Wednesday 5th August 2015

Tackle specials and angling politics

from Downrigger Shop

Biting cold winds. Icy salt spray. That’s the story with Sydney fishing recently. So when Blue Hughson’s report came through on Monday, I could just about feel the warm air:



Hi Andrew, the Gold Coast 50s turned up this little gold bar for me on Saturday on a live Slimy. I'm claiming that it was the doing of the downrigger, but truth be told, I barely even got the line hooked into the release clip when the little mackerel got pounced on. 1.55m long, and maxed out the 25kg scales without guts and gills! Cheers, Blue


So jealous, Blue! Not just of your mighty mahi, but your sea and skies too. Having said that, some skilled fishos have been doing well despite the temperature. Darren Tierney and friends at Jervis Bay:



 HI Andrew. I've just ordered one of your upgrade handles for my Daiwa Saltist (6500). I forgot to mention I'm after one in either Blue or Black thanks.  We got out to the canyons off Jervis Bay this Monday just gone and did it 'old school style' with no electrics. Hard work but great fun and we ended up with a nice mixed bag of Gemmie, Hapuka, Blue Eye and a nice Bass groper. Arms have only just recovered.


Gotta admit I get surprised when readers say they spent twelve hours trolling, for no result. If you’re out there, why not have a drop on the deep marks and bring some quality table fish home? Like these gemfish Dazza caught on the next run. If you haven’t tasted these, you’ve really missed something:



 Thanks for the carbontex and reel handle Andrew. That was super quick service, cheers! JB canyons produced again on Wednesday. Got our bag of gemmies in shallower water (Just 330m) then unsuccessfully tried to tempt the mako that taxed a big one at the boat.


Murray jigging off the NSW central coast. Dealing with the hazards and kicking some goals:



Andy, quick report and pic from the weekend. Headed out to Texas on Saturday for a bit of a jig. Did not get live bait as we had heard that the kings were attacking jigs. Got out there before the tide change and found a good sounding straight away. Second jig and I was connected with a good king. Managed to get the king in and it was a 75cm model. Next jig I was on again but this time a seal came over and stole the fish. We moved station and ended up getting some kings in but the seal followed us regularly. We ended up boating 3 kings and the seal stole 4. On the way out I got a little of course and found a good looking reef. Stopped on it on the way back in and scored a couple of good snapper. Biggest snapper was 3kg.Great day on the water and not many boats out.


Well mate I’ve taken the electronic seal scarer on so many trips this year and not a seal seen. Better pack it on the next run because obviously the first time I leave it at home is when they’ll be just as bad as they were for you. Hamish Read finding gold on the same turf:



Hey Andy, great day with my mate in his new Formosa 580 off Terrigal, out at the southern end of the perch grounds. Boated 8 bonito & a couple of good sized kings, the best one was 92cm & went 7kgs on the scales. We got smoked by a couple of good ones too, always a good laugh when that happens. There were only a dozen boats on the grounds at any stage & the water glassed off to a mirror around midday. Water temp had dropped below 20 degrees & the dollies were nowhere to be seen, though the boys got them around the trap boys on the last trip out the week before. Cheers for now. Hame


So good, Hamish! I’m predict a huge spring kingfish run this year, all the signs are there. Just hoping the winds won’t keep us from getting out there. Andrew Westlake saying the bluefin run just won’t stop in SW Victoria:



Hi Andrew, This season just keeps on going, see attached from Saturday. 10 boated plus one tagged, fish were keen.


Really hoping we get some visiting Sydney for more than just a one day stopover, Andy. My crew keen as always but, in the last two weeks of July, we’ve been bedeviled with dirty weather:



We’ve fished hard and found a few. Here’s Serk with a North Head salmon:



Trent with a gemmie from Browns on the Tanacom:



Trent again, with a solid 90 from the Twelve Mile:



Notice anything? Rain jackets. Beanies. Sometimes both. Oh well, it can only get warmer. Across the country and its T-shirts, for Dillan Naughton and his mates:



Hi mate these fish were taken from west side of Dirk Harthog Island leaving from Shark Bay!! Cheers mate had a great trip out with the boys from Apache Charters!!



Sounds like one hell of a charter, Dillan. Congrats on those top results. Steve Sims deep dropping off  WA too, with great success:



hi andrew back fishing after surgery and the frustrations disappeared on saturday the first trip for 7 months cheers.


Great. Western Australia, big fish in the foreground, big winds in the background. J Well done, lads. To tackle, and a reader writes:


Hi mate. Just filleting an albacore. Is the flesh always really mushy pre cooking


Not at all. With any fish, post catch care is crucial for delivering a good result on the plate. Bleed them while alive, minimise them drumming on the deck, and chill them down fast. Packing the stomach cavity with ice then packing into our neoprene chiller bag a good option. Here’s Callum’s 20 kilo blue eye from Brown’s Mountsain, Thursday 9th July:



Into the bag with plenty of room to spare, then a bag of ice added. The joy of this system is that, unlike with a fish box, your ice is being used efficiently. It’s chilling down the fish, not warm air:



I can’t tell you how good that prime blue eye tasted, we had a few steaks from it last night. Chiller bag is $59 and that includes delivery, more details here:


Lots of inquiries and feedback on our reel knob upgrades. Here’s Bill Klapos:



Hi Andrew, I have received the knob, and have fitted it to my Shimano Rarenium 4000 with a little modification found on your website. All it need is a good work out now :) Thanks for your help.


Not at all Bill, glad to be of service. Steve Smith happy too, these reel knobs just feel so good especially when your fishing style involves a lot of cast and retrieve – jigging, for instance:



Thanks Andrew here's a couple of photos of the Aird with replacement knob, thanks heaps appreciate it Regards Steve


Not all mate, if you’re happy I’m happy. Anyone wanting more info please click the link below? It’s hard to describe the improvement one of these makes to most spinning reels, and installation’s not difficult: click here for instructions



To boats, and Luigi super pleased with his new Surtees 5.5. You can do so much in a boat of this size and layout:



Trent’s been fishing with me recently and he’s been great to have aboard. Dunno why he wants to be though, considering the weapon he has at home:



This report’s disaster pic almost too painful to post. Found on Facebook by Dan:



That’s tragic. To some upbeat news and readers might remember Alan Goggin?  Some awesome pics and video from him earlier this year, kayak fishing off Coffs Harbour. He’s still catching the big ones most of us – certainly myself – can only dream about:



Hi Andy how are ya mate? Hit the beach last night and picked up this nice fat Mulloway on a live yakka. Awesome fun! Cheers  Al


Seriously Alan what you are accomplishing up there is very unique and special. Keep sending these top reports, you’re inspiring us all. Chris Colvin’s snapper season pretty inspiring too:



Heaps of snapper out off long reef. Caught on your snapper outfit. How'd u go with the tuna?


Albacore only – so far. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Here’s Callum from mid July:



But enough about fishing offshore – and I don’t often say that! J A couple of weeks ago I went fishing in a friend’s boat. Pick up and drop off was at Clifton Gardens wharf, in Sydney Harbour. We went to the Peak and even though the weather was great, there was just two or three boats there. Yes, it was mid-week. Yes, the fish were a bit quiet. But just two or three boats fishing the usually reliable Peak, in a city with maybe ten thousand offshore capable trailerboats? Anyway, when I was dropped off back at Clifton, there was maybe fifteen people fishing there - ten more, than at the Peak. Got to chatting with a couple of them and asked how the place was fishing. The general feedback was, not very good, excepting a few squid around:



The following Sunday I visited the wharf to check the level of fishing activity. Thirty six rods out:



Once again the fishing didn’t seem really hot – as judged by having a sticky beak in buckets and eskies. Then a week later we were heading offshore when some bad weather intervened. Big evil storm fronts to the east so we decided to kill some time fishing at Sow & Pigs reef, in lower Sydney Harbour. That’s maybe a kilometer from Clifton:



But the fishing was light years ahead. We got some minced burley going and fished lightly weighted pilchard heads into the run out tide so that the baits washed around on the leading edge of the reef. The action came thick and fast, particularly from tailor and trevally:



Even I could connect the dots on something this obvious. The fishos were in one place and the fish were in another place – not far away. Fast forward to last week. A good friend who’s given me a lot of help with tackle purchasing was visiting from Victoria. Coincidentally we had just received a sea shipment which included 50 light Daiwa rods he had recommended, 8-foot Sweepfires and 7–foot Crossfires:



The plan was to head for Browns. But after two badly weather affected trips I wanted to be certain it would be a smooth cruise for him on his first trip. And that was certainly not forecast by Buoyweather and BOM. With heading wide off the cards I needed an alternative inshore or inside and, if possible, a chance to give these rods a work out. Because we had bought them without seeing a sample. So it was up the Harbour to the Opera House steps to pick him up. First thing I noticed was the nice green cabbage weed growing all along the waterline. Two minute’s work and we’d secured plenty:



Back to Clifton Gardens where we grabbed a bucket of wet sand, off the beach. Then on to Sow & Pigs reef:



With the tide running in we moored up just east of the reef in five metres of water. Chopped up the green weed, mixed it in with wet sand and got a burley trail going. Super simple rig being a ringed Sneck, one splitshot, and a tiny ball float. The burley took some time to work its magic but when it did the action came thick and fast:



Nice blackfish around the 35cm mark, one after the other. $110 Sweepfire combo (rod reel and line) did a great job:



Andrew thought the broken reefy ground showed squid potential so, tied on a jig. First cast:



What a great morning it was and what a fantastic fishing asset this Harbour is. But it has to be said that breaking free of hard fished wharves and getting to spots like Sow & Pigs would have to be an eye opener for most land based fishos. My recommendations? Hire a boat from BOAB or Ozboat Hire. Or join a fishing club, they’re always looking for new members. Maybe put up a post on the Desperate and Boatless sections of the fishing forums. I’m not bagging out wharf fishing, far from it. But if any readers can break free of the piers it could be a whole new fishing world.


To politics, and Dennis Donald from the Amateur Fishing Association deserves every NSW angler’s respect. I admire him greatly because he’s a quiet achiever who steadily battles for our right to fish – which is under attack, from every quarter of the compass. And he’s asked NSW Fisheries a good question – what scientific research was used in the decision to cut bag limits by 50%, last year? Peeling away the hot air and squid ink from (Deputy Director of NSW Fisheries) Geoff Allan’s reply the truth is, none. Just like with the ban on squid fishing in north Sydney Harbour it’s all about politics, not about science. This is why we desperately need changes to the way our fishing license fees are too often wasted on soft target enforcement - and pet projects, for Fisheries favourites:



Hi Andrew,


I wrote to you last year regarding issues with ICOLL’s.


When the bag limits changed for bread and butter species in November 2014, many members of our fishing club were quite concerned and felt that there had been insufficient consultation and also noted a distinct decline in achieving bags of bread butter species. The issues were discussed and through the research that I undertook into ICOLL’s and the associated impacts regarding changes to the ecology we decided to write to the minister.


We received a reply from Dr Geoff Alan, which just really confirmed our beliefs that there has not really been any real significant research during the past 5 years as to populations of bread and butter fish which in the main are targeted by recreational anglers, therefore how could bag limits for particular species be reduced by 50%.



Upon receiving the reply from Dr Geoff Allan, we researched specific documents which he had referred to;- This only further confirmed that indeed there has been a real lack of research regarding recreational fishing.



(Don’t mean to be rude about Dr Geoff Allan, but he’s a world class talent at using endless drivel to numb his audience into submission. At a meeting with him (and Dane, from the commercial fishing sector) last year I had, completely coincidentally, two nights before, watched an horrific documentary on Youtube. It was about the survivors of a torpedoed ship in the South Pacific during WWII. In lifeboats, clinging to the wreckage and battling thirst, sharks, and exhaustion. And I was reminded of that film while listening to Dr Allan’s flat monotone during the meeting: ‘must .. stay awake… must survive this horror.’J)


Herein we have included our initial letter to the minister, Dr Geoff Allan’s reply and our subsequent reply to Dr Geoff Allan. Unfortunately, it took time to review various documents to form the reply to Dr Geoff Allan.


We hope that you find the details herein interesting, and please advise if you would like a copy of the reply from our recent correspondence to Dr Geoff Allan.







Dennis, thanks so much for all you do for the fishing fraternity. ‘The most recent publically published report was in 2010.’ Meaning there was no up-to-date research. And no scientific reason to cut bag limits by 50%. I wonder who Allan thinks he’s fooling? Confident none of our readers will be misled. The war on fishos and boaties is political, not scientific. It’s about Green voting preferences, feel-good politics, and ingratiating the Minister responsible with the metropolitan media. And the only way we’re going to roll it back is by using our numbers politically in the way the greenies do.  ‘United we bargain, divided we beg.’ Until next time and thanks so much to our contributors,


Andrew Hestelow

Managing Director