Thursday 27 NOVEMBER 2012

Tackle specials and angling politics

from Downrigger Shop

G’day lads, some fantastic extended reports this week, starting off with Alex’s trip to Lord Howe Island:



But before we get rolling can I just mention something to our 500+ downrigger owners, many of whom read the weekly report.

If your downrigger doesn’t have as much drag as you need, send me an email? A few reports back I mentioned that we accidentally shipped a few that were short of the correct number of carbontex washers:

Let me know if that’s your situation, and we’ll pop a full fresh set in the mail, same day. It’s a two minute job, to change them over.

Alex, his dad, and his gorgeous fishing buddy went to Lord Howe with kingfish on their minds. The trip was a classic:


Hi Andy, I recently got back from a ten day trip to Lord Howe Island, just a two hour flight from Sydney. We managed to fish four days while on the island, which was excellent considering the weather at this time of year.

Day 2:  On arrival to our first spot I couldn’t help but feel déjà vu after watching countless fishing shows and Youtube videos of fishing Balls Pyramid in the month leading up to the trip. As we approached the mark the sounder was not showing any fish so we had a few drops with the jigs to no avail and then off to the next spot. As we found out later the issue was that there was too much krill in the water and the fish were following the bait and not holding on the pinnacles and reefs they normally call home.

With this in mind we had to find a new technique and fast so instead of sounding the bottom for fish we chased diving birds and horizontally ripped jigs in the hope of finding a school, SUCCESS! We fished like this all day for a total of 8 kingfish and 1 trevally. Not the start I was after but nonetheless one of my most enjoyable days fishing ever.


Day 3: After a slow start we decided to increase our chances of big kingies by fishing the local reefs. As we neared Spot X the sounder started to show solid markings of fish and the jigs were deployed almost immediately. After two quick flicks of the rod we were on, DOUBLE HOOKUP! As my reel screamed I noticed the fish headed for the surface and was not fighting like the kingfish I am used to at Allmark. Minutes later and my doubts were confirmed as an albacore started doing donuts boat side.

Day 3: After a slow start we decided to increase our chances of big kingies by fishing the local reefs. As we neared Spot X the sounder started to show solid markings of fish and the jigs were deployed almost immediately. After two quick flicks of the rod we were on, DOUBLE HOOKUP! As my reel screamed I noticed the fish headed for the surface and was not fighting like the kingfish I am used to at Allmark. Minutes later and my doubts were confirmed as an albacore started doing donuts boat side.

This was more what we had come for! The largest fish for the day went 17kg cleaned with many larger models that couldn’t be stopped.

Total for Day 3 was 15 kingfish, an albacore and trevally.


Once we had the fish in the boat we quickly found a large showing of fish and deployed the jigs, instant hookup! As we had brought our own gear and jigs Dad and I were the only two jigging at this point with the three others on board opting for bait on the larger setups. Unlike the previous days fishing the fish were hard to entice and would not take bait but we continued to jig and hookup on fish after fish.

Once the others had cottoned on to the success of the jigs one of the smaller setups was rigged with one of Dave’s jigs, but with no result. At this point your jigs were outperforming the others so much that they had resulted in every fish that was on the boat and I was starting to feel like a mutiny was upon us. Once the bite slowed on the ledge we headed wide for a chance at a big googlie eyed barcod in 120m. The cod did not play ball but I did manage my first amberjack on rod over 10kg.

As the fishing had been slow for the past few weeks Dave gave us the option of staying out longer and catching a few more fish, which everyone on board jumped at. The fishing at this point was a lot slower but we still managed some medium sized fish before Dave called for “last drop”. As my jig hit the bottom I jigged like crazy hoping for that one last bite. Just as I felt like my arms were about to drop off, a massive take nearly launched me into the water and it was on. With the drag on my trusty Saltiga Saltist set to sunrise I tried with every ounce of energy I had to turn the fish, finally succeeding after feeling the braid rub the rocks some 80m below. With every wind came the increased hope of landing that fish of a lifetime but as the kingy turned and started to head for the surface he decided he wasn’t finished yet and truly earning his freedom with one last powerful run. Total for Day 4 was 19 kingfish, 1 AJ and the mother of all purple cods. To sum up LHI I have to recount words that have stuck in my head since watching Rex Hunt as a child, PISCATORIAL PARADISE!

I cannot recommend both Jack and Dave’s services enough for fishing offshore and will surely be back one day to tackle the wahoo and kingfish that visit LHI in the summer months. The fishing speaks for itself and the overall experience of visiting Lord Howe is not one to be missed. My one tip would be to make sure you take your own gear and lots of Andy’s jigs! Fish heavy, I spent half the third day fishing with 50lb braid before losing too many fish to count and getting told by Jack to get rid of the floss I was using and upgrade to 80lb.

What a fantastic report! The fish are always there, success depends on if the weather plays ball. Grateful for this top contribution and glad our jigs worked so well for you too, Alex.

More good news from the north coast, with Steve from Port Macquarie GFC saying the wahoo are about, at Coffs:

Hi Andy Attached is one of young Lachlan Kaczorowski Wahoo he managed 3 Tags  1 Mahi Mahi & 1 Capture Wahoo in The Hot Currents comp at Coffs to help Dad ( Janick ) take out OGF Boat award  Great Effort for a 12 year old.


Too right it is, well done Lachlan.

Kevin had some wahoo success off the Tweed on Sunday:

We found a new secret spot and while spots around us have 2-5 boats on each spot we had zero other boats around us. I managed to land 4 wahoo all in the meter range, lost 6-8 lures because I had left my wire trace at home and I hooked up and lost 6 more. … There are  reports coming in from the weekend of Wahoo all over the coast from the sunny coast to the Tweed.

Hoo yeah. Paul Smith:

There you go Andrew. He was a bit worse for wear as he spat the hooks and hooked his eye but we got him swimming again. Southport Gold Coast in 36 meters.


Mate I am staying frosty, I’m not getting over excited, but by crikey this summer is shaping up nicely with all these marlin and wahoo reports from the NSW-Queensland border.

Further south, and Ross found snapper success north of Port Stephens:

  G`day Andy, Rossco here. You better pull up at Broughton Island next time you go past. Lol. One of Lew`s:

  Andy here is another. Lew`s PB. The lads got 4 nice ones, Rossco was skipper and bait n burly man. But managed to lose a few, typical!


Let’s see what we can do on Wednesday, cobber?

J The kingfish have been hot and cold, here in the Big Smoke. Myles writes:

Finally cracked a good size (78cm) Kingie. Thanks for all your tips. Would you believe it swam right past a downrigged live squid and smashed a very large slimy that was slow trolled almost on the top! Had a ball catching it. Got some other rats, but nothing this big.


Yes mate I would believe that, because the only predictable thing about kingies is their unpredictability.

Duncan got his first:


We launched off Rosebay early Saturday (never fished Sydney harbour before) but unfortunately couldn't source any livies.  I used the local internet forums but it seems it's all "top secret" (some stuff about tools pulling livies and 100cm kings from the bathtub or some such cr@p - you would think fishos would help each other out) anyway we made the decision to try botany bay for livies (40min boat trip) and headed back to the harbour to try our luck with 7 yakkas.  Unfortunately/fortunately along the way - all we could manage were some rats off Maroubra (about 2km from my house as it frigin happens) but glad to pop our kingy cherry regardless.








Mate you are on the board and there will be plenty more and larger too in store for you, this summer. As to live bait locations, check out this pic of North Harbour (west of Manly Wharf) and note the big silver rectangle, centre pic:

That’s the roof of a big 2-storey houseboat on the outside of the mooring field. Find a vacant mooring near it, tie off, and burley heavily. The bait fish can take a while to come on but when they do they’re often in huge schools. Note that this spot can be badly affected by rat kings frightening the bait, in summer.

On the topic of downrigging, I’ll be giving a talk this Thursday night at the SGFC meeting in western Sydney.

All welcome:

In regards to bait for kingfish, we all know there’s nothing like a fresh live squid. Especially early in the season, when the kingies are a bit fussy:

I was randomly Googling squid fishing the other night (as you do!), to see if any new techniques are being developed.   Amazed to see just how big commercial squid fishing is. From giant ships with tower lights in the Falkland Islands:

To mid-size squid boats in Thailand:

To row boats in Malta:

They all have one thing in common, lights suspended over the water to attract squid. When I walk along the marina there’s a big boat in one of the pens, whose owner leaves his underwater lights running. The amount of bait attracted is phenomenal:

And some blokes have installed LED lights in their trailerboat transoms, for that purpose. But I hate drilling into my hull underwater and also, LED lights are pretty expensive. So I thought we might try a little experiment at the marina, on Thursday night. I removed the bombs from two DRs, and attached two of our new LED camping lights. Apologies for my lousy photography:

The camping light has a three position water resistant switch, with a lantern above and a powerful pencil spotlight on the bottom:

Handy folding ring on the top, which I used for suspending from the downrigger:

That gave a piercing light which penetrated deep into the water and made the bait swarm, darting in and out of the light beam:

So the thought is, if you’re on the water early to get squid for a kingfish session, or fishing for jewies overnight, clip our camping light onto the downrigger or even just the back of your boat. If you have a downrigger, drop a light rod in the rod holder and put the squid jig over the back. It will drift along just outside the light cone, where you want it:

Meantime you can cast with your normal squid outfit and double your chances, of success.

$27 each

or two in a dry box for $65.

$8 postage to Syd, Newcastle and Wollongong,

$20 to Melbourne and Brisbane.


These lights are handy for much more than squidding:

240V and 12V chargers included.

How good is that?

Stan and #1 son Scott hit the river:


Dear Andrew, photo of son, Scott with 35 cm bass. Great day, 4 canoes, about 50 bass. 1st 2 fish were flatheads in the rapid in near fresh water. Is that common? Stan


Beautiful! As to flathead in fresh water, it’s not uncommon. The reason being is that, in the margin between fresh and salt, the fresh sits on top of the salt.

Kevin Lithgow emailed an amazing photo essay on his eight day charter out of Thailand. Sensational stuff Kevin, and I’m so glad you took the time:


Hi Andrew, well I’ve just gotten back from a 2 week trip to Thailand with a couple mates on an 8 day jigging charter of which it took 36 hours just to get to the first spot we could drop a jig. We predominantly fished the 60-110m range but then headed to the 200-300m range to fish for black co, mainly on electric reels but I refused and managed to jig up 3 of them from 210m until my body told me that was enough and had to let the electric boys finish up the day.

There is just so much to tell but I’ll let some pictures do most of that thought. One thing I will never forget is a mate hooking a marlin about 100-150 kilo on a jig and pe3. We just heard the drag screaming off at a rate of knots and then suddenly this black marlin launched itself out of the water 3 times but as I reached for my camera it broke free and was out of there. It’s a sight I’ll never forget and there were high 5’s and shouting going on all around the boat. We finished up the trip with a day fishing in Bangkok for Giant catfish, we only managed “baby” ones around 17-22 kilo. I can’t wait to do it all again, Kevin


 300-350kg Thresher shark:

Apparently excellent eating, this fish was auctioned off:

Dog tooth tuna

That’s not a doggie……this is a doggie:

A taste of Thai jigging:

Breakfast before we left land for 8 days

Small selection of the fishing gear. Each combo is about $2000

This was the first night we got there.

My first Doggie of the day

Getting my arms stretched by a black cod 210m under the boat.

Mekong catfish:

Kevin, that is absolutely incredible and I can’t tell you how grateful I am, that you would assemble such a fantastic report for our readers. Truly in your debt!

The unstoppable Tony C went to Victoria to take advantage of the top run of snapper in the Bay:

As per phone conversation yesterday, went fishing in Port Phillip bay late yesterday afternoon and we motored around for over an hour and half sounding the bottom until we found a couple of a promising arches and anchored, set up a berley trial and ten minutes later was all red hot action in a school of snapper for the next 40 minutes, got our bag and were back before dark . Insane fishing.

He he he. Mate, the heart races when I see something from you arrive in the inbox. Never know what you’re up to next!

To Queensland, and John W was kind enough to send me an update and pic on a big black jewfish he caught recently:

Hi Andrew. I’m in Qld and enjoy your fishing pics. Attached a photo of a 130cm. black jew that was just able to be lifted. This was caught in central qld. Prior to this have caught same species in N.T. and cape york. They run like a shark (train). But if the initial runs are controlled they are quite easy to boat. Some people liken their initial bite to that of a “picker”. It is fatal to strike too soon. The bag limit is 2 fish, but 2 like this soon fills the freezer Caught November. Cheers john


Thanks Johnno!

To politics, and the latest Greens party protest in NSW (at Bundeena on Saturday) was yet another flopperoo:

All very relevant to us, because these are your hardcore greenies who lobby for marine parks: cranky spinsters with three King Charles spaniels in their penthouse apartment, and teenagers from Point Piper with P plates on mummy’s BMW en route to their Environmental Science lecture, at Macquarie Uni. J Steve’s got his dander up about Animal Liberations’ latest online petition:

Somebody should inform these people that sharks are not vertebrates - they're elasmobranch's (cartilaginous fishes.) As for the comment about picking a flower...WT*??


Care2 subscriber since Jan 3, 2010

Unsubscribe  |  Share on Facebook  |  Take Action


action alert!

In Western Australia, a group of vigilantes caught and gutted a shark -- while it was still alive. Their punishment for this cruelty and torture? Nothing.


Western Australia, Don't Stand By While Sharks are Tortured


please share

it helps!


Dear Stephen,



In Australia, it is no more illegal to torture and kill a shark, a moving, breathing, feeling animal, than it would be to pick a flower. This is wrong.


Thank you for taking action,


Kathleen J.

Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team



Yep, the ol’ ‘group of vigilantes.’ J I shouldn’t be laughing, because nutjobs like these have already installed a ban on the use of livebait in the UK. The price of fishing freedom is eternal vigilance, my friends.  Luckily the vigilance was switched to high when a message from the NSW Council of Freshwater Anglers popped up in the inbox, this week:


Scrolling down the email I stopped at this bit:

The Conservation Foundation? They’re no friends of fishos. Further down, the Council’s take on the Murray-Darling plan, cheering on the Greens and the Wilderness Society – both of whom lobby hard, for marine park lockups:

And lastly this, the ‘Council of Freshwater Anglers’ fretting about the NSW government defunding a notorious sheltered workshop for greenies, the EDO:

Here’s the EDO’s take on marine parks:

‘Little marine life will be left for the future’ – unless anglers are locked out of their fishing spots, by government decree. And the ‘Council of Freshwater Anglers’ wants us to support these people? Sheesh. Why are a bunch of people supposedly representing our interests putting out a monthly newsletter which is basically a bucket of greenie propaganda?


That the NSW Council of Freshwater Anglers should be so supportive of the greenies is disgusting – and maybe symptomatic, of a wider problem. Next week, we’ll take a look at how these people spent the $3.65m they got from NSW fishing licenses last year. Let’s just say their spending priorities are as off the track, as their monthly newsletter.


In closing, deep and sincere thanks to Alex, Kevin, Tony, John, and all our contributors. You blokes do all the work and I get the credit, which is just wrong. But our readers enjoy the report enormously, as their very positive feedback proves. Please – keep it all coming! Anything and everything to do with fishing, boating, and outdoor politics is of great interest. Until next week,


Andrew Hestelow