Tuesday 04 DECEMBER 2012

Tackle specials and angling politics

from Downrigger Shop

G’day lads, some submarines around, at Jervis Bay. Mark Way (President of Kiama GFC) writes:


Attached is 17kg Kingy caught by Trent Killmore fishing on Sondal Benson's boat at Banks.


Thanks Mark. If that doesn’t get the team inspired, nothing will!


Marc found gold off Ballina:

G'day Andrew, we headed out a couple of weeks ago with the aim of heading down to a reef we haven’t visited in nearly three years. It’s a great reef system as it has lots of pinnacles that hold kingies and also good ground for pearlies etc. We had our bases covered as we were loaded with the appropriate tackle, jigs, plastics, live and dead bait.  The fish were showing on the sounder as you can see in the picture but weren’t on the chew.

They wouldn’t take jigs or plastics so down went the live bait. Instant hook up as a result. After a good fight on a 50 pound outfight a nice kingie was landed.

We persevered with the 2.5knot drift speed for a while until a school of dollies distracted us from our targeted a species. Unfortunately they didn’t hang around for long but we managed to catch a nice one for the bbq (smoked dollie with sweet chilli, coconut cream and mango sauce). We are hoping the forecast holds true so we can do it all again next week.  Cheers, Marc


Well done mate, fishing 80m down in a 2.5 knot current isn’t easy. Great to hear from you as always, and thanks for sending.

Kurt O passed a big milestone last weekend:



You deserve that sort of success, given how hard you fish.

Rod from Armidale has a boat query:


I am researching to buy a boat around 5.75 mt. If you happen to hear of anything?? The other day you were talking about differences between Merc 4 stroke and Merc Optimax but I forget what you said. What is your opinion of the Optimax please Andy. Rod


Well mate I am no expert by any means, but the change from my 175HP Yamaha to the 135HP Optimax was incredible. The big Yamaha (shown below, in the Whitsundays) required a back up 200 litre tank, for long range trips. So, 400 litres all up:

First trip with the new 135HP Optimax outboard was in 2002 to the Starcke River, about 110 klicks north of Cooktown. A wild place I can’t recommend too highly. Dingoes on the beach, big groper in the river which can be hand fed, and fantastic GT fishing at the Pethebridge Islets not far offshore:


I had arranged with one of the blokes who were driving in to our camp to bring a 200 litre drum of fuel. As it turned out, none of it was needed. Changing from the Yamaha 175 to the Optimax 135 cut fuel consumption by more than 50%. That’s an incredible drop in fuel usage and if you’re putting a lot of hours on your outboard, there’s few issues more important.

After 1400 hours on the Opti I can’t recommend them too highly. The new 4-stroke is an improvement over the Opti in terms of fuel economy, weight, reliability, and service costs. What I have found personally with things like boats, outboards and rifles is, get something a little more powerful than you think you’ll need. Because there’s every chance you’ll grow, to exploit its capabilities. On the topic of fuel I was experimenting around on Sunday, and discovered 3 x 20L K Mart jerrycans fit perfectly in a deep fish tub. Might use this idea for long runs up north, rather than re installing the auxiliary tank:

Some more pics coming in from last weekend’s White Sands Tournament, at Jervis Bay:

Lots of alby and some small y/f/tuna on sat/sunday 25/26/nov.


You are UNSTOPPABLE. Keep us up to speed on your adventures Kevin, wherever they happen.

Dave T has a JB albie update too:

Hi Andrew, the boys on Trust in Dreams had a great day out bringing in Albacore and yellow fin. The weather for once was kind to them and the fish were biting well although they had to cover a long distance up the coast to find them. Happy days at the bay, Regards from down south Dave and Kate


Thanks Dave, so grateful for your regular reports.



While we’re talking about tuna, here’s Rossco's southern bluefin tuna lures. He told me that, when rigged like this, they can be trolled at up to 12 knots - meaning you cover a lot more ground:

Kerry Wilson is a bloke many fishos will know. Super keen fisho, kayaker, and brilliant photographer, whenever he puts a report up on the forums everyone asks what kind of camera he uses. J After I made a shocking mess of the drybox photographs he took pity on me and said I could bring them over. Here’s how they look, when someone who knows what he’s doing is behind the shutter. Keep the reels you don’t use out of the sun and spray:


These are lockable with a padlock, for security with items like ammunition:

I fit all the boat safety gear in one: backup VHF, v-sheet, flares, EPIRB, extinguisher, first aid kit too. All nice & dry until I need it:

They hold two of our camping lights snugly, too:


Matt S went to the Swains and made a good call, when he took a stack of our jigs along:

Hi Andrew, a couple of pictures from my trip to Swains reef earlier in the month, the amberjacks loved your jigs and go hard when hooked. One of the deckies was impressed with their performance (and the price!) as well so I left him a couple and your contact details.



Thanks Matt, the weather looks fantastic

Kevin L sent a video link. If you want to see a rod under brutal load, click below:


Hi Andrew, this is the last bit of footage from my trip to Thailand. It was an estimated 300-350 kilo Thresher shark, the biggest I’ve ever seen. Topper is still in his boxers from being woken up, just on first light, by screaming drag and us charging around the boat to clear lines.



Amazing. What brand of rod, Kev?

 Last week’s pic of John’s nice black jewfish prompted a trip down memory lane, from Stewart:



I caught this Black Jewfish in the Gulf of Carpentaria in 1983, I was a green deck hand on a prawn trawler. We stopped for repairs and through the by-catch over board. This fish started swimming below the boat at around 10 meters, I baited a hand line and put the bait in front of the fishes nose! The fish looked up, a slowly took a big gulp on the bait. A reasonable fight ensued, luckily I had gloves on.


Blimey. A shame you were a zillion miles from certified scales Stewart, or you might just be in the record books.

Marcus from Germany sent in a pic of a big carp – and some cheeky commentary:



Hello Andrew, Australia is a large wonderfull Land, but the Fishes are very small...-)) Look at the Photo one of my biggest Carp with 20,5 Kilos.



I gotta admit Marcus, that one’s a monster. Keep in mind we have some whopper carp Downunder, if you’re wondering where to spend your next holiday?

Our man on the spot in South West Rocks has excelled himself with yet another top report:


Between endless southerlies and then raging NE’s over the past couple of weeks, it’s been difficult to get out for a fish. Conditions early this week were near perfect, so we decided to get out and give it a go. I love this transition time when the water warms, the first rumours of inshore marlin start and reports of mackerel and wahoo action at Coffs start filtering through.


Hooked up to a kingie on fly off Green Island… magic.

So we decided to troll a couple of lures down towards Fish Rock, and with the water a beautiful 23.7 degrees the anticipation was high. We managed 3 good bonito and half a dozen small kingies (one of fly rod) on our way down. We decided to have a crack a little wider and drop a jig. No kingie action but did manage a nice little jewie on a jig, then Terry hit one on bait.


Little jewie nailed one of Andy’s jigs, intended for a kingie. This is the second jewie I’ve nailed on the same jig, they must like silver!

There was plenty of action on the bottom with truck-loads of Nannygai and a mixed bag of a dozen keepers of snapper, morwong, trevally and flathead.



On the return home there was so much bird action we tossed a couple of lures over and just wide of Fish Rock. Within a couple of minutes Terry’s rod screamed, a little black marlin danced a few times before throwing the Rapala X-Rap we were pulling. Just as well really, would have been a struggle on the small gear we were using, and I can only assume it’s pretty rare to nail a marlin on a small treble hook… But what a great way to finish a session.


Exactly. Sean, you mentioned raging NEs?

From Marc:



Look what happens to the water temp off Ballina after 4 days of strong northerlies - 6 degree temp drop


Amazing. 25 degrees on the 30th November, under 19 degrees on the 3rd of December. You’d think that a northerly would push warm water south, but that’s not the case.

To politics, and this week NSW Greens MP Cate Fear Merchant is hosting a thank you at Parliament House, to the PEW funded greenie who provided the bodgie science for Labor’s marine parks. How shifty does he look?:


o    When we used Roseville last Saturday I noticed that there was quite a difference in the height of the pontoons. They used to be below gunwale height which made it easier getting into and out of the boat. They need to be dropped about 10 - 15 cms. They should also get rid of the cleats on the ramp pontoon which are nearest to the ramp, and only have cleats at the end of the ramp. This could ease congestion / ramp rage during summer. Last suggestion have a ranger on duty during peak times to direct traffic and stop people getting their boats ready in the turning bay or on the ramp. Cheers


Some more feedback via email:

XXX rang to say his grandson nearly got into a punch-up at Roseville this week. Some tool couldn't get his motor to start so left his boat tied up to the inside (probably means the southern side) of the pontoon. Just as some newbie decides to first-time launch a big boat. Result? Ramp locked up, words exchanged and blows narrowly avoided.

If you have any issues you want me to air, such as:

The high cost of parking;

The inability of the ramp to meet launching demand on busy days, like Australia Day;

The poor maintenance of the access roads, which host some gigantic pot holes;

The high cost and frequent breakdown of the coin operated wash down hoses;


Get back to me quickly so I can add your concerns to the submission, which will be presented on Wednesday afternoon.


In closing, can I express genuine gratitude to both our readers and especially contributors, without whom this little newsletter would barely add up to a page? Thanks so much my friends, I’m sincerely in your debt.

To all those who write in with very welcome compliments, it’s our contributors who deserve the plaudits. So please – keep it coming!

Pics and stories on anything you’ve caught, small or large.


Your thoughts and questions on boating, or politics, very welcome too. Until next week,

 Andrew Hestelow