Wednesday 23 MAY 2012

Tackle specials and angling politics

from Downrigger Shop

G’day all,


Check out all the shallow inshore reef! We got out early in a freezing westerly, so I borrowed some kit from Phil until things warmed up. We started working soft plastics over the kelp, and were also lucky enough to score three live pike on the sabiki rig. They were downrigged on Phil’s homemade rigger, as we drifted across the grounds:

First strike was a spotted mackerel.

These beautiful speedsters taste delicious:

He went straight into the mackerel chiller bag:

Another one followed soon after, not surprising considering the 24.1 degree water temperature. Even though the season’s coming to a close, these fish will stay as long as temp, clarity and bait numbers are to their liking:

Phils’ snapper technique is to cast soft plastics ahead of the line of drift, using multiple rods. Most fish hit on the drop. That’s what happened with this chunky 8-pounder:

Back in nice and early (just the way I like it!), and out for another run on Sunday morning. Tackle testing is always a part of these trips and I was keen to see whether our 4000 size rod and reel combo could cut the mustard, on a solid snapper:

After last months’ 20-pound carp I knew the reel was up to it, but not so confident about the rod. Phil uses an Exceler 4000 as his primary snapper reel, and has caught some monsters on it. That’s the same size as our model. But he told me snapper can be a real handful when they get their heads down in the kelp. The only way to find out was to hook one up, and give it a try. Thanks to some good intel from one of Phil’s mates he decided to fish baits rather than SPs, on Sunday. That tactic paid off, with some nice reds:

Silly old me, not used to snapper at all, grabbed one by the lower jaw to secure it. The red bit down on my thumb like a pair of multigrips! As we drifted along Phil had a sabiki out, which wasn’t doing much, but eventually produced a little frog mouthed pilchard. That was rigged up and sent out on the rod and reel combo I was so keen to test:

It wasn’t long until the tip wrenched downwards, and the spool was spinning like a turbine blade. But this fish ran too hard and too fast, to be a snapper.

Here’s a short clip:

At one point so much string was out we couldn’t see where the line touched the water. Thirty minutes or so later a nice 22-pound northern bluefin tuna came aboard. As far as I’m concerned our light combo has passed the test! These fish go hard:


At $58, spooled with your choice of 6, 12 or 30-pound colour change braid,

including delivery anywhere in Oz, you can’t go wrong.

The handle feels so good:

One of Phil’s mates fishing nearby scored one, too:


That’s Smoky Cape, in the background. On the way back to Sydney we stopped in at Camden Haven to drop some rods into a client, and I wandered across to the boat ramp for a sticky beak. A bloke with a big Quintrex centre console:

….. was cleaning a solid bar cod and was very pleased with himself:


This pic isn’t fair to the bar cod, it looked around the 8-10 kilo mark. Thanks to Sean and Phil for a wonderful three days and looking forward to doing it all again soon or better, inviting you lads out for a run on my boat down here.

Closer to home, Matt Reid has been scoring some kings for his clients, despite tough conditions:

Hi Andy

have been out on the water in some great conditions and some bad conditions over the last two weeks but still getting some nice fish. The Kings are still holding in the Harbour just with one day getting over 20 fish and then 4 or 5 the next with plenty of big Salmon cruising around.

There have been plenty of small Jewfish as well. The squid have been easy with some very large ones.



Jigging the 12 mile should start soon and i can't wait.


Matty Reid





I can’t wait either, champ. Spending all weekend working on the boat and hoping to have her ready for the first jigging sesh of the season next week.



Darryl fished off Sydney too:


…… the pic of the cuttle doesn't do it justice. Caught on a 7" Gulp in tandoori chicken off the northern beaches. One of three ultra-large specimens caught that day. Est. 8kg.

Blimey what a brute of a thing. The cuttle’s quite large, too! Captain Roscoe from MV Signa at Kiama is a top bloke and someone I’m proud to call a friend. He wrote in to tell me that:



Wishing you all the best with the radio show Ross, and if you need some more giveaway tackle items just let me know.

Claire from Coral Sea Charters in Queensland sent in

a heart warming story:

Hi Andrew, Norm from Sydney has been coming out on the Elizabeth E II for years. He celebrated his 90th birthday on board during a seven day charter in 2010 (the plaque in the photo was presented to him) and this year, he pulled in this mackerel, on his hand line at 92 years. Norm is still one of the first up, fishing and getting amongst it. Great effort. Regards, Claire


I’ll tell you what’s a great effort – you guys from Coral Sea Charters organising that great plaque, for Norm. By crikey I hope I’m still catching Spaniards at 92 years of age!

Claire, I hope you’re not too affected by Labor’s Lockups, later this year? Received this update from Damon and Co at Nomad Sportsfishing, this morning:


Marion Reef August 2012 - Last Chance to Visit



Hi Andrew


If you have ever thought about fishing at Marion Reef in the Coral Sea, now is the time to make it happen. Our Marion Reef trips in August 2012 are your last chance ever to fish at Marion Reef - Why?


Marion Reef, in the Outer Coral Sea, is scheduled to be closed to all fishing as part of the Australian Federal Government's rezoning of the Coral Sea. It looks likely this will be the only reef that we visit that will be affected at this stage, with the closure taking effect late in 2012.

Here’s the Australian Tackle Association CEO Allan Hansard (on right) posing with Environment Minister Tony Burke – the so-and-so who’s locking up Marion and countless other reefs, for his Green coalition partners:


Pretty chummy. Thanks for ‘representing’ us fishos Allan, and just be grateful you’re not judged on results.

 From Brisbane, Trevor sent in this pic of his Ausfish mate with a biggie from the deep:



Beautiful, imagine how good the steaks would taste. Thanks, amigo.

Sam ordered some Head Starts:


Hi Andrew, I have been using Head Start trolling heads for years. I bought 3 of them from a shop in Townsville about 10 years ago. I lost 1, broke the beaded chain on another and have fished with my last one for a number of years.  I have caught countless spanish mackerel with them on a downrigger when everything else has shut down. I had not been able to find the swimming type since I first bought them about 10 years ago. I notice on your site you have a picture of a beaded trace. Do you sell them? Regards,





Sam Pic is of a small cobia caught by my son on a Head Start trolling jig.





The little fellow looks as pleased as punch with his nice cobe, Sam.

As to the beaded trace, we have 175-pound ones in stock at all times. Good for marlin as well as everything else.

Victor from Forster NSW writes in with some positive criticism:


I read some of your e newsletters and enjoy them. I might point out they may need a little editing. The last one included a Fisher reporting he caught an octopus from the Ocean Rocks which is an offence. He also added he lost some Tackle to a shark, yes I know it happens but as you know Fishers are facing a lot of pressure on the Shark front. Photos of cleaned fish with blood streaming down the carcass is not a great look. Photos of fresh whole fish can always be presented as though the fish were released. I have been fishing for over 50 years I catch fish to eat but I believe if the sport of fishing is to survive we have to get rid of the macho kill look. If not Fishers will go the same way as hunters.


All understood and very grateful for your opinion, Victor. I’m sure many of our readers would agree with you however I must mention that I doubt that self-censorship to placate the greenies will soften their harsh opinion, of our fraternity. Personal experience shows the answer to that one is no, but your point of view is a valid one and I’ll keep it in mind when deciding what pics go in the report. Thanks sincerely for writing.


 Further north, and Mark Day from Kiama GFC fished the Top End:

Just spent a few days up in Darwin fishing with my mate ex-Bermagui Ron "Chainsaw" Becker. As I had never been to Darwin, it was an exciting and new adventure. Darwin is an easy place to get around and caters for fisherman, general tourists and backpackers. Nearly every local has a boat! And Barra fishing is all the go of course. The scenery, wildlife, Barra n Crocs certainly make a trip an adventure to remember.




First day out we went to Corroboree Billabong where Saratoga and smaller Barra plus heaps of wildlife inhabit the fresh water. We missed a small barra and only stayed for 4 hours generally looking around as our trip to South Alligator river approx 220 Kms from Darwin was the next day.



The first day on the Alligator river saw us into some nice Barra on the Rock Bar with the best going 87cm and a bit of spinning up river had some small Barra. In the arvo with the tide on the rise we went up a narrow creek and practically into fresh water to get some great action out of the Shimano Squidgies with Ronny's 90cm that would have gone several kilos bigger than the Rock bar's 87cm!




Top result Mark, and very grateful for these great pics and report.

Closer to home, and isn’t it great when a tough day on the water suddenly turns around?

Paul D writes:



Went out on a mate’s boat last weekend where we launched from the Hawkesbury to fish around Long Reef without success. This was a first for me to fish around northern Sydney waters as I live down south of Sydney. It was proving to be a fruitless day but never the less, was still happy to wet a line after a hard weeks grind. On the way back to the boat ramp just after dark, we decided to have a crack at the notorious Flint & Steel. It was about the turn of the tide when we came across a hole and anchored down to hook up on a little Jewie. The day wasn’t so bad after all.



Hard to disagree Paul, looking at those steaks sizzling away over charcoal! Congratulations, and thanks for sending.


Very nice rig indeed, Herb.

On the topic of SBT we spooled one of our 20W lever drags for a Melbourne customer today. Different setup to usual, we put 500m of colour change 50-pound braid underneath, and 100m of 50-pound mono on top. Total, 600 metres of 50:


Friend and client Peter G writes, at the end of last week:


Hi Andy, with the upcoming weekend weather, I thought I would reach out and find out what is around Sydney.  My understanding is that it is a bit early for YFT but there are still kings around.  Do you know if it is worth the trip to Browns for Gemfish/Blue Eye yet? Also as a matter of interest, Trailerboat just completed a video test of my rig that you may like.  We had a great day filming it a few weeks back.



Double WOW. Sheesh that big Noble of yours looks good. If you’re ever looking for crew, Peter?? (Grovel, grovel.)

 Talking about trailerboats, sorry to hear of one bloke’s misfortune at the Bermagui tuna comp last weekend:

A nice plate boat, supposedly they left the bungs out? Sounds kinda weird, if anyone has the full story please get in touch. Raised for repairs by a crane:


That’s just sad. Also sad to hear this afternoon that Al McGlashan has been injured, reportedly not too seriously. Mate we are thinking of you, and hoping for a quick recovery.

To politics, and Sydney’s Daily Telegraph reported on a lost net drifting around the Hawkesbury. The story’s written by Malcolm Holland, meaning maybe 50% of it would be true:


What a beat up. Grey nurse sharks are a worldwide species, ranging across both north and southern hemispheres, and known as sand tiger sharks elsewhere. In the USA they're a popular angling target. They are under no threat whatsoever, either here or anywhere else - despite the claims of various dive operators. There's every chance the shark died of natural causes and its head was removed by a passing local, so the jaws could be souvenired. Fitz writes from WA:


Please be advised that a formation meeting to establish a WA division of the Shooters and Fishers Party will be held on Saturday the 23rd June 2012 commencing at 1pm. The venue is the Esplanade Hotel Fremantle and the meeting will be attended by the honourable Robert Borsak MLC.


It is intended at this meeting a steering committee be elected to proceed with the incorporation of the state division. Once the division has sufficient members application will be made with the Western Australian Electoral Commission to register the division as a political party. Once registered the committee will scrutinise and nominate candidates for seats in the upper house in time for next year’s election.


You may not feel to be politically minded, and all you want to do is catch fish, and enjoy a bit of shooting and off road driving and stay under the radar. Unfortunately to protect the freedom to continue these recreational freedoms we can no longer ignore our opponents who are driving political agendas that will undermine the activities that you enjoy. The only way to counter those that oppose your way of life is to have parliamentary representation.


It is very important to the future of outdoor interests in WA that you attend and urge you to encourage as many interested people who may be potential members as you can to be at the meeting. We look forward to seeing you there .




RIC MAZZA                         MOB  0427168178


Well that is the best news I’ve had all week!

Lads, lots of ambitious people tell us they’ll represent us in Canberra, they’ll fight for our rights, they’ll stop the greenies locking us out of our traditional grounds. If you want to know who’s effective, check who the greenies fear?


A quick hint – it’s not Allan Hansard, and his Fishing Trade Association. From a National Parks Association bulletin, this week:

  President’s Appeal: Defend our National Parks

There is an imminent threat to our national parks, this time from a parliamentary inquiry examining the creation of national parks, including a specific review of how NPA’s iconic River Red Gum National Parks were created. The Chair of the inquiry, Mr. Robert Brown MLC, of the Shooters and Fishers Party, is widely known to be lobbying the government for a moratorium on new national parks, following his success in gaining government support for his bill to ban new marine parks.

This is an urgent issue for NPA and our supporters. We must promote the value of our national parks and fight this threat.


Shooters and Fishers have got the greenies rattled, which is why I support them.  If you can make it, please be at the hotel in Fremantle this Saturday afternoon? If you have fisho friends in WA, please forward this email, or give them a call to let them know the meeting’s on. Don’t sit on your hands or leave it to someone else to do your fighting for you. That’s not the Australian way.


Thanks for reading and to all our contributors and supporters, please – keep the news and pics coming in! Cheers,