Thursday 19 JULY 2012

Tackle specials and angling politics

from Downrigger Shop

G’day lads,


The excitement continues with big fish swarming off Sydney – if you’re lucky enough to find them. Stuart Adams and his girls hit Browns last week, and had themselves a wow of a time:

Hi Andrew, the Adams family went to Browns Mountain last Monday and we tried out the new electric reel for the first time! The reel works great and easy to use, just like Childs play, Lauren who is 13 just loved using it and had mastered the controls in no time. We bagged out on the Gem fish with 8 in total, was a great day out on the water.

Thanks, Stuart! I can’t believe how fast your girls are growing up, great to see they’re still fishing with Dad.

Spiro topped his beautiful SBT from last week with TWO, on Monday:

Spiro’s not given to lengthy descriptions, but I understand these two went 64 kilos each. And he found anew that a 64 kilo tuna won’t go into a 45 kilo tuna bag:

On Friday I fished with Chris Adams and Jay, on Chris’s Trailcraft:

The seas were filthy and we were the only boat out there drifting, had to pull the pin soon after arriving. This pic doesn’t show how bad conditions were:

I learn something new every trip, and on this one I thought Chris’ deepwater weights were a pretty smart idea:


On Monday I fished on Ed’s big HydraSport, with Peter G and Swoffa:


Beautiful weather and good currents but the fish were hard to find, an albacore on the troll being our only result through the day. Just on dark Ed hooked up on a cube, but after an hour of hard fighting a bronze whaler shark came to the boat instead of a blue fin:

As they always do, it gave a great fight – but not what we were after. With the third run to Browns in five days planned for Wednesday, I dragged my tired old frame out of bed, threw the kit into the back of the station wagon and headed on down, to Port Botany ramp. The plan was an (intentionally) tuna free day with Rod, Shane and Peter on their Trailcraft Head Space:

Out through Botany Heads, and as we headed east the south-westerly got stronger and stronger. We started the day with a few laps of Browns trolling plastic, and noticed a lot of mako activity- including two separate fish jumping. Assuming they were being attracted by gemfish we dropped to the bottom, and bagged out over a couple of hours:

Despite multiple shark hits, on hooked fish:


With the fish tank full of prime 6-8 kilo gemfish:


I was up for some mako payback, and dropped down a fillet on 24 kilo.


It basically went straight down a shark’s throat, and 20 minutes or so later he was boatside. Being of a manageable size the decision was made to take him. So that’s what we did:

Hit Browns again last Monday with great success. Very bumpy ride out there with a south-westerly still blowing but all settled down by mid morning. Bagged out on Gem fish within a few hours and couldn't raise a blue eye anywhere so headed home by about 11 30. Lots of boats out there again but the bottom bashing is red hot at present.


Brilliant! Thanks so much Chris, looks like you’ve got Browns sorted already.

Mark Way is en route to Bali, but still had time to send an update on the bite off Kiama:

Hot Bite still on Bluefin Tuna off Kiama

The "word has certainly got around" that the Hot Bite on Bluefin Tuna is still on off Kiama with fish ranging in 50-130kgs being anywhere between 400fa and 1000fa, depending on the day?



I’ve book marked it for game fishing updates.  I’m guessing it’s this pic from Mark’s mate in Bali, that got him on the move:

My friend Agus from Matahari Hotel Bali, caught this GT jigging at Padang Bay to-day.


If you haven’t seen it, this viral fishing video on Youtube is pretty crazy stuff. Can’t say why because that would spoil the surprise, but it’s definitely worth a look:

Rod stopped by two weeks ago and picked up the electric reel we used on Wednesday. But its first challenge was on the deep grounds, off Seal Rocks:

Hi andrew, I put my electric reel and rod to the test yesterday. We headed out to all marks out from Nelsons Bay. The seas where flat as with the swell under 1m and the winds 6 kts in the morning ….A great day. I landed 3 nice king fish on my new electric reel .I had a double hook up ,the new reel didn’t let me down. All the kingies weighed in around 6kg cheers rod.


Well done mate but if you’re going to fish that spot I think it’s time we got the jigging kit sorted.

Regular readers know I often put up pics from the old days, in the hope they will be interesting. Andy W has topped me decisively with this classic from 1975:

I thought I would share a photo with you of the early days of the SBT fishery off Portland. This photo of myself and my cousins with our prized catch off Portland, was taken sometime between 1974 and 1976. The boat was a kit from the USA and made from wet formed plywood by my uncle.


This craft ended up being my first boat when I bought it from him in 1990. It reminded me of how the size of the SBT fishery has changed since then and how involved the whole process has become these days. These fish were caught on white Smiths jigs and small Alvey reels on broomsticks. Regards Andrew


Pure gold, Andy. Flippo writes in with a cry for help:


Hi Andrew, I'm just wondering with your contacts and readers, would you know where to get hold of good quality Aluminium rod holders for my new boat(NOT EASY TO FIND).


Not at all champ, you need good ones for serious work. Coincidentally a client wrote to me today:


I was able to successfully locate the power reel in the bait board rod holder which is reasonably substantial but also the night before found how light duty and terrible quality the rod holders are on the side of my boat. They fell apart under the sheer weight of the rig. I can see why you are keen on people specially constructing a support bracket that is strong. I am now reviewing the best way to support the rig as you need something that is not only capable of taking the weight of the rig but also any stress produced by the catch.


On the positive we cast our line down about 450 M a number of times and the power reel was absolutely fabulous.


If anyone can recommend some solid rod holders, please do.

The container ship Bai Chay Bridge passed through a typhoon while travelling from Japan to Xiamen, China on June 20th 2012. 30-40 containers lost overboard, the ship diverted to HK for removal of damaged containers. Keep an eye out for the floaters, there should be some mahi on them already:

I’ve been missing Nambucca something awful and it doesn’t help, when Phil B aka Mister Cobia, sends through updates like this one:

Gday Andy having a funny snapper season up here, all the fish seem to be big with almost a complete absence of juveniles. I'm not complaining mind you! Here's a pic from this morning, I got 3 and mate got 1 - all quality fish. You better get back up here and have a go.....


August, I’m there! PS I think your fishing pants need some sewing, cobber. Hate to think of you scaring small children at the boat ramp.

 Wayne from Warringah FC writes in with a member’s sounder problem:


"Hi there, I used to be a member a few years ago and need to try and find someone that has a HDS Lowrance sounder. Mine is playing up and I’d like to try and get it on a boat to see if it works so I know if my transducer is stuffed. You can contact me on 0422 334 404. Cheers Leon"


This is what he needs, Wayne:

Adam L sent in an update on his mate Lee (the Sydney one):

Hi mate Lee Rayner again with a nice yellow fin off Sydney, 78.5kg this blokes on fire



Too right he is Adam, and thanks for keeping us updated on his successes.

How good do those big yellow sickles look! Dan Attard:

Hi Andrew, I found a photo of one of the tuna caught on a jig, unfortunately it wasn’t one of your jigs for this fish. We had your jig tied to another jigging rod but don’t have any photos of the fish caught on that one. I’m hoping to get out this weekend for a last go at them and I’ll be tying on one of your jigs and will definitely get a photo if I manage to catch one.


Please do, mate. Can’t say too much or I’ll end up with a filleting knife through the ribs, but there are kingies hitting jigs in 20 metres of water off Sydney, at the moment. Go get ‘em, and get me a pic or two too?

Our Jervis Bay reporter Dave T never lets readers down:

Hi Andrew, school holidays were good fishing for some like young Mickey with his catch while out with Simmo and his Dad. Other fishos had trouble getting out wide but in along the cliffs both north and south provided a bag full of bonito, morwong ,flathead and rock cod, and a few squid inside. Currumbene creek has proved a great spot for garfish and bream lately if you catch the right tide, and blackfish are biting for those fishing from the rocks near the wharf. Noticed your comments on the Evolution boat and have to agree. Had a test run on a lousy day 2 years ago and fell in love with its smooth riding capabilities and layout for the fisherman. Regards from sunny Jervis Bay, Dave and Kate


Sunny Jervis Bay, doesn’t that sound good.

Wayne B has a request for our Oman correspondent to get in touch:


Andrew, I will be in Muscat, Oman for a few days in August. I think you mentioned a contributor who is a keen fisherman in Muscat and looking for people to fish with. If so can you send me some contact details as I might see if he is available for a day out.


Hopefully the gentleman will respond Wayne, that sounds like an exotic fishing possibility.

Still overseas, and Robert writes in from North America:

A 10 lb chinook salmon that we caught(70 feet with downrigger) and filleted, caught in mid June/12 in Lake Ontario Canada 2.5 miles off of Bronte Ontario, Canada. Less than 30 min drive from Canada's largest city Toronto


Excellent, Robert! Please keep us updated, fascinating to see your tackle and techniques over there.

 To politics, and John Featherstone from Spear Fishing Downunder magazine has blown away the fraternity with his blistering condemnation of the National Parks Association. Les from SWR agrees:


Hi Andrew, could you add this video to your weekly newsletter please. I met John at the Grey Nurse Summit at Coffs Harbour earlier this year. He along with me was one of the 25 invited guests to the 'closed door' meeting and he is very passionate about the rights of rec fishers, as we all are. I found him to be very motivated and a very good speaker. I hope you don't mind that I have posted it on the Downrigger Facebook page.

Not at all Les, grateful for anything you care to share. As to John’s speech, that is just fantastic. You are one hell of a public speaker Featherstone, a perfect mix of passion and facts. Well done and very grateful for all you do for the fraternity. Dan from WeFish has an important update:


I spoke to Malcolm Poole, CEO of Recreational Fishing Alliance NSW, and he informs me that they have no problem with recreational anglers having to pay an extra fee to fish for SBT, he mentioned something along the lines of a tag per fish system where anglers would pre purchase tags to allow them to fish for SBT. So as I read all this, it appears we will no longer be able to target SBT or we will have to pay for the privilege, I have heard figures of $100 a tag but cannot confirm this as yet. I am interested in your opinion on this.



Daniel Stanilovic


I wrote to Malcolm, who responded as follows:


I want to make the ‘User Pays’ issue clear, as I noted to Daniel this COULD become reality at some point in the future as AFMA maintain its Full Cost Recovery status on the commercial fishing industry, this year increasing many commercial fishers fees and levies, some near doubled, and a few came down, as well there was increasing or decreasing yearly or multi year TACs and Quota.


If you can get them this worked up over an ad in The Australian, imagine if you campaigned against Burke in his seat of Watson? Attention, Greenies: next time you’re Photoshopping the baby faced BS artist onto a fish, don’t use a potato cod. A Stargazer would be way more appropriate:

Until next week, thanks so much to our readers - and especially, our contributors. Keep these great pics and stories coming in, they’re what makes this little report worth reading. Tight lines,


Andrew Hestelow

Managing Director