Friday 24th March 2017

Tackle specials and angling politics

from Downrigger Shop

Autumn! The best fishing season of the year, in my humble opinion. Only downside, the East Coast has had two weeks of horrible weather, with Sydney experiencing nineteen days of (often, heavy) rain, out of the last twenty two. Here’s the Manly Ferry, *inside* Sydney Harbour last week:



The good news is, our readers are finding solid fish in between the rain showers.  Here’s Richard Jamieson:



Hi Andrew, beautiful day out on the water (Monday.) Started the day with an amazing sunrise. Took me ages to catch some live squid but persistence paid off with a nice Sydney kingy. Went 85 cm but was pretty fat. Also managed a couple of good size amberjack which had me fooled as they fight just like kingies.


Brendan Walsh bought a couple of downriggers at the start of March and is putting them to good use already, in Port Philip Bay:



Brian Kwan finding some cracker kingies at the end of last month. His mention of a bonito report is from a post on the Facebook page, where I’ve posted over 300 short videos. Check it out? I try to post at least five reports every day: Facebook




Just like to give you a report, i saw your shared video of the bonito at the macquarie light house, went there to check it out with no result. headed back in and decide to stop at sydney artificial reef where a few boats were stopped. We ended up jigging using 300g jigs for three hours and caught between 35 kings. 3 which went 96, 77, 69 on live bait (after the three hours of jigging) and 82 on a jig. never had i caught that many kings in one day!


So glad to hear of your success, Brian! More good news from the north coast, as the 2017 mackerel run picks up speed. Here’s Mitch Reeves and mates braining Spaniards at Grassy Head. Beautiful fish and well done:



BRILLIANT report and pic from Mathew Scott. Thanks so much, cobber:



Andy, headed up to swr last weekend and escaped the wet Sydney weather. First up on the Friday we lost a huge 1.5m Spanish Mackerel that took a top water lure on our first troll past the gaol. Fight lasted around 15 minutes with some huge runs that we had to chase in the boat to keep line on the spool. I was blown away by the power and it's ability to change direction so quickly. Eventually the hooks pulled much to our disappointment but considering it was way above 10kgs mark I wasn't sure if we could eat it anyway with possible ciguatera poison? Got it up close to the boat several times so was good to see the impressive monster up close. Ive got a vid of the last 5 mins of fight that I may put up on YouTube later. On the Saturday we headed to grassy and dropped out some live baits. Our mates in a nearby boat got bitten off 4 times in the first 30 mins before switching over to steel trace which they then didn't want to touch. We didn't have much luck on baits but plenty of boats nearby were pulling in spotted mackerel of medium size which I later found out was on pilchards. I tried casting to a small school of Bonnies that went past only to have a big spotted mack follow my lure back so switched over to my heavy popping setup and kept casting. After an hour of this I finally hooked up And after a good fight we boated a 1m spotted mackerel. Didn't get a chance to weight it but we think it might have been 7 or 8kgs? Rest of the weekend was pretty quiet until the weather changed and things got rough. I'm glad we went out the creek bar Sunday as the main river bar got bad around midday. Lots of boats were watching it behind the breaks and ended up following us in the creek as they weren't game to take on the main bar. See pic below of the spotted mack from Saturday.


Commiserating with Craig Marsay from Nambucca Glass, a couple of weeks ago. Subject, the relentless bad weather, and how difficult it’s been to get offshore. When the break came, he and the crew were ready:




How’s this! Sean Morgan at Grassy Head. Well done and thanks so much for these great pics, cobber:



To boats, and stopped by Jason H’s place last week to commiserate over the rotten weather we’ve been having. The wrap on his Barcrusher looks so good:



Kurt stopped by for a downrigger and mentioned he’d rebuilt his old Marlin Broadbill.

Me: got a pic?

Kurt: Sure. Here you go.




Regular contributor and all around top bloke Kevin Olsen reports a tragedy just when you don’t need it. It could have been a lot worse. I was planning to say ‘dang P drivers!’ but as someone who had eleven prangs in my first year of driving – including two in one day J - I better shut up. So glad the Rough Diamond survived:



Week before xmas. Here's another angle. Scratched the Rough Diamond, bent the jockey wheel and punched a couple of decent sized holes in tarp.



Over to Watsons Bay the Friday before last in the boat, to pick up fish and chips. Got a friendly wave from a businessman having lunch on the Sydney game fishing club balcony. Turns out it’s Greg Wall who I know of, but have never met. Too modest to mention it at the time but I now discover he was on the boat that won the Interclub. And has some fantastic pictures from the event:





To tackle, and Tone super pleased with his carbontex drag upgrade. At around three bucks per reel what are you waiting for, lads? Make your drag smooth and strong:



Thanks Andrew, please find attached pics of new carbontex drag washer up grade. Previously you could tighten the drag as hard as you could and you could still pull line from the spool. Not any more! Thanks Tone


Here’s Bob replacing his Calcutta drags:



Full details here:


Stuart McAlister happy with our $95 light combo. Price includes rod, reel and full spool of braid:



A big shout out to Andy at downrigger. Got a light spin combo before my yearly camping trip down at Lake Conjola and caught plenty of fish on this sweet little outfit. Including my PB Flatty at 80cm. Saw the whole thing and put the old girl back to live another day.  Cheers mate.


Too kind of you Stuart! Gary Earl a big fan too:



The little reel and rod you gave me to test, a fair while back, well times up now, lol, thankyou so much for doing that, and it's not bad at all for the price, and as a bream, come bass, trolling rod and tossing small softies for flathead and even some big fun fish species of all sorts, well it has been great.


I have some great photos of it with some of the fish we got, both my son and I have them for upcoming magazines in the next 12 months, sorry it took so long but like to write about good stuff.


I have hooked up and had on and done some pretty bloody good fish, trace failures usually, well it's been brilliant both the rod and reel and the bearings and smoothnes was amazing for the time I used it, and she's still going strong.


I gave it a good rock and roll, only thing is if you don't bash it around in the car too much, or on the rocks it still will have that magic plastic chrome look, it is a great reel I  took it and played with it so thoroughly and internally, and as a smooth bearing reel at this price it's awesome.


Thanks champ! I’ve scored my PB bream and whiting using that one over the summer. Couldn’t be happier with it:



More information here:


Some lads asking for more details on the squid slider rig. It’s adjustable to fit all sizes of squid and has a tow hook that goes through the top of the hood. And, a stinger treblethrough the skin between the eyes, to hook fish that tear the bait’s head off. Here we go:



Glad to be of help! Patrick used the where to find squid map to score some quality bait. Then turned the squid, into a beautiful Sydney jewfish:



Hi mate. Cheers for the info earlier this summer about the squid. Started getting some nice fish during the summer. Tonight (Sunday 12th March) we got this one and got busted off by another one like this. My mate is a bit new to fishing and had the drag too tight. Thanks for helping me crack the code on squid i had always struggled on that.


Glad it worked for you Pat! Victoria suffering some bad weather too but the fish are there when the skies clear.  Thanks to Geoff Wilson:



Brooklyn Erard 13, and father Col Erard with the gummy shark and snapper they caught offshore from the Mountain View Quarries in Corio Bay


Beautiful. I’ve always wanted a red like that. FNQ, and Brett Driver has a big session on small mouth nannygai  a.k.a. saddle tail snapper. Like most of us - Brett isn’t on the water as often as he’d like.  So when he does get out, he goes hard and usually brings home the bag limit:



Hi Andy, a quick trip out a couple of weeks ago with my son in law Hayden to test the new rod I made him for Xmas, Looks like Santa made me one to can't give the kids all the good gear??


To politics, and Phil Cole sends news of a near tragedy on the Macleay River bar at South West Rocks:



Full story here:


Here’s how it ended up:



Crossing the bar can be a white knuckle ride:



So when Marine Recue SWR sends notification of a NSW Ports review, it’s time to take notice:



Is it for real, or is it the usual cosmetic consultation we boaties have come to expect? Hard to say. But getting cynical won’t fix the problems. Click here and follow the prompts if you’d like to make a difference:




Thanks to our readers and contributors. Please keep the pics and reports coming, there’s over 4000 subscribers enjoying them now. Until next time,


Andrew Hestelow

Managing Director


Week before xmas. Here's another angle. Scratched the Rough Diamond, bent the jockey wheel and punched a couple of decent sized holes in tarp.