Wednesday 23 JANUARY 2013

Tackle specials and angling politics

from Downrigger Shop

G’day lads,


Marlin and kingfish, kingfish and marlin. That's the story of this week’s report, now that sea temps are climbing fast. Paul writes:



G'Day Andrew, We had a great time holidaying at Hat Head near South West Rocks again over the Christmas break and the run of juvenile black marlin certainly kept us on the water as much as possible. The photo attached of the small Black marlin is one my father in law "Bert" caught when he came out with me for a day's trolling.

Bryce at Moreton Bay has some good news for those of us further south:

We have been following the school all the way down the coast of Queensland and these prolific feeders were being caught at 10-15kg in Townsville in September and have already more than doubled in weight 3 or 4 months later.


Then Sandra got into the action:



Magnificent! The marlin’s not bad either.

Bryce writes:


Thanks Andrew, we had another crack on Sunday and my wife caught and released her first little black on one of your 20W outfits on 15kg...did the trick as you can see.



You guys will be in for a good season shortly when they start making their way down the NSW coast if not starting to show up already.


Good news, Bryce! But it looks like they’re starting to show up already.

Got 13 year old son James his first Marlin Sunday afternoon 10mn east of Port Stephens. It went 20.5kg. It took a pink and white lure on the short corner. Only took 2 hours of trolling. Proud of the whole family - youngest son on the wheel, wife of the gaff, me on the trace and eldest son on the rod. A great team effort. Safe to say the small blacks have reached Port Stephens.


Woo hoo! Because this year (for the first time in yonks) I’m fishing the Interclub, Bruce. Thanks for the great pic and congrats to James on his important milestone.

As to the Interclub, Bob Baldwin dropped his reels in for a total overhaul ahead of the big comp:

Nine Penn Internationals!

One of our downriggers brought success for John Sears, at South West Rocks:

Of the two we landed and released, one was caught on the downrigger set at 15m slow trolling a slimy. We also had two other baits trolled on the surface so the DR allowed us greater trolling variety.

Glad it delivered results for you, John! I’ll be taking a couple to the Interclub, that’s for sure.

Bruce sent an update from Port:



More mini Marlin at Port Stephens. 11 year old Clayton Rayment fishing on Avalon got his first Black Marlin this morning, a fish of 18kg on 15kg tackle


So both the boys have caught marlin, this week?? Bruce, if you’d like to adopt a bald middle aged tackle salesman and raise him as the son you never had, I know a candidate.

J Regular reporter Marc from Ballina has been out there into them too:



We went for a quick troll on the 32's and caught this nice dollie. A few wahoo and marlin are starting to show up. Still waiting for the mackerel though.


Haven’t caught a good mahi for ages Marc, hoping that changes soon.

Some kind words from David Hall, who’s been using our 20W game reel/bent butt rod to great effect on bluefin tuna, in South Australia:



I have referred three of my fishing mates to buy 20W combos from you recently and we are all very happy campers as you can see in the attached photo.  The fish have only been up to 22 kgs but we are confident that when that 60-70 kg plus fish comes along we will have the ammo to beat them.  We can only hope!


Really glad to hear they’re working so well for your crew, David.

Yep, it’s a top combo, nicely proportioned, and once you’ve tried a bent butt game rod you’ll never go back:

The reel being a 2-speed lever drag spooled with 500m of 50-pound colour change braid, then topped with 100m of 50-pound mono.

Reel fitted with carbontex drags, supplied with rod clamp.

Rod reel and line just $380

and it can be mailed,

so delivery not expensive.



Closer to home, and reports of some great summer catches coming in to Downrigger HQ. Peter B made me jealous as hell:

Hi Andy, heres a couple of pics of some Jew I got last night.1 went 115cm and 16.5 kgs , the other was 125 and 16 kg’s.Both fish pulled from the Hunter River. Keep up the good work with your reports and trying to sort out these greenies and nat.parks d***heads.


Well done! Mate, do you have any idea how many of my friends fish for those night after night and are yet to turn a reel? Your report could prompt suicidal thoughts.  Thanks so much for sending and for your kind words too, we will keep the pressure on anyone who wants to take our fishing rights away.

Some nice jewfish right here in Sydney, too. Andrew, from Warringah Anglers:



Andrew, WAC members Ivan Covic and Craig Clark with some nice jews





Andrew backed that great pic up with this one of Evan from NB Marine, with his solid kingfish:

Beautiful! Kingfish have been on my mind too (when aren’t they!) because 50-75cm kings are swarming inshore  here in Sydney.

It’s overkill to target them using 50-pound braid, so when our main tackle supplier sent me out some samples of 40 and 50 gram metals, I took the opportunity to set up for ultra light jigging. First step was to pull the treble hooks off the lures and connect a Mustad 4/0 Hoodlum, using a split ring. I then crimped on a metre of 80-pound mono so a hooked king could easily be swung aboard. After assembly, they looked pretty good:

Out on Monday to South Head with some really keen blokes, some of whom have not previously had an encounter of the kingfish kind. Fishing was nowhere near as hot as Saturday but there were still enough around to keep us busy. Mark hooked up early:

I dropped down one of the light jigs on our 6-pound combo and got some interest:

Then Tom gave the light jigging a try. That’s one of Sydney’s keenest fishos, Greg L, hooked up in the background:

Most kingies small, sent back over the side. But there were some just legals around:

Joe had some excitement when a marlin hit a hooked kingfish, tearing it apart:

Back in by midday after yet another wonderful morning on the water. Checking the email, I found some clients had done better in the size department:



Hi Andrew. Here is a photo of a Hoodlum I caught in Botany Bay on the awesome Ginro rod I bought from you. Top fight. Lot of bust ups that day. Some big kings are lurking in our water ways. Cheers Richard


What a beauty, Richard! I haven’t been able to stay connected to any biggies (the war’s not over yet!) but there’s so many around they’re being mistaken for sharks, now.


Manly Daily newspaper,

Wednesday 16th January:

Traditionally in the holiday time of year, the fishing can be quite patchy. It’s predominantly due to a few factors:  Increased boat traffic, and spawning. The fish are spawning right now, and when the snapper have pro creation on their minds, it can be a challenge to get them interested in biting our lures.  This can make for frustrating days, but the fish do turn their attention away from spawning and onto food periodically.


Our Man in JB says deepwater fishing is the go:

Hi Andrew, It was a Honda day out at the shelf last week with good results. The boys on Shark Bait came in with bass groper, gem fish and deep sea perch. On Sunday Trust in Dreams went out again and the crew did well with a bass groper, a hapuku, a gem fish and 14 deep sea perch. The groper was huge and in its throat was a large whole deep sea perch turning nearly white. Of course that was the one day l left the camera at home. Regards from down south Dave and Kate



Thanks so much, Dave.

Mike Scott AKA the Flathead Whisperer has a good tip re our carbontex drag washers:



hey guys, got my sheet of carbontex in the mail yesterday and have already knocked up a couple of washers for my partners and my own collection of reels. Can’t wait to really test them out on the next outing. I actually found that even with a brand new wad punch kit i got a neater cut by putting the smallest amount of grease on the cutting edge of the punch. A big well done with the product and the service. Thank you very much




You are so very welcome Mike, and thanks for that helpful tip!

Peter G sent an extraordinary pic:


Not sure if its his photo but still pretty cool.  This guy holds the record for catching 190 marlin in a day of comp



Amazing! Two blackfin hunting one flying fish?

While we’re overseas, Rajat has a great pic too:


Hi Andrew I thought you would like this for your Report 42lb Grouper caught by me in Konkan coast State of  Maharashtra of India BTW the carbontex washers were just superb Regards Rajat


Wow! What a beauty. I’m very excited to get a report from India Rajat, because (excepting maybe the Andaman Islands) I’ve always assumed there are so many people living in your country, it must be hard to find big fish. Well done. Glad you’re pleased with the carbontex and please keep these great reports coming.

Glen writes after seeing Rajat’s pic on our Facebook page:


Hey Andrew, Seen the pic of the cod from India and it got me thinkin that everything is going or coming from India these days like Telstra, Vodafone etc, and now they got our cod. So I got this one 10 minutes from our boat ramp in Moreton Bay. Going out for 4 day in a few weeks, will send you some more from up here, Stay good, Glen


Thank you for your message but Andrews’ internet link is down at the moment. We will inform him as soon as reconnection is established. Regards, Vashti from Vodafone Mumbai

Joel Duggan would be one of the keenest fishermen I know, always out there into it. He caught the beautiful big mumma above over the holiday break:


Hey andy landed this nice 80 cm fish and a 68 cm in St Georges Basin. Both released Thanks Joel


Well done champ and keep us up to date on all your adventures.

Norm hit the fresh:


Hi Andrew Norm here I got my Minn Kota back on Tuesday so it called for a 5am start on the Nepean on Wednesday morning. I fly fished with gurglers until about 8am I caught 5 bass from 25 to 35cm and got smoked into the snags yet again by a larger specimen. I probably would of caught more but I spent too much time gardening as I kept casting into the trees and snaggs. But that's Bassin


Dang right! If I had a cent for every time I’ve had to get a Jitterbug out of the Colo willows, Norm!

To politics, and recent coverage of the lousy boat ramps in NSW has got our readers fired up. Rod sends in a pic of the EIGHT LANE twin ramp at Hervey Bay, so we can compare it with the two lane joke at Roseville, in the heart of Sydney:

And here’s one of two large pontoons, for mooring once you’ve launched:

Compare that setup with this cluttered shambles, which has just had over one million dollars spent on it:

The situation even worse at South West Rocks on the NSW mid north coast. There, the parkies have arbitrarily decided to close the only safe ocean access boat ramp whenever they feel like it. Forcing boaties to cross the notorious Macleay River bar, and often risking their lives in the process. Les writes:


I'm confused by the contradiction by the National Parks & Wildlife Service ('Service', being the questionable word) about their reasoning for locking shut Laggers Point boat ramp any time there is a holiday, Christmas & school, or a long weekend i.e. Australia Day, Easter etc. with the signage on their big steel lock-out gate reading "Closed for visitor safety".


Hat Head National Park runs from Laggers Point south to the town of Hat Head and within the National Park there are two camping grounds/caravan parks, one at Laggers Point (SWR) and the other being at Hat Head, and both have a boat ramp that can only be accessed by a 'public' road that runs through the centre of them.


Hat Head camping grounds/van park is easily twice the size of the one at Lagger's Point, however, as opposed to Laggers Point, Hat Head is cram packed each holiday/long weekend period and all vehicle traffic (including the boaties who launch & retrieve their boats every day), happily drive through the park amongst kids on skate-boards, push-bikes, pedestrian traffic, plus visitors at the boat ramp, yet no-one has an issue with it because common sense prevails; when there are kids/people/traffic using the road at Hat Head the drivers simply slow down from the regulation 10 km's/ph and wait until it is safe to slowly proceed.

There are no lockouts with big signs about "Visitor Safety" or anything like that.

People at Hat Head just use common sense, yet at Laggers Point as soon as there is a hint of a long weekend or anything like that the NPWS slam the gate shut on the boaties. Why...because it's easier and they don't have to do anything.


At present, Laggers Point is all but empty yet the gate is still locked to boaties. It frustrated me on the weekend to go to Laggers Point boat ramp to check the status of the ramp only to see the gate still locked with a big boat parked beside it unable to access the ocean, however, right beside the boat ramp was a caravaner/visitor washing down his the boat trailer parking area assigned for boaties:

The road at Laggers Point van park was a 1988 Bi-Centennial public funded initiative and the boat ramp originally came from public (rate payers) money, yet now the NPWS have taken over control of it they ban the very people responsible for its existence from using it.


The last I heard the words "National Parks" meant just that, and "Wildlife" meant 'wildlife'. Why isn't the management of caravan parks given back to the council and tendered out to the public and the boat ramps controlled by a coalition of the Marine Rescue and Maritime, in the interest of recreational boat users safety as opposed to the interest of some campers who don't like to hear a boat being launched where they have their tent pitched right beside the public boat ramp.


Australia Day long weekend is looming, the town is filling with thousands of visitors, mostly boaties & rec fishermen, and word has it now that the NP&WS are going to keep the gate at Laggers Point boat ramp locked for the entire three days of the long weekend…I think that everyone who has lost their boat or has been injured due to this ridiculous locking of the boat ramp should get together and talk to some specialist compensation lawyers and start a class action suit against the NP&WS.


Unarguable points my friend but nothing will be done until a loss of life occurs on the Macleay bar. Please – document and photograph everything you can. Get statements – even if off the record – from those who’ve had their boats damaged on the bar:

If you need me to lodge an FOI application for Marine Rescue or Maritime records, no problem at all. And most importantly, get the names of the parkies who make the decisions to close the Laggers point ramp, when they want to have a sleep in. It’s not fair to blame all NP&WS staff for the actions of a few, Les. We need to name names – especially since, sooner or later, those parkies responsible for putting the public at risk will have blood on their hands.  To our readers and especially contributors, good luck if you’re getting out on the water over the Australia Day weekend. And if you do any good – or even if you don’t – send in a pic and a short report for the enjoyment of our subscribers. Because it’s your generous contributions that make this little newsletter worth reading. Cheers,


 Andrew Hestelow