Thursday 16th April

Tackle specials and angling politics

from Downrigger Shop

Murray Chapman having a ball, up north. Look at those sea conditions:



Hi Andy, just back from a week of arm stretching at Swain Reefs.

Spaniards turned up and plenty of big Cobia and GTs about too. Chappo



Excellent. No wonder so many clients love the place, Chappo. Trevor Jane also way offshore:



Launched boat 3.30am and got back 8pm – near 200km – water temp out wide 29deg+. I got a few keeper pearlies – threw small ones back.



Saw some friendly dolphins as they played around boat for half an hour. I got one fish off the shelf – 23kg barcod.


Dolphin pic worthy of a magazine cover, Trevor! Chris Colvin deep dropping too:



Hi mate. Nambucca Heads still cranking. Gus got a thumping blue eye with the Tanacom from u. Also got some gemfish, bar cod, and a nice bass groper. This place cranks man


Agreed. Heading up there this winter but not for your level of excitement, Chris. Will be fishing off the breakwalls for blackfish. Ethan Montford not letting rainy weather keeping his crew at home:



We got some more kings (yesterday), exploiting a new patch come across. We were the only boat out today at Port Macquarie haha!


Port Mac’s like that Ethan. ‘Pinkies and Pearlies.’ Andrew Wily in the rain at South Head:



Snapper from the Cut Good Friday 6" Gulp

Great! Snapper time already, Andy. Callum fishing in close too:



Here's a photo of a mid/high 30s bream I caught yesterday on your light spinning combo


Such a good looking fish aren’t they? Big bluefin still prowling Tasmanian waters. Leo writes:



5 more jumbos over the weekend to various boats…. all 100+; best so far is 134 and a 135


The man has a break from swordfish and tuna and takes his cute family out on the boat:



Took the young bloke and fam for a troll today just 90m off Maria island. He caught his 1st tuna (with only a little help from dad)


Frigates in Tasmania, what next? Tackle, and a client reports tragedy:


i just broke my daiwa tournament master z 701hfb;7 foot ,casts 60/80 gm lures at bluefin. loved the rod and caught dozens of tuna on it but broke it lifting in a kg sergeant baker. tough fish those. after i stopped crying i’ve found out that they don’t make them anymore. do you have anything like that with fast graphite in it to fish 20# HARD



How about the Shakespeare Ugly Stik BWS 1102? Eight feet long, rated to 30-pound line, 2-piece so we can mail it to you meaning, cheap delivery. Fuji guides and reel seat. Price $95 and has a five year warranty which tells you how tough it is. This and many others on our new Specials web page. Grab a bargain before they’re gone:


Roger P is a hard core fisho who needs his gear in top condition so, often upgrades his drags with carbontex washers. Here’s his setup:



Found a bit of staino pipe at home. Its an odd size from a gas plant I worked on. 28.4mm O/D. Ground and honed the edge and get a perfect 26mm washer.


He scored some cheap carbontex on eBay but it was junk. So often I hear this story:



Hi Andy, you may have been contacted by a mate from up here about 0.8mm washer sheeting. I spoke to him as my Saltiga z30 also has 0.8mm washers. He put me onto a bloke that he got some sheeting from.  When it arrived, the first thing I noticed was the white edge, then the shiny sections like it had been put through some roller, then it was the stiffness. ANYWAY, I sent the bloke an email about the fact I didn’t like how the surface was and questioned him on why it wasn’t a fully woven product like your 0.5 and 1.0mm. I’d be worried about shattering the core with a punch.


Thanks for this update, Roger. I know that material, it’s no good. About 18 months ago we imported a batch, thinking there was a saving. Big mistake! The phone lit up and we had to take a lot of it back, swap to our previous material, and we’ve never returned to that stuff since. Last but certainly not least, snapper reels on special:



  • FE8000SW reel
  • 8 ball bearings, smooth winding
  • Carbontex drag washers
  • 4.8:1 gear ratio
  • EVA ball reel knob
  • Wide shallow spool, for long casts
  • Light weight, 540 grams
  • Spooled with 220m 30-pound CC braid
  • Supplied with reel bag and 12 months warranty
  • $95 *including delivery*


Good light jigging, SP snapper, or general purpose reel

Send me a PM, email or just phone to order or if you have any questions?


To boating, and it’s hard to describe the freedom we had back in the 60s and 70s. When I was ten years old pretty every holiday morning was the same. Take my rod (3 piece solid fiberglass), creel (a kind of carry basket made from wicker, used for fishing), my eight foot hand spear and Gecado .177 air rifle. Loaded up with all this gear and accompanied by my kelpie we headed down to Musgrave Street wharf, in Mosman. Little old ladies trimming their roses would ask my plans, as I passed. ‘Shoot some pigeons, and spear some leatherjackets’ was the reply. They’d wish me luck and soon after I’d board the ferry to old Cremorne wharf. The ride was free because most of the deckies knew me or, more likely, just wanted to encourage kids out there doing it. Try that today, and the Special Operations Group and Pol Air would be out in a heartbeat. Those happy times sprung to mind when Greg Joyes sent through the pic below. We’ve lost so much, in this country:



G'day Andrew, here is a pic of my "Fishfinder" after I did a number on it. Yep, she flew with 120hp on the back! I turned the centre fish box into a big l/b tank, had 2 underfloor fuel tanks, beefed up the transom and made foam lined, plywood ice boxes in the back corners. Ride was a bit hard  after I put the console up the front but I loved the extra fishing room. Thats me driving with my brother and cousin on board. I had hair then!!!!

So did I! Hair, that is. Grateful for the walk down Memory Lane, Greg. Toby Jones has a top contribution too:



This one was bought in 1979 and is still going strong with the two original owners and their families


So good Toby, those wooden side rails really take me back. And here’s the pic that got us all reflective. For sale at Dural on Sunday:




New edition of The Boat Mag, which editor Peter Webster has generously offered to our readers. Don’t miss this. The best info on boats around, with this issue having a killer how- to story on wahoo fishing too:


Right click and save, it’s a keeper. Pretty rare these days that someone builds a custom boat to their own personal design, from the keel up. Ken M has done that at least twice previously. Now he’s commissioned a new 5.3 metre:



My boat is finally off today to the trimmers for the bimini, clears etc.  There is cardboard laid over the windscreen panels to protect the surfaces. When it comes back (at the end of the week) there should only be the trim tabs, the overhead rod holders and the sea trials to go. It has taken an extra month but they have done a very nice job.


Looks fantastic Ken, well done. Can’t wait to hear what this rig delivers for you. New charter operator spotted at Roseville last week:



Luke sends pics of this interesting centre console at Coomba Park. With the cost of boats in Australia, I’ve always wondered why these longboat/panga style centre consoles aren’t more popular? They’re cheap to make, seaworthy too:



To the dark side, and Phil Cole sends amazing pics of a mishap at Narooma bar:





While Rob Miller reminds us that some boaties get into trouble, even off the water:



Gidday Andrew ' trust you and your family are well. Sharing this pic with all  boaters /  (Jet Skiers) as a reminder to do a safety check on not only the vessel but the vehicle towing


Hoo yeah. Dan sends a crazy disaster pic too:



And something nearly as crazy:



Bryant stopped by for some tackle and showed me an app on his phone. When you’ve caught a fish and want to measure it, you align your catch with a panel shown on the screen, giving a very accurate measurement. I pinched this pic from his Facebook page:



Yours truly has a love/hate relationship with Facebook, but one thing’s undeniable. They are very good at providing statistics on who’s visiting your page. So in the case of the readers on the tackle page, Facebook tells me that 74% are under 44, with 34% in the 25 – 34 age bracket. That came as a bit of a surprise because I assumed a lot of readers were old fossils, like me.


25-34 is a key time in any bloke’s life. You’re trying to build your career and in a lot of cases you’re married and maybe, have a young family. Dealing with big responsibilities and trying to find time for fishing too. It’s incredible how many of our clients watch the weather forecast websites as the weekend draws near, praying that the seas will permit them getting out on the water on Saturday or Sunday. Only one out of the two days is a possibility, because the other one has to be spent with the wife and kids. Sadly, too often, the plan doesn’t work out the way they’d hoped. But there is an option that in certain cases could be the answer to both family demands and, when seas are too rough to get offshore. And that is, European carp:



I’m sure some will laugh at that option. It’s fashionable on the fishing forums to run them down. ‘Swamp trout.’ ‘Parra barra.’ But the reality is that regardless of the weather and regardless of where you live in Sydney or elsewhere, carp can provide a fantastic days’ sport for all the family.



For starters, they’re available in every part of Sydney. On the Peninsula, Manly Dam. Northside, Lane Cove river and Galston Gorge. East, Centennial Park, and south, Airport Ponds. As to western Sydney there’s barely a waterway that doesn’t hold good numbers. So they’re widely available, they fight hard, and would you believe they taste pretty good. More about that one later. And carp fishing can be pretty addictive, particularly the way we do it – with a rod pod, buzzer alarms, and hair rigs:



Whenever I mention this kind of tackle some readers say, ‘you don’t need all that crap, Andy! Just a bit of bread on a 1/0 hook anywhere along the Nepean and you’ll catch all you can handle.’ Well, I’ve tried it that way. And I’ve tried it the way shown above. And by using pop up hair rigs and rod pods we caught seven times as many carp, as we did with the old chunk of bread on a hook. They can reject a baited hook in a heartbeat, when they’re feeling fussy. Check this out:




So on Monday Carolyn and I headed out to Pugh’s Lagoon at Richmond for a couple of hours carping, on the way to see our reel service guy:



Because there’s no flow in the pond you can’t rely on current to take the smell of an attractant to the fish. You have to wait until they find the food while they’re making their rounds. So first job was scattering the burley (breadcrumbs mixed with dirt and corn niblets):



I set up two baited rods using hair rigs. With this system the bait is attached to a light cord snooded to the hook shank. The carp suck the bait in without feeling metal and hook up cleanly, in this case on a barbless hook. Sinkers are moderately heavy because it’s their weight that sinks the hook home, as the carp moves off. Rods are fished with an open bail so the fish feels no resistance when moving away with the bait. The buzzer alarm lets you know you’ve got a bite:



After getting squared away I kicked back and waited for the first run. And waited. And waited. Nothing! Luckily I’d brought the mini yak, having fitted a sounder to it yesterday. Thanks to all the helpful types on Facebook who advised mounting the transducer in plasticine and shooting through the hull. Followed that recommendation:



Paddled up and down the lagoon tweaking sounder settings, especially gain. And found out what the problem was. No fish there:



After a confab with the Better Half we decided to pull up stumps, stop by our reel service guy, and then go on to Glenmore Pond near Penrith:



That’s where it all came together:



Not big fish:



But plenty of them:



We had a ball on Monday. Only mistake I made was not taking the esky because I could have brought home plenty of mako bait and burley. Can’t recommend it too highly, especially for those blokes who are time poor, and have young families. Glenmore is a top spot for a picnic and has a network of bicycle paths for the kids. With the pod and alarms, you don’t need to pay a lot of attention to your rods. The gear will let you – and everyone else in the park (!) – know when something’s happening.


To politics, and NSW Shooters and Fishers Party candidate Peter Johnson writes in with a post-election review:


Hi Andy, here are a few pics of my post election mackerel trip at Wooli. Just what I needed to get over the disappointment of not getting elected. There's always 2019!


Mate, I speak for many when I say we appreciate how hard you worked. And how wrong it is that some airheads voted for front Parties set up only for the candidates gratification or, intended to collect votes from the ignorant, for preferencing to others. Stay frosty, catch mackerel and let’s keep on message. Here’s the washup, not quite finalised:



Remember Bodgy staging a photo op at the marina, back when she was appointed Fisheries Minister? She and her family in brand new lifejackets,fake as can be. Here’s our *new* State Fisheries Minister, Niall Blair. He looks like the real deal:



Last but certainly not least. When I was a teenager, big yellowfin tuna could be caught off the Sydney rocks. Five years later that fishery was extinct, but they could still be caught at the Peak and the Banks. Ten years later those places were dead too. Here’s thoughts as to what’s gone wrong, who’s responsible and how we can turn things around. I’d be very grateful for any feedback you’d care to share.


Grateful to all our readers and double extra grateful to those generous enough to send in the pics and reports we all enjoy. Until next week,


Andrew Hestelow

Managing Director