Wednesday 12 DECEMBER 2012

Tackle specials and angling politics

from Downrigger Shop

G'day lads, Summer warming up fast, with some top reports coming in from across the country.  First up, a beautiful 15 kilo kingfish caught in Sydney Harbour on Saturday:

Few weeks back i threw out the gaff due to rust, and had only the net which was no help. I got down and managed to grab the kingie behind its gills and pull this monster in. It went 125cm and 15-16kg


Right in the heart of our biggest city! . PS Downrigger Shop polo shirt looks good too. J

In Port Philip Bay, snapper fishing just gets hotter and hotter. Herb writes:

Best fish went 4.5 kg....  let 6 or so big ones go(large females)  good day...Snapper everywhere...rising barometer ..after a S/W blow.. magic!

You’ve got them wired, Herb!

 Marc fished wide of Ballina on Saturday:

We went for a quick troll yesterday. Caught this girl along a tideline in 37 meters of water. Great fun to catch on light tackle. Can't wait for the pelagic season to kick fully into gear.


None of us can, my friend.

Marc got out wide again two days later, and the pelagic season HAD kicked fully into gear:

Pelagics have moved in. Hooked dollies and striped marlin today off Ballina. Great way to start the week off.



Congratulations Marc and thanks for your report.

The water looks SO GOOD. Our Man on the Spot in Jervis Bay (Dave T) says the fishing is firing up locally. Be strong girls, Craig’s taken:

Busy times at the cleaning table at JB. Henry had a good day out at the Shelf yesterday. Sea  perch{orange roughy}  were committing suicide and not giving the blue eye a chance to get near the baited hook. He managed 1 blue eye as you can see by the pic.



Craig and his father went out bottom bashing on Saturday and managed 24 flatties between them, so they were happy they had tea for the family.


Ronnie, on Shark Bait, and Tony on Marlin Feeder, went out on Monday and got good catches of Albacore and Yellowfin as did the boys on X-Rated. Many happy smiles but Lippy on Trust in Dreams trolled all day for zero so the fish are still very patchy, going really deep and not rising for any offerings.


Good intel Dave, it’s just as helpful to know what's not happening as to know what's on.

Reidy has a killer report from the Basin:

Hi Andy, just looking at the 20kg carp pic from your last report. Have a go at this 10.6kg model from the Shoalhaven River recently. We've actually been sight casting them with lightly weighted soft plastics on our bass trips up the river. They might be a serious stinky pest but I guarantee that thought's not on your mind as the drag is screaming as they try to make their way back to the timber. They don't call them "mud marlin" for nothing. Along with a number of Jervis Bay fishos, we are now using them for bait. Simply fillet and salt and put in the fridge or freezer. It's ideal for flattie bashing and snapper as it doesn't come off the hook easily, and to my surprise the bait doesn't smell any worse than pilchards.


What a stonker carp, Greg! Thanks for the tips, will give them a try.

Grant got one too:


Hey Andrew, attached is a pic of a mud marlin I took yesterday arvo in the Nepean River on fly Cheers Grant


I’ll bet that gave you a workout, Grant.

John B is happy with his new downrigger:

Just letting you know I used my new downrigger today and am very happy indeed, landing a horse of a golden trevally on a slow trolled squid,

while working the spotted mackerel schools around arch cliff area of Hervey Bay.



Glad the downrigger’s working so well for you John.


I headed for Geelong on Thursday, on a mission to buy a folding boat which we’re interested in offering next year. Had a couple of hours to kill waiting for Andy W to arrive, so headed to the waterfront for a stickybeak. Some commercial squid boats tied to the wharf, obvious by their overhead light racks and black painted decks-which don't show the squid ink.

The boats use automatic jigging machines, with large squid jigs tied on an endless loop of heavy fishing line:


Kayak fishos too:



That’s what we need in Sydney Harbour.

Next to the squid boat wharf I met local helicopter pilot Blair, who was justifiably proud of having his first magazine story selected as the cover for the famous NZ magazine Rod & Rifle:



Hey Andrew Was great to take ya for a flight during the week, Hope the boat was a beaut!  Cheers Blair Cook Geelong helicopters


Mate, the pleasure was all mine.

Then good friend Andrew W stopped by and we headed off to buy the folding boat. Expecting big things from this little beauty, in 2013:

Next morning up early and down to Warrnambool ramp, where a bunch of blokes were swimming thoroughbreds:


We launched Andrew’s big Whittley 700 and headed off to the snapper grounds:


A few pinkies scored but the main takers were big calamari squid:



Thanks for all your help Andrew, and for a great morning on the water.

Further afield, and Nathan H and his fishing mate say 'bula!' to a couple of beautiful Fijian sails:

I’ve recently been to a wedding in Fiji and snuck out on a charter with Freedive Charters. Was an aussie bloke from South West Rocks who knew his stuff and got us on to some awesome fish. The highlight of the trip was a double hook up on Sail fish with a third one free swimming past. Definitely the best fishing I have been onto. A couple of pics attached for your report.




Top work Nath, especially since it looks a tad lumpy in the background. Good call on booking such a solid boat. I’ll be at St George Anglers in Sydney next Wednesday 19th giving a talk on downrigging. All welcome, it starts at 7:00PM.

Andre from the Club writes:


Here is a map of where we are. The entrance to the club driveway is on the corner of Smith and Alexander at Taren Point. (Marked “A” on the map) Coming from the north over Captain cook Bridge, turn left as soon as you are over the bridge into Toorak Avenue after the school and then take the second street on your left (Alexander Avenue). After that you can't miss our gate when you get to a 90 degree left bend in the road.


Looking forward to it, and hope to see a few readers there.

Dave has a top O/S report, too:



Hi Andrew, a close friend of ours went to Coromandel east coast of nth island NZ with 6 mates, snapper fishing. They went out on the mussel barges with the locals and were catching their bag limit in 2 hours, 54 fish...after that they had to be thrown back, makes you cry.  A few big king fish were caught as well much to the delight of the boys.


Wow! Thanks, Dave.

With Christmas only two weeks away, our thoughts turn to family and kids. Adam K sent in some welcome feedback on our light combo:



Hi Andrew ….the bonito, the flathead and  a couple of trevallies was on your light spinning combo


Great Adam, glad it’s working for you.

Caro and I picnicked at Moss Vale last week, with friends who have three boys. Here are the lads, kicking back while waiting for a trout to bite:


We had a ball at the dam. Next day I was up at K Mart buying sinkers and spotted the plastic spinning combos they sell for children at Christmas – often in the bin, by the end of January:

Lads, if you’ve got juniors in the family, start them right with good gear:

Even though our light combo is designed for tailor, trout, bream, whiting and squid, the ten ball bearings and carbontex drags in the reel - along with the forgiving full parabola load curve on the rod - means that if you take it easy quite big fish can be landed on these outfits. Here’s a 9.5 kilo carp I caught on mine, and he went hard:

If you’d like to try one, give me a buzz, or order off the website? We can send same day.

Here’s the submission, the blue parts were supplied by our newsletter readers – particularly Gary S, to whom I’m very grateful indeed:



Roseville boat ramp is within Garigal National Park, in Middle Harbour:

It services a large area of the North Shore and the Peninsula and – judging by online fishing forum posts – is even the boat ramp of choice for many living in Sydney’s western suburbs.


Roseville ramp is directly administered by the National Parks & Wildlife Service. That government agency is charged with environmental protection rather than boating facility management. The boat ramp has been subject to an endless stream of complaints on fishing forums and social media due to issues including:


The high cost of parking;

The inappropriate angle for optimum boat launching:

The inability of the ramp to meet demand on busy days;

The poor maintenance of internal access roads, which feature gigantic pot holes;

The pitiful lighting, with a tree planted beneath the light reducing its beam width;

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

High hopes were held for improvement when, earlier this year, ramp signage announced that the facility would undergo a $1m overhaul. It was assumed by most that the well known problems would be addressed, particularly the primary issue being heavy congestion on the narrow ramp. Instead, the ramp has been dramatically worsened. Firstly, the new pontoon:


The biggest problem is obviously the (3 metre wide) pontoon on the ramp. It really has to go. I think any improvements to it in its current position will only have a marginal improvement to improve the flow and capacity. It is a modular unit and could be repositioned off to the side of the ramp. Some points against the pontoon in its current position:


 Capacity decrease - 4 lanes to 3 is a 25% reduction in capacity on one of Sydney's busiest ramps.


 Pedestrian safety -  Pedestrians (often kids) are dropped off at the pontoon and are forced to make their way across the area where trailers are being reversed. Vision is limited reversing a trailer (often with a 4WD) and the kids can't be seen. This is a similar situation to kids being run over in their driveways by parents reversing cars. One of the first tenets of pedestrian safety is segregating pedestrians from traffic.

  Makes reversing difficult if using the lanes next to the pontoon - Usually backing a trailer requires some minor corrections. Having the pontoon running the full length of the ramp leaves no room for these corrections without hitting it. Especially when backing an empty trailer when the trailer is on the slope and the car is on the flat. There is a time when the trailer can't be seen. This is not usually a problem on an open ramp because you can see the trailer again well before you reach any vehicles launching/retrieving at the water.


Next, the pontoon itself:

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.


Thirdly, the poor landscaping. This giant sandstone block has been placed at a pinch point to impede access and, as a result, is covered in dings and paint scrapes from cars:

Next, the passenger pontoon:

Another question on the pontoon on the Eastern side that was replaced. What did we gain by that?  It is moved a bit further off shore but is the same size! There is no increase to capacity and that is what the ramp badly needed. In fact that's all it really needed to ease the congestion so we weren't waiting in a queue to drop a driver off to get the trailer.

These poor decisions guarantee ramp rage, this summer. In fact, that’s happening now:

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 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.


So what’s to be done? The immediate priority is safety. Whether it be addressing the likelihood of a child being run over this summer or the fist fights that are guaranteed to occur. The new pontoon must be moved 10 metres south, attached to the shore in front of the fish cleaning table, thereby increasing rather than impeding the boat ramps throughput. And in future, and for other boat ramps, the Parks & Wildlife Service needs to consult with those affected by their decisions. None was made, the plan was announced as a fait accompli:

Given their reputation for lack of consultation, the only way that will happen is by a recommendation from this Inquiry


As to Roseville ramp, and our many readers who use that facility. I have a request. If you’re down there this summer and see heavy launch/retrieve congestion, with cross words or worse, please take a pic or two for me? And send by e-mail. Long experience proves there is no agency less likely to admit a mistake than the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service (Head Office at Hurstville, that is.) But with enough documentation, I can progress this further with either the Minister for Ports or the news media. For the latter, pictures and video is everything. Next week, a long hard look at the mismanagement of Laggers Point boat ramp at South West Rocks. If you have any opinions (whether positive or negative) about boat ramps in your neck of the woods, let’s hear em. Thanks for your support my friends, your pics and reports make it so easy to assemble the weekly email. Keep em coming! Until next week,

 Andrew Hestelow