Traditionally, Luderick (or blackfish) have been targeted with long rods and centre pin reels. However, spin tackle works just fine and in many ways is much easier to use.
I’ve been using my Aird 2000SH with a 2.1m Aird rod, but any soft-actioned rod rated in the 2-5kg range would be ideal. You should look at an Air Edge, Generation Black Blackjack or the slightly longer Gen Black Weedwand. The Laguna LA 702LXS is another option worth considering. Stick to a light mainline, 3-4kg and slightly lighter trace. I’m using TDR Fluorocarbon Leader in 6lb with sized 8-10 hooks.
Luderick feed on green filamentous weed and green sea cabbage. Anglers suspend these baits under lightly weighted floats with small hooks and light line. The idea is to float the bait with the current and allow a luderick to suck in the weed and swallow it. It is imperative that sufficient slack line is feed onto the water as the float moves with the flow. A failure to do so will cause the float’s movement to be impaired, which transmits an unnatural movement to the bait, which in the main puts inquisitive fish on the alert.
In order to ‘set’ the hook during the strike, it is equally important to avoid feeding excessive slack line into the water. With too much slack, a strike does nothing more than alert the fish to danger, and they release the bait.
Providing the correct amount of line to the float when using a centre pin reel is quite a skill, but with a spin reel it’s easy. Simply open the bait arm and point the rod at the float. In a slow drift, a gentle flick of the rod tip is all that is required to keep line coming off the reel. In a stronger drift, the float should pull line from the spool of the reel by itself.
To strike, close the bail arm and lift the rod. There’s no need for a vicious strike, a firm lift is much more suitable.
General estuary rods in the 2.1 – 2.4m lengths are ideal as long as they are suited to line in the 2-4kg ranges. By setting the drag on the reel to a suitable level, the rod and reel will do the work for you. Be patient and lead fish to the net rather than lifting them out of the water.
Luderick might be old school, but they are dogged fighters on light tackle, they take skill to master and a fillet of skinned/bled luderick is very very tasty!