Thursday 06 September 2012

Tackle specials and angling politics

from Downrigger Shop

G’day lads,


You know Spring is here when kingfish jigging reports start arriving from the NSW north coast. Sean writes, from SWR:



Got out and amongst it this week. The plan was to take advantage of the calm conditions and see if we couldn't bag a bar cod or two. Things didn't go exactly to plan when we started getting hammered by the leatherjackets, however did manage some nice fish, including some ripper nannygais and a decent snapper.

The wrecks were holding some good kingies, and last drop of the day (just as the wind picked up) Terry managed to snag a nice little jewie. So all in all a good day.

Beautiful! Calm seas, fish on the bite, happy anglers, what more could you want? A bit further south, Paul was deep dropping:

Day Andy, I finally got some good weather to go wide with a mate off Port Macquarie last weekend to chase some cod. After fishing locally last week for a nice snapper I was lucky enough to land this great Bass Grouper that was 30kg and bagged a nice Bar Cod just over the 10Kg mark. Thanks Again Paul

Well done cobber, by crikey you’ve had a great winter of fishing.

Jack writes in to clarify the pics of Greyband, in last weeks’ report:


Hi Andrew,

It is really a Groper (Epinephalus family), same as Rock Cod, Hapuka etc.

Cheers, Jack


CAAB Code: 37 311910

Standard Fish Name: BAR ROCKCOD

Scientific Name: Epinephelus ergastularius & Epinephelus septemfasciatus


Family: Serranidae

Obsolete Names: bar cod; barcod; cod; grey-banded cod; grey-banded rockcod; grey-banded rock-cod; rockcod


Helpful! But mate that raises more questions than it answers, because it means Greyband and bar cod are the same species? They certainly look similar, when you view Paul’s fish above. Fly rod fanatic Lionel tucked in under the Sydney Head cliffs. That’s a great place for casting, you’re out of the prevailing westerly winds, and the salmon are on tap all winter:

Hi Andy, here's pics from today’s jaunt with Norm! All on fly, all taken between Old Mans and Blues Point, all feeding on larger bait.



Thanks, champ! It’s good to get the schools to yourself midweek, I’ll bet. PS watch where you’re pointing that thing.

Eric fished around the Heads too:



Hi Andrew, attached is my yesterdays catch near the Gap in Sydney. Must have been breaking the law as this burly Sergeant Baker bailed me up. Biggest SB I have seen so far. We did start the day chasing Salmon at North Head but having hooked up 2 of them and broken and lost 2 rigs decided I needed to review my Salmon rigs and moved on.


Right Eric, I have got a salmon rig for you!

Here’s the story of our trip on Monday:

With excellent conditions forecast I knew we had to grab the chance to get out wide. But on the way I had an experiment to perform. Not mine, but an idea generated by one of the keenest fishos I know, Matt Reid from Raptor Charters. Winter off Sydney can be tough fishing and very weather affected by the prevailing strong westerlies. But the mouths of our local bays and harbours are protected by high sandstone cliffs and on the eastern side of these you can fish out of the wind. The most prevalent fish in these circumstances are Australian salmon. Not everybody likes them but I think they’re a great sports fish and make excellent bait and burley too. The problem is that they can be very hard to hook up. Trolling with Rapalas and the like can be effective (check the school in the background):

But most time they’re feeding on tiny fish fry, called glassies. Named because you can see right through their body – although they do have big dark eyes. Bonito and salmon brought aboard this time of the year often cough up multiple glassies all over the deck, so a lure of that size and appearance is needed. The problem is that something so light and small is very hard to cast. Matt Reid from Raptor Charters got me sorted last week on a technique for effective presentation. If you want to give it a try, here’s what you’ll need:

A jar of Bing soft plastic lures, pink or clear best;

1/16 ounce jig heads;

Light fluoro carbon leader, whatever size you prefer;

Tiny swivels and casting weight, barrel probably better than ball sinkers.


Rig up a simple paternoster, with a sinker dropper and the jig head coming off a short leader from the swivel. When a rolling school of salmon is sighted, cast into or towards it and do a slow sink and drop retrieve. Using this technique we had multiple simultaneous hook-ups on salmon, bonito, and trevally (handy for livebait at Browns.)

A kingfish even got into the action. How’s this, Darryl giving our light spin combo a major workout. He got the king boatside, too:

Our light combo with 6 or 12 pound colour change braid is ideal for this caper. For anyone who wants to try a combo I’ll add two of the Bing rigs, free.


Fishing Browns was a bit frustrating. The fish are still there, and bites came within 30 seconds of our baits hitting the bottom, as they have all winter. But the rate of bite offs from sharks was horrible yesterday, we lost fish both down deep and just under the boat. No seals seen which was a blessing, and the new Tanacom reel worked well, until we lost a swag of line. We ran into Arman at the Twelve Mile who confirmed he had a tough one, too.

Some better results from SEQ. Darko writes:

Here is a pic of a 20 kg Spanish Mackerel my cousin Frank caught off the beach on Fraser Island with a piece of tailor last week.


But his reel drags were destroyed, so we sent him some carbontex:

Looking to upgrade the drags on my Shimano Bulls Eye XT and Shimano Aero Technium MGS XSA after I cooked the felt drag washer on the bulls eye after hooking a shark off Fraser Island.  Pics attached of what is should look like, and what it looks like after the shark peeled off 260 yards of braid.  I saw the bottom of my shallow spool, applied more pressure and then the line parted.  I don’t think I was going to stop that shark with the gear I had but it was certainly clear the factory drag cannot cope with such pressure.



HI Andrew, My mate Mal and I went off Noosa in the 20knt southerly on Sunday. We fished a couple of the inshore reefs without much success except for this nice grassy sweetlip that mal caught on a plastic. We eventually wised up and put out the sea anchor to slow the drift which allowed us to get out plastics down.

Craig writes in from beautiful downtown Nambucca Heads:

Hey there champion , this is a mate of mine, Troy 'RICKO'  Rixon I took out and caught his first spottie. May this year.



Mate, I cannot WAIT to get back up there. Just waiting for an email from fishing spiritual advisor Phil B AKA Mister Cobia (whimper, sniffle, hint!)

For readers on Sydney’s south side, Jack L has news of an upcoming boat show:


Hi Andrew, just FYI – you may already know this.

There will be a boat show in Cronulla, some people may be interested.


No Jack this is the first I’ve heard of it so very glad, you brought it to my attention. On the topic of boats, news from top bloke, regular newsletter contributor and candidate for Kiama Council elections this Saturday, Mark Way. This bloke knows more about offshore angling than the next ten fishos combined, and he’s pleased as punch about his new boat purchase:

This is the boat I bought for my mooring in Kiama Harbour (photo in Manly Cove before delivery). This will be the old pic. We (My Way crew) are currently updating her for inshore Snapper, Game n Sport fishing. Just spent a couple of grand on boat gear! She is 23' and has a good fishing cockpit. Will send a pic in month. My crew have already become attached to this ol girl and her new name will be Sea Eagle!

Alex’s new boat graphics make the tri hull look a weapon:


Congratulations Mark and looking forward to reports of some top trips in the boat, this summer.

Alex’s new boat graphics make the tri hull look a weapon:

Good news - I've finally tracked down the perfect boat for you - guaranteed to secure bragging rights for months, the perfect platform for downrigger demos - and sure to bring a crowd at the boat shows.


He he he. Great! Now, who’s gonna pay for fuel?? Regular correspondent Greg from Bay & Basin Charters on the NSW south coast took a break from the cold, and headed to the Top End:


Hi Andrew, Greetings from Darwin. I recently had the opportunity to escape the last month of winter & mix a bit of work & pleasure on the legendary Daly River in the NT. With cold 14 deg mornings in the Territory shutting down the barra bite, there were still plenty of sooties & bull sharks on lures in the timber to make things interesting! Forget the crocs if you fell in, the sharks would get you first!

Getting back to Darwin I was keen to head offshore & this is where Travis & Jim from Darwin Reefnwrecks fishing charters come into the picture. Right around Australia we have some great fishing on the doorstep of our capital cities & Darwin is no exception. The day started with 4 black jews to 12kg on the first drop! I was keen to fish plastics & scored some great golden trevally to 6kg as a host of different reef species & sharks ticked over throughout the day, with the highlight being a black marlin around 120 kegs being fed a hastily rigged sauri at the back of the boat before tearing off with 3 good jumps.Unfortunately the fish swam under the boat 10 mins later & cut the line.

I've been in the charter boat game for nearly 20 yrs & I can honestly say these guys run a first class operation. There wasn't even a scale on the boat which was neat as a pin, & the service was second to none. If you're going to Darwin then check out


Top stuff Greg, coincidentally I just had a call from John H in Sydney, who will be fishing with Reef N Wrecks starting tomorrow afternoon. Johnno, get us some pics!

To politics, and Ash sent in a funny cartoon that explains why so many government funded scientists support marine park lockouts:

Good one, Ash! But the big news this week is the super trawler:

Dale McLelland’s press release:


The super trawler FV Margiris and Seafish Tasmania, both owned by the Dutch Company Parlevliet & Van Der Plas , were the target of a protest rally by Victorian anglers on Saturday 1st September.


Over 300 vessels from as far away as Portland converged on the West Gate Bridge for a protest ‘boat tow’ and then gathered at the Altona boat ramp for a rally attended by 1200 angry recreational fishers and industry representatives.

Well said Dale and delighted to hear it went so well! More from the press release:


President of the Game fishing Association of Victoria Mr Geoff Fisher said “The very idea that the Gillard government is locking recreational fishers out of millions of square kilometres under the disguise of sustainability concerns while inviting in a factory ship capable of taking thousands of tonnes of baitfish from our prime fishing grounds is unacceptable.


“Minister Ludwig then states that our fisheries are managed sustainably. I can only ask where he was when we were getting locked out of Marine Parks. This is a slap in the face to all recreational fishermen in Australia” Geoff stated.

Too right it is, Geoff. Congratulations to all those who made the protest a success! It lifted the profile of the campaign amazingly, from a regional minor issue to the front page in just two weeks. Recfishwest is doing their bit in Western Australia, too:

Isn’t this wonderful, that after years of being pushed around, discriminated against and ignored by politicians and bureaucrats that our fraternity is now fighting back – and, getting results? If you’re in Sydney and haven’t had a chance to make your view known, there’s a great opportunity tomorrow.


Lads, if you can make this one, please do attend. Pollies hate protests outside their electorate office, and even a few fishos on hand will have a powerful effect. Here in Sydney the protest outside Burke’s office at Roselands is being organised by that tireless fighter for fishing rights, Anthony Raco. Contact Anthony here for more details: 0411 774 859


I can’t make it myself because I’m sadly attending the funeral in Canberra of a great Australian outdoorsman, Dudley Nicol. Can those going please get a pic or two, for next week’s report? Sincere thanks to those who’ll be there, you are making a difference. Until next week,


Andrew Hestelow

Managing Director