings and salmon of decent size even on the #1.0 rod as long as the right drag pressure is applied. As you can see, Iso fishing is about a lifestyle, a way to enjoy fishing whilst increasing your chances of hooking onto a fish. However, the #1.0 rod is not recommended for people starting off as it is more difficult to control and get used to. The #1.0 rod is lighter than the #1.5 and the #2.0 and has a different action to heavier rods.
1.5 - This rod could be your all rounder or something slightly stronger than the 1.0 rod. Most commonly used as a back up rod or a rod which you can catch the medium sizes fish.
2.0 – This rod would be one of the options when starting Iso fishing as it is of suitable strength and weight. This rod is suitable for people fishing for drummer, rat kings, black fish, trevally, bream.
3.0 – The 3.0 rod is commonly used for a lot of people starting iso lifestyle fishing as well, especially in the 4.5m length which provides easier control and is lighter than that of the 5.3m.
Section 3.02 Iso Fishing Reels
The traditional Iso Fishing reels are called LBD reels which stand for Lever brake drag reels with sizes ranging from 1000-4000. The lever brake acts as another drag which is controllable, often with the index finger. This lever brake drag is usually used in deep water’s when you need to raise the rod, but cannot due to the pressure already applied onto the rod and line from the fish. This provides an instant drag control which lets you regain your stance.
The lever drag comes in handy in situations where you are targeting a fish which dives at the reefs such as kingfish and drummer. In this circumstance, your drag will usually be locked up to almost full. However, if the fish decides to run out instead of swimming at the reefs, the lbd provides an instant drag which lets you loosen up the drag and allow the fish to run out, rather than having to readjust your drag in scenarios such as these.
The lever drag is also used when handling the fish an easy way, instead of using the bailarm or the drag. This feature is also handy when you need to release some line quickly when rigging, handling the fish, baiting up etc.
Small spinning reels are commonly used in Australia due to the fact that a lot of regions do not have sufficient depth of waters to use the LBD function and requires time to get the hang of it. However, if practiced enough, it will become useful when Iso Fishing.
Small spinning reels are often used as well. Generally, the reels will be a light weight reel varying from the size 1000-4000 with a smooth drag system.
Section 3.03 Fishing Line
As Iso fishing bring forth a new finesse approach to fishing the rocks of Australia, using the right fishing line to suit your Iso Fishing outfit is highly recommended. The fishing line will be represented by numbers, which are equivalent to 4x the number shown. For example, if the number said #3, it will equal to 12lbs.
Iso Fishing main line, is comprised of a fishing line which floats on top of the water, creating less friction between your main and the float. If so example you were using fluorocarbon or monofilament main line, your main line from the tip of your rod to the float will be underwater whilst your float is above the water, creating friction and dragforce against your float. This makes it harder to see the float as it will move about due to the force dragging down the float from the weight of the main fishing line and the current pulling the line underwater. This creates lower strike ratio’s and makes it harder to fish.
There is also a semi floating line which some prefer, which makes the line sink just underneath the water, which is also popular, especially during places which rough swell which keeps the line just slightly under the water, yet still floating and not sinking.
Section 3.04 Fishing Rig
The Iso Fishing rig will differ as you continue to fish and to suit different situations. The most common rig consists of, in sequential order:
- Float stopper, tied or already made
- Float stopper bead
- Float stopper pin
- Slip shot
Iso Fishing line:
Iso fishing has incorporated a new style of fishing line, the floating line. This is incorporated through woven fibres of fishing line which creates tiny gaps which captures air and lets the line float on top of the water, which creates less friction between the floating and rod making it easier to control the rig and an inducing better strike accuracy.
Float stopper, tied or already made:
The stoppers used can the same as used in Australia rock fishing however, of a smaller scale due to the smaller guides on the telescopic rods. A Large stopper will often hit the guides in the motion of casting and will decrease distance in casting. In Iso fishing, fishermen normally tie their own stoppers with the stopper material made especially for Iso Fishing which is made out of a cotton like material and bright colours making it easy to see.
Float stopper bead:
The float stopper bead is a small sized bead which blocks the stopper from going inside the float, much like the beads used in fishing conditions in Australia.
Iso Fishing Float:
The Iso fishing float is a float made out of either wood or plastic with precision and balance which is accompanied by a certain buoyancy number. Float sizes start from ( smallest to largest):
0, G4, G2, G1, B, 2B, 3B, 0.5, 0.8, 1.0, 1.2, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0 etc.
The numbers represent the amount of weight the float can withstand without sinking. Factors such as swell, current, wind and the weight of the sinker/bait will affect the buoyancy. Due to all these factors, people starting off are advised to used heavier floats such as 0.8 or 1.0 to get used to this feeling. Finesse is always a factor which is considered when Iso fishing, essentially what it is about. There are also different types of floats which will you will encounter during Iso fishing, however will be learnt as you keep fishing.
Float stopper pin:
This handy device comes mainly in two different types of styles. One which is of a cylindrical shape and one which is in the shape of a cone. The cylindrical shape is the basic stopper pin which is used widely at first. The cone shaped stopper pin is in the shape of a cone, which creates a drag/downforce upon which it gets pushed down by the current, letting the bait to sink faster.
The swivel is used to connect the leader to the main line and reduce line twist during fishing. The swivels used in Iso fishing are of a smaller sized when what normally used in rock fishing. The size is equivalent roughly to the swivels used to catch bream and blackfish. Although they are small in size, they are durable.
As for the leader, fluorocarbon is highly recommended during this style of fishing. Iso fishing incorporates the finesse style of fishing, so why leave out the finesse in the leader? Flurocarbon line is more durable against scratches than normal monofilament fishing lines and turns “invisible” underwater to fish which is another pro to why it is such a common part of the fishing tackle in today’s society. Although it costs more than normal monofilament leader, we recommend that you give it a shot and see the difference for yourself in person.
The splitshots used in Iso fishing are those of smaller sizes to accompany the buoyancy of the float. There are many types of splitshots as well, but the most commonly used one would be the normal splitshot. Some splitshots are produced with a rubber coating on the outside, making it reusable and softer on the leader creating less friction and frays.
The hooks used in Iso Fishing will be a lot smaller than what you normally use for fish when surf fishing. The hook is a very important component of your rig as it is the only part of the rig that will actually be contact with the fish when hooked properly. Hook preferences differ from individuals, baits & fish types. In General, fish such as blackfish require a very small hook, similar in size to your pinky nail. For bream, trevally and smaller snapper, a size 4 to 1.0 is often used. For Drummer, a thicker hook is needed as drummer are more powerful than the other fish and requires a thicker/stronger hook to withstand the power and prevent it from breaking.
Article IV. Fishing Techniques - locations
Section 4.01 Estuary, river, enclosed area’s
When fishing in an estuary, river or enclosed area where there is not much swell and is generally calmer than the ocean, lighter gear will be used. Of course, the gear and rigs will differ depending on conditions and fish types. In general, a rod of 1.0-1.5 with a reel of size 1500-2500 will be used in these conditions and will target the smaller fish such as bream, tailor, salmon and trevally. The rig will generally consist of a lighter float, of buoyancy 0 – 0.5. In these regions, lighter gear will pay off as fish may be shyer than places with a lot of waves and washes.
Section 4.02 Open sea, ocean rock fishing
The vast number of fishermen will fish the open sea or areas which are not enclosed resulting in greater waves and more wash. In conditions such as these, gear will range depending on the individual’s likings, the fish targeted and the methods used to fish. In general, heavier gear will be used to target the larger species of fish.
(a) Medium – heavy gear for drummer, salmon, small kingfish
Stronger and bigger fish calls for heavier gear. In these circumstances, usually a rod of 1.75 – 3.0, reel 2500 - 4000, line class of 3.0 – 5.0 and floats ranging from 0.8 – 1.2 will be used. Depth, baits and hooks will be controlled by the individual depending on the fish species and baits used. Generally, drummer will be fished near the bottom, near rocky platforms with prawns, bread, cabbage weed whilst salmon and kingfish will be targeted near the surface using baits such as squid and pilchards.
(b) Light – medium gear for bream, blackfish, trevally
Light – medium gear can still be used in the open waters to target the fish such as bream, blackfish and trevally. The fishing gear can be similar to what is used in the estuary, but may have to use greater buoyancy floats. However, the rig and gear will be very similar of that in the estuary. Rods ranging from 1.0 – 3.0, reels from 1500 – 3500, line class of 2.0 – 5.0, floats ranging from 0.5 – 1.2 will be used.
Article V. Fishing techniques
When Iso fishing, the current can often favor you as it helps you cover more ground with your bait. Try your luck and fish around and search where the fish are hanging around. There is no use casting the bait out in the same spot for the whole fishing trip and this defeats the whole purpose of Iso Fishing. Fishing the right depth is also important. Fish such as blackfish, tailor, and salmon will often be active on the surface, in depths such as 1-4m. Other fish such as black drummer, bream and trevally will usually be lurking around in deeper waters, in depths such as 3-8m depending on the fishing spot.
When fishing, burley could be beneficial as it will attract a lot of fish on most occasions, you could it the marketing of fishing. Fish with the burley; cast your bait in the middle of the burley so the bait will flow with the burley increasing your chances of getting a hit.
As Iso fishing is a finesse style fishing, as much like soft plastics and any other type of fishing, make sure that the drag is matched to fit the line class and rod you are using. It may take a couple of seconds, but will be worth it when fighting the bigger fish on light gear.
Fish the correct tides depending on the fish. As for time, try aim for sunrise or sunset, different areas will be productive at different times, but sunrise and sunset in general tend to be the key times. For sunrise and sunset, burley at least an hour or two beforehand and it will be very beneficial.
Article VI. Burley
One crucial aspect of fishing in general is burley. Burley is the key to bringing schools of fish into the area in which you are fishing, may it be the ocean, estuary or inlet, burleying will pay off. The Iso fishing fishermen all use a burley bucket and scoop when burleying. The Iso fishing burley bucket can also act as a bucket, water storage and a bag. To suit conditions in Australia, for burley we use:
- Bread or bread crumbs
- Tuna oil
- Prawn/tuna pellets
- Diced fish/squid
The burley mix is than mixed with some water. Make sure that the burley isn’t too runny so it is hard to scoop or too dense where it is hard to scoop out. Burley is best when it is finely chopped or components have broken down into small particles. It is important to burley, but also very important to use it wisely and correctly. Watch the current and see where the current is going. If the current is cycling constantly infront of you, you can burley infront. However, if the current is running sideways or running out, burley so that the current will eventually sink the burley into the designated area which you plan to fish.
Article VII. Bait
Correct bait is the key to catching the targeted fish. For Iso Fishing, bait will generally be used in smaller proportions compared to Australian surf/rock fishing. However, the bait selection does not differ from the baits used through the rock fishing in Australia. Fresh bait is ALWAYS the best! If possible, try getting your bait fresh, eg. Catch your bait, obtain the bait in its freshest state. Individuals will have different opinions on which bait is better for each fish. Aim for the fishing stores with the fresher baits, such as Campsie Fishing Tackle and Shin Shin Fishing tackle in Eastwood.
Black drummer/Silver drummer: cabbage weed, bread, squid, cunjevoi, crabs
Blackfish: cabbage weed, bread, squid
Bream/Snapper: prawns, squid, pilchards, white bait, bread
Kingfish: squid, pilchards
Salmon: squid, pilchards
Slimy mackerel: pilchards, squid
Tailor: pilchards, squid
Trevally: prawns, squid, pilchards, white bait, bread
Article VIII. Apparel/Safety
With technology come new forms of safety and clothing to weather the hot and cold. All Iso Fishing style fishermen use a life jacket which acts as a safety device as well as an on body tackle-box. This makes fishing more convenient as you can carry all your accessories on you so you don’t have to move back and forth whilst fishing. Safety is always important whilst fishing, the life jacket is designed to keep you afloat if you get washed in. This is extremely important in cases where you get washed in, and bump your head somewhere which leaves you unconscious or people that are not strong swimmers could have their lives saved.
Rock boots/cleats are also a must when you fish close to the weather and where the floor is slippery. There are different types of rock boots available in today’s society, the new technology which has designed a “slip on” rock cleat system which allows you to simply strap on the rock cleats when you are fishing and remove them when you are not, resulting in lighter baggage and convenience as they are small and handy. Always remember that safety is priority over everything, if conditions are unfavorable or dangerous, move to another location or call it a day. Check the weather beforehand and choose the best location based on the weather.
Article IX. Gear maintenance
When carrying around your rods and reels, ALWAYS keep them in their respective covers and rod cases. If you want to further make your rod more protected, use a hard-case or carry case which will provide better protection, which is needed especially for the more expensive gear. Do not lean your rod and reels on the rocks, this is particularly bad for your rods as the rods are made from high carbon and will crack if used carelessly.
After fishing, always clean your gear as they have come into contact with salt water. A service is beneficial for taking care of your gear, and to help it last longer and keeping them in good shape. Without servicing, the reels could degrade slowly without knowing so.
Fish the Iso way…