Wednesday 01 May 2013

Tackle specials and angling politics

from Downrigger Shop

G’day lads,


I've learnt a lot from Rebecca Fazio in the short time we've been friends. Lure selection, tackle storage (lures in freshwater containers) and tiny braid to mono knots, where you can barely see the join. Attention to detail is her specialty and that paid off big time in the Tasmanian ABT, over the weekend:



Hi Andy, just returned home from the ABT Bream tournament on the Derwent River in Hobart on the weekend where I had a fantastic time. Such an amazing place to fish in Tasmania! There is something about being on the start line before sunup looking at the snow on the mountains, adrenaline pumping and massive bream waiting to strike your lure - the battle being between you and them with light line and gear. I was also able to fish at South Port for a day where I landed 2 PB's - 1.48kg and 1.52kg on 4lb line...can't wait to return next year!


Personal Best black Bream -Tip length 45cm, fork length 41cm


Congratulations Bec, you earned those big fish. Looks freezing down there! Closer to home, and lots of proud dads taking their lads onto the water and hooking up a few.  Robert Graham:



Hi Andy, had a fun day out on Friday with my 8yo boy Nicholas.  Hooked several fish on the jigs. Nick hooked his first kingy on a jig which I was pretty stoked about! Not huge fish but certainly gave the young bloke a workout! The 4500T worked well and the carbon drag washers are great! The pink jig was the flavour of the day.


Thank you! Because I am hitting that very same spot on Friday morning. Will tie on a pink jig, and please pass on my thanks to Nick for the recommendation.  Kieran Stratton takes his bonito fishing very seriously indeed. Dad says last weekend was a tough one, at Montague Island:



From our observation there were only three fish hooked, two bonito on the western side and a small hammerhead on the east. One of the bonnie catches was a charter boat and the other my young 8 year old Kieran.


Yep, I believe it. Things hot and cold everywhere, at the moment. A family story that’s not so happy:



A family made a miraculous escape after the driver of a Holden Commodore towing a newly acquired boat lost control. Picture: Frank Redward Source: The Daily Telegraph


A BABY seated in a capsule was one of two young girls who survived a crash in which a four-tonne boat landed on the roof of their car.


The family of four were towing the boat on the back of their Holden Commodore when the driver lost control heading down a hill on Range Rd, Dirty Creek, 40km north of Coffs Harbour, at 9.40am yesterday.


Yet more disaster:




And would you believe it one more, this time courtesy of a friend and regular reporter from Brisbane:



I had one mishap at the Shelf - put motor into reverse and it went bang thump and jumped about - could see nothing, but the boat started to vibrate. I looked at prop to see it bent - got to ramp and found the disk that sits above the prop gone, so obviously it vibrated loose and when the boat was in reverse it got sucked in and did the damage.



I could then only drive boat maximum speed 30kph to stop vibration.


Now mate to know you is to love you, but we won’t be able to do that much longer if you keep solo fishing the Shelf. Would you believe that while I’m typing up the report, another one has come in? Trailer boat off Portland Victoria, on Tuesday:




Isn’t this fantastic? Dan Goodhew, light jigging:



I was going to send through a pic of a bag out of large nannies but decided against it. Instead here’s some of the dumb stuff I do on the 4lb. Both fish were taken in 60m on a 30g jig. There was zero current that day so jig weight could be dropped right down.


Thanks, Dan. What a great pic, I’m popping that on the website. Send me your postal address to receive a free Downrigger polo shirt? Rocket had a magic trip off Forster:



Gidday Andrew  ' sorry about last email no pic sent . This is the super snapper caught last week also found this on my trip to Dora creek thought it be of some use ??


‘Of … use’??? Hoo yeah I’d kill for one like that, I really would. Note how the flat seas this autumn are helping fishos to get wide. Roger from Newcastle Forums sent in a trophy pic:



Nice cobe off Tomaree headland by mate Luke


Too right it is Rog and thanks for sending. Steggs took this pic of a Sydney bus ad:



Friday afternoon, at a North Sydney ad agency:


‘So Julian, how’s that ad for South Coast Tourism coming along - we don’t have to touch any icky fishies, do we?’


‘Just fabulous, René! I pinched a pic from a Florida boating forum and added a school of fish off Photobucket. Charged the NSW government $10,000, for image fees.’


‘Super!’ (Sound of Bacardi Breezers clinking.)


Nearly as silly as the ad above are Maritime Minister Duncan Gay’s lifejacket billboards:



Nice lifejackets, shame about the outboard. Mucho excitement at Downrigger HQ this week about two new developments. Firstly, the maiden voyage of Pocket Rocket, our new folding boat project. Here’s what she looked like before being put together:



Here’s what she looked like after assembly, and assembly didn’t take long at all:



And here’s a 10 second video of the little machine on the water. So excited about this project!



Next plan is to take the boat to the Sanctuary Cove Boat Show at the end of this month. Yep, Carolyn and I will be there and we are so excited about getting away for a break. Stop by, if you’re visiting?



Not in the little boat unfortunately, but I did have a great afternoon sesh last weekend. The motivation (not that much was needed) was a magazine story I’ve been asked to do, on how fishing can help the family budget. That’s something that’s rarely talked about and in many cases is unattainable anyway, but the request came from an editor who is sick and tired of seeing the Coles ads, ‘’Feed your family for under $10’:




Sounds great in theory, but the more you learn about Basa catfish from Vietnam, the less appealing the reality becomes. So the idea was feed your family for under $10 - but with prime Australian fresh fish. First of all, the kit. We have got just the thing for this caper and with a couple of mods at the business end it was not only easy to use, the results were fantastic too.



Our size 3000 reel has ten ball bearings making it super smooth - plus a decent sized handle and of course, carbontex drags. It is an absolute ripper, one of the items we get tons of positive feedback about. The intent was to keep the expense as low as possible so the rig was super simple. Knowing the wind would be on our back and knowing water depth was 3 metres meant I could dispense with a float. I used a fly fishing strike indicator straight through to 4-pound fluorocarbon, and a size 12 ringed Sneck.




Normally difficult to cast, but since we were on a wharf with the wind on our back, a piece of cake. Off to Taylors Point in Pittwater. First job was to get the burley going, and with very little current it took some time to work. In only three metres of water and with the sun behind your shoulder it was possible to see the luderick moving into the burley trail, then drift the bait back down to them. A while before things fired up but when it did they were hungry in a big way. First strike was a nice one but then it all came unglued, with a disgusting Doctor parasite from the blackfish’s throat still on the end of the hook:



But then a procession of keepers came onto the wharf, all of which were returned after a pic or two:



This visiting family of Brits were fascinated by the whole affair, and were over the moon when I asked their son to net one for me:



What a beautiful afternoon that was, reminding me so much of this wonderful country we live in, not that I need any reminding of that.  Got home and wouldn’t you know, my mate Fuzzy from Central Coast Bait and Tackle has caught a bigger one:



Aren’t they fantastic? Tough little fighters, widely distributed, good on the plate if managed properly and available all year round. What more can you ask? Give it a try if you haven’t already, and let me know how you go. Peter Webster from the excellent The Boat Mag sends in a killer offer, for our readers:


I was wondering if you'd be good enough to run a 'live link' to our April issue - the one with the Whyalla Snapper champs in it - as I think a lot of your readers will enjoy this issue, and it gives them a chance to go straight into the magazine without cards, numbers and bulldust which we have just about eliminated now.


Of course I would! Checked it out from cover to cover, you’re producing a top read Peter:



To politics, and some very angry emails received from readers this week. Phil B writes:


Thought I’d shoot you an email about the NPWS at South West Rocks over the school holidays. I just spent 2 weeks at SWR and once again the NPWS decided on closing the Laggers Point ramp due to the concerns of bathers in the vicinity of the ramp (kids like to play on the ramp) and the noise pollution of the boats in the morning. At least that was the official word from a NPWS officer at a coffee shop! I camped at the Horseshoe Bay Caravan Park and when conditions were right I, as well as all other campers had to contend with the noise of boats heading out to sea at the break of dawn. But not one person in the camp complained as we all accepted that was the price we had to pay for camping there. If anything the noise from the boats leaving back creek would be much more noisy than the boats at Laggers Point, as many boats were hitting bottom on the shallow bar crossing and their outboards revved when they did. Where as at Laggers Point boats can simply idle out directly into the sea without any excess revving of engines. Similarly with the campers at the South West Rocks Tourist Park, adjacent to the back creek boat ramp, I’m sure they have to contend with the same “noise pollution” as the campers at Laggers Point, the only difference is that NPWS don’t control that land and cannot lock it up!


It absolutely stinks and I sympathise with you Phil. While you’re contending with that insanity, NSW Maritime Minister Duncan Gray just wasted a few hundred grand putting another pontoon down the middle of Crowdy Head boat ramp. Here’s Crowdy on a typical busy day, the pontoon should really speed up launching and retrieving:



I’m guessing some MP has a holiday house there? Stuart has had enough too:


I take my family to South West Rocks (SWR) fishing in the school holidays.  The fish cleaning table is just disgusting at the SWR Macleay River boat ramp! I believe the fish cleaning table may have been built by the locals using a cement fibrous material as the table top, hope it is not asbestos. I have never ever seen the local Council at the site to even give the table a hygienic clean and the timber planks that are attached to the top of the table are "past their used by date". We travel over 500kms just to fish out of SWR and because of the poor condition of the fish cleaning tables, we now bring our own telfon boards 2 off(1m x 300cm) so that my daughters (17 and 14 year), can clean fish in a hygienic manner.


This last school holidays we went for a drive to Hat Head and saw the really good fish cleaning tables, 3 in total with a covered roof to provide shade etc and the sign at the site advised that it was funded from the fishing licences. It is great that these facilities have been provided at Had Head for the small local community.


SWR has a much larger population with the very poor facilities being utilised by a much larger fishing community than Hat Head. It would be of great benefit to have such a versatile facility at the SWR boat ramp to cater for this larger number of fishing people, both locals and holiday makers, who use this area on a regular basis. More fishing boats would use the SWR boat ramp on a daily basis, as it has deeper water and better ramp conditions than at Hat Head creek.


Well argued Stu. Let’s check back in at Crowdy Head, where all the money’s been spent:



Wow, packed out today. Lucky the boat ramp funding wasn’t wasted on some sleepy little village like Coffs Harbour, or Port Macquarie. Gary S, on the ramp at Swansea Bridge:


Hi Andy, regarding your last newsletter item: Trashed a good 3-4  lane ramp by taking away one lane and plonked a pontoon right through the middle of the small bay we have to manoeuvre in. Not real good when there is big trailer boats launching and retrieving in numbers. And it is the only “big boat” ramp on the sea side of Swansea bridge. Yes the pontoon is a great idea but why not run it around the side extremities of the bay and leave us some room to move.


Last weekend for something different I launched at the Taplin Park Boat Ramp near the Gladesville Bridge. Same deal with the finger wharf pontoon taking up one lane of the four lane ramp. This design that reduces ramp capacity appears to be the new standard in ramp "improvements". Perhaps this has been adopted because it can be applied to any four lane ramp without the need to custom engineer a side pontoon to suit each site? Lazy engineering at the expense of function, if it is.


Well mate the government keeps telling us about scarce allocation of limited resources and how we all have to tighten our belts. Excuse me, Gary! Looks like things are overheating, at crowded Crowdy Head ramp:



False alarm, that’s the photographer’s car. I wish he wouldn’t block the lane like that! Although … I guess it doesn’t really matter if the lane is blocked.


If you think boat ramp mismanagement has got our readers upset, brace yourself for feedback on the proposed new bag limits in NSW. Once every couple of years the NSW government does something so arrogant and so counterproductive that fishos across the board rise up, in collective rage. Traditionally – because they were in for so long – dictatorial decisions like marine parks, boat ramp closures and fishing license waste were the proviso of Labor, and their Green supporters. But this time it’s the Liberal/National Party. I speak of course of the intention to reduce bag limits for fish across the board by more than 50%. Here’s their plan:



Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

By Bill Brown

ABC South East Radio


Recreational fishers in NSW are invited to comment on proposed changes to fishing rules. The proposed new rules cover bag limits, size limits and fishing methods. The NSW Department of Primary Industries says the proposals are based upon community feedback and advice from expert anglers. With approximately one million people enjoying recreational fishing the department says the rules are about providing a sustainable fish stock.


The intention of the rules is said to support the opportunity for recreational fishers to catch and eat fresh fish while protecting stocks by prohibiting the sale of their catch or bartering the catch for in-kind services.


The Department is working with the Aboriginal Fishing Advisory Council to meet the needs of Aboriginal cultural fishers.


The proposed rules include a general reduction in the bag limit from 20 to 10 for species that do not have a prescribed bag limit.


The proposed rules for specific saltwater species include:


Reduce the recreational bag limit from 20 to 10 for flathead (other than Dusky Flathead), Yellowfin and Black Bream, Tarwhine, Tailor, Trevallies, Luderick, and Blue Swimmer Crabs.


Reduce the bag limit from 10 to 5 for Dusky Flathead, Snapper, Mahi Mahi, Grey Morwong, Jackass Morwong.


Reduce the bag limit from 5 to 2 for Yellowtail Kingfish, Cobia, Blue-eye Trevalla, Banded Rockcod, Hapuku, Bass Groper, Gemfish, Spanish Mackerel and Spotted Mackerel, Wahoo, Mangrove Jack, Teraglin.


The proposed rules for specific freshwater species include extending the spawning closure for Australian Bass and Estuary Perch in all NSW waters from 3 months to a 4 month period from 1 May to 31 August to protect early migrating bass from excessive fishing pressure.


Never have I seen our correspondents so justifiably furious at a government edict. I will edit out the bad language but here’s a cross section of feedback from just the last 24 hours:


I think it should have 95% of the recommendations thrown in the bloody bin. I am preparing a submission for you all as a reference. As an ex pro fisho, I can see the things like trag, mackeral, mahi mahi being biased towards the commercial sector. This is typical of the work from Talbot, Steff and co. *** the amateurs, leave them a pittance. I wouldnt launch my boat for two trag. Or ten flathead. Ten trevally- what a joke. Very fecund fish and no commercial quota- gimme a *** break.


… we down in the south west are pi**ed as well, just had the murray cray bulls** thrown at us, some parts we agree on but some not at all. We just had our quarterly meeting with our fishing association last Sunday. We are having a special meeting next week about this. We too will be bringing out a big stick.


I live 3 hours from the coast. When I do go for a saltwater fish - I do aim to fill my freezer. Flathead, Bream, Blackfish, Leather Jackets, Snapper, etc. Fish that do freeze well. So no Blurters, tailor, Salmon. There is NOTHING WRONG with taking a feed of fish for you, your family and your friends. The sooner we accept that about what we do the better. Starlo & Bushy have a saying "limit your kill, don't kill your limit" words to live by. The bag limits are not broken at the moment - why would we try and "fix" them? Enforce the rules we have now more harshly by all means - but for God's sake, fishing at its core is a consumptive exercise, we need to remember that and embrace it. If we let them keep cutting the bag limits every few years we will soon find fishing becoming a fading tradition. This would be a travesty!


Interesting… and alarming. Hardly be worth the fuel!


Kingfish limit down to two, deep water species combined bag limit down to two, snapper limit reduced to 5, trag bag limit reduced to two, tuna bag limit reduced to two…. All the others I can probably live with, but these will hurt!



Andrew, have you seen this discussion paper?


I have just started to read the document and I find difficulty in the reductions which are being proposed.  We need to have DPI provide the scientific evidence for the justification of the reductions.


I have an email from Alan Ludd (Fisheries) where he advises that Fisheries do not have statistics on species such as Flathead, Bream, Luderick, Mulloway and Whiting that live with ICOLL’s.


I don’t believe that fishing clubs have been surveyed to ascertain catches of specific species for club and divisional competitions. I know that the fishing club which I have been a member for in excess of 20 years meets every Wednesday evening and as part of the format asks members who has been fishing and what have they caught. These details are recorded in a log.  Probably the Greens provided the details to DPI.


I know that I will be writing to DPI and furthermore encouraging my fishing club to pursue the matter.



Hi Andrew, I received this from the fisheries yesterday, and thought you might want to pass it around to our fellow fishers. If they go to the fisheries web they can also have their say about the the new fishing rule proposal. Cheers George.


Hi Andrew,

Thanks for the great reading content as always, constantly managing to spark that jealous streak in all of us unable to hit the water when the mood takes us.

I am sure you would be all over this, however just in case, I thought I would send it along due to the significant potential impact.


The proposed changes to bag limits, which in some cases are less than half current limits, will hit everyone who goes fishing with the plan of putting a few fish in the freezer for those days and weeks when you just can't get out. Sorry if you are already well aware of this, as I don't mean to waste any of your time.



Thank you, David. Please send in anything that is of interest, or even may be of interest. It helps us to build a picture of the issues we face as anglers and every piece of feedback is important. Just the fact that you feel annoyed enough to write about something is important. Note that I have deleted all the feedback that starts with, ‘personally I’ve never fished for trag so I don’t care if ….’ And ’20 flathead is too many, what is a flathead anyway?’ We either stand or fall TOGETHER, lads.


Let’s review.  A 50-60% reduction in bag limits on fish (like kingfish, gemfish and flathead) whose population is growing spectacularly. Bag limits reduced by more than half, with no justification whatsoever. This is one hundred percent a Federal election issue, for NSW fishos. State Coalition MPs like Duncan Gay and Andrew Stoner made clear promises to the angling fraternity ahead of the State election, and they have broken those promises one by one. So as well as having your say on the Fisheries website link above, keep this outrage in mind when you vote on September 14th.






No rego Needs blue slip Minor rust Needs front bumper Needs boot lock $1,300 neg


‘Minor rust.’ Yep, you gotta watch out for that, in a 1986 model. Until next week my friends, thanks so much for reading and even more, for contributing. Cheers,


Andrew Hestelow

Managing Director