Wednesday 6 March 2013

Tackle specials and angling politics

from Downrigger Shop

G’day lads


Regular readers will remember Chris Sun’s big kingfish taken at Long Reef two weeks ago. At the time, we wondered whether the bloke who got there first after a strong blow would find the big ones waiting. Well, wonder no longer! Matt from Raptor writes:

Hi Andy, Monday after a weekend of bad weather there is some nice fish around. Filled the tank with squid slimies and yakkas and went to Longie but the water was dirty brown so kept moving on to find some better water, and that we did. We tried several spots and found some great fish.

Two fish at 110cm and many more around the 1m mark. I still have Thursday free for charter,  it looks like the best day of the week weather wise. Matty Reid RAPTOR CHARTER  0404880148


Sensational. Glad to see that big boy and his mates fitted in our chiller bag too, Matt:

Ben Heath is an accomplished kayaker who reckons our fish chiller bag is the go for his Hobie:

Hey Andrew, thought you might like a few pictures of this morning's catch (featuring your awesome neoprene fish bag!). I managed to catch a couple of bonnies and a couple of tailor trolling around Old Man's Hat, North Head.

The fish bag is ideal for my kayak, I chuck in a couple of freezer blocks and a little sea water to create an ice-slurry before I set off and it keeps cold for hours and hours.


Glad you’re pleased with it, Ben! Ours got a work out on Thursday:

And in more Neoprene News, Josh from Windsor Wolves Fishing Club won a chiller bag at the Mingara Competition, on Sunday:

I was thinking about this on Monday, when Mev and I scooted out to the artificial reef off South Head for a quick jigging sesh in the slop. NSW Fisheries require all caught fish to be brought back to the boat ramp whole. Meaning the old days of filleting at sea are gone. A standard Coleman esky has an internal diagonal measurement of 55cm. So a legal kingfish won’t fit in one unless it’s curved, like a banana. I had forgotten the chiller bag, so the tail of Mev’s 67cm stuck out the top of the Coleman.

That kept the esky from closing properly, and let warm air in. The only way to go is to put your ice, drinks, snacks and maybe even the chiller bag in your esky. Then, if you catch a keeper kingfish – or any other sizeable fish – remove ice and chiller bag for use. Save some of the ice to keep your drinks cool. Check out our chiller bag out here:



$59 including delivery to anywhere in Australia. That’s gotta be a good deal. Matt Loraway comes up with a good idea too:

Matt Loraway comes up with a good idea too:


I always always steer away from using bait jigs because of the hassle to unwind them and even worse once you have finished they end up in knots and you want to throw them away, assuming they don’t even knot before you use them ….. pics attached of my new install over weekend with some 20mm SS tube(bunnings) and double tube holders (Whitworths) to store them in an otherwise empty unused space. … anyways thought I would share in case someone else can benefit. Cheers matt


Good on you Matt, that’s a top solution. I like the way you can connect the sabiki to any rod, rather than having a dedicated Interline.

Lads, ever wondered what would happen if you crossed a goldfish, with a bass?

To boats, and Kevin stopped by for a heavy deep drop combo last week. I begged him to email a pic of his 670 Bar Crusher when he got home. Nice bloke, and nice rig:

Dave C came all the way from Mudgee to check out his beaut new Contender 21, and to arrange downriggers plus rods and reels from us. The man demands the best, and not just with his tackle:

The boat is powered by a 300HP Yamaha and will be operating mainly from Port Stephens:

What a beauty.

Simon Jackson needed a solid 24 kilo jig rod ahead of an important trip, to the Reef. It arrived just in time:

A couple of photos from the weekend fishing trip to the reef off Townsville.  The new rig I got off you is a beauty, thanks mate, nice red fish to christen it

Red GINRO rod, red fish. I like the combo, Simon! A bit of argy bargy on our Facebook page about the big catch above, but you can be assured it’s within bag limits. And this is how one of those reds ended up.

Here’s my new screensaver:


My wife met Jenny and her friend Rebecca at the Sea Bees fishing club night recently. They hit it off and we’re planning on chasing kingfish together, in a week or two.

Rebecca is an accomplished competition angler:


I fished the ABT Mallacoota Bream Tournament on the weekend and we battled the rain and wind on Sunday.  At least I got to test out my new wet weather gear from the States which was well worth the purchase! Also landed a new PB, a black bream weighing 1.07kg - very happy!


Mallacoota bream, so dark!

C and I attended the Mingara FC dinner on Saturday night. Here she is, checking out the esky prize:

And here’s the winning team, Windsor Wolves Fishing Club:

Thanks to Dan and Kylie Gatt from Mingara FC for your hospitality. We had a wonderful time and glad of the opportunity to sponsor the tournament. If you’d like me to visit your Club to talk about downrigging and jigging, or to sponsor your competition, ask a committee member to get in contact? And on that topic, a reminder that the Kiama Big Fish Classic is not far away:

Stuart is looking for two blokes to join him and a mate on a kingfish jigging charter in New Zealand:



I had a ball on my week with Epic, and can’t recommend their operation too highly. Send Stuart an email if you want the trip of a lifetime? By crikey I find this job fascinating, at times. Especially when emails like this one arrive:

Hi Andrew, here are a few shots of Ed Martin fishing with his 90 year old tackle.  Ed's from California and has been a client/friend and fished with me on Esprit in Bermagui for the past 15 years.

The rods are 1920s split cane with agate guides, the reels are Edward Vomhofe and Pfluegers. The linen line is at least 70 years old.


Ed is now 88 and we have caught quite a few marlin on this old tackle. He still walks the deck and whips marlin as quick as a young bloke ( all released ) Will let you know of results from his next trip down here in April cheers Lloyd


Jenny & Lloyd Williams, Esprit Charters and Aquamarina Holiday Units Bermagui NSW


Please do, Lloyd.

Game fishing has been nothing short of tragic off central NSW recently courtesy of the floods and high winds. Let’s not even talk about the Interclub. L At least in the far south they haven’t been so badly affected. Aaron Harrison:


Hi Andrew I thought I would share with you a 50 kg stripe caught off Tathra also dropped another 4 for the week.


Good one, Aaron. Is that your Bar Crusher in the background? Please send a pic, if not too much to ask.

Rocky is over the moon about his modified Ecogear blade. And who wouldn’t be, the way it keeps producing:


Gidday Andrew  enjoying the reports!! Would'nt like to be the Captain of Packers Cruiser from last report . Ecogear nails another nice fish today "attached." Tomorrow will try for a soapy jew off breakwall with Ecogear on the top of high tide. Well trust you and the family are great ill report back to you soon cheers Rocket


I have GOT to get me one of those.

Our Man In The Czech Republic writes about a magical dad n daughter moment. And yes I did get a tad misty, when this arrived from Gatesy in Prague:


Here is a picture taken after my daughters first ever cast.  I had a tiny float and  about 5mm of prawn on a tiny hook.  Cast out about 3m (into water about 70cm deep) hoping for a 7cm bream, next thing I know is line is PEELING from her little pink ice fishing rod.  I had to grab the rod at the end as she very nearly got wrapped around the pylons.  Anyway the fish measured 33cm.  Not a bad effort for her first ever fish.


He he he. Love the shades!

After popping this great pic up on the Facebook page, Michael’s mate Carl Dubois from Australian Kayak Fishing Forums wrote in:

Hi Andrew, as usual your reports are exceptional and like my mate Gatesy all the way over there in Czechoslovakia I look forward to reading it from start to finish. Gatesy was a regular with a lot of us yakkers a few years back and I’ve attached a photo of him landing a king at the HWO in Botany Bay (when we used to regularly get them there). ‘G’day Gatesy!’ from the AKFF crowd.


Good on you Carl, you’re a good mate.

Talking about blokes adventuring Dan Goodhew has been at it again, wide of Cape Tribulation. And I mean very wide, of Cape Tribulation:


Love these reports! Thanks for the iigs too. We got out to some grounds past St Crispin’s on Sunday and managed quite a haul. The night saw nannygai turning up in droves, we got close to bagging out but the esky hit capacity first. With the esky full the decision was made to keep heading out and chase tuna the following morning. Sitting 75km offshore is fairly daunting with 3 people in a 5.2m Haines but was well worth it. The yellowfin schooled up in the morning & put on a real show. We were sending jigs down about 150m to a deep line of bait on the sounder & managed a few fish around the 10kg mark. My mate River then nailed this beauty on a 150g lead sinker with a hook tied to it. Stuffs me why the big fella chose to eat it...


Don’t try to understand them Dan, you’ll end up in a rubber room. Just keep fishing AND – keep sending us these great reports. J Nowhere near as exciting on the home front but with a top crew aboard last Thursday I knew we’d have a good one – as long as the weather played the game. Kerry from Kayak Fishing Forums, Ian from Hooked on Sydney, and Darryl just back from a wet and windy two weeks fishing SEQ. Everybody fired up and raring to go. First stop the Spit Bridge, where I was busting to test my new paternoster setup for squid. The weight is an IQF pilchard on a spike, with a normal squid jig coming off a 3-way swivel just above:

Fished with the rod parallel to the water in a rail holder mount, so that the slightest sleepy nodding of the rod tip can be detected:

The idea is that, if you are drifting over a known squid ground repeatedly, the pilchard oil squeezed out by water pressure will drift upwards through the water column. I’ll try it a couple of times before deciding yea or nay. On rounding Grotto Point we saw the weather was way better than forecast, and that a run to Longie was on the cards:

Over to Watson’s Bay wharf to pick up Kerry, and on the way out of the bay spotted this party boat with a current model Suzuki 140 rotting on the transom. Gee some people must have money to burn:

We scored some good squid at Lady Jane Beach by casting. Up to the Reef, and Darryl opened our account with a nice 87cm on a jig:

I was enjoying my current addiction, popping. This just legal hit a well used Roosta popper. If you’re wondering about the hat brim, it’s my personal tribute to Benny Hill:

Kerry and Ian had a ball jigging. Kerry’s Braid Concept and Ian, with the funky micro jigging combo Rapala gave him to try:

Bonito numbers built through the morning and we kept several of those too. But the nor’ easter started to come up fast so we headed back in, with a quick stop to jig the Artificial Reef. Not much there, but I managed a 65:

The sad thing on Thursday was that there were so few people out there into it. Lads, get out there if you can, now is the time to go. Do what I do, turn off the outboard at North Head, put a call into the boss, and tell him you had a bad dim sim last night and won’t be in today. J Cause when they are on, you GOTTA GO.

To politics, and Joel writes in with some positive news:

Just got told Lake Conjola has been re opened to the ocean


Beautiful. Dirty low oxygen lake water out, fresh clean seawater in. That will fix some problems, temporarily anyway. Thanks for the update, Joel.  George requests an update on the Green Cape Kingfish Rape story, from last year:


Hi Andy. great read as always! Thanks mate.  Have a quick question for you.  A while back you were running a story about undersized kings being caught down the south coast by pros that were filleted and sold on.  How did that finish up? Hopefully the pros were caught and charged! Can't help but wonder whether the reduced number of juvenile kings has something to do with what was going on down south.   If you could let me know, that would be great.


Like a lot of these events, the primary intent is to get the story out in the open. Give it the oxygen of publicity, so to speak. Not that our little newsletter is any major media outlet, but in the case you mentioned, the phone and inbox lit up like a Christmas tree the day after the email went out. Feedback from right across the board. Fishos calling to confirm the rorts, to the manager of Eden Co-Operative phoning to deny them. We had a lot of supportive documentation which I edited out of the first email, including the registration numbers of three LFBs involved in taking undersized kingfish. And, the name of the seafood distributor buying them for cash. But the intent was always just to get the abuses stopped, or at the very least toned down. And I am not one of those fishos who thinks we rec anglers have exclusive rights to Australian fisheries. It’s completely ridiculous that flathead fillets are $49 a kilo at Lane Cove Seafood, when there is one flathead every few square metres off Broken Bay. Aussie mums need to feed their families, we must never lose sight of that. And not feed them with the Vietnamese catfish Coles are pushing so hard in their stores:

Good to hear from you George, and please keep this feedback coming. A story in the Daily Telegraph caught my eye recently. Warringah Council is a notoriously greenie outfit who put enviro ideology ahead of residents welfare. A couple who begged that Council for permission to cut down a tree has had the tree destroy their house in last weeks’ wet weather. Look at this poor Aussie couple who’ve had their lives ruined by Big Green:

Due to sheer luck they are still alive. What’s really annoying is that the name of the greenie dirtbag who refused their application, and put them literally at risk of losing their lives, is not in the story.


This is so similar to the arrogance of the Park ranger at South West Rocks. He arbitrarily closes the Laggers Point boat ramp when it suits him, thereby forcing boaties to cross the Macleay bar risking injury, or death. You can be assured we WILL name names and call those responsible to account, when the avoidable tragedy eventually happens. Thanks so much for your great pics and reports this week lads. Send it all in! It doesn’t have to be a huge fish or a million dollar boat. Fishing is a big rich tapestry made up of a million strands and our readers find every thread interesting – especially, this reader ! J Until next week, tight lines,


Andrew Hestelow

Managing Director