Friday 17 August 2012

Tackle specials and angling politics

from Downrigger Shop

G’day lads,


Mitchell B was out at Browns on the same day we were, last week. After boating a nice blue eye cod:



He had a tough fight with a solid mako:


We were out filming and tagging with McGlash. One of the best shark days I can ever recall. McGlash from Strikezone got a good picture of a Mako on the trace after a long fight where I forgot the harness, which I can promise will never happen again.

Another shark then attacked and damaged the boat:


One shark seemed to like the taste of my trim tabs and damaged the hydraulics, jamming the trim tabs down which caused an interesting ride for the way home.




this pic is not clear however the shark is almost vertical and the damage  to the trim tabs and the cost is a it really liked the taste of my boat.


Whew! Never a dull moment at Browns, Mitchell.


A sad story from Chris Adams, who passed this accident in Sydney on the weekend:



Hi Andrew, was at work the other night and seen this poor boatie get his boat knocked straight off the trailer by a Holden Commodore, I really think he did not plan on going rock fishing nor did he catch any rock cod either, I hope you and your family are well kind regards




Nasty, but good on you for sharing Chris.

Greg writes, about his Browns experience:


Hi Andy, I was on the Excalibur with Warren on Wednesday and he has finally mastered the use of your 80w electric. We had problems initially estimating whether on bottom or not, due to backing the boat into the current/wind to hold position, but with the addition of the line counter we have minimised the hook up on the bottom and the loss of the sash weights hence the improvement in the catch rate. I think on the first three trips we shifted browns several degrees as the 200lb braid once snagged didn't want to break. What's your experience with landing a shark on the electric? I was thinking about chancing putting down a wire rig for the gems but wasn't sure how the reel would handle it if a shark connected.

Yep, the wind and drift makes things much harder. Glad to see the technique is sorted, and you bagged out. Eddie I has caught makos up to 140 kilograms (from memory) on his electric, which I'm assuming would have been on wire. But personally I keep the two separate. My usual plan out there is, bag out on gemfish as fast as possible (which isn't easy in August, when the makos swarm.) Once they're on ice go for other options; cubing, jigging for albacore, targeting sharks or whatever.

Steve has an inquiry about fishing Browns too.


Hi mate great report and a good feed of fish too. Just wondering what type of rig you’re using for them. Are you using wire or mono to the hook?


Steve, here’s my set up:


200-pound braid main line

two droppers of 150-pound mono off the main line, nice and short, about a foot long

two 3-way crane swivels, the type where a ring swivels all the way around the main body

size 8/0 to 10/0 circle hooks. With a 6 minute ride to the surface, you want a good hook set.

luminescent beads on top of each hook

baits: one piece of squid on top hook, one slimy mackerel head on bottom hook (both baits small), or one pilchard with hook through top of the skull. Keep the baits small to reduce drag, on the drop.



Weight: 4-pound lead tear drop sinker.

No wire, otherwise you'll have a mako on for hours! Remember that soft oily baits are the go because with the terrific pressure 400 metres down a pilchard creates its own berley trail, as oil is squeezed from its body.

The sharks were really thick on Wednesday. I just had a client visit to pick up ten lead weights, who told me they hooked seven bronze whalers (one nearly 250 kilos) that day. With the gemfish and blue eye swarming out wide, we have a top deal on the Daiwa Tanacom 750 reel, with matching rod:



We’re offering it on a bent butt rod, spooled with 500 metres of 80-pound braid, for $1050. We’ll add a sinker and rig so that all you need is the bait J. Plus, this combo can be mailed, so delivery’s not expensive. The big plus with the TB750 is its auto jigging program, and its light weight. Unlike the TB1000 it’s comfortable to use as a regular rod and reel. So after catching your bag limit of gemfish or blueye you can rig a jig and drop the jig down 250 metres or so. The auto jig function will work the jig back to the top. When a strike comes, disconnect the cable and fight the tuna in the normal way. Here’s Daiwa’s specs on the reel:


Line Capacity (Lb. Test / Yards):BRAID: 60/770, 80/550, 100/440

Programmable jigging function

Brass and Aluminium Bronze gearing

4 ball bearings

Daiwa’s unique Power Lever for instant control of winding speed and power

Digital readout measures line let out and distance retrieved from the bottom

Programmable Auto Stop feature stops winding when lure reaches the surface

Manual winding option

Convenient 12-16.8 Volts DC operation

Maximum winding power 22 kg. continuous/momentary 64 kg.

130m/min per minute winding speed in "speed" mode

Washable design with sealed electronics.


Email or call if you need for more details.

With installation of the new outboard motor on the Carolyn Jane delayed (all my fault) I was grateful to receive an invitation to fish Browns from Alex F and his father Avram, on Thursday.

Alex has kept me up to speed on the renovation progress of his 6-meter Stessl Tri-hull and having always wanted to fish in one of these, I was looking forward to a run.


The boat itself I bought 2nd hand off a bloke in Sydney and I’ve had to put a new engine on it (since the previous one used up over 2 litres per kilometer). Also I’ve resprayed the boat inside and out. I’ve spent over $35,000.00 on it. However after coming from the sydney boat show last weekend I feel pretty good, as boats 5.5m+ were in excess of $70,000.00. Also no tri-hulls to be seen. Also my boat is a deep V tri-hull so extra benefits to the stability include a softer ride. Now all I need is to catch some FISH!!!!

We launched at Roseville boat ramp in Sydney, my first visit there since the overhaul. I’m no expert and no engineer but what’s been done seems crazy, to me. A pontoon in the middle that reduces launching space from four regular lanes, to one regular and two very narrow lanes. Two steel bollards which are sure to bring tears of rage and an expensive repair bill to anyone slightly out of line, with their trailer reversing.

And of course, at the exit point, Rocky the sandstone block. He’s already covered in extensive dings and scrapes from boaties’ cars, and trailers:

I hope to discuss this shambles at the New South Wales Upper House inquiry into Public Land Management, later this year. So if you’ve got an opinion to share on the way the National Parks & Wildlife Service (mis)manage boat ramps within their domain, let me know. We launched and headed off with a solid westerly on the stern. But that didn’t worry us knowing that it was forecast to die off, through the middle of the afternoon.

On rounding South Head we were greeted by the sight of literally acres of salmon and bonito working inshore, so we stopped there for some fun.



Not long after, on the way to Browns, I noticed water bubbling up through the floor on the starboard side, just behind the steering position. It was quite serious – a little fountain probably 100mm high, at full speed. Assuming a crack had opened up in the hull on the inside of the sponson, the call was made to head back to the ramp. And that was quite a wrench mind you, because as we turned for home the wind dropped to five knots or below, and we could hear plenty of radio chatter about swarming gemfish and makos at the Mountain.

Back at the ramp we put the boat on the trailer and got underneath to assess the problem. Would you believe the apprentice who had installed the boat seats had put self tapping screws right through the hull, compromising its integrity? Here’s where the screw points came through:



That’s pretty unprofessional. The lads were very disappointed but there was no alternative, so they packed up and headed home to Newcastle.

 I was still hankering for a fish so shot home, grabbed my luderick gear and headed down to the Spit, in the last of the afternoon. Only small blackfish around, but I certainly enjoyed myself.

Still in Sydney, and Matt Reid has had to battle difficult weather, but still managed to find fish for his charter clients:

Hi Andy it has been a few weeks since I have sent in a report but this is what has been going on. A few weeks back I took Dan Selby from Sydney Sports Fishing out off Terrigal in some bad weather but we still got some nice Kings. I have been taking the kids out and they have been having a ball on the Salmon and the large amount of small snapper in the Harbour.

I have also been getting out to Browns when the weather permits and getting stuck into those large Gem fish out there,

I have been having great fun with clients on the big schools of Salmon just off Sydney. There is also lots of big squid around at the moment in all the normal spots throughout the Harbour.

The charters have been a bit quiet but i think things will pick up when the weather starts to warm up which won’t be long. We will chat Soon Andy and good Fishing.


Thanks champ, and may I compliment you on the improvement in picture quality? Top stuff! I mentioned to Matt that the salmon on Thursday were coughing up glassies (tiny transparent fish fry) and he sent through a pic of a great lure for those conditions. Matt rigs these on a paternoster with sinker below, so they’re castable:



Thanks Matt, will get some on Monday.

Les Palmer is now producing the Hat Head FC newsletter, and has sent an update:



Les, you’ve got a bad case of volunteeritis. Good on you, mate.



August 2012 News Letter

The Hat Head Fishing Club held its monthly fishing competition on the weekend of 4th and 5th of August. The nominations were down a bit given the huge seas they have been experiencing lately; however those who braved it were rewarded with some nice fish. (Pictures below). In the last week we have experienced 5.9 metre swells and up to 40 knot winds which makes it a bit hard getting outside. LES

John Leach says these little clips (available online from the USA) are the bees knees, for livebaiting. He generously mailed a sample pack:

Jason writes:


Just received some of the livebait clips. I contacted him direct and he will send at his single pack price to Australia if you order 4 packs. Come out to a bit over 20 bucks and uses Paypal. His website seems to be down at the moment.


Here's a close up, you open then close them on the bait:

Mick T says the white shark craziness in WA is getting out of hand:



Here’s the latest incident:



The whole shark thing over here is out of control. Mostly caused by the live export ships dumping dead sheep overboard on there way out of Freo. They should be made to hold the dead ones until way away from the coast.


Interesting take on things, Mick. Swimming in SW western Australia not as appealing as it once was.

Marc Sands from Ballina took advantage of a weather window, and went wide:


G’day Andrew, with the forecast looking fantastic on Wednesday and outright dangerous for the weekend, it was an easy decision to call the boss and arrange a day off work. There was no current and no leatherjackets. We tried a few drifts in a big hole around the 350-400 metre mark with no success. There was plenty of fish showing on the sounder but unfortunately the fish weren’t on the chew. We moved in closer to shore and again plenty of fish on the sounder but they weren’t feeding.

Time was running out and we only had two fish in the esky by 4.30pm. We checked the latest forecast and the bar report and we made a last minute decision to stay out till after dark. It was an easy decision really as we had food, warm clothing and beer on board. What else do you need for a bit of night fishing out on the continental shelf. By 5pm the sun was starting to set and the conditions were still looking good and our hopes were high the fish would come on the chew, as the sun settled for the night


We had moved a bit further out to sea by then and it was a good decision to do so. Right on cue the fish came on the bite just after 5pm.

The cod and snapper were mixed in together and biting their heads off. Our baits lasted less than 10 seconds before double hooks up were occurring.

A couple of drops and beers later we had plenty of fish on board (Bar Cod, Snapper and Nannygai). We crossed the Ballina bar at 7.30pm and in bed by 10pm. Mid week fishing sure does beat a day at work.  Now that the jackets have moved on our next trip will see some of your jigs put to work. Hoping to land some monster kingies, ambos and sambo on them.  Cheers, Marc


Beautiful, double hookup on reds!

I asked how Marc’s baby daughter was progressing and he responded with this classic:



My little girl is going great. She is growing so fast. She has great personality to with her big blue eyes. Attached is a picture of the fishing rod hanging in her room. When she is old enough to take the rod off the wall by herself she is allowed to come fishing with dad. I think her mum has already raised the rod a few inches higher since she was born.


He! You’re amazing, mate.


Two Zuker clone lures

Each six inches long, with heavy gauge stainless short shank trolling hook

Armour spring loops, crimped at both ends

Rigged on two metres of 100-pound mono

Price for two lures rigged and delivered, just $25. How’s that, for a top deal?


 To politics, and the big news this week is of course the super trawler.

Dale M writes:


Gday Andrew please see attached

Thanks Dale, and hope the protest goes well. But I must mention once again to be careful, when clicking online petitions. Labor Fisheries Minister, Bill Ludwig, is the Minister responsible for issuing the Margiris license. But the main petition is being run by Get Up, a Labor support group:

See the check mark? Everyone who signs the petition against the Labor-licensed trawler,

becomes a member of a Labor support group.  Andrew writes:


Hey Andrew,


I don't know what this society is coming to with our government allowing this supertrawler to fish our waters. Words cannot describe my frustrations, especially given the so called 'comittment' to preserving our marine ecosystems from this joke of a government. It seems as loud as the fishing community yells, our calls for action are falling on deaf ears.


While we worry ourselves into a frenzy about 18,000 tonnes of red bait and slimy mackerel, our next door neighbour – Papua New Guinea - is about to open a cannery which will process 130,000 tonnes of Yellowfin and Striped Tuna, each year:



Please see attached media release with regard to a Philippine and Thai consortium projected to employ 6,000 and process 380 metric tonnes of canned tuna a day while Federal Labor and the Greens close the marine environment to Australian fisherman and as a nation, we import in excess of 70% of our total seafood requirement.

Kind regards

Dean Logan


Now Thai and Filipino companies – having destroyed tuna stocks in their own waters – are  going to rape the common yellowfin and skipjack fishery, between Australia and New Guinea. Regular readers know I’ve got a bee in my bonnet on this topic, having been fed a steady diet of insider scoops on the incredible level of corruption in the New Guinea Fisheries Ministry. More on that next week. In closing, thanks to all who sent their spare gear to Bill, who lost his boat and tackle AND HOUSE, in a fire. Bill writes:


Hi Andrew please pass on me and my 4 boys extreme gratitude to all who help us back on the road to fishing again my boys had tears in their eyes when I read them this weeks news letter with the bit about us with the promises of unused fishing gear given  all these things will have such sentimental value to us more perhaps than the gear lost in the fire our postal address which is now a po box if you wish to put it in your column


Bill Bulkeley P.O Box 327

Castlemaine Victoria 3450


No problem at all Bill, we have some good hearted people reading this newsletter who are glad to help out a fellow fisho. Until next week, please keep these great reports and pictures coming in! Cheers,


Andrew Hestelow