Tackle specials and angling politics

from Downrigger Shop

Early January, and warm currents are pulsing south along the NSW coast. Meaning marlin and mahi reports are off the scale. We kick off with Bruce Rayment’s success:



G'day Andrew, tagged a 70kg Striped Marlin on Avalon on Tuesday 30th on the edge of the shelf east of Port Hacking for Chris Wienholt. The fish took the long corner lure and was boatside within 30 minutes on 24kg tackle. Happy campers!


Well done champ and congrats to you both! Further north, and Rhys de Jager excited about his trip to SWR. Who wouldn’t be?



Hey Andy, just got back from south west rocks, it's a beautiful place! got my first Marlin which was awesome! shame we dropped it at the boat tho, the bait fad was swarming with yakkas and the conditions were like glass for 2 of the 3 days we fished! we also saw 2 marlin free jumping!


Fish and water look so good, Rhys. John Coleiro achieves a memorable milestone too:



Hi Andy, got our first Marlin today! A nice stripe caught off Kiama on a Pakula hot head. Had him in the boat after a 15 min fight.


Bravo, John! Solid beakie, Zoran over the moon about his success. If you’re in the Big Smoke and you’ve always wanted to catch a marlin, now’s the time:



Hi Andrew, just thought I’d give you an update. Early in 2014 I upgraded all my reels including my trusty Penn 330GTi ’s with carbontex sourced from you. On Saturday we originally set out live baiting for kings off Sydney Heads and out at 12 Mile. But with nothing in the bag at 11am and with water at 24degC we decided to troll some skirts. An hour later we hooked, landed, photographed and successfully released this beauty. The fight took about an hour with each of us taking 15min turns - lots of head shakes and tail walking in the initial runs - the 330GTi got very warm but held up to the task.



What a fish on a 14cm Pink Pakula skirt targeting Kings, Bonnies and Dollies! L to R: John, Glen, me and Wayne - all regular readers of your email report - smiles all around. Cheers and tight lines. Zoran


Happiness is a warm 330, Zoran! Congrats to all aboard and thanks muchly for the report. Lachlan happy with our Head Starts. Keep in mind these can be trolled at 7 knots, so a good addition to the marlin lure spread? We have a 175-pound braided wire leader, if the 80-pound bead chain leader isn’t strong enough:



Hi Andrew, thanks for the Headstarts..... first trip out and got this nice Dollie on the black one with a Gar..... they swim the Gar perfectly! Thanks again....


You’re very welcome, Lachlan! Karl Houseman’s mahi taken on a Head Start too:



For those not familiar with them, here’s how they work:



Across our brown unpleasant land (thanks, Dame Edna) and Dave Frank scores a sambo:



Hi Andy, went for a fish out of Perth today on Saltwater Charters. Most people were bottom bashing but a couple of us were jigging and the skipper worked hard to get us on top of the fish. Awesome charter and he supplied top quality gear therefore would recommend him to anyone heading over here. This photo was 4 for 4 and I was struggling to hold them up by then.


Saltwater Charters, that’s a good reference Dave. And here you are again with a surprise visitor, while chasing kingfish. Very tasty at this size, but always cut off the white lattice tendon on the muscles:



Unfortunately didn't find the kings yesterday but got a nice Mako. You must be selling a few of the jig combo's as my brother in law also got one for Christmas.


It’s true, ten percent of fishos *do* catch ninety percent of the fish. I wanna be a ten percenter like you, Dave. Kingfish a little quiet since Christmas, but focused obsessives still finding some good ones. And no one more fits that profile than Dave Clarke:



Hi Andrew, Success!! The goal today was to get out off Greenwell Point with livies and jigs, hopefully find the Kings and help my mate from the Sunshine coast join the “Gold” class and land his first legal King. At the bait grounds we found the slimies were plentiful, although a little on the small side and with the tank full we headed for the reef. As we arrived we saw another boat landing a good sized King…Yeeha, a good sign!! First drop, down went the jigs, with a double hook up straight off the bat. Old Mate, was just about crying for mercy after boating his third 70cm in just about as many drops. What a great day, kings on jigs and live bait, can it get much better? There were a lot of just under legals but we ended up taking home 6 and returned at least a dozen. We also landed two Amber Jack which is a first for me, locally. Top day had by all.


That’s great Dave, your positivity inspiring as always. If there’s one rule I always try to live by its, fish for what’s around. And with the incredible number of good mahi being taken, that’s what I’ll be chasing this week. Luke Albury and crew at Crowdy Head:



My partner Telisha got her first Dolly as well, 86cm


Magnificent! The mahi too. Paul Smith:



A mate and I nabbed a couple of dollies and got a double on black marlin yesterday off the Pin on the Goldy. That dollie put an end to my Old Shimano TSS4 that hasn’t missed a beat in 25 years. I think the gears are stripped. These were great spinning reels for Mackeral at 6:1 ratio that we would run 15 pound on. What is your best suggestion for a high speed spinning reel? I have a SW5000 for jigging. I think they are 5.5:1. Would that be fast enough with 6kg braid? Or do you have anything else better suited?


Options sent by email! Thanks for this great report. Paul Johnston finds holiday gold:



Hey Andy, its still raining here at Hat Head but we managed this dollie before the rains hit. Hopefully the rain will ease soon and we can chase some small black marlin.


Right, dollies or marlin. You certainly know how to twist the knife, Paul! Mark Stables out from Sydney North on Saturday 10th:



That is *exactly* what I want this week, Mark! And I want to get one on our new light jig combo. Sure I’m biased, but this is the perfect balance of weight, line rating, and price. Here’s a typical inquiry:


Hello Andrew, I received your very well made down rigger for Christmas this year, after emailing your website to my good wife (and giving her a couple of reminders to do something about it).  I still have not tried it out yet but GBR here I come.  Can't wait to try it.


Anyway a mate of mine has been telling me how deadly jigging for fish is and I was wondering what outfit (rod and reel) you would suggest for reef fishing (jigging) the reef off Cairns. Some of your less known brands appeal to me (quality is a priority for me, not a flashy label). I have a few jigs already in the 70-100g range so I would be aiming for something suitable for this weight range.  Of course, I would also take your advice on jig size etc as you would likely have a wider network of feedback on what works or otherwise.


Here you go, Dan. A sweet setup for light jigging, and perfect for 70-100 gram jigs. If you need something heavier, just let me know:



Reel: Lesson 3000 size (the top one), spooled with 200m 6 kilo CC braid. Gearing 5.2:1, carbontex drags, 10 ball bearings for super smooth winding, and the handle is just great;

Rod: Speed Jig, 6 feet long, Fuji guides and reel seat, PE 0.8-2, rated to 100 gram jigs;

Combo weight 420 grams, you can jig with it all day:



Combo price, $170 complete. Such a top set up for kings, dollies, mack tuna and the like:



A nice change to our usual offshore focus, with Dave Clarke sending a terrific account of a bass expedition in eastern Victoria:



Hey Andrew, as you know I love my fishing!...and have been doing a fair bit of jigging for Kings and the like, however I’ve had a nagging thought in the back of my mind that I was being completely irresponsible and neglecting my freshwater piscatorial pursuits...So… to make all things equal, my Bass fishing buddy and I spent the last three days paddling down one of our fabulous East Gippsland rivers being monstered by one of our best native fresh water species. It was a great trip!



Just a thought….with great numbers of Bass in most NSW coastal rivers and the weather and water warming up nicely, I’ve got to say to your readers don’t just spend your time dreaming of getting “outwide” but in the between times, grab a creek rod, some lures/SPs and stroll up a quiet river/creek bank somewhere casting at any structure, logs, over hangs etc and be blown away at the pound for pound fighting capacity of these little bruisers! (specially on light gear)…Hey Andrew, If I’m not spending time buying jigs or 80 pound braid, you’ll find me drooling over the latest finesse gear, lures and SPs… just wondering if you’ve have any gear in stock that would suit guys who’d like to give the Bass a go or if you’re thinking about importing some in?


Well mate since you asked I have just ordered a reel which has terrific specs and reviews. That is the Ryobi Aquila, arriving this week. Not expensive and we do have matching baitcast rods to suit. Send me an email for pics and specs? Great pricing. The one in the pic is left hand wind, but I’ve ordered right hand models:



To boats. I guess it’s the Christmas traffic and tired drivers, but there’s been some nasty bingles on the highways and byways. Dan asks a fair question:



How do people get into these situations?



Dunno my friend, I just – dunno. And it’s not just boats wandering off the reservation. The Port Stephens FAD decided to take a holiday break too. Julius Di Mento, on Wednesday:



Found this at south head yesterday arvo. Long way from home


Steggs helped out with this boat ramp disaster, last weekend. Anyone can make a mistake, but gee this happens a lot:



Hot Off The Press. I just helped him retrieve his car. Kissing Point Wharf.


Good on you cobber. I reckon a Ramp Cam compilation would be a bigger Youtube hit than Gangnam. Not strictly related to our usual topics – but maybe it should be. Karen C sends the story …



On our recent Moreton Island camping holiday we  learnt a life lesson which is not known by many and may be handy if you come across a child stung or you are in this situation  ...... Glen was stung by a stingray.  It felt like a crab bite not a single sting which one would expect from a stingray.  Even though the cut was small it bleed severely and the pain intensified in waves up to his knee over approx 20 mins.  His foot also swelled to the point his toes didn’t touch the ground.  Constant hot water, (as hot as can be tolerated) was recommended to be applied immediately for approx 30mins, (don't wait for pain to intensify), this relieves the intense pain INSTANTLY.  This treatment is recommended for all marine stings (jelly fish, stingray, blue bottles, cat fish etc).  We will now carry a flask of hot water in the boat on all trips as well  the 1st aid kit will include disposable heat packs.  We were also told infection can take up to 5 days to appear and applying Savlon can help prevent this.  Glen's wound has healed without infection.


That’s good news, Karen. Good news as well that he scored a solid cobia, on the trip:




To politics, and they don’t call it the silly season for nothing. Check this out:


Yep. Warwick wants all outboards fitted with prop guards. Research? Nope. Cost/benefit study? Of course not. Why? Because that’s what they do, at his sailing club. For busybody fusspots, perfect safety is always just one more regulation away. Here’s Warwick ‘recognizing’ his OH&S responsibilities, at Lane Cove 12ft Skiff Club:



With the deadline to the NSW election ticking down, those concerned about the future of fishing are getting focused. Tireless activist for boaties and fishos, Les Palmer, sends news of an excellent initiative. If you’re on the mid-north coast, PLEASE attend? Because if the current government wins control of the NSW upper house in March, they will subject us to even more closures, bag limits, license fee increases, boat ramp complications, on water inspections, and general green and red tape than they have in the last three years. Which is a scary thought:



Hi Andrew, here's an up-date of where ECOfishers are up to. On the 17th of this month ECOfishers will be conducting an open pre-election forum at the South West Rocks Country Club to discuss with the politicians their policies on recreational fishing in NSW during their term of government...if elected.


Next Saturday. Good on you, Les! Here’s one we need explained. Steve L writes:



Here's clear indication the NSW Coalition is sucking up to the Greens / environmental lobby for (the 2015) election. OEH has received more than DOUBLE their previous years' budget! Well done Mr Baird, pork-barreling at its finest!


Exactly, Steve. They tax the voters who put them into parliament, then give those taxes to their political opponents. Just crazy. In closing, can I thank our readers and contributors for your support? So much positive feedback received about the email report but without your generosity there would be nothing to write about. Until next week,


Andrew Hestelow

Managing Director