Thursday 16th May 2013

Tackle specials and angling politics

from Downrigger Shop

Duncan Forrest and crew downrig Jervis Bay:



More kingie action today off the DR- this one went about 93cm


Fantastic Duncan, May’s the time to be there. Here’s George’s king, from the same trip:



Well done lads, those are two great fish. We fished off Sydney and had a top morning, but didn’t see any of the size you boated.  First stop was the wreck at Vaucluse, where mixed messages came from the sounder. Bait, or some worthwhile fish there too?



We decided to drop anyway. This was determined to be a good call, when Jay hooked up hard:



and landed a solid keeper:



A couple more drifts and a double came aboard:



With three in the chiller bag the pressure was off, so we decided to head to The Peak in search of a big one. Can you imagine how many thousands of kingies have come from this dropoff over the years?



But that was a bad call. The leatherjackets on the Peak were swarming, we were lucky to get this jig back less its hook:



Here’s The Mark of the LJ. Check your terminal braid and leader every drop, when these pests are thick:



Back to where we started, and Jay hooked up on what we hoped was the mother of all kingies:



Quickly we realised this was no king being all weight, no power. Soon after a big wobbegong came aboard, and was released:



Top morning lads and looking forward to doing it all again, when the westerlies back off. Across the other side of the country, and Norm Midcalf reports on his WA adventure:



Hi Andrew I'm back from my trip to Exmouth. I had six wonderful days with my best mate on Allan Donalds fly and sport fishing charter, Fly fishing frontiers. Allan is a great guide who made every effort to maximise our fishing. Here are some pics.





Hi Andy, few of us went out last week off Sydney and tried a new spot we had been sounding out over the last 6 months.  Just when we had given up hope after 3 hours seeing nothing on the sounder and 6 drops we were about to troll on out to Browns, then the electrics went off.  We lost one but managed this nice Blue Eye that Mark is holding that went 28kg.



It had no hope of fitting in my 900mm cooler but It does fit snugly in your Tuna bag all iced down.






We fished all over both inshore and way offshore chasing whatever we might find.  There are a few pics attached.  Yellowfin tuna, a morning catch of teraglin, snapper and kingfish and of two spotted mackerel that we caught one morning.  There was a blue current raging out at the 12 mile.  This is where we caught a bunch of fish including hooking up to the marlin.



The spotted mackerel were biting our hooks off even when we fished with a wire trace, we did however catch a couple that were welcome one morning.  There were no slimy mackerel to be caught and used as live bait (which are dynamite on spotties) however they were taking dead baits and stripped baits. … Going in to get a heart pacemaker next week, but back up the coast chasing them again ASAP after the operation.


Mate you are an inspiration, thanks for this report. A shameless plug but by crikey one of our items worked well, the other night. The situation was that I really needed a fresh dead squid, for a story on bait rigging. The boat is on a marina for another week or so, so I popped down there with the suction light, and clamped it onto the side, pointing directly down into the water.



Note that the Carolyn Jane is moored in very shallow and often murky water. This spot is by no means a good one for squid fishing. Crew who get down there early often thrash the water to foam, but almost never catch anything. Anyway, I left the light running for half an hour while I went to visit my mother (this was on Sunday night, Mothers Day) then came back and put a cast into the pool of light around the boat stern. First cast, nothing. Second cast, a beautiful arrow squid, but also when I hooked up at least one other in the light beam took off like a rocket.



So the light was definitely attracting squid. If you need a squid fast just clamp one of these onto your outboard or hull, and connect using a cigarette lighter plug to a battery.





Hi Andrew

Hope all is well with you. I just got back on Saturday evening from a 6 day trip of which 4 days were fishing/spearing. I was the only one fishing and 5 mates were spearfishing so had the boat to myself pretty much all day…. we pulled up and the spearos were deployed and instantly "doggie" rang out as the guys saw packs of them lurking on the bottom (like cows was the one description)….


… by this time I was pretty shattered and my arms were still aching from the shark before when the skipper calls for another doggie, reluctantly I dropped the jig over again, half expecting nothing to happen, well once the jig hit the bottom I had about 4 seconds before all hell broke loose again and my drag was screaming, arms burning and legs shaking.




The first run must have lasted about 50m all along the bottom, how I never got bust off on the coral still amazes me but I survived the first run so I was in with a good chance. This fight lasted 20-25 minutes. I was so shattered I had to pull up with my right hand, then swap hands so I could wind down with my right hand to. by the end my fingers were cramping upand the sweat was pooring off my face and down my legs. It ran me into the deeper water around 70m and then into the shallows at 20m, how I never got sharked also puzzles me. Eventually colour was seen an a decent size doggie could be seen. My heart almost stopped when the first gaff shot was missed and the fish took another run, thankfully only a short one, the second shot hit the mark and the doggie was boated, 19.2 kilo or 42lbs



Just fantastic Kevin, those fish are the toughest things on fins. Client and top bloke Chris Adams is selling one of his boats, it looks like such a good deal one of our readers might be interested:
















I’m no expert, but if you’re in the market that’s gotta be worth a look. Ben Squire’s dad passed a major milestone:



Dads first jewie. 5kg off Treachery Beach on a Tailor fillet. Reckon he looks happy?


Hoo yeah. Who wouldn’t be, with a nice one like that? George was a few points north:



G,day Andrew, spent the weekend at Forster. Saturday was a bit wet, still managed to get some nice snapper a few trag and other stuff. Sunday the weather was very calm perhaps to calm we caught a few more snapper and some good sized pearl perch also buckets of sweep. I lost a few pearlies to sharks. 1 shark I hooked up on your 20W I fully locked up the drag and was nearly pulled overboard. Pretty good this carbontex. All n all the boys had a good weekend working hard risking our lives to catch a feed for our mothers and wives.



Unbelievable. A bunch of top blokes, giving up Mothers Day so they can catch a keeper net full of prime table fish for the little lady to gut, scale, fillet and cook. I’m getting’ misty, just thinking about your sacrifice. You are a SAINT, and don’t let anyone ever tell you different. Heading up to the Sanctuary Cove boat show next week, and taking Pocket Rocket to assess opinions from visitors. Please stop by and say hello at our stand, if you’re going? Here’s a pic of the boat on the roof of the station wagon, it looks like they were designed for each other.



Al’s been on the freshwater:



since the fishing is so (unsatisfactory) I went and filmed a cod fishing sesh on the murrumbidgee - awesome fun



Top stuff Al and look forward to viewing the finished DVD. Something special to finish the fishing section of this week’s email, being Gavin Rech’s amazing account of his kayaking in Fiji. Here’s excerpts:


… I rigged the big rod with a bibbed hardbody lure in the 120mm range, and the small rod with a slightly scaled down version and set out.



The serenity did not last long as the big 7-15kg rod bent and the 6000series shimano started screaming. Thankfully I had just pulled the small rod in and so did not have to worry about tangled lines.


The fish screamed out along the surface so I was not too concerned about being cut off in the reef but was still surprised at the beating he was giving my bigger outfit. Then he turned and came straight towards the yak and I reeled in as fast as I could to keep the tension on. He saw the yak and turned again, and I saw the big silver body just before he set out for another run. This time I got him back relatively quickly and after about 10min I had the leader with a 110cm 7kg Walu (Spanish Mackerel) hanging in the water. I don't carry a gaff as I release almost all my fish, but the guys at the resort had asked for fish so I pulled out my little lip grips and dragged him into the boat without losing any fingers.



… this thing was pulling hard. I had to grab the spool to slow him down at one stage and he was fighting very differently to the Spanish Mackerel from yesterday. Started pulling him in and then my heart stopped as I saw my first GT turn under the yak. With hands shaking I reached out with a gloved hand and grabbed him at the base of the tail. Unfortunately I use fingerless gloves, so I can feel the line for tying knots, and these bare fingers lined up with the very sharp fins of the GT to produce a serious cut and a very unhappy fish. Thankfully I didn't lose him and after a bit of lip grip jousting had him on the yak for a few pics. 65cm and out there to make someone else’s day.



Day4 Captain John had kindly offered to load the yak on the charter boat and take me out to the big drop 5km out, but the wind had picked up and so after waiting fruitlessly for it to die down I paddled out to the 1.2km reefs. Waves lapping over the side of the yak and paddling into the wind made things pretty unpleasant and soon curbed my enthusiasm. Back home empty handed and back to the pool with the binoculars and a beer. Even when the fishing is bad life is good in Fiji.



… as I turned the handle all hell broke loose. I had almost locked up the drag to ensure I was not dragged into the coral, but this thing was just ripping line off the reel. I tried to grab the spool but that resulted in the yak lurching to one side and almost capsized. I quickly let go and just sat there watching my line disappear off the reel. Thankfully he was pulling me down and into the deep. I glanced down at the sounder to see that I was now in 70m of water, then 100, 150, 200m, then the sounder went blank not being able to penetrate through the depths below. I had lost about two thirds of my line when he finally slowed down, but the 15kg rod was still bent to the point where the tip was sitting under the water. I jammed the butt of the rod onto the yak under my leg and started to slowly get some line back. I got about 30m of line back when he decided to run again and the rod slipped out from under my leg and hit me in the chest. Ouch! I clamped it under my arm and started pumping the rod in time with the swell to slowly get the fish up from what I estimated was about 150m below me.


Sharks don't fight this deep, sharks would have bitten through the leader. Please don't be a shark, please don't be a shark, was all I was thinking as the line was being slowly retrieved. The line was going pretty much straight down, so the first thing I saw was the leader and as I leant over saw the huge silver body of a dog tooth tuna below the yak. Shouting like a crazy man, I backed the drag off and grabbed the leader. As he came past the yak I grabbed the base on his tail and found that it was too big for one hand and so put the rod in the holder and grabbed with both. I dragged him up onto my lap and clamped him between my knees, still holding onto his tail with both hands in a crazy jujitsu/wrestling move.



As you can see from the picture of the knife jig, the weakest point in my tackle was the split ring that connected the hook to the jig. It had bent half open during the fight. I shudder to think of what would have happened if that drag was a little bit tighter or the fight a little longer. (Note: not one of ours. J )



He later weighed out at twenty nine point something so for the sake of storytelling you'll forgive me for rounding it up to 30kg.



Of course we’ll forgive you Gav, because that’s one of the best sportsfishing accounts I’ve read in a long, long time. Gavin stayed at Makaira Resort on Taveuni Island, and can’t recommend it highly enough. If anyone wants the whole report (which I can’t recommend too highly) send me an email and I’ll forward you the PDF. To politics and, as expected, a storm of fury over the NSW government’s plan to cut bag limits by at least fifty per cent. Wayne Tonkin:

Some of the changes that are currently in the proposal are as follows:


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 following link is to the discussion paper and I strongly recommend you read this




The next link is to the Fisheries webpage where you can obtain the survey and send in your submissions. It will be in your best interest to do so. Doing SOMETHING has more chance of SUCCEEDING, than doing NOTHING.



Cut off date is 31st July. Don't wait til then, you may well forget. DO IT NOW!!!


Wayne Tonkin


Sydney North Division FCA Inc.


Good on you Wayne, the effort you put in on behalf of our fraternity is just so appreciated. When Bruce Schumacher and Co are put out to pasture it’s blokes like you we’ll need, defending angler’s rights. Phil D:


Great read as always Andy, what a joke the new proposal for tighter bag limits is. As I write this there are schools of blackfish and bream in the harbour the likes which have to be seen to be believed. In some marinas the bream are so thick that they will accidentally bite any exposed flesh mistaking them for barnacles. They are like the pigeon of the sea, which I think is great but are certainly not suffering population pressure.


Of course they aren’t. Neither are flathead, gemfish, kingfish, mahi, spotted mackerel and the like. Nathan H:


Thanks for the report Andy and for raising the discussion paper. I have just completed my feedback on the website and thought I would share my closing comments.


“This paper has no science behind it and seems to achieve nothing in the majority of items raised. Is this a divorce and you have just decided half?


It seems clear to me all this is about is revenue. Revenue through fines by making more regulations that makes no sense and worried about lost revenue for fish that may be sold where the angler isn’t paying a commercial license. Why not actually deal with the 1% that are doing the wrong thing rather than subject the wider fishing community to a new 100 regulations of rubbish.


Well put. I guess collective guilt suits their agenda, Nathan? Just goes to show you what you get for doing the right thing. Thanks for sending feedback, here’s my response on the license fee survey:



Charles S:


We were talking about this at our fishing club meeting on Wednesday, we do a one week trip to Eden where we book 8 cabins. To go there for 2 kingies is not worth the trip. This year (due to the weather) we only had one day that some members got their bag, that’s fishing. For the reduced bag limits stick to Vic. Cheers Charles


Good point! What will this do to tourist locations and charter fishing businesses? Sean writes:


… the 5 to 2 reduction will hurt if it goes through. I can imagine seeing a lot of ‘upsizing’ going on, dead fish being slipped into the ocean once a bigger one comes on board…


By ‘upsizing’, he means that small but legal fish will be killed and kept in the hope that larger fish can subsequently be taken. So, in the case of deepwater fish like blue-eye cod, gemfish and hapuka, Fisheries propose a total limit of two fish. Gemfish are swarming in such numbers now that it’s not common to get two on your first drop. So the temptation will be, put two gemfish in the esky. Keep fishing, because you haven’t come 22 miles off shore to finish up in 20 minutes. Drop down again, and bring up two or three more gemfish. Keep the two biggest. Repeat… For sheer counterproductive stupidity, this would have to take the cake. Thankfully, it has happened four months out from the Federal election. So if, in the run up to polling day, you are told by some Liberal/National politician that they are pro angling, just tell him or her ‘that’s what Duncan Gay said.’ Please – don’t sit this one out, my friends. Go to the link provided by Wayne and HAVE YOUR SAY. Paul disputes the Crowdy Head boat ramp story, in last week’s report:



Paul Here from Taree, In response to your views on the upgrading of the Crowdy Head boat ramp and the possible misuse of funds. If you have a look at the date on the photo it was taken on the 13/3 2013 which is a Wednesday. Of course mid week there are going to be fewer people using the ramp as it is a coastal village and not a major town or city. I use it almost every weekend and the person that took the photo should come to the ramp before sun up on one of our fishing club weekends and actually see how much better the ramp is now compared to what is was 12 months ago. While the ramp was being upgraded which did need doing, there was only 2 ramps out of the 4 operating and the line up was out onto the road waiting for access to the ramp. The pontoon has made it a lot safer and easier to launch and retrieve boats clearing the launching ramp for other boat users. The actual carpark is across the road which can accommodate around 60 car and trailers so yes the ramp does get a fair bit of use and if people saw a before and after shot of the work that has been done there i think your opinions may change about the use of funding.


Fair enough Paul, and I’m glad to hear from you. But I reckon 600 grand is way too much to spend on such a quiet ramp, especially as it was pretty good already. Thanks once again to our readers and especially our contributors, without whom there would be no weekly report at all. Until next week,


Andrew Hestelow

Managing Director