Ryan Moody Fishing Private Study Group Report

May 2022

Weather to fish or not?

When questioning “whether” to fish, most fisho’s will tell you it’s a no brainer. “Fair go mate, does a bear shit in the woods” is what you could expect to hear from a fair population of Aussie Blokes and Sheila’s who wet a line. When it comes to our dynamic, often unpredictable climate, well, that presents a whole new question in itself and you’re more likely to hear a colourful display of Aussie slang that can’t necessarily be written or repeated in public at all.

It’s currently the ANZAC long weekend and all along the east coast of my home state of QLD appears to have shut up shop on our opportunity to get out and wet a line, either for recreation or for sport.

And no doubt, there would be some more sporting fisho’s braving the elements regardless, but truth be told, in adverse, erratic and unpredictable weather conditions, many fish species shut up shop as well.

The last few months especially have only presented sporadic, short, windows of opportunity and personally I feel fortunate that I can go in knowing that I’m armed to make the most of those opportunities when they do arise. Many of my friends in the 9-5 grind are cursing, that yet again, the weather during the only time they have for themselves, has made it difficult to pursue their need for quality relaxation time on the water.

I often relate, reflect and sympathise with their circumstances. At times during my working career, I was employed as a casual employee, so not working simply meant no money! Working Saturdays to try and get ahead, only ever presented with the bare minimum of public holidays and workplace shut down periods such as Easter and Christmas to try and switch off and unwind.

With such few opportunities, 25 knots were the number of times you tied the anchor rope to the boat to stop it blowing away in the chop and the breeze while camped up on islands around many spots down the Jumpinpin. While I still have many fond memories parked under tarps and makeshift shelters during terrible weather with good mates sinking one too many beers and O.P. rums, to say that any constructive fishing was going on would be purely dishonest.

Nowadays, as a fortunate member of each of one of Ryan’s groups, non-productive fishing is well and truly a thing of the past. Being able to plan and execute a strategy with such short weather windows is much more satisfying and has still provided just the right amount of relief and relaxation in what’s been a somewhat adverse start to the year.

Add to that, that every Tom, Dick and Harry are crawling all over each other at the boat ramp to get their fix and I can tell you first hand, being that one step ahead of our fellow fisho’s becomes even more important! Timing your arrival and having a solid strategy is quickly becoming the difference to having a good or bad day on the water.

Whether its collecting bait before the session or having to race 5 other boats to your spot of choice, going into a session armed with high quality knowledge to stay ahead of the ever-increasing competitive nature of the fishing game, is a must.

A quick google search of “Wonky Holes” is at everyone’s fingertips and forum pages can be found on the how, why, where elements to finding them.

I can save you the time though by saying that you will not find the answers you were hoping to, and you are most likely to draw blanks as these extremely productive fishing gems are a closely guarded secret for those lucky enough to be in the know.

If you’re one of those that just won’t take no for a few cheap answers, don’t be surprised to find that any and every direction regarding Wonkies points straight to Ryan anyway! Ryan is arguably the pioneer of the term and at the very least the pioneer of fishing Wonkies. The Guru, The Master, call him what you will, but Ryan penned articles as early as 2012 for About Fishing NQ magazine, setting off a trend to anglers discovering them. As with every first, anything else is only 2nd best and Ryan will always be the leader of the pack.

You need to ask yourself, if you had a spot where every bait you drop is a chance of trophy fish, would it really be shared with anyone publicly?? Trawlers supposedly have a number of marks to steer clear of when running nets, even if you do know someone in the game, are they going to give them to you just cause they’re a good bloke or is it going to cost you?

Are they productive marks? Are they even running and attracting the trophies you’re after? If that mark fails, what’s your plan B, C, D or E?? Either way you look at it and whatever the answers you seek on Wonky Holes, it’s going to cost you. In time, effort, fuel, maintenance and if you’re flying blind with little knowledge, you can conservatively double or triple the costs before you “may” find one that’s productive, let alone multiple like many group members have at their disposal.

Why would Ryan share all his tips and secrets on Wonky Holes? This may be my personal opinion, but as I get a little older and wiser, you soon discover that the true test of a man lies in their willingness to give without any slight consideration of what they think they can gain for themselves. Ryan, Karen and the RMF family have developed their courses on the foundation of what they can give and to improve the quality of life of others first and foremost before that consideration of themselves.

Yes, we all have bills to pay and a need to put food on the table, Ryan and Karen are no exceptions. Ryan is no more or less of a Tradie than the chippy down the road and if he didn’t have to eat, then I’m certain there would still be a number of fortunate apprentices learning his life’s work regardless, cause he’s just that type of bloke. Not many Tradies can say they have 5 apprentices working under them, let alone thousands! And Ryan endeavours to ensure that every one of us succeeds.

It’s that type of leadership and selflessness that is translated and filtered throughout the groups and its members, creating an extremely unique community of likeminded fisho’s all helping each other and sharing what insights they can, so that everyone achieves what they are after with their fishing.

What if you don’t live in an area where Wonky Holes are prevalent? What can you get out of the course? I fall into that category myself and out of all the courses available, the information in Wonky Holes has opened my mind and eyes to the learning and understanding of a somewhat pre-historic, Jurassic underwater world.

Technology has its place in regard to fishing, more specifically the advancement in chart mapping which provides relief shading options in many regions across the world. Some fisho’s are seeing this as the silver bullet, they’ve heard of “bommies” before, and now they can see them presented as a 3D image. Yes, at times they will catch fish, which is great, but it only requires limited understanding, which means everyone else knows those marks too!

Does it look good? Sure does! But what does it do for your own understanding of bathymetry and sonar charts? Unfortunately, very little. The course allows you to create your own mental image of the 3d underwater world so you have a solid understanding of where you are more likely to discover wonky holes, and the ongoing sonar chart interpretation skills to ensure you can continue to find new, productive and un-touched fishing ground, despite whether Wonkies are present in your region or not.

Sonar chart interpretation has improved my own fishing 10 times over, regardless of the ground I am fishing, or the species being targeted, so it really is a course that can still provide something for everyone. And in the ever-increasing competitive nature of fishing, you’d almost be a bit silly not to try get a bit of a leg up over others with the interpretation knowledge that will literally stand the test of time.

 


CASE STUDY

DALE ROVEGLIA | Wonky Holes Member

“I’d heard about wonky holes before but never really worried about them but after seeing Ryan catching big redfish close to shore, I knew I had to find out more.

After watching the Wonky Holes course, I was quickly on the water searching and it didn’t take long to find them. I now have quite a few marked and I only need to travel a tenth of the distance to catch these prized fish. I highly recommend Wonky Holes and wish I knew about the course earlier – I would have saved a lot on fuel and time!”

This is the time of year where were all in the midst of transitioning over to the more commonly targeted winter species. And those of us that have become somewhat addicted to screaming drags over summer from some feisty backwater brawlers, are packing away the Barra gear and dusting off the weaponry to take on some equally hard fighting demersal species.

The Fingermark course is beginning to prove its worth all over Australia and for me personally, it has filled a substantial gap in the years fishing calendar to continue the adrenaline rush that the Barra and Threadies dish out over summer.

When I first started getting involved, it was the Thready Tactics course that paved the way to my thirst, for not only big hard fighting fish, but the general understanding of fish behaviour and how you can use that to your advantage to improve your catch rate. I also told myself that as I improved my fishing, I didn’t just want to be a one trick pony either!!

It was a natural progression to next take on the Barra and the last year saw me take on South East Queensland’s inshore snapper population. While it’s becoming a somewhat distant memory behind another exceptional summer fishing period, it’s also put me another few steps ahead of the upcoming season. And by all reports, it is already starting to fire and come into its own!

The recent flooding events have really stirred up the Snapper fishery early so it’s prime time to get involved in the Finding Fingermark course to give yourself the chance at catching some of the winter brutes on offer. And of course, that’s not discounting what the northern water fisheries have to offer as far as Fingermark go either.

On my last 2 outings to Rockhampton during March and April, I dedicated some time to rounding up a few myself. A South East Queensland city bloke cracking some absolute stonker Fingermark, applying nothing more than the knowledge from the course, in unknown territory, is pretty good going by anyone’s standards one would think. Unfortunately, those that hit the deck were first to take an ice-cold bath in the esky, and the first species to make a meal for everyone on the trip.

It really does provide a platform to become an all-round fisho, whether your preference is bait, lure, jig and anything in between, the one guarantee is that your bound to improve and have a good time doing it along the way.

 


“I always loved and wanted to know more about catching Fingermark, so I brought the Finding Fingermark course. Just starting to narrow down a few locations recently and decided to take the family fishing. The young fella catches this donkey of a Fingermark within 20 min of fishing! Thank you, Ryan!”

JAY MORRISON | Finding Fingermark Member

 

“I completed the Thready Tactics course last year and recently started the Sounder Skills 2 course, it was a no brainer to get Finding Fingermark as well because of the quality information provided in these courses. Cheers Ryan!”

WARREN HANSEN | Finding Fingermark Member

 

If there’s ever a course for a rainy day, let alone windy and cyclonic days, then Sounder Skills 2 is the glue that binds any and every style of fishing together. And without at least a basic understanding of fish finding equipment, especially in unfavourable conditions, you may as well pull out the paddle and head up “you know what” creek. It may be the only creek protected from the elements, and with a few beers in the esky you’ll at least have a good time, but you certainly won’t be catching anything!

The use of fish finding equipment and the thirst to understand them and what they portray, is quickly gaining momentum each day. Blokes that have never looked at one, let alone had one on their boat are taking the plunge because with social media being the way it is, they can see that people are catching more quality fish purely from their understanding of their equipment.

Everyone’s understanding seems to differ and people have many conflicting opinions on the subject which only creates a world of confusion. The number of times I’ve witnessed multiple interpretations  of 2 blokes looking at exactly the same screen, is too much to count and definitely hard to witness. It leads to why some of those who own them, will still never be able to use them to their full effect.

When the weather is rubbish, the fishing is off, there is still always a chance that somewhere will be suitable enough to just leave the rods at home and sit down in front of it and learn. And to save yourself any and all confusion, you really are going to fast track your knowledge by sticking to learning from 1 bloke instead of 10, all with different opinions.

Ryan has packed years of experience and knowledge into the course and it doesn’t take a genius to work out that the bloke could catch fish in a bathtub. As with all his courses, they’re packaged together to share everything he has learnt over all the years of his career, sparing you the hours of trial and error and allowing you to do it for yourself.

If you want to be one of those that catch fish instead of just boating, get into Sounder Skills 2 and learn from the master.

 


“What a difference a year makes when focused on a fishing strategy. A couple of years back I’d catch 4 or 5 snappers and the same number of Dhu Fish over a year travelling 1000 kilometres from Dunsborough to Shark Bay to catch snapper in numbers. In the past year, I’ve focused on local ground 10 – 20minutes from the boat ramp. SS2 helped me to identify rubble patches amongst the seagrass and now have an 86% success rate on targeted species (Pinkies, Duies and Baldies). These foraging areas are where we picked up 61 Pink Snapper (48 over 70cm) 12 Dhuies and 2 Baldies. Thanks, Ryan you have changed my fishing forever!”

Craig Roberts | Sounder Skills 2 Member

 

As expected, Barra Basics students have managed to remain ahead of the game when it comes to pursuing their own interests in Barra fishing. No guides required, no “once in a lifetime” trips, these members do it every day of the week at their own will.

If there is a species that likes to play hard to get in trying weather conditions, it’s definitely these blokes! Some days it’s like you need to offer them a warm bed, a cuppa and a few scones before they succumb to the idea of eating what other enticement you’re offering. But what makes Barra Basics students so effective, is there understanding and willingness to persist when things are tough.

And when things are tough, you really need to be able to home in on what they’re up to for the day and have the knowledge and skills to stay with them after they wake from their precious little nana naps.

It’s not uncommon to be on a school that simply will not eat at all and any lesser fisho will throw the towel in and head on home, whereas as those with a little more experience and support from within the group, know what techniques to use to turn a slow days fishing into a good one.

Barra’s enthusiasm will certainly taper off over the coming months, some of the diehards will still see their waning appetites as merely a challenge and continue to target them, but others within Ryan’s Wonky Holes and Fingermark groups like myself, will also be gearing up to take on some other species on offer.

 


CASE STUDY

G’day Ryan I just want to take the time to give you a bit of feedback on your Barra Basics course.

I am a keen angler, I love my fishing and considered myself pretty handy when it came to getting a feed or catching a few for fun. But I bit the bullet and enrolled in Barra Basics in September 2021, while I was on leave taking some time off to help my Mrs look after our new baby boy. 

I live in Rockhampton, and I fish the Fitzroy nearly weekly if I can. I have always managed to get a few Barra in a couple of spots that I frequently fished. However, after doing the course, I have found I’m looking at areas with a whole new perspective and finding more fish consistently in various different locations. It was a dream of mine to catch the big 1m Barra, as it is everyone’s I guess, but I wouldn’t have been able to do it without all the knowledge I gained from Barra Basics. It’s the little things that’s helped the most, like being observant and looking for things I never thought to look for before doing the course.

I just want to say thanks because I finally got my first meter plus Barra, and what an experience it was!! They really are in a class of their own when they get that big. The knowledge and the way you explained everything in Barra Basics made this achievement not such a daunting goal, and I believe I can repeat this outcome again.

Just as a test I went down the next day on the same tide, I didn’t think of anything else in regard to daytime, night time, moon phase other than the situation may arise again. I got there about half an hour to late and bite period was dissolving by then, but I still managed 3 legal Barra in half an hour. As the last of the bite period faded away, I thought to myself, this Ryan Moody bloke really knows his stuff. I have no doubts anymore that the Barra Basics course is worth every cent and worth all the time that goes into learning it. I appreciate the way you and Karen have put the course together, it’s an amazing job mate! Absolutely unthinkable of how long it must have taken you both. Anyway, I’m just another happy student that learnt from the best mate, appreciate it

P.S. seen ya one time on the Fitzroy but was too shy to say G’day, not next time but! I won’t miss the chance to say G’day to the legend twice!

Kind regards 

Dan Marsh “Swampy” stoked fisho Rockhampton Fitzroy river!

Two of Queensland’s east coast Thready fisheries were completely washed out over summer. While Rockhampton managed to avoid the deluge’s and again turn on some exceptional Thready fishing, the Mary, Brisbane and Logan rivers to the south copped a hammering.

It was extremely unfortunate to hear reports coming in from the Mary River system of large numbers of Threadfin and Barra becoming victims of 2 huge influxes of fresh from the flooding events. One can only hope that those that did survive will bounce back for next season and can again provide fisho’s with their fix of these first-class sports fish.

So needless to say, unless southern members were willing to take a trek north, then it was a tough season all round. Northern members still had small opportunities but again, with the erratic weather conditions, finding those opportunities was difficult.

 


“Followed Ryan’s Thready framework and managed to get 5 fish, 1m and over, all in 2 hours! Thank you so much Ryan!”

Cody Broom | Threadfin Tactics

 

Our quarterly report archives contain a raft of great fishing tales and stories. Simply click on the course links below to read them.

There really isn’t a better time to sink your teeth into Barra Basics and allow yourself the opportunity to get out and put the course content into practice as the weather warms and the Barra start to fire. If its saltwater or impoundment fishing that interests you most, the next few months will start to see plenty of Barra hit the deck and having the support of the group and its members, including Ryan, you can be confident knowing that all the elements are there to make Barra a regular, successful target almost immediately.

During winter, the weather instability has created a challenge for even the seasoned fisho’s in the group but as sure as the sun rises in the morning, you can count on at least a few members coming up with the goods. Special mention must be made of Ian Moody, Ryan’s brother, who operates Ian Moody Sportfishing Charters in the Hinchinbrook region.

As a guide, there’s an air of expectation to produce for clients on a regular basis. There is no “playing the safe bet” with Barra and while others in the region have struggled or are afraid to put their reputations on the line, Ian has chipped away and managed to locate and catch some great fish in testing conditions. Having the RIGHT knowledge is everything when understanding Barra, and while they can be difficult through winter, Ian’s results are proof that they’re not impossible and is well ahead of the pack when it comes to putting a smile on clients dials in the region. Jump on over to his Facebook page and check out what he’s been up to. https://www.facebook.com/ianmoodysportfishing

Chris Ballard has continued to keep us informed of his topwater fishing success, but he may have been slightly overshadowed by a beast of a capture from Clint Rockpig. These fish need little introduction and 103cm of mid-winter Barra speaks for itself. Absolutely awesome capture for Clint and it’s a pleasure to see just how stoked and appreciative members are of the info they have at their disposal.

CLINT ROCKPIG- CRACKING 103CM WINTER GULF BARRA

It’s becoming more commonly known that Finding Fingermark is effective on a range of other species, although the course has always been designed around the habits of Fingermark specifically. Opportunities exist throughout all tide cycles for these fish and the course content quickly dispels any misconceptions that they can only be caught under certain conditions.

There is too much time wasted by fisho’s on wives tales and myths when they could just be implementing a solid fishing strategy. Moon up, Moon below, 10-20 fish a plenty, Solunar cycles, the list goes on and if we were waiting for all these elements to align, we would NEVER go fishing! Having an intimate understanding of the species you are targeting is a hell of a lot more valuable and productive in comparison to buying into what ultimately end up becoming reasons people come up with as to why they don’t catch fish.

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take and having a strategic plan to suit the day’s conditions, that have been proven to be effective time and time again, will make you a much better fisherman over the ones following solunar theories, basing their decisions on something that may or may not work at all.

Jason Farr has provided an insight into just how understanding your target species and being prepared to do the work is the most effective way to landing any species of fish on a regular basis. Jason writes “Great mornings fishing. Struggled for an hour or 2, moved around on my electric motor till I found them. The first live bait didn’t reach the bottom before it was hit, went from nothing to 4 in 20mins. Patience paid off as I was ready to go home with nothing about half an hour before the tide change. Thanks Ryan, the course really changed my thinking.”

Where other fisho’s may have packed up and gone home, Jason persisted, having faith that he was using the right technique, at the right time, in the right territory and it made the difference between having a great session or going home empty-handed.

JASON FARR- PERSISTENCE PAYS

While I touched briefly on my own experience locating schools of Jewfish that the Jumpinpin is renowned for, ill share a bit more insight into just how much time and effort has gone into making these fish a regular, viable target. And just how valuable Sounder Skills 2 has been to see it come to fruition.

I personally have only been using fish-finding equipment for as little as 3-4 years. Initially, when sounding the area, it was evident that I really had no idea what I was looking at, or what I was supposed to be looking for. The area is littered with coffee rock ledges, washouts and undulations, throwing multiple shadows and forever leaving me second-guessing.

As I became more experienced, I started to piece together just what that underwater image was telling me and at the very least was starting to make out how the area was structured. Mind you, this has been over the course of a number of trips over a number of years!

The fact was, that with all my second-guessing, I just wasn’t seeing these fish at all until recently. I’m fortunate to be a member of all of Ryan’s course groups and was able to come up with a new strategy as to when I should be timing my search efforts. And sure enough, there they were! They stand out rather significantly against the structure and finally have confirmation on what I need to be seeing before I start fishing.

It can take time and without the course to reference back to, I think I would still be taking a “hit and hope” approach. Where now I’m confident that’s it’s only a matter of time before fishing turns to catching by simply having a better understanding of interpreting my sounder images.

AUTHOR- “I SEE GHOSTS”

Areas off the coast where Wonky Holes are commonly located have probably been most affected by the adverse weather conditions along the east coast during the last few months. It has meant that reports have been few and far between, but those few who have managed to find a window of opportunity, have again had some great results.

Nathan Porter and Nickoli Frewtell have again caught their share, with Nickoli finding some productive new ground while trolling for Black Marlin in unfamiliar territory off Cairns. Jason Brand has joined in with a great catch of his own, sparking a discussion about the fish school’s behaviour if you’re unlucky to drop a few! It happens to the best of us but having the confidence and knowing you can move on to another productive area is what it’s all about.

JASON BRAND- FINE WONKY SPECIMEN

Again, this is a great time to join as Thready season is just around the corner. I’ve caught well over 100 fish in my short few years as a member and I am particularly looking forward to progressing as an angler and honing my lure fishing skills in the upcoming season. All made possible by my participation in the course.

They are an absolutely awesome fish to catch and even my Dad landed his first solo Thready on a recent outing. But talk about coming in hot, Brock Hawker come in like a freight train absolutely slaying some monster Fitzroy River Threadies in his first month of being a member!!!

Brock made time for a number of trips within his first month and worked particularly hard at locating some of the monsters that Rocky is becoming known for. Fishing in the more well-known haunts produced lesser quality fish but he stuck to his guns, asked the right questions and it wasn’t long at all before he was headed in the right direction.

2 sessions resulted in 5 fish, all over the 120cm mark and the biggest measuring in at a whopping 138cm. They exist in the system measuring in at well over 150cm and I don’t think it will be long before Brock is back among them and stretching his P.B. even further. Awesome job mate, that’s certainly one way to make an entrance!

BROCK HAWKER- ONE OF MANY STONKER FITZROY THREADIES FOR THE SESSION

Our quarterly report archives contain a raft of great fishing tales and stories. Simply click on the course links below to read them.

It’s always a good time to invest in knowledge and skills but why not throw your hat in the ring so when the elements start being a bit more kind, you’re ready to make the most of the opportunities you have when they come knocking. Or hopefully you’ve saved up an extra “sicky” or 2 for when those good days arrive. Cheers. -Steve Newby

 

CASE STUDY | TRENT RICHIE - SOUNDER SKILLS 2 MEMBER

"Ryan Moody your deep drop lesson really did teach me a thing or two! After watching the course and adapting the learnings to my fishing I have had a better success rate.

The learnings on drifting and identifying where the fish are actually holding has been unbelievable. The course has helped me paint a picture in my head as to what I’m actually seeing on the sounder and how my transducer is actually reading."


A final word:

I quite often interact more regularly with other enthusiastic fisho’s these days and when I announce myself as a member and student of Ryan Moody Fishing, for those unaware and outside of the groups, it raises some eyebrows.

Some of these interactions are in my local neighbourhood, at the boat ramp, through social media channels, the local tackle shop etc and it gives an interesting insight into their fishing backgrounds, where they started and what makes them tick. It’s surprisingly common that the majority of those that I meet don’t appear that they need to learn anything at all, even though their greatest fishing desires consistently revolve around catching something bigger and better.

Many are just doing what they grew up doing, what’s passed down through generations from their own Fathers and Grandfathers. Believing that what they already know is enough for them to continue pursuing their fishy desires, even though it is perhaps the sole cause of their struggles, holding them back from taking their fishing to the next level.

I actually relate rather well as it is a representation of who I used to be as a fisherman. While I try not to preach too loudly, and considering they always appear to be in awe of my results, I can only suggest that they too become a student of the game, open their minds to the possibility of learning and take on a humbler position of knowing that perhaps what they’ve learnt growing up, may not just be the only way to continue their journey.

I also appreciate those who want to “work it all out themselves” but knowing what I know now, many will spend their whole lives chasing it and never cross the finish line. For anyone on the fence, consider who you are and whether the time to pursue your fishing dreams on your own really exists, or if it will ever exist. You may be a Grandfather, Father, Doctor, FIFO worker, dedicated partner, telling yourself you’re always working too much or too busy to find time to even be out enjoying a pastime that you enjoy most.

Whoever you are, you will be well aware that a golden opportunity exists to not only open yourself to learning but take that step towards turning those dreams into reality. Every Ryan Moody fishing student had a pre-conceived idea of what fishing was and what it should be. Every member and student have prior commitments to family, to work, to other areas of life. And every one of those members will tell you, becoming a member and student is no gimmick, it’s the real deal and their fishing desires now lie within their own hands.

Take control of your own fishing by becoming a member, what you thought you knew will become a memory as you replace it with your own newfound fishing successes. You never know, your Dad may even thank you for what you’ve taught him like mine has with me.

Cheers,
Steve N.

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AUTHOR - QUALITY MORETON BAY SNAPPER

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