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Home » Fishing-Tips-Techniques » Product-News-and-Views » Gas Ballooning and the Venom LBG Rods

By Goshie

The range of Venom Land Based Game rods are an elite rod designed for LBG fishing. On a recent trip to the legendary Steep Point in Western Australia I got the chance to dish out some serious punishment with these powerful rods.

The Venom LBG rods come in three different models ranging from PE3, PE5 and PE8. For this trip into the remote waters of Shark Bay I decided to use the Venom LBG PE5 (RLFVLBG5). This model is perfect for gas ballooning and is ideal for targeting hard running pelagics such as Spanish mackerel, cobia and longtail tuna.

ABOUT STEEP POINT

Steep Point is the westernmost point of the Australian mainland and is located in the remote Shark Bay area. The stunning cliffs that make up this region are known as the Zuytdorp Cliffs and during the beginning of each summer the Leeuwin Current pushes hard against this prominent headland. The warm currents funnel through the south passage between the mainland and Dirk Hartog Island creating a "super highway" for a host of migrating pelagics.

GAS BALLOONING BASICS

Gas ballooning is a unique method of fishing used by land based anglers to target a wide variety of surface cruising gamefish. This technique was discovered on the West Australian coastline in the early 1980's and works by utilising strong offshore winds to propel large skip baits hundreds of metres out to sea using a latex balloon filled with helium gas.

During this trip we mainly used common baitfish such as garfish, snook , mullet and whiting. The key to getting more strikes and getting the most out of this technique is all about finding the perfect weight ratio between your bait, balloon size and strength of the wind. The desired result should see a skip bait dart across the surface and make huge splashes as it lifts in and out of the water. Spaniards and many other pelagics love the commotion created by a perfectly weighted skip bait.

GETTING ON THE GAS

During our first morning we were greeted with a strong 15-20 knot southerly wind. This wind speed and direction is the typical trade wind during the summer months in WA's north-west region and is ideal for gas ballooning at Steep Point. I quickly rigged my gas ballooning outfit and utilised the offshore winds to position my skip bait 100m out from the rocks. Spanish mackerel love to feed right on first light and it didn't take long before these oceanic speedsters moved in for an early morning raid. During the morning bite we landed plenty of average sized Spaniards between 8-12kg. These streamlined predators will often launch well over six feet into to the air to grab skipping baitfish. These spectacular aerial strikes really are a sight for sore eyes.

When you are fishing from WA's north-west region there are always plenty of resident sharks looking for an easy meal, so cranking hard and getting your fish in quickly is a prerequisite. When a Spaniard grabs your bait it will usually take one or two blistering runs. As soon as the mackerel runs out of steam I quickly turn the fish and keep their head coming towards the rocks by applying constant pressure on the fish. The Venom LBG rod proved to be excellent for this application and I could really feel the power transfer of the rod working in my favour when the bigger fish came on the chew. Throughout the 10 day trip I landed mackerel up to the 18kg mark as well as some solid longtail tuna around 16kg.

Besides clean fighting fish like mackerel and tuna we were was also fortunate enough to trade blows with some hard running fish like cobia. My good mate Joey Barbatano found himself hooked up to a big cobe that scoffed down a large sand whiting used as a skip bait. With the Venom LBG rod fully loaded up Joey was able to apply some substantial hurt on the fish. The fish tried to power off to the depths but after a few short runs Joey had this fish disorientated on the surface and shaking its head in protest. After a 10min battle we were able to successfully rope gaff the cobia which weighed in at an impressive 22kg.

LIGHT WEIGHT WEAPON

The complete range of Venom LBG rods are extremely light weight as they have been manufactured with the latest carbon fibre blanks and silicon guides. With the workload involved with targeting big pelagics from the rocks these light weight rods will dramatically reduce any angler fatigue when hooked up to a stubborn fish in a long drawn out battle.

Having a light weight rod is also great for working your skip bait. With the Venom PE5 LBG rod we were able to work our skip baits over the strike zone by continually winding them in and letting them skip back out again. By using this technique this allowed our skip baits to not only cover more ground but also create larger splashes. This is a much more effective way to gas balloon and you will get a lot more strikes by driving a fish on rather than simply leaving your rod wedged in a rod holder.

ROD STRENGTH

Heavy tackle game outfits are highly recommended for gas ballooning. When you are fishing these deep oceanic waters you can hook just about anything and even billfish such as black marlin and the Indo-Pacific sailfish are frequently encountered using this technique. To stop these larger pelagics I usually run a 100m 24kg mono top shot with at least 500m of 80lb braid backing on a Tiagra 30WLRSA. With this tackle I run about 8-10kg of drag pressure and the PE 5 Venom Land Based Game Rod handled this heavy drag setting fine. The power built into the Venom LBG rods is derived from the advanced resin and cloth system used in the construction of each blank.

ROD LENGTH

The Venom Land Based Game rods are 7'11" long. This length of rod is not only suitable for the high cliffs of WA but also for many other LBG locations on the East Coast. I commonly use the lighter PE3 model to target longtail tuna and cobia on 8-10kg tackle from the famous NSW north coast ledges like the Iluka Breakwall, Perpendicular Point and Booti Booti. This rod length gives me plenty of line clearance from any rocks while I'm steering a fish towards the gaff.

The entire range of Venom LBG rods are two piece and are joined above the foregrip via a reverse tapered join. I found this method of connection very secure and easy to dismantle after a day's fishing. Having a two piece game rod is excellent for the travelling angler as it is much easier to transport and take on a plane.

In the demanding world of heavy tackle LBG there really is no place for inferior rods. After putting these rods to the test at Steep Point the Venom LBG rods can certainly deliver maximum hurt with minimal weight. Check them out at your local Wilson Tackle stockist.

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