Thursday 25 SEPTEMBER 2012

Tackle specials and angling politics

from Downrigger Shop

G’day lads


Kookaburras. I’ve always been fond of them – until last Wednesday. That’s because, at the Little Beach boat ramp at Port Stephens, they stay up all night hunting moths, around the lights over the fish cleaning tables. They call to each other all night too, and when you’re sleeping in the back of your 4WD at the ramp, ahead of a big day offshore, THAT’S THE LAST THING YOU NEED. Ruddy birds. So when Jay, Rod and myself finally assembled at 4:40AM there was even more yawns and bleary eyes than usual. After clearing the heads it was hard to stay cranky on seeing a beautiful dawn shining on calm seas, off the bow:

And you want calm seas when you’ve got a 27 nautical mile run to the grounds ahead of you. Our destination was of course Allmark Reef, the motivation being Dan Wong’s sensational account of his jigging trip last Sunday in last week’s fishing report. On arrival we found client and top bloke Shane on station in his beautiful Barcrusher Alluring. The boys already had some points on the board

Things started really slow. Normally at this spot the bite starts early and quite often, finishes early. Exactly the opposite on Thursday and it was not until mid morning, when Jay broke our drought:

Rod got into the action too:

But I was having no end of trouble, with everything from broken lines to damaged hook points. That didn’t affect the crew:

Kings were holding about 30 metres off the bottom. They show as blue blobs on my HDS, since I tweaked the colour palette settings:

Rod and Jay hooked up and landing kingfish, short video:

Alluring moved to a reef some distance from the main pinnacles, then generously called us over on the VHF:

The lads didn’t waste any time:

Finally, I hooked up solid:

and brought a keeper to the boat:

With me having to be back in Sydney by 5:00PM for my daughter’s school graduation we pulled the pin early. Very pleased with the new Mercury’s performance. Admittedly the seas were pretty calm, but 70 litres to cover 70 nautical miles, plus 3-4 hours of idling is pretty good. I had a ball and can’t wait to do it all again, hopefully next week. Thanks to Rod and Jay for their great company and all the laughs, and to the boys on Alluring for steering us in the right direction – literally.

Marc fished the NSW north coast on Sunday, and did well as usual:

Headed out to the 32 fathom line off Lennox Head before first light this morning. Forecast was for zero wind till 12pm. Surprise surprise, Seabreeze got it wrong. It was blowing a good 10 knots from  the SW all morning. Landed this nice snapper on the first drop. Followed by a kingie. All caught on soft plastic gear. When the sun broke away from the horizon the fish shut down.

The forecast looks like crap for the North Coast Fishing Bonanza at Ballina next weekend. 20 knots of northerlies will keep everyone in the estuaries.


Very nice indeed! You’d think snapper season would be drawing to an end that far north, but experts like you take them year round. Thanks, Marc.  Dave R reckons our jigs work well, on the New South Wales south coast:


Thanks for putting the order through today for the jigs. Last trip to Bermagui your jigs worked dynamite on the kings, we even outfished the pro jiggers one day. Had some FC Labo jigs on board also, with 3 boys jigging. 2 with your jigs and the kingy preference was the DRS jigs. Everything ate your jigs including some large arrow squid, a surprise for all. Mowies, nannygai and couta.


Glad to hear it, Dave! They certainly rocked at Allmark.

 Craig and Sarah fished off Sydney on the weekend:

Headed out on the weekend for a fish off long reef in 50m and got a good 4.5kg red.


Wow! Good snapper from heavily fished waters, Craig.


We are offering  readers 6 monthly magazines

(comes out on the 1st of every month)

plus you get a personalised Members Card posted to you all for $29.00

Thanks, Ruth! The Whitsunday article and video is excellent, I really enjoyed both.

From Townsville, Steve J ordered a reel and after some shameless begging from me, sent through some killer pics:

So good! Hope you’re happy with the 4500T Steve, and please keep sending an update every so often, on your adventures?

Dave sent through a manual for the Daiwa Seaborg 750 reel. This is very close to the Tanacom 750s we offer which, being made in Japan, come with a Japanese language manual. (Flight of the Conchords voice) ‘good one, Dave.’

Trouble in paradise:

Someone then shot the croc and cut its head off, presumably to avoid bullet identification. You can see it in the background:


Never a dull moment, up north!

Mitch writes in, about our large game reels:


Hey Andy, I just want to ask if you can just purchase the 50W game reel on its own without the rod and how much it would cost.

No problem! These were originally made for the mega US tackle company Quantum, and can be seen in their catalogue here:



We retro fit them with carbontex drags, and spool with 850 metres of 50-pound mono. Price $440, including line and delivery,

with twelve months warranty.

Here’s specifications:

Gear ratios: high, 3.1:1. Low, 1.3:1;

Ball bearings: 8


Call or email for more specs?

They’re a top reel, half the price of the competition but in our view, just as good.

Jack L has been checking out the renovated boat ramp in southern Botany Bay, and sent in pics and an update for our readers:

I went to Kurnell last Wednesday to see the boatramp in Silver Beach (Bonna Point Reserve). The boatramp is finished, see the pics. It looks great, solid two lane job and non-slip gangway and pontoon. Approach channel has been dredged and has navigation markers indicating edges of shallow seagrass areas. The ramp may be a challenge for bigger boats at low tide, but this is the nature of the southern shore of the Bay – it is shallow. This is all good news.

I had a chat with the Council about that boatramp. There are plans to upgrade the carpark and provide proper driveway to the top of the ramp. Washdown facility will also be provided. As this area is heavily used by picnickers during weekends, the upgrade will be staged to allow continuous access. The work will start soon.

Sounds good. P.S. link below is for the Council info on this subject



Good one Jack, that’s helpful for the many readers we have fishing Sydney south.

Brenden from Lord Howe Island GFC is pleased we’re supporting next month’s competition:



Mate that would be unreal!


We would be very appreciative of the chiller bag and would be happy to put your web site in our advertisement for the comp.

I could also write a report every now and then on how the fishing is going on Lord Howe.

No problem at all Brenden, we sent your chiller bag on Monday. Very grateful for any pics or reports you might send through!

Glen Booth clarifies matters on the tiny fish thought to be baby marlin, in last weeks’ report:


They are common bellowsfish (Macroramphosus scolopax). When they get bigger they turn pinky orange and get deeper in the body. They must be very common since they are often found in pelagic fish tummies.


Good on you, Glen.

A horrible story from Trevor J in Brisbane, about long distance trailering on the Bruce Highway:


A couple of guys from the forum went to the Ausfish GTG this week at 1770 – return trip leaving early. Latest news is insurance admitted their error in computer for not sending renewal so they were covered – underinsured but covered so will get about 80% of their costs reimbursed. Most importantly they were safe.


Lessons learnt for others is strap your boat down at the back especially on long trips and make sure you are current with insurance and at correct replacement value as we do tend to add to these boats but not the insurance replacement cost:


That’s just sad.

 Mark Way sends in a top boat offer, on behalf of a mate:

Can you give this a mention in your newsletter? It's hard/rare to get a Mooring in Kiama Harbour and this Norcat is in great condition. The owners brother is a Diesel mechanic and motors were upgraded in 2006. Maybe you could buy it and join the club? Come fishing on weekends out of Kiama!

Members and/or their friends may wish to take this opportunity to buy a well maintained fishing boat (Norcat 10.1m) and a rare opportunity to get a Mooring in Kiama Harbour. I am attaching details of the boat and a couple of photos. The price of Boat & Mooring is $120,000. Contact owner Bob Pearson: 0435041381

Looks like a top offshore setup Mark, and thanks for bringing it to our attention.

Trevor K sent in some beaut fish pics to prove how well our colour change braid has been working for him:

Hi Andrew thanks for the line, we tested it and it broke at 67 lbs which is pretty good, and I used it yesterday, Caught 3 big cobias [black kings] how good and lucky was that, to actually catch 3 and me mate also caught 2 all approx 15 kgs [great eating size mate] but never had any probs with your line

Glad to hear it, Trev!

 Free line counter still supplied with each braid order, and that’s a handy bit of kit on its own.

Charter operator Hal Epstein generously invited me out for a run on Halicat, to Browns. But I was already booked, for Port Stephens. It looks like Browns mountain is still firing:

Hi Andrew, hope you had a good day at Allmark.

Browns report is that the gemfish are still there as well as the makos

East coast current was running up to 1.5kts to the south Cheers Hal

Top work Hal, and some great pics too. I wrote to Hal asking whether he’s taking bookings for deepwater fishing at Browns mountain. Here's his reply:


Yes we will do it again but preferably during the week. It would be great to hear of interest from people who are flexible in their times so we can  pick good sea & weather conditions to go out there. We need about 12 pax to run.


So many clients ask if they could come on a run to Browns and, wherever possible, I take them along. But with the demands of business fishing availability is getting less and less. So, if you've ever wanted to try deepwater fishing, Hal is an excellent option. Here's his e-mail:

Mark Way says mako sharks are still swarming, at Kiama:


As predicted, Mako sharks have been the go to species for last weekend and the Wollongong Comp. In the Wollongong Tournament, Matt Noferi on Xiphias reports they captured a 158kg Mako on 24kg on Saturday and Tagged 2 more Makos on 24kg. Matt got the flu and they didn't fish on Sunday. Todd Lindsay on Keep it Reel tagged n Released 2 makos and a Blue Shark all on 10kg line.


That's excellent news. With kingfish, gem fish and mako sharks in good numbers, Spring has started with a bang. Rod Coleman has a great report from Canada. His mate Royal downrigs for salmon there, and has been scoring some monsters:

Just got back from our fishing trip up near Prince Rupert. We caught our limit, 4 chinook and 4 coho salmon each and threw back lots of coho which averaged around 10lb. I caught 2 chinook just under 30lb, but the old story the big one got away. Had him on for a long time, almost spooled me, but we got the down rigger up in time and was able to get boat moving towards him. Saw top half of his tail once, in the end he did some serious head shaking and got rid of the barbless hook. The biggest one caught on our fishing trip was 62lb. We also caught a couple of halibut. Had good weather.

Our only scrape was coming back from the Halibut grounds about 25k out we hit a seal a tremendous thump to the boat but did not seem to do any damage. Saw several Killer whales and lots of sea lions. I am not a fan of sea lions as they eat a lot of salmon. Over all a good trip.


Now back home, took my 2 year old grandson down to the pond this eve, and helped him catch one around 3 lb. gave a good scrap and he was thrilled. How’s things going down under? Our summer will soon be drawing to a close, but will enjoy it while we can. Your Canuck mate, Royal


Off topic, can I ask for some advice from our readers? Firstly, I need a boat cover for the Carolyn Jane. The wild turkeys roost above it and make a hell of a mess, every night. If anyone knows someone who does fitted boat covers, please send me their details? Payment can be in cash or tackle. Secondly, I have lost two Blackberry mobile phones to saltwater, plus I had a client write last week saying that his mobile phone had died, after being dropped on the deck. At the same time for many people with whom I’m fishing, the Mavionics app download run on their iPad is preferred to the old-style plotter, on the boat console. So we’ve been offered this range of waterproof, shockproof cases which look great, have an IP 68 waterproof rating to 30 metres, and a transparent top meaning your iPad screen can be viewed through the cover.

I’m guessing the price will be around $30? If anyone has a view on whether this item would be popular, I would be grateful for your feedback - whether positive, or negative. There’s other ones for cameras and phones.

To politics, and regular readers will know how relentlessly we’ve covered the grey nurse shark ‘debate.’

Personally, I see it as a snap shot of everything that is wrong with conservation in this country. Australia has the worst record of species loss anywhere on the globe. Yet political greenies (most of them Government funded) have captured the agenda to such an extent that both sides of politics suck up to them, non-stop. While truly rare fish (for instance, Australian grayling) get virtually no coverage whatsoever, species found worldwide (like grey nurse sharks) are used as a vehicle to lock up public waters in exactly the same way the Greenies focused on locking up public lands 10-20 years ago.


That’s what we campaigned against. And that’s what the Liberals and Nationals promised to remedy, when they won the election. Yet on Friday, Hodgkinson announced yet more restrictions on fishing at some of the State’s most popular spots:

Chris Wallis from CAFR writes:

……. CAFR is extremely disappointed with the new fishing rules banning surface fishing with bait at Fish Rock.

Recreational fishers helped elect this government on the basis that all future fishing bans would be based on scientific evidence. The research that was carried out by the previous Labor government was quite sloppy and inconclusive, but by the way it was presented we always expected that bait fishing on the bottom would be lost.

However, trolling baits on the surface was never even tested.

The trolling of unweighted baits is the most common method used to target kingfish at Fish Rock and yet even though there was no research done on this type of fishing it is being banned.

Think about it. Towing  bait on the surface is never going to interact with this bottom dwelling species.  The rec fishers who have fished this area for over 50 years have never had any interaction between GNS and surface trolled baits and lures….. the new regulations prohibit bait fishing at both Fish Rock and Green Island within a radius of 200 metres.

Considering Green Island is only 80 m from the mainland that means a section of the coastline will be included in this ban so that shore based fishers will no longer be able to fish for bream, drummer, tailor, jewfish etc from that area.

In conclusion we call on the minister to provide state funding as opposed to fishing licence trust funds for independent research into what interaction if any there is between the GNS and surface and unweighted fishing with bait.

Given that it would be illegal to carry out this research with the new rules in place we call on the Minister to withdraw this regulation until after this new research research has been completed.

Notice to all concerned rec fishers, business owners, residents and supporters of

Community Action for Fish Rock (CAFR)

A special meeting will be held on Wednesday night starting at 7PM in the auditorium of the South West Rocks Country Club.

The only item on the agenda will be to discuss the new fishing rules at Fish Rock and to formulate our response.

We are also hoping to have the Manager for Endangered Species Mr. Peter Gallagher in attendance for questions and answers.

Further details phone Les Palmer 0427674354 or Chris Wallis 0427686015




I just got an email back from Talbot.


After Gallagher gave me his word he (and possibly Talbot) would attend our meeting on Wednesday evening he has officially refused to attend and has refused to allow Gallagher (Talbot?) to attend either. No surprises there.


No surprises whatsoever, Les. But I blame Hodgkinson for enabling Gallagher and Talbot, and for breaking the commitment given by Duncan Gay and (NSW Deputy Premier) Andrew Stoner at the South West Rocks community meeting, last year. Those two promised that, should a Liberal-National government be elected in March 2011, that common sense would be restored would be restored to NSW fisheries policy. Here’s Duncan Gay in February 2011:




The NSW Liberals & Nationals Marine Parks policy, 'Restoring the Balance' outlines our positive, practical plans based on independent, scientific evidence to give local communities a proper say in decisions that affect their livelihood and lifestyle, Shadow Minister for Primary Industries Duncan Gay said today.

Here’s Hodgkinson’s idea of ‘evidence based tangible results.’ Someone fishing from Green Island using cabbage weed bait for luderick risks:

Les, Chris, Maurie and all our friends at South West Rocks – all the best for tomorrow night’s meeting. If there’s anything we can do to support your fight to fish in your own backyard, just let us know. Because the way you blokes fight the good fight is inspirational, to us all.

And to our readers and contributors, thanks so much yet again.

Without your support this little newsletter would be nothing. Until next week,


Andrew Hestelow

Managing Director

Tel. +61402075000

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