Thursday 21 March 2013

Tackle specials and angling politics

from Downrigger Shop

G’day lads, Scott Brown wins the Fishing Accomplishment Award, for summer 2013:

Scotty Brown took advantage of the good weather and went solo in his Tinny out to 30 fa, finding Slimey bait schools all over the place. Scott dropped a couple of Lumo lures over and trolled for only 30 minutes hooking a solid Black Marlin on 15kg line, which he played out for over an hour with fish coming up dead, so he gaffed it. Having trouble getting the Marlin in the boat, Scotty decided to towed it with one hand hanging onto to string size rope through the gills and the other hand on the tiller-outboard. Getting to Gantry was an effort in itself but was rewarded with 105.5kg Black Marlin, top effort all round! Marlin steaks all round!


What an incredible accomplishment!

Mark Way says last week saw a hot bite wide of Kiama:


Keep it Reel got 2 Blue Marlin, with Teagan Lindsay getting her first Marlin, nice start with a Blue!

Magnifique! The marlin’s not bad either. If there’s one bit of advice I’m always passing on, it’s ‘fish for what’s around.’ I learnt that from canny blokes like Pat Little:

Andy, still quite a few barra around the traps with Awoonga Dam still going over. The Boyne River is coffee coloured but holding fish. If you are on the right spot at the right time some sessions we are getting 8-10 fish, but that goes for most days fishing. Real mixed sizes (the best so far is 1150) with most around 650-750. Best today was an 890.


Beautiful. In what was a tough weekend for king fishing around Sydney, Matt from Raptor Charters managed to locate a few:

Good one. And here’s a giant bonito, taken off his downrigger by the look of it:

Some nice feedback on our knife jigs from the weekend. Jeremy L:

G'day Andrew, thought I'd drop you a line. Those jigs worked a treat. Were on our way out to the Peak, but saw a cluster of boats on the artificial reef so we stopped there.  7 kingies to the boat, all around the 55cm mark except for a 67 and a 70. See attached, with the jig I caught them on


Awesome day on the water. I sampled both a "brand name" jig and a DRS jig and the "brand name” jig was untouched. Very impressed.

Glad they worked so well for you, lads!

Steve B updates me on a tough battle in WA:

… attached is a pic of one of your jigs fished in 110m of water. 200lb wire and straightened out an Owner SJ41 9/0 hook full drag on a Stella 20000, 120lb braid on a monster sambo. Couldn’t stop it shredded the coating off the wire and straightened the hook. Sharks were a problem so using wire lost over 20 jigs to sharks eating 20+ kg fish with one bite taking the fish, jig, and up to 500mm of leader. Got one shark on the jig up after a two and a half hour fight on 80lb braid, was a bronzie around 250kg .


Crikey. Bronze whalers go SO HARD.  250 gram jigs still $70 for ten, including delivery anywhere in Australia.


Lots of interest in our mini jigs too, which are scheduled to arrive next month. Rocket writes:


Hello Andrew trust you and the family are well. Just checking to see if you received the shipment of micro jigs ?? If so we shall call down Monday 18th March if your home ?? Cheers


Simon M:


If you have any of the small jigs you mention in stock at the moment, might make sense for me to get a couple of those at the same time...


Duncan F:


Anyway i want another jig rod mate can you mail those?  And do you have the 16w's in stock still?  Probably need some 50lb braid as well, and some micro jobs if you have any.


Grateful for the positive feedback! A client stopped in for a reel and some braid on Monday night, and showed me some he’s making himself. Says he couldn’t wait, for ours:

Peter writes:


Hi Andy, just wondering what other size jigs you have for sale beside the 250g on your website? And also would it get to me in Blacktown before the weekend as I’m heading out for some jigging this Sunday?


Lads, I do apologise for not updating our readers on this project. Two smaller jigs will be available early April, *really* well priced. Here’s a pic of the 100 gram model which will have a 6/0 hook attached, via the usual split ring and welded ring:

And here’s the 40 gram model, fitted with 4/0 hook:

A couple of things we’ve learned from micro jigging off Sydney. Firstly, the idea is to maximise the sporting challenge from the small kingfish that are abundant over reefs and wrecks in 30-50 metres of water:

These kingfish are usually 50 – 70 cm (65cm is minimum legal length.) It’s unsporting to drag them up on heavy jigging combos. Gear the tackle down to match the fish and you’ll have the time of your life:


But the regular 250 gram jigs are way too heavy for the light six kilo combos we’re using now. So the weight of the jig has to be reduced, to match the size of rod and line. Slower sink rate of the lighter jigs is not a problem, because you’re in shallow water. Once rod, reel, line, jig and kingfish are matched – and that’s not hard or expensive, to do – it’s SO MUCH FUN:

The same technique of gearing everything down works on all the other fish which for years have been dragged in, on 24 kilo: bonito, striped tuna, dolphin fish and the like. Note that all the usual rules still apply, and they go super hard. Here’s an 80-pound leader after a kingie dragged my jig into the artificial reef, off South Head:

SHREDDED. J David R inquires:


I saw from your last report that you had crimped the mini jig you were using onto some heavy fluorocarbon (80lb I think). Do you always fish a heavy trace even on light tackle and how do you connect this to your main line? I generally tie my leader straight onto the solid ring.


Yep. South Head has a horrible backwash most days and it’s the last place you want to be tying an Albright or Heaven forbid, a PR knot. So all the jigs we take are pre rigged with a crimped leader and a brass ring on top. Tie the braid directly to the brass ring. There's no faster way to get back into action offshore. With all the interest in this new technique I’ve scribbled a lengthy story for a new fishing magazine being released next month, Fish NSW:

Keep an eye out for it at your newsagent? The amount of work editor Ben Knaggs has put in is incredible, it should be a really good read.

How's this, from Mark at Kiama GFC - surfin' with the GTs. I’m guessing, Bali:

Carolyn met Jenny & Rebecca at the Sea Bees Club a couple of weeks ago, and hit it off in a big way. Rebecca already fishes the Australian Bream Tournament, here’s how she went in the Broken Bay comp, the weekend before last:

I have attached a photo of a couple Hawkesbury bream caught from the ABT tournament last weekend.  The Hawkesbury fished really well with most my tournament fish coming from the washes in Broken Bay, but these couple were pulled off boat hulls on pre-fish day.


After a couple of postponements we finally all got out on the water on Saturday:

Just want to say how much Jenny and I really enjoyed our day out on the harbour with you and Carolyn. The company was great fun - even if we forgot to invite the squid! Your 2IC skipper did a fantastic job!


But success was hard to find L. Nonetheless we had a great time with these two delightful ladies and looking forward to doing it all again soon.

Andy Westlake sends in a good one:

LOL! Flush that outboard, first.

J Leo is one of those blokes who loves tweaking his kit and has made a new drag tensioner, for our downrigger. He assures me it works really well when hands are slippery from holding live bait, but it does look a little like the steering wheel on the SS Minnow:

Good one champ and let me know if it works well, maybe we could switch to your design.

Too windy to fish on Sunday, only one possibility. Tackle shopping! Picked up a Frabill Folding Net at Fish Outta Water. Just the handle (the gold tube) is two metres long:

Trying it out this weekend and will report back on how it works. Some exciting news from Narooma, where a marlin grabbed a hooked kingfish at Montague Island:

Then his crew did well on Saturday:


Caught this snapper today off Cronulla on live yellow tail our target fish was kings we only hooked two at about 55 cm


But generally, Saturday was a really tough one.

Duncan writes:


Hi Andy, we launched off Rosebay 4am Saturday, all hopeful as you do.  Filled up the tank at our yakka spot 5 mins away.  Headed off to Longie straight up and we were the first on scene.  Swell was huge, cresting and often crashing over the 10~15m mark.  I was amazed to see some boaties anchored up right there! just crazy.  One boat missed being swamped by a whisker.  Anyway, we DR'd yakkas and slimie until we got smoked by a freight train kingie, reefed and busted off.  Couple more hits then all went quiet so we headed off to North Head - which was like an overloaded washing machine with too much OMO, yuk.

Off to South Head for a single (micro) rat off live yakka.  Pretty pissed off by then so we headed back to the ramp to find a queue of boats and the usual gaggle of Japanese tourists filming all ramp shenanigans (they are always there Saturdee arvo, what gives? give me the irrits).


Dunno? If anyone knows, do tell.

The Yamaha 8HP outboard which I mentioned in a recent report sold almost instantly but, as it turned out, the buyer hasn’t followed through. It is in excellent condition, and has just had a $200 service:

Supplied with a fuel line and 20 litre Yamaha factory tank:

We can ship it so if you’re interested, put in a bid? You won’t be disappointed, it’s in beautiful order.

Andy Westlake wants us to know that the seas off Western Victoria are not always like something out of Deadliest Catch:

Who said the Southern ocean was always rough, how's that for a daybreak

  Is that the biggest cuttlefish you ever saw, to put that into perspective look at the largest snapper it is 47cm

So the cuttle would be over a metre? Strewth. To politics, and my old mate Jock got somewhat misty about the pic of Rob Brown and I standing next to a pile of rod tubes and gun cases in the NZ back country, watching the helicopter depart. He writes:


Takes me back to the Jones Hut where we would bow our heads at the hut entrance to a picture of Queen Elizabeth on the back of an old biscuit tin, while swatting bumble bees you would crap on with Tolstoy excerpts in your underpants while parading a BB pistol. Exhausted after a day’s high climbing and hard hunting the lads would laugh and tell stories while wiping our beaming unshaven faces between tugs at the Irish whisky bottle as the gas lantern hissed and a cold dark crystal night that shimmered with stars took hold around the mountains over head!


Whoa! That’s a pretty evocative word picture you’ve drawn, my friend. PS I was not ‘parading in my underpants with a pistol.’ I was securing the perimeter from bush rats, while lightly armed. And perhaps, lightly juiced. J Hey, do you remember the big trout here?

Talking about bush rats. South West Rocks is such a top fishing spot and I have so many happy memories from there, going back to when we used to fish with Dave Payne on Gunrunner each grand final weekend. Sadly the place is infested with the two worst kinds of greenies – embittered old busybodies seeking attention, and those faking green if it makes them big bucks. Les writes:

Hi Andrew, I thought you might like to see this article from the Port Macquarie News which quotes our arch enemy John Jeayes.


John is one of the people who attended the closed Coffs Harbour Grey Nurse Summit last year (that I was also invited to) where he sat beside his ally and Peter Hitchins (South West Rocks Dive Centre) and he and Peter did everything in their power (and still do) to stop any thought of fishing and yet here he quotes "he's a keen fisherman and diver".


Well he's definitely a diver, a radical trouble-making diver who believes he and the other dive operators (not the freedivers) own the ocean (Magic Point, Solitaries, Fish Rock/Green Island etc) but he's certainly no fisherman. Myself and John have locked horns on numerous occasions as has our Chairman Chris Wallis. He spends almost every living minute of his time trying to block fishing and also takes a swing at all fishing groups/clubs and anyone else who supports fishing and here he is having a swing at the 'Shooters and Fishers Party'.


Sure. And can you imagine where we’d be without the efforts of yourself, Conan, Sean, Chris, Maurie and the rest of CAFR? Not to mention Shooters and Fishers. The closest we’d get to Fish Rock would be a postcard from the SWR newsagency - while Hitchins ran his shuttle service of divers, ensuring grey nurse sharks get no daytime rest at all. Let’s stay positive champ, because Australians have had enough of our Green tormentors:


Sorry about posting a pic of Giz without warning, readers:

Back east, and the big news in NSW is Fisheries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson’s plan to survey recreational catches using volunteer fishos. The ever vigilant Angie sends the release, from her HQ on the mighty Tweed:


The Hon Katrina Hodgkinson MP Minister for Primary Industries Minister for Small Business

MEDIA RELEASE Monday 18 March 2013




Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson today announced the NSW Government will commence a statewide survey to obtain up-to-date information on recreational fishing in NSW.  Ms Hodgkinson said the comprehensive 12 month survey is being undertaken to ensure the State’s valuable fisheries resources continue to be managed on a sustainable basis.


“Labor sat on its hands for a decade without updating information about the more than one million people in NSW who fish recreationally,” Ms Hodgkinson said.


“The NSW Government’s survey aims to measure how many people go fishing, where they fish and what they catch.”


Up to 20,000 households will be randomly contacted in the next few weeks to determine the participation rate of fishing in NSW. Householders who report an intention to fish in the coming 12 months will be invited to participate by keeping a fishing diary for one year. Approximately 6,000 recreational fishermen are expected to complete the diary survey.


Here’s the link, it’s all funded by fishing licenses:


The concern is twofold. Firstly, will the data be accurate, and thereby have any real value? ‘Mick, did Bill get two or three trevally, yesterday at the Sow & Pigs?’ And considering most of the returns are likely to be about fish with stable populations (tailor, bream, flathead and the like) you have to wonder what veracity the feedback will have. I can’t see mulloway fishermen accurately reporting their catches to the government. They won’t even do that for their mates J


But there is another concern which goes to the heart of this issue. That is, the cavalier fashion which license money is spent, giving so little benefit to the long suffering angling fraternity. Katrina’s press release is an utter joke. There is no clear benefit shown. There is no cost estimated. There is the gratuitous shot at Labor. I have started asking visiting clients lately whether they can give me one specific benefit of these fuzzy ‘research’ projects their licenses pay for. Jewfish stocking? Kingfish tagging? I ask. None of these are ever mentioned because so many of them have degenerated into ‘make work schemes’ for an in house nomenklatura at Fisheries.


What we fishos want is some bang for our bucks. Artificial reefs, stocking programs, FADs, boat ramp improvements, commercial license buy backs and the like. What about an artificial reef east of Newcastle, so fishos there can enjoy the action we’re getting down here? One of the weirdest developments from the growing influence of Shooters and Fishers is that National Parks are extending an olive branch, to fishos:

Mmmmm, ‘so many outdoor opportunities.’ Les writes:


Easter only lasts for four days so rather than the NPWS closing the Laggers Point boat ramp for four days......they're slamming the gate for two whole weeks. Watch this space while we do a head-count of how many boats tip over crossing the Macleay River bar over the Easter long weekend.


As I always say, we are not talking about the average parkie you might meet at the boat ramp, or camping ground. Ninety nine percent of those are top guys and gals, and very outdoorsy themselves. We mean the hardcore politico-greenies at Parks’ Hurstville HQ – like Andrew Cox – who think it’s a good idea to post nonsense like this on their Facebook page:

Hey ‘keen anglers’, ‘drop a line.’ Nadgee is of course where Bob Carr and the Hurstville Parkies (sounds like a cover band) locked up Newton’s Beach.

The locals protested:

Until next week my friends, thanks so much for your pics, your reports, and your support. Keep ‘em coming! Cheers,


Andrew Hestelow

Managing Director