Friday 15th August 2014

Tackle specials and angling politics

from Downrigger Shop

Is the fishing off Sydney best in winter? The answer’s yes, going on last weekend’s results. Team Cassar, on Saturday:



As per usual the mountain was packed with over 50 boats, maybe more. We set up our drift away from the pack and still went well with a nice blue eye and 6 gemfish a top day on the water


Wow. Dinners for the next fortnight sorted, Matt. Check Ross Hutton’s monster, same day:



Genuine 15 kg gemfish


Well done, bloke. That’s the biggest I’ve ever seen. Yern on ‘Tycho 2’ boated some beauties:



Today at Browns heaps of boats there "mako comp"


Enjoy it while it lasts my friend because this huge 2014 gemfish spawning run must end soon. With last weeks’ seas rougher than Jacqui Lambie, I was champing at the bit to get wide after ten days desk bound. Finally the wind dropped and the swell backed off.  If we weren’t at fever pitch already, the sight of tuna frames at Roseville ramp sent the crews’ motivation off the scale:



We arrived at Browns just as the seas glassed out. Set up north of the high point and dropped down our usual rig: half a pilchard on the top hook and half a Cali squid, on the bottom hook. Sharked a couple of times as you would expect at this time of year, but once we got things sorted some nice fish came aboard. Enda’s gemmie:



Oliver’s Alfonsino:



With the chiller bag straining at the zipper we gave ourselves an early mark. Heading home on a flat sea and as always breaking up the trip with a jig session, on Twelve Mile reef. Pretty soon we were bringing some nice ones aboard:



What a great day. I met someone recently who, not knowing my life revolves around boating and fishing, offered the tired old chestnut, ‘the best days of owning a boat are the day you buy it, and the day you sell it.’ Horse hockey!  I have a ball on my old tub – exercise, mateship, adventure, and bringing home some nice fillets too, to share with family and friends. The thought of having it stolen gives me shivers. Which is why we’ve spent the last six weeks testing various GPS Trackers to get the best combination of accuracy and value for money. Ben B writes yesterday:


Aug 13th, 7:22pm Hi Andy, what's the latest info in the GPS Tracker!


Ready to go! For those unfamiliar with them, you send your Tracker a 4 digit SMS, and it replies almost instantly with its GPS location, and an Internet link showing its position on a Google map to around 5 metres of accuracy:




Here’s pricing. Including Tracker, Telstra SIM card, waterproof satchel with ABS clamps, and delivery, $120 complete. Twelve volt 7AH battery including 240V and 12V chargers in a sturdy bag an extra $39, if you don’t want to wire your Tracker to the boat:


The battery gives around 220 days of operation. And when it runs low, the Tracker sends you a ‘5% battery’ SMS. If you are wiring it to boat power, consider some kind of disguise? One client suggested putting it in a cigarette packet on the dashboard. Good idea:



Send me an email for more details on how it works? Easy to set up and if your boat’s missing one morning, just send your Tracker a text. Still on boating, thousands of views and dozens of comments – for and against – on the Facebook page, when I posted up pics of friends fishing solo in small boats, at the Mountain. Ben Lake, his 435 Stessl Truck:



This one’s small for 22nm offshore solo. But Josh knows what he’s doing:



Brendan McDonald on McFish went twelve miles out, not the whole way:



Hey Andy, took Simon from Sydney Marine Sparkys as a thank you for all of his help on 'McFish'. Out to twelve mile through the fog at first light. Slowish from 7 to 10 then all 14 boats dined out with biggest going 88.



A few jackets though and Matty Reid's favourite - 'couta. Some funny bucks parties enjoying the sun too. All boats helping each other, good value.


That’s my dream, Brendan! Artificial reefs along the 100 metre line ,and deepwater FADs placed all down the Shelf. Jig kings in the morning, target big mahi in the afternoon, plenty for everyone. But we gotta get organised. Michael G asked for thoughts on his first run to Browns:


We would be looking at making the trip in a 5.75m high sided center console with 115hp 4 Stroke and all the required safety equipment (with an addition jerry can).  Our plan was to be at 'the heads' at first light for the run out, stop for a jig at the 12 Mile then out to the mountain for some gemfish and perhaps a mako before heading in to be back in the heads mid afternoon (well before dark).


Flattered you’d ask! Here’s my recommendation, for what it’s worth. Pack the tuna gear and, if you haven’t got an electric reel, set up your most comfortable 2-speed game fishing combo with your rod bucket and kidney harness so that everything feels really comfortable and correctly adjusted. Here’s one of the highest points on the Mountain, around 355 metres deep:

S 34 02.003  E 151 39.404


Straight to Browns, perhaps with a jigging break at the Peak or the Twelve (depending on where you’re launching from) and make sure you’re at a prime spot at the tide change. On arrival search for albatross clusters and see if you can pick up a free gemmie they’re picking at before you even bait up. Check rate and direction of drift and set up well clear of other boats because there will be so many there. After (hopefully) bagging out on gemfish, drop a gemmie belly flap down for some mako fun. A 13/0 Tuna Circle on 75cm of 400 pound wire which is then crimped to 2.5m of 300 mono means you can slash the trace with a knife boatside, no sidecutters needed:



If you’re lumbered up and limboed down, try dropping a jig to the 180m-220m depth? Especially if little flecks are showing on your sounder around that level, when the gain is cranked up and the ping speed is backed off. It’s a quiet year for albacore but if they’re anywhere, they are there. Lastly, monitor VHF21 for tuna chatter to your east. Coincidentally, I’m writing a story for Peter Webster’s new mag, on fishing wide in small boats. Basic message, it’s not just about the boat size. Matter of fact, going on the pic Matt from Raptor Charters sent this week, maybe most of the disasters are much closer in:



Gatesy made a good call on Saturday. Glad to see our 100 gram jigs delivering the goods:



We decided not to leave fish to chase fish.  Jigged all day and have a smile from ear to ear


That worked. Phil from Team Lagudi stayed closer in:



Went out to the Peak today andy.. No luck on jigs or live bait.. We have 3 live squid and 8 slimy mackerel but only got 1 king (75cm) on a squid strip. Also went over to 12 mile and no action there either. Heres a pic of jason with the king of the day


Phil, a client who visited for jigs last week told me an interesting story. Four of them at the Peak recently, one being the new bloke. Two hours jigging, no fish, not even a strike. Suddenly the new bloke hooks up to a decent one and everyone how he worked his magic. Turned out he had pinned a pilchard through the eye socket using the jig hook. Everyone followed suit and that saved the day. Keep that as a fallback option? Points north. Rod and Hayden Coleman to Allmark last weekend. Can’t believe I haven’t been there this year – yet:



Gday Andy, Hayd and I did a run to Allmark on Sat and lifted 8 reasonable kings between 850 and. 900 5 to 7.5 kg on the scales. Nothing out of the ordinary except that they fought exceptionally hard. We both called some of them for 1 mtr fish. Conditions sloppy with 12 to 14 knot winds.



Woo hoo, overflowing the eskies. That’s what you want Rodda. Murray introduces his friends to jigging. They’ll be hooked now:



Andy, managed a run out to Texas (off Terrigal.) Managed to get out there on an absolute beautiful sea at around 9am (tide change was around then). Had 2 mates on board who had both never jigged before, both normally catch flathead in the local river. 6 boats out there when we arrived. Sounded around and very quickly found a school, dropped a jig to show the boys how to jig and 1st drop 1st fish. The boys soon got a bit of rhythm going and ended up with 4 kings all around the 70cm mark. All kings were caught with your jigs in purple colour. Picture is Joel with his Kingfish.  Hopefully will be out there again soon.


Good on you mate, it’s such a buzz introducing fishos to the technique. Paul Smith proves everyone had a top Saturday offshore:



Hi Andy. I fished the shelf off Tweed Heads on the Golf Coast today with my mate Thomas Apps on his boat Escapin. Took 7 nice kings on jigs and livies and a mixed bag of Snapper and Nanygai. Some pics as promised.


Grateful, Paul! To SEQ, and a giant Spaniard for Team Cadoo on their annual winter tailor hunt:



Thought we would send you a post card from Moreton Is. Not many fish around. Just the odd one. Tim and Glen.


What a beast! Did you get to weigh it? Reminds me of the old black and white pics from the Sixties, in Wal Hardy’s book. To the other end of the country, and a solid Hume Weir trout for Neil Dodds. Glad to see the fishing’s rebounded after they drained the dam:



Hi Andrew, I thought I would send you these photos from a recent fishing trip I had with my Club the Knox Boat Fishing Club to the Hume Weir on the weekend 26th and 27th July, lucky me I hooked up and landed a very nice Male Brown Trout obviously just back from his spawning run with the "Girls"  He took a very "Unusual" lure which I had just bought so I thought why not, the damn thing worked in the first 20 minutes or so, he went 3.85kg and 74cm ?? long and I won our comp. Very unexpected that's for sure.


So glad you did, Neil! Good timing too, because we’ve been discussing a Dartmouth trip this spring. Westy fished out from Port Fairy:



Hi Andrew, took my brother out for his first tuna run today and caught 4 school fish.  A great trip with a top bloke.


SBT! We’ll see what happens this weekend but the fear is that the run off Sydney finished almost as quickly as it started, Andy. This time last week top bloke and gun fisho Peter Noddie invited me down to Bermagui for Bluefin Week. Had to regretfully say no because tackle sales busier than ever right now. Pete’s kept me updated on what’s been a huge week for the lads, stickbaiting 60 kilo tuna, wetsuiting up and swimming with them, and all the rest of it. Towards the end they decided to take a break from the big gear and chase snapper in close.

Check how that turned out:



Fished for snapper today, bagged out 3 guys not a fish under 45 biggest 60... Threw back heaps!!!!


Overseas, and Our Man in Nauru sends some news. Couldn’t we all do with some warm weather and dollie fishing right now?



Hey Andrew, thanks for the reports, good to know what is being caught down south :) my boys love seeing the pics of all the fish caught :) here is my 4 year old Titus with our biggest dolphin so far, a 4kg model caught July 2nd on lumo williamson wahoo catcher and a two speed reel. July was our slowest month of the year thus far only caught 75kg of fish…sure hope august picks up :)


Sounds tough. Stay strong! But pic of the week went to Jim Fleming:



Surtees Boats (NZ) shared photos of this epic .... Okay, EPIC catch from a Surteees 4.7 (sold in Aus as the 485).

Small Boats =  Big Fish Bro!


4.7 metres. The prosecution rests!



To politics, and perhaps the most disgusting abuse of Fisheries’ power in Australian history.



Bill Athanasellis was fishing off Port Lonsdale Pier in Victoria in the middle of the night back in March for sharks – which is perfectly legal, and very common. But 50 metres away from the wharf is a marine park, where fishing is banned. At 1:30AM he was fronted by two Fisheries officers disguised as anglers and carrying fishing tackle. They initially behaved in a friendly manner, asking whether he was doing any good in the way you do. They then moved to another part of the wharf, dropped their tackle, returned and identified themselves. Then, ordered him to stand away from his gear while they determined whether the end of the line was in the marine park – in the middle of the night, without reeling the line in.  Note that he was using game fishing tackle which could not be cast, only drifted with the tide. They insisted he was fishing in a national park, called two more officers to attend as backup, confiscated his gear, and told him he was charged. The rotten sods couldn’t even get the tackle brand names right on the gear they pinched and so, had to write two receipts.



This is the reality of the Green inspired war on fishing in this country. It has nothing to do with conservation, and nothing to do with commonsense. It is about fines, overtime for Fisheries officers, and gotcha press releases for their bosses. To add insult to injury, another fisho wrote to DPI Fisheries asking what he should do if a hooked shark crossed into the marine park, during the fight:



Brace yourself, for the insanity of the reply:



Yep. Cut the line, meaning the shark swims away with a hook in its guts, dragging the trace. Kind of like the Vietnam War, when they had to destroy a village to save it. This is the reality of Fisheries ‘enforcement’ in Australia 2014. Bullies with a badge using irrational regulations to target good blokes for a shakedown - and a press release. Bill writes:



Note that he mentions ‘various fishing magazines.’ Could the lazy magazine editors who breathlessly run every press release from Fisheries enforcement wake up to themselves? Being paid triple time over Easter to find a few setlines and a dead Murray Cod for a photo op has nothing to do with protecting the resource. You’re being used. Sorry to end on a downer note my friends but it makes me so wild to hear of good blokes like Bill Athanasellis being treated like a common criminal. We need to stand up for our right to fish and vote for those we can trust to defend that right. Once again can I thank our contributors from the bottom of my heart? So many readers sending congratulatory feedback, on the weekly report. But without the pics and stories you send in there’d be nothing *to* report. Until next week,


Andrew Hestelow

Managing Director