Thursday 9th June 2016

Tackle specials and angling politics

from Downrigger Shop

With shocking weather along the NSW coast recently, most reports have come from interstate. Nothing wrong with that! Geoff Wilson sends news of a near ten-to-one capture:



Across the SA border at Port MacDonnell, Kevin McLoughlin and Marcus Pearson were hoping to make their mark in the tuna fishing competition, but they had no luck there despite catching several tuna. Changing over to bottom fishing, Marcus hooked a good fish on 3 kg line which eventually – after at least half an hour – proved to be a school shark that weighed 26.58 kg on registered scales, and for which Marcus intends to claim an IGFA line class record.


Simon Coleman finding our Zuker clone lures deadly on tuna:



Hi Andrew, we managed to get out in a small weather window down here in Victoria over the weekend . Conditions weren’t perfect but we managed around 10 Southern Bluefin Tuna each day ranging from 10 - 25KG .



Though you might be interested that the standout lure for the trip was your purple feather ‘Zuker’ style lures . We now always run one in the shotgun position and every trip so far it consistently gets a strike. Exceptional value and we know they work!!


Glad they’re delivering the goods for you, Simon. So simple, yet they work so well:




I was going to say ‘to the tropics.’ But looking at the outfit Graeme Henderson’s wearing on his flathead hunt that’s inappropriate, as the greenies say:


 Nice croc 72 cm pine river


Living in Sydney pretty tough, for tuna fanatics. Some fish get caught but mostly it’s hours of trolling, for zero result. That’s not going to change until AFMA stops ignoring the fact that yellowfin stocks are being destroyed in PNG waters – a country which receives $1bn+ in grants every year, and a country listed as one of the ten most corrupt in the world. Meantime, to our south bluefin numbers are exploding, ever since foreign long liners were kicked out of the Australian Fishing Zone. That was no thanks to AFMA either, but that’s another story. Sydney fishos are in the yellowfin zone but there’s almost no yellowfin. Victorians have a fantastic bluefin fishery which gets better every year. But we have one often overlooked opportunity to our north, being longtails. Sean Uren on top of that in a big way:



Hi Andy. Just quick report from the Gold Coast. Quite a few nice Longtail tuna around up here in close on the bait grounds. Got 3 yesterday at a secret location.



Biggest went 25.2kg My mate got one the week before on the bait grounds just out of the seaway.



Jack L charter fishing the Reef Wednesday 8th June and paying a heavy shark tax:



Hi Andrew, went out yesterday with Lady Dragon to fish the reef. Not a whiff of wind, flat sea and no t ever seen such conditions in June - this is trade winds season! Very unusual for this time of the year. Tinnies no longer than 4m were fishing up to 20 miles offshore.

Fishing was average but everybody scored. I caught the best fish of the day, lovely coral trout.



At the end of the day the taxmen turned up in a form of four 100 kg + bronzies. They got their share, one unhappy bloke lost big trout to them. Cruel life out there. Cheers Jack


Cheers to you too my friend and thanks for the report.  Mark Boyle fishing the Tropic of Capricorn too, scoring this cracker yellowfin in Vanuatu. Gee I could go some of that action:



But for a super tuna, turn your compass towards Tasmania or south west Victoria. Thanks to Geoff Wilson for this inspiring update:



The biggest tuna taken off Portland over the weekend before last was caught by Lei Sun who picked up a beauty of 122.3 kg while fishing with “Two Up” Charters. The big fish, one of a double hook-up, took a small Pakula skirt in 70 metres of water off Cape Bridgewater.


Great relay report from Geoff Wilson, in Victoria:


Jeremy Barnes and Mark McDonald found wind and rain no deterrent in their quest for snapper from Corio Bay as they launched in the dark at St Helens last week. Initially finding nothing, they anchored up in one of their usually productive spots and put out a fair bit of berley, but to no avail. In fact it wasn’t until they raised the anchor and began heading back to the ramp that the sounder lit up with a promising display.



Mark soon caught a good fish of at least 7 kg, but after that – apart from a few half-hearted takes – the action was over. Naturally, they fished on into the night, but with no further reward.


I’d call that more than enough reward! To tackle, and here’s a fantastic deal. Our lockable dry box is a top bit of gear.



I got onto these when I was looking for something to stow our boat safety gear in. It had to be something that permitted no salt or even air to access the EPIRB, flares, med kit etc. This one has a silicon gasket which makes it completely air tight. They’re so good I now use them to store my reels and jigs too. Tim tells me this morning that we have too many, and they are taking up too much space in our storage. How’s this? One lockable storage box, $25.



And included for free, our spotlight/camping light with 12 volt and 240 volt chargers. Postage at cost:



Send me a message if you’d like to order, or need more details?  A client writes:


Hi Andrew, I found the kids had snapped the tip off my gomoku micro jig rod and I need to replace it. I remember you showing me the one you had and wondered if you could give me a price please? Do you rate it better than the gomoku? The one I had was 6 foot, PE 1-3.



Dang kids! J $95 plus $15 postage for our Bay Jig rod shown above, so $110 delivered. Long history with the Gomokus going way back to when (the much missed but never forgotten) Ian Treseder got a sample model which we took up to Long Reef for testing – before they went on sale. Plenty kingfish caught on it and everyone super impressed BUT – the model did subsequently prove to have an issue which caused grief for some owners. That is, the tiny guides at the tip end. Those can be damaged or even torn off by an oversized braid to leader knot. Or even a wind knot, in braid line. So when we ordered 100 Bay Jig PE1-3 rods I made sure the guides were of a size to handle any potential problem like that. And we’ve never had one. Six feet, two piece with foregrip join and a split butt, looks nice and feels great. One last thing to mention?



This rod is the perfect match for 100 gram jigs. And 100 gram jigs are the perfect size for wrecks and reefs like the Peak, the Birchgrove Park and the Coolooli. Get back to me if anything further needed? Here’s Aaron Dye’s take on the Bay Jig:



I had a Gomoku last season, it broke far too easily. Only a couple of kings caught on it. I now have one of Downriggers Bay Jig rods, it is still going strong must have had 20 kings on it this season. I actually like the reels that came with it too, good value for money.


Thanks Aaron, grateful for your review. Talking about jigging we were busting to get out wide last week. Because with big storms coming it was go before the blow or don’t go at all:



Luigi Pelaia added to the anticipation by sending a pic and short report:



Only managed the 1. It went 83cm


Then clients from Newcastle visited, ahead of an upcoming trip to the Swains on the 90-foot Eastern Voyager. Telling me that they’re doing pretty well in Lake Mac with their downrigger, including this 97. Thanks for the pic and have a great trip, lads:



even more pumped when some fresh intel arrived from a mate last Thursday night:


Plenty of slimeys at the artificial getting full strings, i didn't manage any but a commercial drop liner was getting a couple of kings just Nth of the peak, a couple of other boats there today seen 1 boat get 1 fish that was it, spoke to him said he wasn't marking any at all, i sounded around but seen nothing. The 12 mile is as dead as a door knob, wasn't even marking the usual masses of leather jacket


Putting it all together the plan was:


  1. Get slimy mackerel at the Artificial Reef
  2. Downrig those at the Peak for kingfish, then
  3. Deep drop with fresh slimy fillets at Browns Mountain.


Off we went at 7.00AM with a boatload of fired up fishos - and enough gear and bait, to stock a tackle store:



Massive mood change as we arrived at South Head, to be greeted by a nasty swell and chop. The usual story. The forecast is good, but cannot take into effect the weather generated by localised storm cells. There were plenty of those around.


Out to the Artificial – which is only one nautical mile from South Head. Sabikis on but couldn’t find any of slimy mackerel that had been swarming the day before. We did see a bloke nearby catch a good kingfish though. So it was off with the sabikis, on with the jigs, and down they went in 38 metres of water. John – who’s never caught a kingfish in Oz – hooked up and brought this one to boat:



96cm and weighed 12 kilos later on the scales at his local tackle shop. Good one!


Two miles south to the Annie Miller wreck. A few other guys jigging it so, after a few drops we headed further south to Ben Buckler (the northern headland of Bondi Beach) to check whether the conditions would allow a run to the Peak. Manageable but not pleasant so we opted to turn north and downrig along the cliffs. Only downside with that being our live yellowtail were way too big. Gave it a try anyway but after half an hour no strikes received and very little seen on the sounder screen. So we pulled the gear in and headed back to the Artificial, hoping to find another one like John’s. But as soon as I checked the sounder it was obvious that wasn’t to be:


A crew member asks what marks I’m looking for as we drift across the Artificial, Annie Miller, the Jump Up, or anywhere kings might be holding. The answer is disruption, irregularity, large dark colour patches with individual fish holding on the fringes, light and shade.  What you don’t want to see is a regular unbroken even distribution of colours, like in the screen shot below. Note that breaks shown are when the boat was reversing, and aerated water passed across the transducer face:



What you’re looking for when the kings are around is irregularity. Not evenly distributed bait, because that means they’re undisturbed. After a couple of drops and with even more rain threatening we decided to give ourselves an early mark. Murray got out on Friday too. Been busting for a Texas report, and I’ll bet other readers have too:



Andy, managed a run with Tony on Friday, didn't fish much myself but thought this picture and report maybe of interest, especially after reading your report on Nf (Newcastle Fishing)

Managed a run to Texas on Friday. Yakka easy to get so with a full load headed to Texas. Not much showing on the sounder so headed to marks further south but still no luck. Tide change was due around lunch so had another sound around on the north end. Ended up with 4 kings, biggest just over a meter. Picture is from where the kings where caught, water temp still warm


Haven’t linked to a video for months but since our last report readers have sent in some crackers. Here’s the three best:


We have had a nightmare time this summer trying to catch the small Harbour yellowtail which are deadly, for downrigging. The reason being that so many of the best bait grounds have been infested with juvenile kingfish. Those scare away small yellowtail, leaving big ones only – not so good for bait – to be caught. So when Dan sent through this awesome video showing how to catch the perfect size mullet, I watched it three times in a row. Appreciate it my friend:



BlacktipH! Whenever Danny sends me a new video from those blokes I get so buzzed.  And they seem to get better, with each clip. What I like most of all is that they are not fishing some remote location the average fisho could never get to. They fish off Florida’s biggest cities, using the same kind of gear we use and targeting very similar fish. Lads, seriously – do yourself a favour and check this out. Their new jigging clip:



Dave Payne was a wonderful bloke who passed away many years ago. He owned and operated the South West Rocks charter boat ‘Gunrunner.’ David also held a commercial license and would fish professionally for yellowfin using rod and reel, through the colder months. Some mates and I used to book a charter with him during winters back in the 80s, and had some great tuna and shark fishing out on the Shelf. On one trip a westerly was blowing hard and cold, meaning a wide run was out of the question. ‘No problem’, said Dave. ‘Let’s go tailor fishing.’ Under the cliffs at Green Island, and trolling through the washes with small marlin lures. There was a good swell running so, plenty of white water. Big greenbacks on the edge of the foam line, up to five or six pounds from memory. Really surprised they were hitting the topwater lures so hard. But after checking out this awesome video, it all makes sense. American bluefish are the same species as Australian tailor. And they love poppers:



Luke sent a pic of his new downrigger in action. Not sure where this is happening, maybe someone can identify the location?



Grateful for the pic, Luke! Muss pleased with his too:


Hey mate I bought a Downrigger off Andrew and I use I troll by just notching the boat in and out of gear every now and again works great for me off Sydney and have nailed many kingys I think this is the only pic of the downrigger in action tho!!




To politics, and while sometimes fishing reports can be slow when the never is bad there’s never any slowing of the war on our freedoms. Eric Rubin writes:



Hi Andrew, this notice was attached to my ute at Tunks Park ramp yesterday .

Of course I am aware of the NSW legislation , however was not aware that the legislation allowed resident parking permits . Is this correct?


I knew that North Sydney council is trying to ban all boats and trailers from our streets parking longer than 28 days, with no ability to obtain a resident exemption .

I have submitted an objection to the GM of NSC last week however was not aware of the parking permit allowance of the NSW legislation . Thus my question to you if you are able to verify.


The reality is always worse than the proposal, Eric. Which is why I’m always ranting about green and red tape that doesn’t seem so bad when first announced. Back in the 90s we protested hard against the state government with big rallies, outside Parliament House. And as usual I didn’t mind a bit of silliness if it got our issues more press coverage:



Our advantage back then was that our access issues cart was fixed to a set of draught horses who pulled pretty hard because their livelihoods were at stake – in particular, farmers and foresters. Now we’re on our own and getting pummeled from all sides of the political spectrum. Ben Cybulski writes this week:


Hi Andrew, apologies if you have already addressed this in a newsletter and I missed it, but are you aware Jilly Gibson the North Sydney Mayor has just pushed through an amendment stipulating a 28 day parking limit on all trailer boats parked in the entire North Sydney Local Government Area? Boats have to be moved every 28 days or will be impounded after 15 days "notice" - which probably means a ticket stuck somewhere on it I guess. Jilly is an absolute zealot on a crusade about trailer boats - she hates them with an irrational passion and doesn't care that boats as registered vehicles should be entitled to the same rights and responsibilities as all other vehicles. Vans trucks and box trailers unaffected by this; just boats. It comes into effect in september this year.


I am a responsible guy and have carefully selected the spot where I park - no houses on either side, wide quiet street, so that no one would be inconvenienced. No one has ever complained personally to me and there are always free parking spots nearby. Jilly has given us nowhere to go on this. the mosman LGA is not the kind of place where people have large driveways or front lawns to park their boat; the housing is just too dense for that generally.


I am thinking I will either have to sell the boat or move out of area. Presumably this is Jilly's intention as shifting boats from place to place constantly doesn't help the parking situation for anyone.


But if this idea spreads then will anywhere be safe? The second hand market will be flooded pretty quick with heavily discounted boats I reckon.


Mate please don’t do that. Surrendering to these sadistic fusspots, is not the Anzac way, not the Australian way. In the short term, I know a good out of the way street not too far from you where your trailer could be parked? Get in touch if more details needed. In the long term, we are going to have to fight – politically, and in the media – for our right to fishing and boating. Will have a stack of suggestions including letter to the editor templates and talk radio how-tos in the next report:




But let’s stay frosty and positive about these challenges. Given that there are ten times more fishos in Australia than there are every member of all political parties combined, we should have control of our own destinies. But the sad fact is no one is motivated to fight back, until the war comes to their own door. I do see a growing level of people who have had enough but unfortunately it’s one here and one there with no common agenda. I’m still positive that we can turn things around when enough fishos have had enough of the red and green tape. Until tnext week and thanks to all our readers and especially, contributors. Without your generosity there’d be nothing to write about. Please keep sending the reports in because 4000+ readers enjoy hearing your story. Tight lines,


Andrew Hestelow

Managing Director