Thursday 14 FEBRUARY 2013

Tackle specials and angling politics

from Downrigger Shop

G’day lads,


The joy of fishing is that there’s something new to learn, every trip. And never was that proved to me more clearly than Saturday. Because I had to work late we got away a bit later than some clients and friends, meaning we missed the early morning weather window.  Here’s the result when you go early, and go hard:

I wanted to test the new boat out so I punched up to Long Reef at 10 knots (took what felt like a lifetime to get there) and fished at the wall …. for some reason, the big seas had brought in the big fish (every other time the fish have been mostly undersized with some days having just legal fish). First fish was a huge bust-off on 100 pound braid (that's all I run). Next 4 fish were landed and all gave mum and I some serious curry in the shallow water.

What a fantastic result Chris, I’m amazed you had a family fishing day in a 20 knot howler. The message I’m taking from this is, GO HARDER.

We were out on Saturday morning too with Rocky and Gina, two of the keenest fishos I’ve ever accompanied. Ex-commercial fisher Stewart was aboard as well. With the tide peaking early we went to Old Mans Hat so that we could have a bait down in prime kingie country on the last of the run in. Crossing The Sound showed the wind was picking up fast, meaning a run to Long Reef was rejected. A mistake made, in view of Chris’ success.  We downrigged out to the tip of North Head in the lee of the cliffs without result:

Then pulled the gear in and headed south to the artificial reef for some jigging. By the time we got there it was so windy we had the whole area to ourselves, which shows how hard it was blowing. So we deployed a couple of kingie reefs for next week, and bailed. Passing by the Hat on return it was incredible how many boats were on station. Chris Beverley was in the middle of the scrum and counted 27:

Building up bait supplies squidding in North Harbour, and the big surprise was Rocky’s Ecogear blade. This thing caught three squid in a row:



It dropped a few too because it has hooks, rather than spikes. Very interesting little lure, although at $22 each you’d want to use them carefully.

Back out to the Hat and with the wind howling, we elected to drop the pick.

Down went a selection including squid heads, live yellowtail, soft plastics and knife jigs. Squid heads the best, with a procession of smallish kings coming aboard:

ocky took a barely legal on an SP and a $15 1500 size reel:

He’s from the Tuncurry Hotel Fishing Club (as the shirt shows) where I used to promote rock bands, so we swapped stories from the old days. Jimmy Barnes jumping in the hotel pool, Midnight Oil whining about their room standards, and me saving a few bucks by hiring local oyster farmers as Security, and paying them in beer. Let’s just say we only did that once. J

With plenty of hook ups coming consistently, the crews’ mood lifted.

Back in at midday with everyone on a high, although no sizeable kings found. Chris Beverley took a couple of keepers home:

Hi Andrew, we started well with 17 squid and managed an 80 and a 79.


Well done champ, wasn’t the squid good last weekend?

I’ll be out there on Sunday indulging my latest obsession, ultralight jigging:


Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it! On the topic of catching bigger kingfish, we just received a shipment of rods our readers need to know about.  The IWA Scorpion II is a 2-piece 7 feet long medium popping and casting stick:

Weight 340 grams, same as the Dorado. Fuji guides, heavily over and under bound, seven in total. Fuji reel seat and Fuji gimbal. Victorian friend Andy W uses Scorpions on his boat, fishing for southern bluefin tuna:

And is very pleased with the results:

They have a nice long butt section at 77cm, which gives you the leverage you need to make a long cast. There’s nothing worse than a rod you want to use for casting something heavy, but the distance between your left and right hands on the rod grips means it’s hard to get leverage. The distance on this rod is just right for sending a popper (or anything else moderately heavy) sailing out to the horizon.

The rod has a rating of to 40 pound line. Which would normally rule it out for heavy popping and livebaiting. But when you pick it up and load it, you see immediately that it’s a real power stick. I wrote to our supplier and asked him why this heavy rod has a low line rating.  In reply, he sent this pic, showing some Thai muscle machine dry lifting 12 kilos on the Scorpion II overhead version. Don’t try this at home, twelve kilos dry is a lot of weight:

Match this rod to 50 or 80 pound line and use it for casting live baits to marlin, for popping kingfish in shallow water, giant trevally, black bass, or just a general bullet proof back up stick, for any big expedition. Any heavy fishing, where casting is involved. Rod price $190.

Thanks to all the readers that wrote in about the barramundi supposedly caught in Wallis Lake at Forster, last week:

Fitz says that, with an election later this year, he’s letting the public know where he stands:



I couldn’t agree more, Pete!

Matt from Raptor Charters says that the NSW Fisheries measuring sticker shrinks with age and sunlight. He’s got photographic proof:

Dan G from Mingara FC on the NSW central coast sent in a beaut pic and report:

Had a great day at Lake Macquarie yesterday with my son, Samuel. For a seven year old, his passion for fishing is fantastic. Amongst a great bag of fish, he caught a 36cm snapper in the lake, then a handful of flathead on lures. Picture attached of the best fish going 72cm.


He! Enjoy every moment you can Dan, sooner than you think  you’ll be teaching him how to drive. Luke Albury, you’re a gun fisho:

I've been home from Darwin for 3days and been fishing every morning, 5 snapper first morning one smallest 40 biggest 63, 2nd day another 5snapper on soft plastic and today 3 snapper smallest 55cm and biggest 80cm at 5.5kg clean :)!


What a classic snapper pic.

Greg Reid from Bay and Basin Charters is putting his clients onto some solid reds:

Mate I wish I had some reports about kingies from inside Jervis Bay but as we speak it's been a dismal start to the season. There are fish under the cliffs but you will have to work hard with the midweek bite being the best option when there's not a lot of boat traffic. On the upside the snapper fishing in the Basin & the bay has been great with this cracker of a reddie taking over 100m if line in the first run on 3lb braid in the Basin recently.


Three pound braid! I use twelve pound on my yakka handlines, Greg. Thanks champ and keep these great updates coming. Game fishing reports have been either super hot or deathly cold.


Ross Ireland fished the Lake Mac GFC Big Fish Bonanza last weekend:

On the scales cobber, 232kg on 24, 3.050 short length.

Andy we hooked up about 1.5k`s nth of the Swansea FAD We only drifted about 8k`s all day. The current was flying at 5 knots so most came in close, we had 1.5 A few stick faces we tagged Sunday, one dolly weighed. One small whaler tagged. The water went green and cold overnight. We didn`t turn a reel all day.


Beautiful Rossco, gemfish will sleep soundly tonight.

From way off field I have a request for our readers.

Many years ago I used to distribute Japanese products and became very interested in all things Japanese. Still am. My Japanese buddies used to get me to take their sushi chef mates out to catch their first yellowfin or kingfish AKA hamachi. For some bloke who has spent 20 years cutting them up in a restaurant but had never seen a live one, that was a big deal. I’ve got a new idea which requires a switched on Japanese chef who likes getting out on the water. Only downside, I don’t know any these days J Can anyone suggest a Sydney based Japanese sushi chef who wants to get out on the water for a half days fishing, and try cooking up the catch? Inside the Harbour, not offshore.

Very grateful to Harry Miriklis for the fantastic pictures he emailed of Nemo’s success:

Hi Andrew, crew of “ NEMO “ ventured out of Sydney (Botany Bay) on Friday 25th Jan 2013 and Tagged and released a Striped Marlin about 75 / 80 Kgs.  Skipper: Harry Miriklis / Angler: Neil Dawson / Crew: Eddie / Postie & Tane



Beautiful, really captures the excitement of it all.

Heading up to the Interclub next week and these sensational pics are getting me pretty FIRED UP, Harry. J Had to put on a tie and jacket for last Thursday’s lunch at the Rod Fishers Society lunch, in town. The reason for being there was the speaker booked for the day, being NSW Fisheries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson. There’s all kinds of mail on this lady. Fisheries themselves are not keen on her because of the Cronulla office closure, which I know from acquaintances working there was a huge wrench, particularly for those with young families.

The constant refrain of Katrina’s speech was that the new Government was left not just an empty purse by Labor, but that there was a smoking crater where the purse had been. So a couple of years of pain are unavoidable, given the tough economic times. She talked about how previous commercial fisho buyouts have been somewhat rorted. I have heard that there's a bunch of licensed pros out there who almost never actually fish. At the last event lots of these blokes got a payout, so the (quite large) funding pool dried up quickly. Now Katrina's got $16m for a 2014 buyback and she intends to not waste a cent.

Chris B is a mad keen fisho who recognises that floods represent both positives and negatives, for angling:


Set off for an afternoon fish off Minniewater went out nine mile found big patch of small slimey mackerel and filled the live bait tank. Headed out to the jew hole, no current you rippa. Sent down 2live baits nailed in 20 seconds 2 jew hit the deck around 8 kg this was result in 2 hrs. bag of jew, time to move 0.5k nor east trag country 4 drops time for home bag of big deepwater trag home just after darkphotos for evidence  wown4 over 70 cm and 6 under 70 cm all the jew fish were caught in 200 ft of water before dark at secret spot no 1


Thanks, Chris!

Last week our Man in the Sand (Les from SWR) sought suggestions for his planned Trailcraft repowering. As expected, our knowledgeable readers came forth with stacks of good oil. HOWEVER! I am going to have to edit these comments pretty heavily J  The reason being that there was a few pretty harsh shots at competition brands and I don’t want to get any of our readers noses out of joint. Here’s a selection of quality feedback for you, Les.


Dave Warren:


I researched all the emission ratings for every brand on the market and the Honda was streaks ahead of anything else. Having been a mechanic in a previous life, I thought if the honda is burning the fuel that well, surely it stands to reason that it would get great fuel economy. I was proved right. I have an acquaintance who has a 90 hp two stroke on a 16 ft seafarer. he uses $80 to $90 worth of fuel to my $45 of fuel on my 5.8m Surtees hard top. No wonder he likes to come with me. Go figure.

Chris S’s take on the question:


Re the repower, a repower won't be worth it unless the bloke expects to do thousands of hours on it a year. $15k for a etec or 4 stroke will buy fuel for years of fishing. $100-120 a week seems like a lot, but it is 150 trips. Assuming that the average keen boater probably uses his boat weekly for 6 months of the year, that's 25 trips a year or 6 years worth of fuel! A new motor may save you 50% a trip, so that will take 12 years to only break even! Repowers are worthwhile in the US where motors are cheap as chips. In Oz, it's not worth it. If range or fuel supply or reliability is the issue, that's a different story, but if the motor is working, keep it.


Andrew W’s insights:


I cant remain silent on this one. I acknowledge the huge improvements in two stroke technology and the performance people are getting from them. Les says in his info that he does long days of trolling, that’s the clincher for me.  GOTTA BE FOUR STROKE . As clean as the new two strokes are, you will smell them (particularly in the cabin on a warm day) when trolling. Engine manufacturers all over the world continue to invest billions into fuel injected four stroke technology for cars, bikes and boats. Historical two stroke bike domain of Moto Gp and motorcross are now fuel injected four strokes.  How many Direct injection two stroke cars are on the market today ??  I will always buy modern four strokes now that I have experienced their features.


Chris B weighs in:


Regarding the Etec v 150 Yammie guy, if he wants great fuel economy and the performance of the 2 stroke hole shot, get a Suzuki. There is an awesome, unbiased comparison at I have a 175 Suzi on my 6.2 and it is awesome. Heaps of power, 50 knot top speed and awesome fuel economy especially when trolling or Squidding with the motor ticking over. I'd be lucky to use 30 litres on an average harbour day (5am to 1pm) and maybe 40-45 litres if I do Longy and Dee Why and troll all day.


I am so grateful to you chaps who’ve contributed on this one, because knowing how hardcore each of you are and the incredible number of hours you’ve accumulated collectively on the water, I know how much experience has gone into your opinions. Thank you.

Still on boats, and crew member Rico asks if we can mention his – which is for sale:


For Sale Quintrex 500 Hornet Trophy Eclipse 80HP Yamaha 4 Stroke & Dunbier Trailer $25,000 NEG

Hi Andy, it would be great if you could include a link in your weekly email, to the Gumtree ad for the sale of my Quintrex 500 Hornet Eclipse. Its a sweet rig and whoever buys it will be stoked. I have just had the gunnels freshly sprayed and that with the "as new" Yamaha 80HP powerhead that I replaced in November 2011 ($6,500), it not only looks smicko but runs like a charm too. I've only done 4 hours on it since then:( Here is the link.



No problem, my friend.

Some way too generous words, from Bob G:


Andrew, I thought I should warn you about your latest newsletter. I read it at 7am this morning and it was so good that I did not want to go to work afterwards. Congratulations.


Well mate the old my ears are going pink (although they were pretty pink already, forgot the dang sunblock on Saturday) but I am very grateful for your kind words.

To politics, and regular readers will know that South West Rocks is ground zero, for NSW Parks Service arrogance. The Macleay River mouth (on the left) is one of the most dangerous bars in the state:

Yet on the eastern side of Trial Bay is a perfectly safe all weather (albeit shallow) boat ramp where boats can be access the open ocean safely. Unfortunately, that ramp is controlled by the NSW Parks ‘Service.’ Les writes:


Hi Andrew, well I'm wondering if the Laggers Point Boat Ramp should be nominated in the 'Guiness World Book of Records' as being the most dangerous life threatening boat ramp on the planet because that's all you hear from the NPWS "Boat Ramp Closed Due To Safety Issues".

What the NPWS say is that when they lock the ramp we are supposed to go down the beach and launch behind the NPWS office, however, you can't get a car on the beach because it's all soft sand, as their own sign indicates; "This Boat Ramp is 4WD Access Only".


Christmas time it's locked shut because of supposed safety issues. The school holidays (four times per year) it's locked for the same supposed reason. Easter & ANZAC Day is the same, Australia Day they swing the gate shut and slam a big padlock on it. Every time there's some visitors (boaties) coming to town the first response from the NPWS is to lock the damn boat ramp and then when the town is empty they send their man down on his brand-new quad-runner and un-lock it again.


Why send us from a perfectly good concrete boat ramp to a sandy beach cutting (that they call a boat ramp) when we can't use it and if we could use it we'd get fined $300.00 for our effort?

Yep, that's right. Their very own sign indicates that if we do use the access that they have told us to use we will be slammed with a $300.00 'on the spot fine'.

Their own sign says "Vehicles are not permitted to drive on Front Beach unless; Recovering or launching of watercraft (breakwater ramp only) Licensed fisherman permit holder. Failure to comply - max penalty $300 on the spot fine" which means we have to go back to the concrete breakwater boat ramp that we've been locked out of. The sign is a contradiction in its own terms


And also, if you could get onto the beach you would have to drive over the top of the campers and sunbakers who set up camp right on the actual beach access that we're supposed to drive on.

They walk through the cutting and set up camp, umbrellas, beach towels, volley ball nets etc in front of our cars and then abuse the hell out of us if we try to access the beach cutting as instructed by the NPWS (which we can't access because they'll fine us anyway).

I can't make any sense out of the sign. They tell us not to use a concrete boat ramp for safety issues yet they give us permission to drive over the top of people with a 4X4. You're a whole lot smarter than me if you can figure that one out Andrew.

Now for the icing on the cake. This weekend coming (16th and 17th) there is a Triathlon happening at South West Rocks, and yep, you guessed it, they're locking the boat ramp for two full days. What for you may ask...yep you guessed it, "For Safety Issues".


For two full days we are completely locked out of our own boat ramp because some people want to have a swim across part of the bay, then jump on a push-bike and peddle from South West Rocks to Gladstone and then run around town for a few hours in the roaring hot sun until they drop dead from a massive heart attack at the finish line. Meanwhile we can't go fishing. What a joke.


It is a joke and a very sick one, my friend. Every so often a TV current affairs show does a story on the neighbours from hell. Someone living amongst normal people, who has no concern for the community, and are so arrogant they don’t care how others view them because they are always in the right. Parks and Wildlife are the ultimate neighbours from hell. Talk to anyone who deals with them and you find that out very quickly. The guy who leased the takeaway shop at Appletree Bay, and was sent broke by their red tape. Graziers with a farm next to one of the State’s 800+ national parks, who deal with the feral pigs coming through the fence. Boaties at Roseville locked out for months while the parkies and Maritime wasted $1 million on making the boat ramp inefficient. In the case of your troubles, all we can do is express sympathy. What you can do is, document and photograph everything – as you are already doing. Because sooner or later South West Rocks neighbours from hell will be responsible for a tragedy. They will close Trial Bay ramp for a trivial reason yet again. But this time someone will flip their boat on the bar with possible loss of life. Here’s Narooma Bar in a bad mood, the Macleay can be every bit as bad:


And here’s what happened at Narooma last Sunday:

Document everything, because when the sad and avoidable event happens we will name names. I hate to end the weekly report on a downer but nothing is more important than the safety of our friends and readers – many of whom fish SWR regularly. The South West Rocks parkies are wilfully jeopardising that safety, and we can’t ignore that. To our readers and contributors, thanks so much once again for your support. I’ll be out on Sunday fishing Long Reef and if anyone wants an on-the-water update, give me a buzz then. After 8:00AM best when we’ve got our bait and are up there fishing. Until next week tight lines,


Andrew Hestelow

Managing Director