Monday 18th November 2013

Tackle specials and angling politics

from Downrigger Shop

Snapper reports flooding in, and by crikey some beauties have been taken:



Hi Andrew, caught this 6 kilo snapper (PB) at East Reef last Comp weekend on light gear on a floater. Had fun bringing it in, got a bit toey near the boat but didn't drop it. Cheers - Des Stallard  Secretary Club Umina Social FC


Fantastic Big Smoke snapper Des, well done. The further north we go, the bigger they get:



Hi Andy, snapper are on up here at Crowdy as well, this one went 6.6 kg. Cheers, Roger Edwards Crowdy Bay Charters  Ph 0428655701


Crowdy! Missing the place, Rog. Top red, thanks for sending this report. Check the bump on this giant red:



Hi andy just a few pics of a 8.9kg red I got off Ballina today on light sp gear


Congratulations, cobber! Thanks for sending, too. Here’s one caught on Matt Reid’s boat,. 78cm, on a soft plastic, in 40m of water:



Bruce Rayment from Port Hacking GFC went south, for snapper:



Went to Melbourne on business and just happened to take some rods and organise a couple of early morning Snapper outings on Port Phillip Bay. Whilst Wednesday morning only produced two good fish lost when hooks pulled and two undersize, Thursday morning's 3am start from my hotel was worth it for 4 good sized fish to 4kg or so in 2 ½ hours fishing. All done and off the water by 8am. Very early and late sessions are the norm for our Mexican friends.



The Snapper run in the bay is getting better each year according to the locals. 'Bagging out' with 3 large fish per angler on board is often done within an hour. Small whiting is one of the preferred baits with a two hook rig. A gentle berley trail of chopped whiting or pillies is used to help bring them around. Whilst everyone has their favourite spots down there, I reckon if I asked enough people I could GPS mark the whole bay as a Snapper spot this time of year.  The Cup Day public holiday on Tuesday saw ALL ramps into the bay FULL by 4:30am as hundreds of boats got out amongst them. All public ramps are $15 or so to use!


Fifteen dollars, how disgusting. More about this later in the report. Andrew Westlake fished way south on Saturday 16th and had a sensational session. I’m told gummy sharks are one of the tastiest things on fins:



Hi Andrew, a good early session here in Warrnambool this morning.


Red Dawn! Well done ol’ buddy, by jingies this is shaping up to be a Summer of Snapper. Down to Eden last weekend for something I was really looking forward to – a presentation to the local fishing clubs, on Saturday evening. The big attraction being the amazing hospitality we received during a visit earlier this year, and club members generous invitations to fish this prime location. As it turned out, the wind was howling from the south-west, topping out at 42 knots. Meaning that getting off shore was out of the question. No problem! Glen offered a ride on his beaut Hornet at nearby hotspot, Brogo Dam:



There are some fantastic groves and coves for the keen bass fisho in this renowned water way:



It took a while to find the fish, but when we did they were good ones. On poppers, too:



It wasn’t just the great fishing we bonded over. I felt right at home:



Sincere thanks to all at Eden GFC, still on a high from such a great visit. Really enjoyed giving talks on downrigging and deepwater fishing at Port Hacking GFC and BCF Penrith this week, too:



Great to hear of Greg Fleming’s inland success:



a few of us went down to the Balonne river near Surat on the weekend and got about 30 yellas and 4 cod on mask vibes, TN60’s and SH spinnerbaits. Attached are pics of 84 & 64cm cod and a couple of yellas.



Thirty yellowbelly and four cod. That’s way better than most impoundment reports, good on you Greg.  Back to the saltwater and Les has a question. Any shearwater experts out there?



Hi Andrew, I went to town (South West Rocks) last Saturday in the middle of a near cyclone and I was surprised to see the ocean chock-a-block with Mutton Birds, all just sitting there; not chasing bait fish or anything. Tens of thousands of them, just bobbing about in the waves, doing nothing. I'm guessing they were waiting for the weather to break so they could fly back out into the ocean and find a feed, or perhaps they were waiting for their mass summer migration back to the Northern Hemisphere. They were all gone the next morning.  I have no idea what they were doing. Have you seen anything like it before?


No my friend, but I understand it’s happening up and down the east coast. Reel Magic, for sale! This is quite a shock, but for anyone looking for one of the best trailerboats in Australia, perhaps an opportunity:



Hi Andrew, Greg Moon Dale Wellham from Reel Magic

Dale is seriously looking to upgrade to 36

I’ve noticed you have recently been doing a bit of advertising of boats for sale

You know the caliber of this vessel nothing comes to close to it in a trailer boat

It is a one of a kind and with Dale in control it still is in excellent condition

Current set up cost well over 200k happy to sell it with everything except the tackle

We want 125k the as new F 250 tow truck can go with it for another 70k

Total drive away and fish pack 195k






This series of pics was sent to me this month. It shows a 72kg mulloway landed from a beach in the South Eastern Cape between Mossel Bay and Jeffries Bay




It’s quite a big fish, Shawn Mey looks quite pleased with himself!


With the report deadline looming anxiety was rising, because no readers had sent any boating disaster news this week.

Thankfully Jim Fleming came through:



Failure to launch at Urangan Ramp Harvey Bay today.  Poor owner was in the boat when it happened!


Shocker! That’s just too sad for words. Inside Sydney Heads and Derryn Manwaring deservedly pleased, with his solid flathead:



Hi Andrew, hope you are well mate – here is a short report from Wednesday evening which will help your readers understand there is more to the Harbour than kingfish! My mate picked me up from Walsh Bay after work for an evening session bait soaking on the Harbour. Highlight was an 84cm flattie, the big girl went back to fight another day. Finished up with a nice mixed bag of table fish. All caught using your small spinning reels spooled with 12lb colour change braid.


‘More to the Harbour than kingfish.’ You’re giddy with happiness over your big flatty so I’ll let that one through to the keeper. We gave our light combos a solid workout on Thursday too Derryn, when we found schools of small kings and salmon off North Head. After viewing so much gear brought aboard by crew I’m a confirmed believer in parabolic actions, where the rod bends right through the foregrip and soaks up all the energy a good fish can throw at it. Jeremy tests the principle:



Mitchell dealing with a light tackle king:



Thanks to Mitch we had some nice live squid, for downrigging:



A few kings around but not big ones, this 70 being our best for the day:



To politics, and reader feedback this week is all about boat ramps. Hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on Murrays beach ramp at Jervis Bay, but the money went on a rock wall and board walk. No improvement to the actual ramp. David writes:



Talk about an opportunity lost.....Went down to Murrays  boat ramp today to have a close look. What a waste of revenue. Nowhere to get out of a boat if you are a little disabled, other than one area at the end that is covered in water at half tide.



If you have a small tinnie it will get washed under the walkway, smashing the windscreen at anything other than high tide....that is if you can reach the bollards to tie off. Ramp has not changed, still shallow at the end with rocks still there that damage your prop if you are not extra, extra careful. Would not pay 2 bob to use that ramp. Big Big disappointment



Just sad. Finally spoke to Tim from Wyong Council last week, about Norah Head boat ramp.


Half the ramp closed, June 2011. Repair tenders sought, Aug 2013. When will repairs commence? *Maybe* in 2014. All while rivers of gold flow into NSW Maritime, due to a doubling of boat registrations in the last 15 years:



Disgusting, but oh so typical. Next up, the Matties Flat ramp in the Macleay River at South West Rocks. Before reading the feedback from our correspondent below, please keep in mind that these coastal towns depend so much on visiting fishos for income? In the case of South West Rocks, Lawrie McEnally’s working group calculated that visiting fishos alone bring $20 million dollars to SWR each year. If you really cared about your community, wouldn’t you want to make those visitors welcome? Wouldn’t you want to make the experience pleasant, for the visitors? Of course you would. So the obvious conclusion can only be that the Council just doesn’t care. Les writes:


Hi Andrew, talking about congestion at boat ramps, 'Mattys Flat Boat Ramp' is notorious for its congestion given that it only has two sides to the ramp. Therefore due to public outcry a floating jetty/pontoon close to the ramp was built (at our expense) so that when we launch our boats at the ramp we can go to the jetty/pontoon and conduct the formalities such as loading rods, bait, wives or girlfriends (or both) which would leave the ramp clear for a quick launch and retrieval turnover for the rest of the boaties. Well this brand new jetty has been in place for only about three or four months and has been working perfectly well until someone in their flash cruiser decides it will be a nice spot to moor their boat permanently, thus blocking the jetty from all other boaties for the exact purpose it was built.



This cruiser has been there for the last few weeks, locked up, covers on it, within fifty metres from the NSW Maritime Ramp and what has been done about got it...absolutely bloody nothing. So as it stands now, we are back to where we used to be with absolutely zero access to our jetty/pontoon that you, me and every other rec-fisherman paid for and congestion at the boat ramp. I know what'd happen if I decided to tie my boat at the jetty for an extended period of time, let alone moor it there indefinitely.


So do I. Still on the topic of South West Rocks, and regular readers will know of my concern about the Laggers Point boat ramp. A safe, quality boat ramp which gives easy access to the open sea for small to medium trailer boats. But arbitrarily closed by local parkies who have an anti fisho, anti boat philosophy. Good blokes trying to plan a well deserved Christmas break with their families:


Andrew, my name is Dave and I spoke with you on the phone the other day about Laggers Point boat ramp and the possible opening times. I would appreciate and info you might have about this issue forwarded on to me.


Another email arrives:


Hi, I have heard rumours that maybe your political contacts could confirm. Laggers Point Boat Ramp located at Trial Bay has been closed during all holiday periods by NSW National Parks, but I have heard rumours that they will re-open this ramp at Christmas for the holidays. Has your political sources have any knowledge whether this rumour is true or not? Regards John


I checked with Les, who since February has been working to get the ramp opened for boaties. Note that it’s Les against seven bureaucrats. You really deserve a medal, my friend:



Hi Andrew, as it stands now, until we have the new 'boom-gate' system installed (before Easter), the Laggers Point will be totally locked shut to all public from the 14th of December until the 27th of January. This ridiculous act, according to NPWS, is in the name of 'Safety', but in reality, it is in the name of the sickening NPWS policy called, "Kick us out/Lock us out".


Sheesh. What was Van Der Walt doing there? I thought Bodgy wanted him managing Bruce Schumacher, at the Advisory Council on Recreational Fishing:



Now mate don’t be tough on yourself. You’ve done your best, and we all know it must have been like dealing with the soul-sucking Dementors, in Harry Potter. If anyone loses their boat (or worse) on the Macleay Bar this summer they should sue the Parkies until the pips squeak. Yet in a way this result is liberating, because it’s proved that consultation is cosmetic and our submissions are not worth the paper they’re written on.  With Katrina not acknowledging (much less replying to) correspondence what chance do we have, of change? The best way forward is to change Katrina. To that end I’ve sent letters to hundreds of voters in her electorate over the weekend. Will add the letter to next week’s report, by which time some feedback might have arrived. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to our contributors, whose pics and stories make this email (hopefully!) worth reading. Until next week tight lines my friends,


Andrew Hestelow

Managing Director