Thursday 6th March 2014

Tackle specials and angling politics

from Downrigger Shop

With gamefishing at the seasonal peak it’s no surprise the ol’ inbox has filled up with marlin pics recently. This 80 kilo black was taken aboard Profishent in the Shellharbour Tournament:



Grant Cruikshank took this big beauty last Sunday:



   Went out of Bermagui yesterday, perfect weather, less than 1 meter swell and 5 knots all day. We trolled from the kink off Montague to in line with the 12 mile reef. We saw 2 boats hooked up and did a wide circuit around. The small stripy skirt got taken first, almost straight away there was almighty snap of the 15 kg braid letting go, Couple of seconds later the 24kg outfit got slammed. 1 hour later we had the 115kg model in the boat. Angler was Chris and I was the skipper. Cheers Grant.


Well done mon frère, that’s a beautiful fish. Our Man In The Sand Dave T reports a big blue from Jervis Bay:



Hi Andrew, great excitement here. Randall and his crew on his boat “ X-Rated”, members of the Jervis Bay Game Fishing Club, caught and weighed a 196kg  Blue Marlin  yesterday.


Beautiful. South Coast where it’s at, Greg Buchanan’s report proves that:



We took local evergreen Kembla based jockey, Jon Grisedale, for a days trolling out of Wollongong onboard the "Real Therapy". Rigged up 3 of your 50lb combo's along side a couple of TLD's. Shortly after finding the 23.4c current, Jon hooked up with one of the combo's & boated the 90kg striped marlin after we realised it couldn't survive. Not bad for a jock who had never held a game rod in his life. The jock's one up & reckons the 500kg thoroughbreds are easier on the body.



Wow. What a great first marlin! Congratulations to both of you Greg, and glad to hear the 20W combo delivered. Zac took a nice mahi on his combo too:



Russell writes in, maybe interesting for those fishos who haven’t tried bent butt rods yet:


I have two of the 24kgs bent rods already & I love them, they are so much more fun to fish with than the heavy 24kgs stand-ups. They put the same amount of pressure on the fish with ½ the amount of hurt on your back,  I hope to end up with a full set of 5 one day. Regards Russell


Rod, 2-speed reel and line still $380 – if the dollar doesn’t drop any further:



Tasmania’s game fishing scene fascinates me. About five years ago I used to hunt on Flinders Island and, on the off days, we would book a half day of charter fishing. The boat was pretty basic and the gear was incredibly basic, from memory centre pin reels, and feather jigs. But the place was amazingly fishy and we always came back with a few nice kingfish. Even though there’s a lot of dirty weather at times it would be so good to investigate the sport fishing potential because, the last time we did it we never saw another boat the whole day. Which is why I am always so glad when Leo Miller sends in a report:


Have I got a report for you this week! Unfortunately not us doing the damage but some mates did very well and some unusual catches! Until this Sat the tuna had been quiet but a southerly blow got them going. The guys who dared 30knots on Sat got up to 20 SBT a boat (up to 30kg) and a heap of a alberts to 20kg. I fished a light line comp on Sunday; we got 4 albies to 12 kg and lost a SBT on 6 to seals. BUT….


A mate not in the comp got his 1st Jumbo SBT and the 1st of the season, pic one 100.65kg.


A mate who had just gone past me hooked up and landed pic two. A 35kg Butterfly Mackerel! <image003.jpg>Also several more SBT to 40kg and Albies to 20kg caught. Reports from the sth coast of tuna busting for 100km.I’m hoping to go to Mewstone Friday….PS the Tassie boys who drove from Hobart to Port S for the interclub are leading TR after 2 days! Cheers, Leo



Mate I really do dream of retirement and towing the CJ down to Eaglehawk for some hot SBT confrontations. But until that happens I must dream the dream via your great reports, so don’t stop sending them. Grant Zeitsman is a pretty well known name amongst keen fishos. He’s posted some amazing hard core jigging and popping videos like this under-one-minute cracker:



and is also generous enough to send regular reports from North Queensland for the enjoyment of our readers. This one’s a corker:



fishing has been pretty good when we have been able to get out. Cyclones and bad weather have not been kind to us. 1 launch since Christmas, but we made it count! (pics attached – I am the ugly bearded guy with the baby GT on my lap)



The GT have been frothing in the big tides and we certainly have made our big gear work. The Hestelow Jigs are still proving to be extremely successful on Spanish for us, my little modification is getting us a very high percentage of hook up / land ratio which I am chuffed about. The 100g is just sensational on our 50m shoals.




Greg Farrawell caught this 11 kg bar cod off Hat Head using live slimy for bait. The only slimy he had in the tank by the way.  Slimies seem the go for everything up here at the moment as it is the only bait the spotties and Spanish seem to like this year.


Thanks, Chris! Talking of The Hat (and I could talk about it all day) there’s a big run of Spanish up that way this year. Les Palmer:



Hi Andrew. I went for a run to Grassy Head yesterday chasing some Spanish.  They were a bit timid and did a lot of tail biting resulting in a lot of run, with little fun.  I ended up changing my rigs and used a 4/0 tail stinger connected to a 7/0 main pinned through the nose and managed to drag a few into the icebox via the wooden mallet pacifier. Stacks of bait in the bay as well.  Cheers, C U soon. Les Palmer...


They just look so good, don’t they? Alan Goggin from Coffs chasing them too. Glad you’re pleased with the chiller bag, cobber:



Hey Andy I thought you might like to see your mackerel bag being put to good use. It's perfect for keeping fish nice and fresh on the yak. Worked a treat on the Spanish I caught on Saturday morning!



Dang right I am and very grateful too, for your generous note. To tackle, and in the endless quest to keep our clients happy we have a free upgrade for those owning earlier style downriggers.  That is, a replacement spoked tensioner. This one has the same size internal thread, and it’s a one minute change over. It gives a substantial increase in drag pressure and also is a lot easier to tighten (or back off) when hands are wet, or you’re in a hurry. Best of all, it’s free – although it does cost a lot to post. So if you need one please add to an order requiring a postpack – for instance jigs, or braid? But f nothing else needed just send me an email (not PM or SMS) and we can send the tensioner to you for $20 including delivery:



Future customer Callum Muir has been wreaking havoc on Harbour bream. Proud dad Andy writes:


Gday Andy, first off your light spin combo has struck again, pictured is my 4 year old son Callum with his first legal Bream, caught on an unweighted prawn off Ermington jetty.


Impressive. Keep us up to date on his progress, Andy? Fishing with my two boys has delivered memories I’ll never forget. Although would you believe that, when we all went fishing last week, they got antsy about the new rain hats I bought for the crew? Kids are funny:



James Rapa took his new bride on a special honeymoon – jigging Kiwi kingfish. No words can describe my admiration for this man:



Hi Andrew, Here are a few pics of some fish me and my wife got in Nz Did two days fishing, first day for snapper, then went for kings. Caught some big snapper and some huge kings. "Best honeymoon ever I say"


Dave R, out sharking in Sydney Harbour. If the media found out where he’s fishing it would be front page news:



Hi mate - only one tonight but great sport on beach gear, took off well over 100m when I hooked it.


Nice. Gotta give that a try myself. Matt Summerhayes found a small shark too – this time, with his little lad:



Hi Andy, a photo of a little bull shark we caught at Jerusalem Bay in Cowan Creek on our houseboat holiday last weekend. There were plenty around, judging by the amount of live baits we had bitten off during the weekend. My son couldn’t wait to show the photo to his mates at school.


He! He won’t forget that quickly, Matt. Nice note from Peter Swindle in Noosa, who tells me our gear’s working well on both Spanish and spotties:



Andrew, caught this spotted mackerel off Sunshine Reef Noosa using downrigger and Head Start dead bait rig



Spotted mackerel and Spanish mackerel same trip


So good! You blokes have got me so fired up I’m heading to Coffs for a Spanish session myself on the weekend of 15th March. Closer to home and there’s been a crazy run of kingfish at Long Reef all through February. We took the boys’ friend Wendy out last week and even though I could see she was affected by seasickness she battled on, so as not to spoil the morning for everyone. More importantly, she’s named after one of my favourite Beach Boys songs:



The kings not always big, but we’ve been matching the tackle to their size:



Spoon hook rig has worked so well with frozen Cali squid, this season. The lead spoon makes the squid slow wobble like a bass lure plus they sink faster, at the Harbour markers. The stinger hook pins kingies that try to tear the squid’s head off and we all know how annoying it is, to find that’s happened. Plus they work well with 6 to 9 inch Sluggos and SPs. Ordered one thousand of these this week, they’ll be here in April. They work well with a big soft plastic too and they’ll have killer pricing, of course:



To current affairs, and thanks to all who sent this link about the hippy mudcrab thief who got pepper sprayed in his Kombi. I would have given my right arm to have been there for that one:




5. NSW Registration Statistics


Please click below to download the latest registration statistics for NSW.  For ease of reading, if printing this document, we recommend to do so on A3 size paper if your facilities allow.




•    The total number of new registrations have fallen below 10,000 in NSW in 2013 for the first time since we have been collecting the data.


•    For the second consecutive year, the number of new registrations decreased by 9.8% on the previous year.


•    The total number of licence holders is decreasing overall, indicating that existing licences are being lost at a greater level than new licences are coming into the market place.



Mark O'Brien The increased legislation regarding life jackets and financial penalties are making it too costly for some families to incorporate fishing/boating into their lifestyle. Plenty of people are doing it tough financially and the risk of costly fines is just too high.


Exactly, Mark. A typical NSW holiday weekend now starts with TV advertisements threatening loss of license, fines, no tolerance, holiday blitz, double demerit points etc. You load the family, hook up the boat trailer, and head up the Pacific Highway past a procession of highway patrol cars hidden behind bushes every few klicks. Around Kempsey, you’re slowed to 60 or even 40 kilometres per hour, in heavy queued traffic, because of road works – even though there are no road works. The real story is that the RMS are too lazy and arrogant to take the signs and barricades down over a weekend. You pass the ridiculous speed camera arrays in places decades overdue for a bypass – for instance, Urunga. You get to the mid north coast to find the council hasn’t dredged the Coffs boat ramp channel, the entrance to Hat Head creek, or the mouth of Back Creek at South West Rocks – meaning it’s a white knuckle launch and retrieve, restricted to one hour either side of the high tide. Traffic on the way back is a gridlocked nightmare, but when you get home there’s an ad on TV saying NSW is ‘the state of excitement.’ Stuart M has two gorgeous girls who love fishing with their dad. He’s an even tempered man but right now, he’s had enough:


Hi Andrew


Something for you about the RMS!!!


My 18 year old daughter Rachael wants to obtain her boating licence. I read up on the RMS website about the log book section and went to our local RMS office to pick up the boating hand book and log book including purchasing the boating safety course DVD.


The current rules has it listed that a vessel which is driven at more than 10 knots requires the skipper to hold a boat licence. A young adult licence holder (the under 16’s) can travel at 10 knots alone or in the presence of an adult licence holder they can travel at 20 knots


I asked the staff at the RMS office to clarify my question regarding the speed in knots that an adult person being taught how to drive a boat under the supervision of an experienced skipper can travel. I had to point out the rules above to the staff, when asking this question.


The reply was “a learner, under the supervision of an experienced skipper, can only travel at 10 knots, ie the same as anyone without a licence. At 10 knots and less you are unable to have the learner practice competency to power the boat onto the plane, trim the motor to achieve the best speed and fuel efficiency, make turns on the plane and cross coastal bars.


I think this is just totally ridiculous. I would be very disappointed if I paid a private boating company to undertake the on-water log book section and not have the hands-on experience of the above taught to my daughter.





Embarrassed to admit I wrote enthusiastically about the political changes we could expect in the weekly report, thereby misleading thousands of readers. Now we find Gay wakes up every morning with a single question in his head: ‘how can I make life more difficult and more expensive for NSW drivers and boaties today? Using his own favourite words, we need a ‘no-tolerance blitz’ on Gay’s government, at the March 2015 NSW election. In closing, could readers please accept an apology for the lack of reports recently? Frank V and many others write:


Hey Andrew long time reader of ur weekly reports n love your work. I was just wondering if your still doing it because I haven't received one In A few weeks??


Yes I am Frank, just swamped with everything that’s happening here. Grateful as always to those who contribute, and tight lines to all until next week,


Andrew Hestelow

Managing Director