Fishing with sliders

A nice panny snapper taken on a slider.

Sliders, also known as kaburas, are increasingly becoming a more popular way to fish and it is not hard to see why. They are super easy to use, don’t require any messy bait and are very effective. Sliders appeal to a wide range of fish species: snapper, gurnard, cod, kingfish and even hapuka in the right places.

A slider has three basic moving parts, the lead head, a silicon skirt and the hook assist.

The head acts as the lure’s weight. The size of this is determined by a few factors—namely depth, current and drift speed. As a rough rule; for calm relatively still conditions, go twice the depth in grams i.e. 80 grams in 40 metres of water and so on. If you’re drifting quickly, use a heavier weight. You want to go as light as you can in each situation. Using a lighter head allows better lure and skirt movement and, overall, this makes them more attractive to the fish.

The skirt is the main fish attractor and is what makes a slider so effective. The light bits of silicon just waft gently, bringing the slider to life in the water. Some brands have their skirt fixed to their assist rig while others don’t and are packaged in their individual components. To rig up the individual components, simply take your trace, run it through the hole in the head, through the skirt (if separate) and then tie to the metal ring attached to the assist hooks. This allows the head to swing free of the hooks and the skirt, hence the name slider. This allows the skirt to have a good action and it lets the head slide up when you’re fighting a fish, making it less likely to throw the hooks.

The assist hooks are the business end of the whole rig. While the hooks are small and light, they’re super strong and capable of landing some monster fish. Having light hooks allows the skirt to move more freely and lets the hooks sit up amongst the skirt in prime position.

Fishing a slider is pretty simple. Just drop it over the side and let it sink to the bottom. The most basic action is a super slow wind up a few metres off the bottom, or higher if the fish are around midwater, then drop and repeat. If the fish are sitting hard on the bottom a slow lift and drop works well. The secret is not to fish them too fast; they work best when fished as slow as possible.

When you feel a bite do not strike, just a slow lift or wind is all it takes to set the super sharp hooks in place. Then just take your time to fight the fish to the surface, being carful not to pull too hard and risk ripping the hook out of the fish’s lips.

Sliders are a fun alternative to bait, a great way to mix up your fishing and try something different.

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