Wednesday 12th June 2013

Tackle specials and angling politics

from Downrigger Shop

With westerlies arriving and temperatures dropping, fishing is switching to winter species.

The long weekend just past saw calm weather, meaning clients could fish well offshore.

Peter G fished Sydney wide on Monday, and came back with these corkers:



Daddy best, momma bear and baby bear.  16, 8, and 3kgs


Delicious! Well done, Pete. Mark with a big one:



Hi Andrew, Mark was pleased with his first Blue eye trevalla in 350m off the Gold Coast. Cheers Brendan


I’ll bet he was! Thanks, Brendan. Rod Walmsley put two big boys onto two big boys:



Chris W, at Brown’s Mountain:



Hi Andrew, hit Browns today, great conditions and an easy run out there. Fish are far from thick at the moment, but still managed to boat this nice blue eye on the electric reel. Hopefully a good sign of things to come!


Dang right and glad the electric is still delivering the goods for you, Chris! Our 80 wide still just $1200, including 1000m of 200-pound colour change braid, rigs and sinker:



Call or email for a free DVD on deepwater fishing?


Adrian Hawes says it wasn’t plain sailing for everyone out there, on Monday:



Here are some pictures of the boat that went under at (Rose Bay) ramp.

Not sure of the exact story, but from what I was told they cracked the hull coming back in.



That’s just sad. Carolyn and I will be at the Melbourne Boat Show all this weekend:



Leaving today and looking forward to it very much. Stop by and say hello, if you’re visiting?


Anthony Raco is a bloke I’ve always admired, not just for his great fishing DVDs but for his contribution to game fishing, and his personal angling success. He fished the Dave Irvine competition at Coffs Harbour over the long weekend:



Our biggest problem was trying to stay concentrated on Snapper! The Kingfish, Spanish Mackerel, Cobia and Pearlies getting caught up there were very impressive. But we remained focussed and ending up finding some nice reds.



We ended up in 19th place out of the 80 odd boats and Vince landing in 20th place out of the 180 Anglers.

We ended up with 10 Reds over the 3 days up to 74cm.


Congratulations to both you and Vince, Anthony! Probably time to pop the Simrad jackets in the wardrobe, though.




Hi Andrew, Skipper Scott Johnson aboard Doongara Fishing & Charters takes a 93kg Bluefin on a Tsutomu 8” Glow Invert. The fish was taken at the infamous Hippolyte Rock at Eaglehawk Neck, Tasmania.



Also, My better half Marelize was back on the action last week at Portland showing the lads how to haul in the Bluefin.. We tried a few new skirt colour schemes with our lures to try and ‘Match the Hatch’ as we were skirting at sea, and the closer we got to the actual baitfish which were inside the Tuna guts the more hits we got! In both Lure Colour, Skirts, and Size.



And finally, 2-1/2 year old Ethan took his first trip out on the boat this week, and although his technique needs improvement, his enthusiasm was beautiful as he posed in front of a few squirts.


Delightful! Glad to see your lures catching good SBT, Peter.


Nick writes from Cairns sending a mouth watering pic of his sounder screen over the top of a pinnacle:





Hi Andrew, got out a couple of weeks ago from near Cairns QLD, pretty slow trip for up here with a westerly wind changing the game, made it a tough day so plenty of moving spots. Here's my deckie with a solid reef jack, they're mangrove jacks that move out onto the reef at a certain size then become much bigger. We ended up with a mixed bag of trout, jacks, spangled emperor and large mouth nannygai.



Another shot of my deckie with a nice trout he managed to pull out of the coral...literally. See coral attached to the line.



Strange day, on the reef before first light and plenty of macks on the sounder but as soon as daybreak came they'd vanished, tried the usual haunts and nothing, then later in the arvo went over this spot, the long strips on the left are macks and the dots/blobs are mainly baitfish with some larger reefies (from experience fishing these sort of images in the past) but I must have been talking/tired as I marked the spot but completely ignored the macks.. oh well that's a spot for another day when the westerly wind is here (rarely) but still a nice little ledge from around 32m heading up into a small pinnacle so should always hold bait/fish.


So good Nick! Please keep these killer updates coming, they’re extra welcome in the chilly south.


Every Friday we run a competition on the Facebook page, where a pic of some obscure fish is posted and readers have to nominate species and often, location. The prize is a highly sought after Downrigger Shop polo shirt. Last weeks’ winner Winston very pleased, with his:



Hi Andy, just want to say thanks for the t-shirt. As you can see its a perfect fit. Winston


You are very welcome indeed. Just wish I had one to fit Junior Fisho.


R U 4REEL Charters having a top winter:



Well winter has well and truly arrived with some of the mornings being quite chilly when we cross the bar and head out. The whales have started their annual northerly migration and we are starting to see a few on our charters.

The catches have been a mixed bag of reef fish with a few cobia and the odd kingfish finding their way into our trips.



We are looking forward to a fishy winter season with plenty of fish to keep us happy - here are some pics from the last few charters



Thanks Rod, please keep these updates coming.


Jay found some big calamari in the Harbour:



Hey mate, tried our luck in the harbour for squid and managed 13 nice cals. Salt and pepper squid went down an absolute treat!


Wow what a tasty haul. We kicked off with a squid session on Thursday too Jay, but had a hard time finding them. So around the front and in under Macquarie Light. We set up with a whole Californian squid on the downrigger, and another on a spoon hook:



Both were deadly and produced a constant procession of strikes, until we had gone through the whole packet of squid. Only downside, the kingfish and bonito were all small:



Although at one point Mitch spotted a 1m + specimen chasing a hooked juvenile. After a lot of fun but no real challenge we headed out the Wreck, which is where things started to happen. Down went the jigs and to cut a long story short, we got a triple hook up:



and then a quadruple hook up, with three out of four being keepers:



Green toad over the wreck. These pests can snip through wire but thankfully are quite easy to avoid, because they're in the upper ten metres of the water column and mark well, on the sounder.



Hooked up on a wobbegong. I managed to lift him one full line colour off the bottom, then remembered what happened with Jay’s one two weeks ago and busted him off intentionally:



Great morning with good weather and plenty of keepers. On return we put the boat on the trailer and delivered it to Shannons for a service, can’t believe I’ve done 340 hours on the new outboard already.


UK drag washer client Roy fishes semi-professionally and is sponsored by tackle companies over there. He’s found our carbontex drag material to be perfect, for his purpose:





Hello Andrew, I had another night at the lake,at 3am one of my deli's (delkim alarm) starting screaming, after a good hard fight , giving the Carbontex washers a good workout as I was fishing with braid, I managed to land this 35lb 11oz common carp!


Beautiful, Roy! Genuinely glad it’s been such a success for you. George writes with a request for pre-cut carbontex washers. Perfect timing, we are just about to offer those:



Hi Andy how much for these

5 off

23.8mm OD

9.3mm ID

0.4mm thick

George, Rooty Hill RSL Fishing Club


$3 each George, and that includes pre-greasing and delivery. So for five washers ready to go straight into your reel cost is $15. Here’s how it works. Firstly, take some tired old reel which you wouldn’t trust on an important trip, in this case a 6500 Baitrunner. Undo the drag tensioner, and remove the spool:



Remove the drag stack and lay it out in the order of assembly. It’s likely a little circlip will need to be removed with the point of a screwdriver. That’s easy. In this Baitrunner the tired old washers are absolutely filthy:



Measure the outside diameter of the fibre or felt washers you want to replace:



Then measure the inside diameter.



Then check the thickness of the washer. Most spinning reels use 1.0mm, most bait casting reels 0.5mm.



Then, send me an email. ‘Andy, I need four drag washers 1.0mm thick 20mm OD, 10mm ID. Send me a Paypal request for $12, or call me for credit card details. Cheers, Katrina H.’’ If we get your order by 2.00PM, we should be able to send same day.




To politics, and NSW Fisheries Minister Katrina ‘Bodgy Hodgy’ Hodgkinson has hit a new low, this week. Regular readers will remember that, in the last month alone, Bodgy has announced plans to cut bag limits by 50% across the board; open unrestricted trawling for flathead off NSW, and then reversed that decision in 24 hours when fishos went ballistic. She has now topped herself with something so stupid as to beggar belief.


The story is that, back in 1983, a marine reserve was put in place for the northern part of Sydney Harbour. You can bet this arrangement would have been put in place in exactly the same way these things always happen – the local pressure group and the decision making committee stacked with greenies and bureaucrats, who seek no input whatsoever from the people who are affected. Namely, we fishermen.



In this case, it was decided the fishing could only be for ‘fish with fins’. Meaning that squid were not allowed to be taken. Squid. The most numerous marine species, with a biomass said to be five times that of humans. For thirty years, this ridiculous ban on squid fishing in north Harbour has been ignored. But now NSW Fisheries are enforcing the ban. Stopping boats in Middle Harbour over the long weekend just passed and warning them off with a pamphlet showing the boundaries. Peter G, on Saturday:


Mate, just been inspected by fisheries and told not to take squid in north harbour reserve in the future.




Long weekends mean NSW Fisheries officers are out and about with two objectives in mind - scoring as much overtime dollars as possible, in the easiest way possible  And of course, NSW fishing license fees paid for their double (or maybe, triple) time:





And yet NSW Fisheries do nothing. As we saw last week, unlicensed commercial fishermen have become so bold under Bodgy Hodgy they advertise fish to order, on Gumtree:





Mal Poole from the Rec Fishing Alliance goes in to bat for us, on the ridiculous north Harbour squid fishing ban.

Stick this in your rod holder and jig it, Fisheries:




As discussed with you last week, and Chris Clarke NSWDPI Compliance two weeks ago (appreciate the weekend advice Chris), it appears the whole Intertidal and Aquatic Reserve issue and line fishing verses collecting will need to be studied and simplified somewhat from our initial investigations, I gather now this maybe part on the bigger picture with Marine Estate Management Authority MEMA state wide strategy, in the longer term.


In this case ‘Within the reserve, line fishing is allowed only for fish with fins.’ is a complete worry with the additional wording that has been used, particularly when you use the definition of fish deployed in the FM Act 1994.  Squid are a classified under the Act as a fish, this is where it should end, allowing squid to be taken legally by line and lure within the aquatic reserve area .


The area has always been popular for recreational fishers gathering fresh live bait before heading to sea, where bait schools and squid maybe harder to locate when needed.  We are also of the opinion that there would be minimal impact within the food chain for other aquatic animals who also share this aquatic reserve area.


Thus we are unsure as to why the words ‘with fins’ have been included, would you please arrange for a review of the current restrictions and the removal of the additional words ‘with fins’ from any reference material or publications used in NSWDPI or the Office of Environment and Heritage OEH Aquatic Reserves or Intertidal management unless there is sufficient long term or recent sound scientific evidence indications that require th will e specific protection of squid or any other form of polychaetes, or ‘fish without fins’.


We understand that many of these rules have been in place for several decades, and there has been no recent changes.  However what has been occurring in recent weeks is that NSWDPI Compliance staff have been engaged in an angler awareness raising campaign, which has highlighted the issue and raised concerns throughout the fishing community. It is strongly suggested that this program should remain in place with minimal enforcement of the rule until a review is completed and a decision made to correct the miss leading wording.


The Alliance looks forward to a speedy result and outcome in terms of rectifying this issue, and being engaged in the longer broader prospects for NSW in terms of various risk assessments with the MEMA.


Good on you Mal, really grateful for all the heavy lifting you’re doing lately. I contacted Bruce Schumacher, Chairman of the NSW Recreational Fishing and Advisory Council for the last 27 years, and asked him why he signed off on the 50% cut to bag limits.

His response was less than encouraging:



Bruce, it might be time to consider passing the baton on? Mal Poole a good choice.  Hawkesbury pro fisho Steve just as fed up with Bodgy Hodgy’s priorities as the rest of us are:


Hi Andrew just reading report on bag limits without science. We in the commercial sector have written to the Minister to get her to explain proposed restrictions without science. If we get no reply the Ombudsman will step in. Maybe that might be a path the recreational sector could also try to go down? Halving bag limits in my opinion is ludicrous. I fish recreationally with my daughter and am disgusted with our current Minister. Just a thought Andrew kind regards Stephen


Good on you, Steve. I note that out of the blue a bunch of online pics have suddenly appeared, prompting a new round in the old rec versus pro fisho wars. How convenient. A week can’t go past without some bad news for boaties, too:



Send a quick email, even if you’re not personally affected? Because maybe one day some other fisho will do the same thing, for you.


Thanks for reading and double special thanks to our contributors for their reports and pics. Keep em coming! Cheers,


Andrew Hestelow

Managing Director