Wednesday 30 JANUARY 2013

Tackle specials and angling politics

from Downrigger Shop

G’day lads,




Your Jigs have been working a treat most have little paint left on them. My 14yo daughter caught her biggest king recently. Keep up the good work.


Will do! Thanks for the pic, Dave.

Robbie B got offshore, before the storm hit:


Hi Andrew, Thought I'd share a fish my wife Corinne caught using a handline off a nearby island here in Mackay QLD. Cheers, Robbie


Wow! I had NO IDEA big wrasse came in that close to the rocks, Robbie. Well done, Corinne!

Bruce R had yet more marlin success off Port Stephens, on


We tagged a 50kg+ model for Belinda today. 15kg ANSA sportfishing tackle. I think I've got a happy wife! The fish really put on a show for us and we got some great picks. We had two strikes in the afternoon that failed to hook up when it was my turn on the rod - wouldn't you know it!


He! What a fantastic pic, it would look great framed Bruce.

Warwick from Eden comments on the small marlin in the report recently:


Hi Andrew, just read the latest newsletter and awesome pics. I would like to find a way to encourage especially the younger members to tag and release their Marlin and perhaps with the help of the GFAA committee in Sydney, there may be a way to offer some sort of encouragement award for tagging them or just taking a photo and letting them go instead of killing them….. you have wonderful exposure and many readers so let’s see what we can do to help them get happily involved in tagging. Regards, Warwick


Good call Warwick BUT – every single one of those marlin was a first, for the respective angler… that’s a special one, and I’m sure from here on in these anglers will be tagging.

Gary Earl fished close in and put his young lad onto one he’ll never forget:


Just got back from a major all day fishing session, took your rod and loaded it to the max, probably bent it bit to much, anyway it justifies its price and then some, we pulled some huge salmon and school kings that gave it a real beat down and it handled all we could throw at it, we fished North Reef off Newcastle and here's a few pics u can add to your monthly formatted newsletter if you like, and say damn I am very impressed, bit dirty on losing a ten kilo job right beside the boat though, but kids and gaffs don't mix, not the gears fault, thank you very much, it stood up to a great days slog and we did give it curry, first real fish we have been able to get on since we have had the rod, cheers, Gary


Just delighted to hear our tackle’s working so well for you Gary, and good on you for getting the young bloke onto his first king. I still remember when Dad put me onto my first keper – a toadie, from inside Barrenjoey.

 J Sean Morgan had a memorable day off South West Rocks, before the bad weather arrived:


Decided to head up to Grassy to chase the spotties, reports were they were thick last week, right before the change, schooling up at the back of boats like slimies… so we couldn’t resist having a crack. 20 slimies in the tank in no time, bait is in plentiful supply at the moment. We tried middle ground, slow trolled for half an hour, and not seeing any other boats catching fish, we moved to the close grounds, joining the 30 or so other boats that were already either anchored or slow trolling.

Through the morning we hooked 12 spotties, 6 of which we got in the boat, the remainder being lost in fight (each fish was right on the 5kg mark).  Add to that a mac tuna of around 3kgs plus two unstoppable runs gave us 15 hits out of 20 baits, not bad… Interestingly every single fish we caught took the stinger hook, none caught on the tow hook. We later heard back at the ramp that Spanish mackerel between 25-30kgs had been caught, so no doubt that the two unstoppable runs we had were similar fish. Had we more room we would have played the fish out, but with so many boats around it was a case of locking up the drag after the first 50m or so and taking your chances!

Yours truly with my first spottie of the season. These fish return a high percentage of meat with little wastage, so after providing fillets for six families I decided to break out the smoker and crank it up. In progress:

The end result, delicious! A quick bagging session with the cryovac and there’s several months supply of smoked fish (if it lasts that long!). I’m always pleased when I learn something new, either about fishing or fish preparation. I picked up a great tip from a mate Bill this week on how to present a nice mackerel cutlet. Instead of just blasting through the fish with a meat cleaver, Bill filleted the fish, then cut the fillet (less the skinny tail section) into 2 inch slabs, vertically. Then with each slab he made another vertical cut in the middle, but this time not going through the skin. He then simply splayed the cutlet out with the skin back to back. The result is a beautiful cutlet with the eyes of meat on the outside, so no more messing around removing skin from cutlets while you’re eating. The finished product:

Terry with his first ever marlin, a little black around 35kgs, taken slow trolling off the goal at South West Rocks a couple of weeks ago. We would have seen over 60 marlin caught that day (and probably a similar number of boats working the close grounds).


The action was red hot but has switched off over the past couple of weeks. With plenty of bait still around I’d say it will pick back up again as soon as that blue water pushes in again. Let’s hope!


Fantastic Sean, and that’s a great tip on how to prep mackerel cutlets. One of my 2013 resolutions is to lift my game in the cooking department, and in that area I need all the advice I can get.

Rod from Kiama Charters sends in a request:


Dear Andrew we receive 2 copies of your newsletter so would like you to only send one please.


If you’re getting the weekly email more than once, please send me a note to delete one copy? And apologies in advance if this is happening to anyone else.

HI mate, haven't sent a report for a while but the fishing has been on fire with some days over 50 kings, not all legal and most let go to swim another day. Thank you for the new combos; they are copping a hammering and doing it with ease.

Before Christmas, we got Kings, Makos and lots more. I then spent three weeks down south with family and friends. Back on deck in Sydney and nothing has changed. KINGS KINGS and more KINGS, I love it. Most fish are taking your jigs in the green and gold colour and some on live yakkas.


Good stuff Matt, the lads do look happy! And why wouldn’t you be, hooking up solid kingies within casting distance of Australia’s largest city. Well, a long cast anyway.

On the topic of fishing around Sydney I’ll be giving a talk at the Seabees Boating Club the week after next. Here’s the details:


WHERE: Crestwood Community Centre

ADDRESS: Corner Crestwood Drive and Chapel Lane, Baulkham Hills

WHEN: 7:45PM Wednesday 13th February


The Seabees are a great bunch of fishos and we always have a great night so if you’d like to stop by, please do. Stacks of small kingfish off Sydney Heads have given me a chance to test out our new 30-pound combo:

Rod, five feet six, one piece, Fuji tip runner. Flexes right through the foregrip on a good one:

Reel, 4500 size, fitted with carbontex drags, 4.8:1 retrieve ratio (ideal):

Spooled with 250m of colour change 30 braid. All up weight of rod reel and line, 860 grams:

By comparison, just the Penn 950 Spinfisher reel weighs 980 grams - without line! Our reel looks great and has a Hypalon ball knob:


Total price of rod, reel and line is $245.

Not putting this one on the website because we only have 30 reels left, but if you’d like a top combo at an incredible price with twelve months warranty, please call or email.

South of Sydney, and Mark Way from Kiama GFC sends positive news on the local marlin run:

After Roz's great capture of an 88.5kg Striped last week comes Australia Day news that young Ben fishing on his dad's (Paul Wyer) boat Seaker knocked over a 91.5kg Striped marlin which I think is a Club record on 24kg and will give him valuable Zone points and the lead in Juniors Capture section in Kiama GFC. Midweek Luise Seisas captured his first Marlin a Black of 95.5kg's with mate Greg Barea on board.


Congratulations Luise I hear you have had many near misses but got over the line this time and I'm told will be mounting this Marlin on your trophy wall. The fishing hot, check the weather and get out there! Good Luck. Mark Way President Kiama GFC


Good advice, Mark!

 Anton triumphed even further south:


Here's a pic of the Striped Marlin I caught on Saturday during the Bluewater comp at Bermagui. Estimate the fish was around 90kg and was tagged and released, Anton


Beautiful. Trust you to be onto them, Anton.

Out fishing last week in the slop off South Head, and we had a bloke aboard who was keen as mustard. Despite the fact that he had taken a Kwell seasickness tablet prior to departure he ended up pretty crook. So I ran him back into Watsons Bay wharf. Having solid ground underfoot fixed things up quickly. But it did remind me that Kwells are an ancient remedy, having been around for decades. Plus, they make your mouth very dry and also promote drowsiness. I have had a few blokes mention a chewable sea sickness tablet that can be bought in the USA over the counter. Pretty sure it’s this one:



Because from what I’ve seen these work so much better than the medication available here.

To politics, and recent stories on the inadequacy of boat ramps have prompted an outpouring of feedback from boaties and fishos who are mad as hell, and aren’t going to take it anymore. Leo writes:

I took this photo yesterday that I thought might be good for your submission re Roseville Boat ramp. For no apparent reason, this guy decided that he would dock on the walkway. It was so close to shore that there was no chance of anybody getting another boat in whilst it was parked there. I wasn't there when it arrived, but it was there for long enough to make a pain in the a** of himself.


Thanks so much, Leo! We need pics, to show the magnitude of this failure. Lads, if you see something, take a phone pic and SMS it to me? Michael H wrote a submission to Maritime on the topic of Roseville ramp which is an absolute pearler. Lengthy, but nails the stuff ups perfectly:


I would like to raise my concerns about a number of things as a boat user and struggle to see the benefit of this current design?


1. The pontoon running down the ramp is considerably wide and to me seems excessive given the limited space available.


2. There appears to be more of the pontoon on the actual ramp than in the water? How does this benefit people loading or unloading?


3. Could the pontoon have not been made longer to accommodate more boats? As at present it will accommodate 1-2 boats each side? Even allowing for the king tides that we receive from time to time there seems to be an excessive amount of pontoon on the ramp (land) than there is in the water.


4.There are bollards on the pontoon so far "up" the pontoon you could hook up to it with a rope while sitting in the driver’s seat of the car well out of the water? What is their purpose and or benefit?


5. Could the bollards on the pontoon not have be placed further out to sea to ensure boats that are tied off and awaiting their owners to return are set back so as to not to obstruct the next user from unloading their boat?


6. Do RMS & National parks propose to place a "how to use boat ramp" sign to educate its users in the way you foresee the ramp to be used? As failure to do so I believe is going to cause many headaches when users of all different skill levels try to work out which way they are to approach the ramp from land and water, and which side of the pontoon they should be using for loading? and unloading?


It is my opinion that lane one (to the far right) will be rendered all but useless as soon as one / two persons puts their boat in and ties up to the waters edge as they will, and leave their boat to park their cars at their leisure. Currently when a car & trailer leaves any space it then becomes available for the next user and is not blocked by boats waiting for their driver to return.  Would it have not been better to leave all 4 lanes available and place a narrow pontoon on either the western side/point of the ramp where it turns to park land or another narrow pontoon possibly on the far eastern side where it could have adjoined the existing outer pontoon. Not dissimilar to the changes that were made to Tunks Park boat ramp.


It appears that the new design has been wholly and solely designed to enable disabled access. Please understand I am all for disabled access and appreciate the recent changes to the legislation to consider better access for disabled persons but in my view as a regular and experienced boat owner this design could have been done so much better to accommodate everyone, and all the boats that will use it. I think left with this design and no guidance on how to use the ramp properly a non regular boater will struggle to find their way. It will also get to the point where National Parks will require a traffic control officer on duty the whole time just to manage the agro that this design is going to cause, especially on a busy summers day. Let alone the public holiday chaos that is a constant at this ramp.


All I can see now is that RMS and National parks have taken a fairly good ramp which was 4 lanes that worked ok but not great and reduced it to 3 lanes that has a great potential for traffic chaos and greater opportunity to get clogged with waiting boats? Both on land and the water.


Your points are unarguable Michael, good on you for having a go. To Laggers Point at South West Rocks, and Doug M writes in:

Just got back from a couple of weeks fishing at South West Rocks & yes I must say it is bloody ridiculous the ramp at Trial Bay camping grounds is closed. Although we were blessed with the bar on The Macleay River, only having 2 “hold your breath” crossings in 2 weeks. I have experienced it a hell of a lot worse over the years & seen some really dumb boaties attempt it. !!


Good call Doug. The question is, why should boaties have to suffer a ‘hold your breath’ crossing at all? I asked Les for specifics on Macleay River bar mishaps:


Points that shouldn't be forgotten is the fact that (SWR Dive Centre owner) Peter Hitchins himself has lost boats (and his passengers) on the bar whilst going out and coming back in and on one occasion when I was on duty (VMR 221 Trial Bay Marine Rescue) the rescue boat was deployed to save Peter Hitchins' overturned boat and they too wrecked the underside of their rescue boat whilst crossing the bar. Resulting in damages so severe that the boat was disabled for nearly a year while it was taken to Coffs Harbour to have its props and prop-shafts re-fitted. It was agreed by at the time by us manning the base that if Laggers Point was open this would most certainly have been avoided.


It just seems like a ridiculous argument by NPWS that a boat ramp (Laggers Point) in the exact same national park as another boat ramp (Hat Head), under the identical conditions, is deemed un-safe for visitors, yet the other one with twice the volume of traffic, boaties, pedestrians and kids, is deemed perfectly safe.


Exactly. The grey nurse shark farce at Fish Rock was overturned by relentless campaigning and that’s how we’ll win this one, too. Lads, if you see something – aggro at the ramp, bingles or dings, congestion, whatever, take a pic and send it to me? Because what we need to build our case is documentation, of the failures. Thanks to all our readers and contributors and please keep the reports coming,


Andrew Hestelow