Friday 1st August 2014

Tackle specials and angling politics

from Downrigger Shop

Wow what a week. The last few days too windy on the east coast to get offshore but before that fishing was smoking hot, for both tuna and deep dropping. Bruce Rayment:



Monday was one of those days you dream of with mates calling us to their marks on our way out. The resultant 17nm trip to the spot was the longest of our lives, with excited radio chatter and us driving as fast as we could! We hooked up within 2 minutes of setting the lures 23 nm east of Port Hacking. Our first fish wen 50kg, our second 66.5kg and our third 35kg.



I have until this day put many days in chasing SBT in NSW for no result and even drove to Portland last year to be there for the slowest two days of the season, so it was very satisfying to get these fish. The street, the kids friends families, half the office have all been eating fresh Tuna this week. Happy days! Mate Mark Corbin on Monster Magnet (image attached) caught a cracker between Browns and the Southern Canyons – their first SBT, caught with a broken rod from halfway through the fight!



What a report! So glad to hear you did well Bruce, and even gladder you sent through these pics. Kevin Preston reports a huge capture down south last week:



hi Andrew it’s been a bit quiet here but we had a good day on blue fin. Heres a pic of my oldest son Josh Preston with an SB tuna, 119kg on 15kg line on the 25/7/14. 33 miles east of JB


They’re saying on our Facebook page that Josh’s tuna would be a state record, Kevin? Dan Abadir’s friend spotted this giant blue in a trailerboat at Drummoyne ramp, last (rainy) Saturday:



How good is this? Dave Rowbotham finds gold on his first prospecting trip:



Hi mate, hope all is good with you.With the latest reports of SBT and a good forecast we decided to take my boat for her widest trip to date - browns and beyond. Anyway when we got there we started trolling two lazer pros and after about 30 mins Ryan hooked up to this beast! After a good fight that started with a 200m run we pulled her over the side and it was high fives all round - it was between 50-60kg and we will all be eating YFT for the next few days! Not finding browns was a blessing after all today but if anyone would like to give me the correct coordinates I would appreciate it.


All good mate, I am posting some quality marks up on Facebook this Friday. So many memorable sights, in fishing. A GT slamming a popper on the surface; a mako launching clear of the water; and my favourite, the boil on top of the water when a yellowfin takes a cube in the trail, turns and powers back down into the depths. Nick Beehag got into some of that action on Saturday using our 20W bent butt combo:



Hi Andrew, thought this might be of interest. Caught this Yellowfin off Heatons whilst cubing on Saturday. Brought him in on your 20W  game reel. Took over an hour to bring in and was 1.5 metres in length and about 50 kilos. We were very lucky and just happened to land on top of them. We only cubed for quite literally 2 minutes and saw them come up. After the capture, we gave the coordinates out but by the time the other boats came over, they went down deep. Made the two hour trip back a slow and happy one rather than the slow and sad ones we have been experiencing in recent times.


Good reminder to us how important perseverance is, in fishing. 20W combo still $380, glad it delivered that beautiful tuna for you:



It’s not all about Sydney. Andrew Westlake fished out from Port Fairy. Just goes to show how many SBT are out there, when you consider they’re spread from the SA/Vic border around to Sydney:



Hi Andrew, Roy lucked onto this 31.5kg SBT off Port Fairy yesterday. We were on light gear in rough water, so it took an hour and lots of boat driving to land.  Angler Roys best fish so far.


Wow that’s huge! We are having a fantastic tuna season this year, even if chasing them can get pretty frustrating. Chris Dunn’s yellow the biggest I’ve seen in a long time:



Hey Andy thought id send you a pic for your page. Went out chasing bluefin off sydney with no luck. But on the plus side got my best yellowfin went 82kgs!


Look at those sickles. The other big news has been the swarming gemfish and blue eye on the deep marks. Matt Loraway:



Hey Andy, tough day at the mountain we had. Biggest gemmies I ever seen and even managed to get a good blue on same double hookup drop. 4 secs to hookup from finishing drop, was same last tues


Excellent! Four seconds, there’s a strata of a million fish there. Jason Hotop out too:



Saw some posts on your page re Browns. Exactly same as yesterday, arrive, drop, 2 seconds later double hook up (replacement Tanacom worked a treat – thank you). Good size - see attached. Plenty of Makos about too. Out of there within 30 mins with dinner in the esky chasing SBT again (for zeros this time unfortunately).


We had gemfish for dinner last night Jase, I think I overindulged. Regular contributor Matt Cassar confirms things hot out wide:



Hi Andrew me and my brother went to Browns on Saturday for a deep drop with amazing results. 2 big gemfish on the first drop and a few bite offs due to the makos. We had fish on as soon as we hit bottom, we got our 2 fish each and went home. More time driving than fishing!



Its the first time we used your electric reel combo and I am super keen to get out there to do it  again. Thanks for the reports its good to know when the fish are on so we don't waste fuel going out for nothing


Hasn’t that got to be the go, Matt? The busier we get, the more valuable fresh intel is. With nearly 2700 fishos on the Facebook page it’s great to see most of them are sharing. Yours truly found some excitement at The Peak, on Thursday. When we arrived the only other boat around was Matt Reid’s Raptor Charters. I checked in with Captain Kingfish who told me things were mostly quiet, but soon after he radioed up saying one of the clients had hooked up to a solid mako on his jig rod. Over we went and just as we arrived the shark took off like a Saturn 5 rocket:



At which point I realised this was a perfect opportunity to try out the pole cam Leo Yu built for me. It’s a cheap camera from K Mart mounted on a one metre alloy tube, used for filming hooked fish underwater. We manoeuvred about 20 metres off Raptor’s starboard and I knelt down on the deck, put the camera underwater and started filming. The shark was swimming along quietly but then went postal. Unfortunately, it went postal in my direction:



Here’s Kevin Olsen’s short video showing what happened. Definitely worth a quick look



On to Browns, where we kicked off with some deep dropping. Hookups came instantly but we were repeatedly sharked. These blokes fishing nearby in their beaut Seydal 5.2 had scored some solid gemfish by fishing manually. But the air turned blue as the gemfish they had just under the boat in this pic was sharked, by a mako:



Time for some payback. We fed out a gemfish belly strip on a 13/0 Eagle Claw and got the berley going:



It wasn’t long until the ratchet growled and Ollie went into action on a solid thresher shark:



After 45 minutes or so we had the shark settled down and swimming boatside:



Just about to cut the 300-pound mono leader when it went nuts, and crash dived. Ollie now into a real slug a thon:



After nearly another hour he put the reel into low gear, locked his feet under the side pockets for maximum leverage, and pushed the lever drag to sunset. That ended as you’d expect:



What a great day, hoping to do it all again next week. Note you don’t have to wide of the Continental Shelf to find great fishing. Simon back from a top trip to Hervey Bay. I hear so much good feedback about that spot. I’m told it can be hard to get sorted, but when you do the rewards are incredible:



please find attached a few photos from a recent trip (end of June) to Hervey Bay with guide Andrew Chorley where we did some jigging and plastics work targeting golden trevally and snapper.  As you can see it was a successful trip.



Jared and Adam scored some massive kings. Nice work lads:



Into the kings off Port Stephens. Plague proportions, all over 1.3mtr Good fun with Adam Hardie


That’s the biggest I’ve seen all winter. Top job Jared. Will Bazley scored a beauty too. Congratulations my young friend, that’s a terrific accomplishment:



Hi Andy, we went out with Matt Reid from Raptor Charters yesterday.   Had a great

day.  He taught me a lot of tips for when I'm fishing on my own.  We saw a lot of whales and a seal at Twelve Mile.   But the highlight of the day was this 94cm Kingfish.  This is my PB kingfish and a dream come true for me.



G'day Andrew, we were out at Texas on Wednesday. Light winds and about 5 boats all hooking up. Seal turned up and was a pest for awhile. Pinched my king in the vid and did my mate as well. Also something else took a liking to another king on its way up. Cheers, Trent


What’s really annoying when this happens is that so often the seal isn’t hungry, and the stolen fish isn’t eaten. Their strong predator instinct means they can’t let one go past but, instead of eating it, they simply tear it apart at their leisure.



Les has a curly one – which we couldn’t resolve on Facebook. Can any readers offer suggestions?



Hi Andrew, I'm hoping someone can help me identify this fish. We found it in the well out in the back paddock. The well is fresh water and about 6mtrs down to the top of the water level and is about 15 mtrs deep to the bottom of the water.

The fish was stuck in the foot-valve. It's about 150 mm's long (6 inches). It has very large scales and an upward facing mouth with sharp needle-like teeth which would indicate that it is a bottom dwelling, fresh water predator. It sort of looks like a cross between a cod and a gudgeon, only with large scales and smaller eyes. I can't indicate what colour it is other than what the photo shows because we didn't discover it until it had been in the sun for about two days with all the rest of the gunk we got out of the well and was very dried out and only brown to look at.Anyway, I wonder if anyone has seen something like it before? Les...


Well mate I haven’t. It looks like a stargazer but that can’t be right. New species? They’ll name it after you. Quick update for the readers writing in about the GPS Tracker. All going well, there’ll be three power options:


1. The internal battery, gives ten days power. Good option for when your boat is secure at home but you’re taking it on holidays someplace extra security is needed. Like Huskisson. ONLY KIDDING J


2. Hardwire into the boat’s power loom. The Tracker must see the sky (like any GPS receiver) so maybe leave it on the boat dash in an empty cigarette pack or sunglass case, for camouflage.


3. Attached to our 12V 7AH battery, giving around 220 days of battery life. Note that the Tracker sends you an SMS when battery life is at 5%, so you don’t have to make a calendar entry. Good option, because it’s self contained and no wiring needed. Supplied with a waterproof Ziploc bag, I’m putting mine in the anchor well:



More to follow next week.



To politics, and Les Palmer fed up with his local boat ramp (at South West Rocks) car trailer parking spaces being constantly blocked by thoughtless drivers – with Council taking no action. This problem has got so out of hand in Moreton Bay that there has been boat ramp protests with the media invited – which finally forced the Council to act. No surprises that Master Of Disaster Peter Hitchins’ clients are most of the problem. Scuba divers – not all – are the cyclists – not all- of the sea now. So much better than everyone else, by their own estimation:



Here we go again (and again). Try to launch your boat at South West Rocks and then try to park your boat & trailer combination in the allocated car & trailer car park and guess what, the same old thing. You can't get a park because of the single cars blocking the trailer parking bays.  It's not unusual to go to 'Mattys Flat' boat ramp and see anything up to 20 to 30 single cars taking up all the trailer/car combo spaces and then we have to drive a half a kilometre down the road to try and park our trailers (meanwhile, leaving our boats and gear unattended, tied up to the pontoon until our return), all because of the ignorant selfish motorists.


The signs are quite clear, "CAR & TRAILER PARKING ONLY, PENALTIES APPLY", but who gives a damn. The Kempsey Council have been informed time and time again but they won't send a compliance officer down there because they won't spend a cent on overtime, but are quite happy to do garden and road maintenance on the weekends. The main offenders are the divers from 'South West Rocks Dive Centre'. Yep, good old Peter Hitchins. The very person who condemns the recreational fishermen. He turns up with 3 or four dive boats every morning and blocks both ramps while he loads his gear and clients and then his clients commandeer all the car spaces with total disregard for the boaties, who actually paid for the boat ramp and car park in the first place. Take a good look at the logo on the car pictured this morning and yesterday morning blocking the car/trailer car space...yep, you got it.... Peter Hitchins, 'South West Rocks Dive Centre', as per usual. And he wonders why no-one in South West Rocks likes him. Go figure, Peter...


It is incredible when you think of his record, Les. Boat rollovers on the Macleay Bar, drowned divers, lost divers, scuba tank exploding on his premises – but Captain Teflon is never in trouble. It’s almost like he’s somehow protected! But that could never happen, in NSW.  Jay writes in on another contentious topic:


Hey Andy how did you go with the couple in the blue boat? Saw them out there at Browns smashing it monday and yesterday. Two people two electric reels all day when the fish are thick as. Will be reporting it. One of my mates works with the head of enforcement and has put me in contact with him so i will be letting him know. Its just a shame I don't have phone reception out there.


Hello champ, I’ve watched them for the last few seasons – including last year, when I counted seven baits on one of their lines – and have taken no action. The reason being that I’m a bit old school, and don’t want to be a dobber. But that’s changed because of:


1) Fisheries’ proposal to make gemfish an endangered species;


2) The craziness they got involved in late last year, with some bloke trying to hit their boat with his boat – at full planing speed;


3) the time when the skipper got a fright when a whale surfaced right behind the prop, him slamming the throttle down in a panic, with the sudden acceleration nearly sending one of the crew overboard;


4)  The lack of Fisheries inspections at Browns since the middle of last season;


5) another reason I can’t explain, because it was sent to me confidentially by a reader. But it’s the most serious of all.


I’m lodging a complaint too. If we don’t clean up our own act as fishos, the greenies and busybodies will regulate us even heavier than they do now. In closing, please let me say – as I always do! – not just how I’m grateful for your pics and reports, but how our *readers* are grateful. Emails pour in from fishos saying how much they enjoy the weekly report, but all I do is assemble what you send in. Keep doing it because thanks to you, so many blokes are pleased. Until next week,


Andrew Hestelow

Managing Director