Thursday 6th June 2013

Tackle specials and angling politics

from Downrigger Shop

Isn't it awesome when someone does something fantastic, and is then cool as a cucumber about it? Like when John McClane walks out of Nakatomi Plaza, in Die Hard J Kev Olsen worked the same magic off Sydney, on Saturday morning:



Jigging was a bit slow this morning so I decided to have a troll...paid off with one rat, a Bonny & one nice King ...and did you see that sunrise?


Yep, another kingfish, another sunrise. You’re startin’ to get on my wick, Olsen! J Congratulations mate, what a beauty. Crossing to the other end of the size spectrum, and the day you get married is special. Birth of your first child? That’s unforgettable. But the defining moment of a man's life has gotta be his first kingfish. Ross Ireland:



Here is our lil Muz. His very first kingie, one of many many more for the day. Tight lines, Rossco.


And so the addiction begins. Go The Muz and thanks for the pic, Rossco. Murray Mcguire chased yellows too:



Andy, got the opportunity to head out off Terrigal on a charter with a couple of mates form the Newcastle Fishing site (Tony and Rowan(kiwi)). It was a perfect day out and with plenty of live bait we headed out wide to some of the reef grounds. Caught the attached on one of your jigs, it was the only one caught on a jig, all others were caught on livies. All up 7 kingies were caught, all above 90cm as well as Bonito, Samson Fish and John Dory.


Top stuff Murray and thanks indeed, for this report. Opening up the office mail on Tuesday morning to find that Ben Knaggs has generously sent me the new FishNSW magazine. Yes I have got a story in there and yes, I am biased BUT - this is a great new magazine, which I'm really proud to be associated with. Check it out at your newsagent? It's a goodie:



Rod Coleman sends word of Kyall’s memorable capture from the bricks:



G'day Andy, this beautiful big Jew. Was taken by Kyall after a very hectic battle off the rocks and in the water. There were a few heart stopping moments when the big Jew wrapped his 15 kg braid and 15 kg leader around the rocks. Kyall was Forced get in up to his waist a few times to lead the fish off the rocks . A truly awesome battle under trying conditions, on fairly light gear. Kyall lured this big Jew up near Port Macquarie on a 5 inch Gulp. Kyall's mate fishing beside him managed to land a 15 Kg specimen. Well done to both of them.


Too right! Thanks, Rodda. Glen sent in a pic from my test run of Pocket Rocket at ATB last week:




Still on boats, and Simon asks if we can advertise his Haines 445R. Of course we can:




I had some close encounters of the kingie kind this week too, but first a bit of background:



As a founding member of LASPA I spent much of my youth in a futile yet enjoyable crusade to rid the west of the curse of the feral pig. During that time a hit chick flick was released which most of the girlfriends, fiancés and wives dragged club members along to. Gorillas in the Mist told the story of a woman who spent so much time with the silverbacks of the Congo that they actually allowed her to touch them, in the wild. We touched a lot of razorbacks in the wild too, mostly with Sierra 150-grain soft points. And we made a pretty amusing parody video one weekend, Hog in the Fog. The least said about that one the better, because if a Current Affair ever got hold of it, hunting would be banned overnight. Not because we did anything illegal or immoral, but because the sight of ordinary blokes having that much fun with firearms would drive today’s media fusspots and busybodies right around the bend.


I was reminded of Hog in the Fog as we came down Middle Harbour on Thursday, to be confronted with an epic whiteout:



A small team being myself, son Jeremy, and Adam K, who had a tale of woe to tell. His Amarok went out of action on the very same day a well deserved week long holiday started, meaning he couldn’t tow his boat. So I ended up inviting him out. And that was a good call, he is both a keen fisho and top company. After loading up on livebait it was straight out to the Artificial Reef.



A few kings there but nothing legal, so I broke out the micro jigs. The idea with these is to gear down the tackle size to match small kingies and enjoy the fight, rather than cranking them in on 50-pound combos. That certainly worked:



Both 40 gram:




And 100 gram:



Jigs arrive at the end of June, and they’re not expensive. Attaching hooks to the split ring has worked fine in testing. Here’s pricing:


10 x 100grams, 5 assorted colours: $55 inc delivery anywhere in Australia

10 x 40grams, 5 assorted colours:  $35 inc delivery anywhere in Australia


With only small fish found, we decided to move down to the wreck. A few kings there too, but we still couldn’t find any keepers:



So with the weather settling back, the crew agreed on a run to the Peak. By the time we got there Adam hadn’t turned a reel, but I had a fairly good idea what the problem was:



Angler capability: 100%

Rod, reel & line:    Just about perfect

Jigging style: excellent

Knife jig of choice: Houston, we have a problem


After cutting off his River 2 Sea and replacing it with some quality tackle, things started to happen for the man:



You should have seen his mood lift, with a nice 70 on the ice:



Then, to prove it wasn’t a fluke, he backed up with a 68:



The kings weren’t thick by any means, but definitely enough around to make dropping a jig worthwhile. Get out there if you can.


Every so often in the fishing game word comes of a fantastic bite happening somewhere. Big barramundi in their thousands have been washed over the Awoonga wall, and are hitting anything that moves in the Boyne River below. Southern blue fin tuna have come close inshore at Portland, and can be seen churning the water to foam from the Alcoa plant. Giant samson fish have taken up station on Lano jetty and can be caught on handlines. Check this video out, it’s incredible:



And now the phenomenon is happening now right here in Sydney. Hairtail are a fascinating creature. Fangs like Tyrannosaurus Rex, up to two metres long, and they swim vertically through the water column. You can see them doing that here. Last week they suddenly arrived in big numbers at Cowan Creek, a tributary of the Hawkesbury.




Fishing for them is mostly a nightime affair and those who have gone enjoyed some memorable sessions. Leo, on Thursday:



Hi Andy, I couldn't resist another crack at Hairtail tonight, and made a few discoveries. Firstly, Hairtail MOVE. They were thick at Jerusalem Bay on the weekend, but 5 days later there were none to be found! We wound up trekking back upstream where we eventually found them, and landed a couple. Awesome fun on light gear, with a double bonus of relatively warm weather. Also, don't bother going out there at the moment if you don't have a very good mapping system on your GPS. We got fogged in, and couldn't see anything on the way back. Luckily, we waited in Apple Tree Bay till the GPS got a signal when we first put in so we could follow our track home.


That fog is like something out of a horror movie, Leo. And even now, Cowan Creek gets some really bad GPS and mobile phone reception. Matt Summerhayes went on Friday night:



Saw you at Waratah Bay yesterday arvo, I was in the Beeracuda that arived 10 minutes before you left. Mate as soon as the sun went down the hairtail came on the bite big time. Using 12lb pound line, gang hooks, unweighted pillies and live and dead yakkas we ended up catching 10 in an hour and a half. Kept 6, released the rest. At times we could see them swimming near the surface chasing yakkas in the light from the boat. Home by 8.30. A night to remember


Triffic. Thanks, cobber! Matt Cassar out there on Friday night too, with a big crew. These fish and flash photography don’t mix:



And yep, yours truly was trying to downrig a hairtail in the folding boat:



I used a giant live yellowtail on mono wire, keeping in mind the words of Master Co from Scotts Head : 'Grasshopper, wherever they bite down, they must find metal.'





First one boated within 5 mins of anchoring


Good news. The action is so hot a lot of fishos are landing their first:



Alex Loh with not his first hairtail but his first 6 taken aboard his brothers boat "No Limits" WELL DONE LEXI!


Yep, well done. The bite continued through the weekend with Matt C boating these on a rainy Saturday night:



Hi mate went out tonight again in the rain 20+ boats, only 5 fish, not bad for a rainy night


Too right! Wayne Brown scoring on Monday night:



The number one rule of fishing is, when it’s hot you gotta go. And with excellent weather forecast for this weekend in Sydney I’ll be in Cowan with the Carolyn Jane on Saturday night:





To politics, and here in NSW boat based anglers have a double whammy to deal with – Duncan Gay as Maritime Minister, and ditzy Katrina Hodgkinson as Fisheries Minister:


Between these two bubble headed boobies our readers are fired up indeed. Wayne Hogan, on Katrina’s 50% cuts to bag limits:


Hi Andy, great report as usual.


A couple of points that might be worth sharing regarding the proposed bag limit changes are:


There is no mention of how the reduction will affect possession limit but it is safe to assume that the new bag limits will also be possession limits. That means that when we go north after Spanish Mackerel, Cobia etc for a month we have to stop fishing once two are in the freezer.


Another point is that part of the justification to reduce bag limits on deep water species such as cod etc is that more people are using electric reels. I know a couple of my mates who have physical disabilities and couldn’t fish for these species without an electric. What the Govt is proposing in this case could very well be discrimination.


Yep. Note that we get inspected either en route to, or on station at, Brown’s Mountain all the time. I’ve been inspected by Fisheries staff on both the big RIB and aboard Nemesis multiple times. And you can bet that, if those inspections had turned up consistent breaches, Dodgy Hodgy would have mentioned that in her press release.


But they didn’t.


And she hasn’t.


Our Facebook readers pretty upset about shamateurs advertising on Gumtree:



Bloke offering snapper and flathead puts up pics to advertise but scrubs his face out for protection:



Disgusting. Meantime another issue breaking, where Fisheries make our lives more difficult and expensive. Did you know that technically it’s illegal to fish for squid at two of Sydney Harbours most popular spots, being Dobroyd Head and Old Man’s Hat? That whole area being in a type of marine reserve, where the only angling allowed is for ‘fish with fins.’ Mal Poole from the Rec Fishing Alliance investigating now, so we had best hold fire until Fisheries position is clarified. But yet again it’s another case of a stupid and impractical regulation enacted without input from those affected – namely you and me:



Dan Bode is an incredibly hard working campaigner for anglers’ rights, and is right on top of Bodgy Hodgy’s BS:


Gidday Andrew, Dan here from Byron Bay - Re the Bag limits. I have been advised that virtually all of the science underpinning the entire bag limit discussion paper is based on this document.



If that's the case, here's a glaring example of the fundamental flaws in the discussion paper. First, a direct excerpt from the above, Executive Summary (Page VI):


"...the assessment of species as ‘uncertain’ or ‘undefined’ should not be interpreted to mean that these species may be under threat from overfishing, as many of these species are landed in very small quantities by commercial and recreational fisheries..."


Now - flip to the Deep Sea Section of the bag limit discussion paper and compare each of the species in the above report. Here's what you'll see:


Blue Eye Trevalla - UNKNOWN

Banded Rock Cod - UNDEFINED


Bass Groper - UNDEFINED

Gemfish - <10 Tons recreational


So why exactly do they want to drop the bag from 5-2? In the first instance there is virtually no information to support a bag limit drop and secondly, they have already recognised that the landings are in small quantities.


Good insight, Dan. No science, no proof, and no consultation. Let me ask you something my friend. If you knew absolutely nothing about fishing and found yourself through almost complete accident appointed State Fisheries Minister, how would you proceed? Would you continue the Labor-Green policies of arrogance, or would you acknowledge you knew very little about your new portfolio and consult genuinely with the anglers affected before introducing radical policies?



Clients say to me, ‘Andy, you’ve been around since Moses was in Huggies. When did you first realise Katrina Hodgkinson wasn’t up to the job?’


Very early in the piece, when I was campaigning for Prospect Dam to be opened for angling. Various MPs wrote to her on my behalf – and received no response at all. How arrogant would you have to be, not to respond to a letter from an MP in your own party? She’s got to go, and the campaign starts on July 3rd. Glen Booth:


Thanks for the weekly fishing updates Andrew, loving them.


For anglers anywhere between the Tweed and Port Macquarie who would like to hear straight from the horse's mouth the rationale behind these ridiculous new bag limits that DPI Fisheries are proposing, there will be a public meeting at the Coffs Harbour Deep Sea Fishing Club on Wednesday July 3rd, starting at 6.30 pm. Speakers will include Peter Turnell, Head of Recreational Fishing DPI Fisheries, and local state member Andrew Fraser. We'd like to see a good turnout from concerned anglers on the night, so I'd appreciate it if you could mention the meeting on your weekly fishing update.


You may notice that the Fisheries minister Katrina Hodgkinson is not attending - too busy it seems. She was in Coffs Harbour today (May 31st) to open an office to house 20 new commercial fisheries staff, but couldn't spare any time at all to speak to representatives of the various local fishing clubs who would like to directly voice their concerns about the proposed changes…


Disappointing, yes. Surprising, no.


It’s not surprising, matter of fact it’s expected. Andrew Fraser, wouldn’t he make a good Fisheries Minister? J Lads, why not write to Turnell and ask him to visit your Club meeting, for a ‘please explain’ on the 50% cut in bag limits? Remember - no science, no proof, and no consultation. And if - like Katrina - he won’t attend, demand he nominate a substitute. Because we now know where Fisheries arrogance comes from:



Until next week my friends and as always, so grateful for your support – and especially pics and contributions. Keep them coming and have a ball over the long weekend,


Andrew Hestelow

Managing Director