Tuesday 08 JANUARY 2013

Tackle specials and angling politics

from Downrigger Shop

G’day lads,


When a report comes in from Lord Howe Island I’m always a bit nervous! Because if there’s anywhere our tackle is going to get a work out it’s there, where rough seas and big fish test gear to the limit. Which is why I was over the moon, to hear from Brad W:

Hey Andrew, thanks for sending out the jigs so quickly they are in high demand over here, us fishos and the kingies alike love them.  Sharks are blitzing them though, and the Head Start rigs are getting smashed by good fin. Attached are a few photos of decent kings and tuna from the last couple weeks, keep up the good deals and I’ll keep buying, Brad

Couldn't find any Marlin off Sydney on 3rd January with bugger all current, but that made dropping the bottom at Browns so much easier. The wind had backed off and we were hardly moving when we stopped at Browns.

Fresh Slimeys were the bait. Scored my first Hapuka on the first drop, a Blue Eye for crewman Dane on the second and a small Gemmie on the 3rd drop. Couldn't find anything else after that and we went back to towing lures.

Browns is easily fishable, but hit and miss in terms of what you catch, until the EAC hits it in the coming days.


I can't tell you how much we love having the electric to use to bring home a feed on a quiet day for pelagics - which is most days off Sydney.


Most people wouldn’t even try at this time of year, Bruce! Good on you for both giving it a go, and bringing home the bacon.

Our Man In JB Dave T has a deepwater report, too:


Friends who went out all did well on the kingfish, morwong, snapper flathead, and gummy sharks, but Shark Bait with Ron and Brett on board out fished them all. 1 bass groper, 9 blue eye trevalla and 10 deep sea perch caught at secret spot no 2 after trying the Drum and several other spots. Cheers from down south Dave and Kate


Thanks, Dave. Imagine how many fish have come across those cleaning tables!

I wrote a how-to article on deepwater fishing for this month’s Boat Mag, here’s a sample:



Despite the lack of current flow the water is blue and clear, which meant excitement for the unstoppable Al McGlashan, on Friday:

hey buddy had a cool experience today swimming with a thresher at north head - amazing fish which we released of course!

Sensational. I always thought they were a cold water species, but you learn something new every day in this caper.

Up at Newcastle Mitch Voyzey caught the fish of a lifetime, and was generous enough to send me pics and a report:

Hi Andy, thought you might like this story for your fishing report. I have one of your fish bags, but it was not big enough. lol Mitch


 I Hit the water at 7am flying solo and caught my live bait no problem, had about 20 in the livey tank in 20 minutes. I went to my secret spot No1 and done no good on the high tide, so I tried at secret spot No2 and done no good there. By this time it was more than half way past the run out tide and I was out of live bait. Went back to my live bait spot and could not catch a bait for love or money, I spent about an hour & 1/2 trying to catch bait and I only managed to put 4 in the tank, oh well that will have to do. Now not sure what to do, I had tried secret spot's 1 & 2 and done no good so I motored past them as well as secret spot No3 and pulled up anchor at secret spot No4. Spot No4 was not ideal with a 30knt southerly blowing the boat one way and the tide going the other way, but I was able to fish it with three lines, paying close attention to them i could keep them apart and in the zone. After about an hour or two I thought maybe I should pull the pin and go home. Just as I was about to pick up a rod and wind them in my smallest rod & reel started zzzzzinging, picked it up and in gear and off the fish went, line was screaming off the reel, in a matter of seconds I could see the bottom of the spool. Oh Oh!!!! I tightened the drag as much as I dared and it didn't slow down, with 2 meters of line left on the reel I had to palm the spool, hang on and hope. After what seemed an eternity of hanging on without the fish turning and hoping the hooks, knots, leader & main-line (20lb) would hold, the fish finally turned and I could get some line back. The fish had a total of 4 big runs and 6 small ones. Fishing on my own I couldn't pull up anchor and chase the fish, so I just had to fight it out. When it came to the surface, I was in shock, it was huge. Got it to side of the boat and lip gaffed it (no damage to the yummy flesh) and hauled it on board. 23.7kg (52.25lbs) gilled and gutted.


Such a top story, and such a great fish. Really grateful you shared it, Mitch!

Met up with Dave B from Anaconda Moore Park on Friday, fishing out of his beautiful new Stealth 4.2:

After some verbal arm twisting he agreed to send in a report on what he’s been catching lately, and it’s a beauty:

It's David from Moore Park Anaconda, I saw you at the Spit Bridge on your way back home from fishing in the boat this afternoon. Just thought I would give you a little report on what fish we did get.  There are a lot of salmon around right through Sydney harbour today everywhere we went the salmon where there. Mixed in with the salmon there are some good size trevally. Amongst them up to a 1.5kg but they are only caught on very small metals and soft plastics the smaller the better from there we went to darling harbour for some bream.

 there are some good fish amongst them up to the 1.2kg. From that we went back to middle harbour to see if we could get some snapper lots of pinkies around but there was some legal size fish with them

As for the George's river there are some good flathead around I'll send you the pick of the 90cm fish I got and let go. so there are some good fish around in sydney at the moment so get out there and wet a line good luck with the kings Andy talk soon


Thanks Dave! Congrats on that huge lizard and keep the reports coming?

Adam L wants to sell his beautiful 2007 Trophy 21, and asked if I could put a short ad in the report. No problem, Adam:



Hi andy, I was wondering if you could help me, I've got my boat up for sale if you know any one interested, it's 2007 trophy 2103cc. With a 175hp merc varado with low hours, Full alloy trailer. Lowrance hds10 sounder with structure scan. Teaco telescopic out riggers. Emasculate  Well maintained boat. $60000 Can call me 0424271039.  Adam Lovelee [adzlovelee@hotmail.com]


Nice rig, good luck selling it Adam.

Here in Sydney there’s been stacks of small kingfish around. Finding keepers hasn’t been easy but everyone’s enjoying the plentiful sub legals. I put Stuart onto his first on Thursday:

Duncan introduced his lads to kings on Sunday:

Hi Andy, we fished around the Harbour on the weekend, it was pretty quiet.  Tried Longy but the kings just weren't interested in livies.  Eventually cracked out the SP's and picked up about half a dozen rats.  Two of my eldest boys landed their first kings, jigging SP's on 8lb line (2kg rod i think! - check out the pics). I think i need another jigging stick, do you have any in stock?

Beautiful fish, aren’t they Duncan? At any size. Big range of jig rods available. Stop by any time that suits, weekends or after hours no problem.

Gary P’s hooked too:


Hey Andy, just a report on my first trip using the downrigger.  I went out from Norah Head this morning with few live yellowtail and some fresh squid. Set up downrigger with a live yellowtail and with in 1 minute I was hooked up. We ended up hooking up to 5 rat kings all about 60 cm. not bad way to get introduce to first time down rigging. Thanks again for all your help should of got into this down rigging stuff years ago.


He he he. Never too late Gary, and still lots of summertime left.

Trent writes:



G'day Andy, went out to Longy on Friday and had my first success. We got 9 kings (only one keeper), six which came from the downrigger. Five were off dead squid and the one keeper we got was from a yakka. I got the downrigger off you in September but it was the first time I have used it outside Pittwater so I don't feel too bad it's taken this long.


Genuinely glad to hear the downrigger’s delivering for you, Trent.

Matt was at Longy too:



Attached pic for you of interesting catch at LR yesterday…a 9kg Cuttlefish! It was very mad about coming aboard growling at me


was he missing a tentacle, i took one off mine as a bait! Bout the same size

Strewth! Father and son team Craig and Jordan were aboard my old tub at LR on Sunday too, however I could only find sub legals for them. After this one was boated, Craig announced it was the first fish he had EVER caught:

Really enjoyed having you both aboard. Sad story, from a good mate:

I have been really upset lately. I discovered that an air conditioning repair man (from Eastaway) working unsupervised in our roof/storage space knocked off two boxes of my collectable lures – containing my Flopys, Bellbrooks, Heddons (including a full set of wooden River Runts and the coach dog colour Deep Six) and my prized Burkeflex Big and Little Big Digs. I think that only Frank Prokop would know how distraught you are when faced by such a loss.


That’s a tragedy cobber, I know how long the collection took to assemble. Adding to the report as a warning to our readers.

Norm and Lionel hit the Nepean on Saturday. Fishing generally tough, but they managed to coax a couple out of the snags:

I took lonkers up the Nepean at Penrith today, bloody hard work without my electric. We fished for 3 hours from 5am I caught 3 one good one over 35cm didn’t measure it though. Lionel caught one and lost a good one to the snag it was hooked in. But thats bassin. I can't wait to get my Minn Kota back so I can better fish the shoreline and snags. Cheers mate have a great day. Water in the Nepean is an insane 27 degrees.

The north coast’s keenest fisho was out on the bluewater, over the weekend. I speak of Marc Sams:



Awesome day on the water off Ballina today (Saturday.) We caught this 13 kilo beauty on the 32 fathom line while trolling a metal jet head, pink skirt color.  Small black marlin caught in the same area by other boats. Mackerel haven't hit us yet.


WHAT.A.RIPPER. Gee you’re kicking some goals this summer, Marc.

The Daily Telegraph interviewed a chef on the topic of eating slimy mackerel, the primary species we use for live bait:

I put the snip up on our Facebook page thinking readers might be interested. As so often happens, a fascinating response:


Kevin Lithgow Andrew I can confirm try are great to eat. I got to Aussie seafood in Capalaba and buy their smoked slimy macs from Scotland. One of the best smoked fish you an have cause its fit heaps of omega 3 and tastes great. It's the only fish I buy to eat.

Daniel Stanilovic Never had Slimies but we have had yakkas many times on the heat bead BBQ, salt, pepper, garlic, parsley and some olive oil. The oily flesh is well suited to the heat bead method, I imagine the Slimies would be similar.

Dan W I've eaten them myself a stack of times and they're top notch. In Europe, particularly the UK, they're a deadset staple. Herb them and make sure they're bbq'd in a smokey environment. Sensational

Anthony Schubert Had fresh slimys a couple of times, and they don't taste too bad with some lemon n herbs, but there is tastier morsels in the ocean.

If someone knowledgeable about these things has a recipe for slimy mackerel which even an old Aussie boofhead like me could use, let’s hear it? I’ll give it a try and report back.

To politics, and New South Wales anglers fund the compliance (staff who issue penalties) section of NSW Fisheries. The money is paid out of our annual fishing license fees and it takes a big slice, $2.34m in 2012/13 alone:

The person who decides how that money is spent is Glenn Tritton, Director of Compliance.  Tritton spent thousands of (our) dollars on a big operation last month:



Glenn was pretty pleased with his big bust:


Yep. Ten officers, four days (on double time), six Murray Cod, five yabby traps. Move over, Elliot Ness. Glenn still wasn’t happy:



Right. Sorry we ignorant fishos let you down, Glenn. In the same month that Strikeforce Glenn was raiding fishing camps on the Lachlan, something perhaps more important was happening on the NSW north coast:

Tallow Creek at Byron Bay is your typical salt water lagoon, where sand builds up across the entrance and the water way only opens to the sea, after heavy rain. If the rain is moderately heavy, but not heavy enough to wash away the sand bar, rotting vegetation caused by a rise in creek level will denude the water of oxygen, causing a fish kill.

In the case of Tallow Creek, the Marine Park Authority (who controls management of the creek) decided the height of the sandbar across the creek mouth must be 1.8-2.2m before the creek could be opened. That height is both absurd and impractical. The parkies were repeatedly warned that their ridiculously high settings for the creek sand bar would prompt a tragedy sooner or later, in terms of low oxygen levels. And that’s exactly what happened in late December. From the local paper:


Secretary of the Byron Bay Deep Sea FC Dan Bode writes:


• A fish kill occurred sometime between the 26th and 28th December 2012 near the mouth of Tallow Creek at Byron Bay.


• This fish kill coincides with 24mm of rainfall during a 48 hour event period and some big rains on December 22.


• Thousands of dead fish and crustaceans across most local estuarine species have been recorded.


• We believe the Byron Bay community may have been exposed to a preventable fish kill within Cape Byron Marine Park.


Of course they were Dan, and the parkies know it. So what did they do? Accept responsibility, and learn from their error? Nope. They brought in Glen Tritton, to blame the locals:


Yeah, Glenn. Leaving fish to suffocate in de oxygenated water is so much better, than letting them swim out to sea:

Back in the Vietnam War a US army officer was reported as saying, ‘we had to destroy the village to save it.’ In the case of Marine Parks, they had to destroy Tallow Creek to preserve it. And while Tritton’s Rangers were securing six Murray cod and five yabby traps down south, over two thousand fish were suffocating in Tallow Creek up north. Thanks to Dan for bringing this sorry affair to our attention. Readers, please keep your eye out for similar situations in your travels? Because it’s only by publicising these situations that change can be effected.


A big story in the works next week, on the topic of National Parks mismanagement of the Lagger’s Point boat ramp at South West Rocks, and how they are putting the public at risk. Until then can I just say, thank you from the bottom of heart, to all the fishos who take the time to send in reports and pics, for the weekly email? That information benefits us all, so please - keep it coming. Tight lines my friends,


 Andrew Hestelow