Wednesday 30 May 2012

Tackle specials and angling politics

from Downrigger Shop

Starting in Western Australia this week, and always good to hear our tackle helped catch the fish of a lifetime:

Hi Andrew,

I share a boat with a Friend Paul Grant who put me onto your site and he purchased a Down rigger and each got some Braid. Paul asked me to send some photos of a recent trip which we got the equipment for.


It was the 1st time we had used a Downrigger so was all new to us but found it very effective when we only raised 1 Marlin for the trip but interestingly it was caught on the Downrigger in preference to the other 3 surface rigs we had out…. he was released and we hope to catch up with him again next year.


I have bought cheap braid in the past and found it drips a black stain everywhere when it gets wet and was very stiff. I got some of your coloured 50lb Braid and spooled it on a Daiwa LD40 on a Monster Mesh and it performed beautifully on the Mackerel. I found there was no releasing of the colours and was very impressed with the flexibility of it, I will now be re spooling all my other rods to get rid of the other stuff.



Pleased as punch that you had such a great session. What a fish! Well done Brad, and please pass my congratulations on to Paul.



 Roscoe from Newcastle sent in some great pics of both his boat, and the fish he’s been catching from her:

G`day mate, i saw your pic in the news letter of Giant Cuttle Fish, picked this guy off Bird Island on Saturday morning

Yes Andrew, yours is bigger than mine! It took me over 20 years to get this guy, so I was pretty happy. lol cheers Rossco. Oh there is no blood on the fish :o)



Here’s our old girl, an oldie but a goldie. It`s called a Kella Craft, apparently American, an awesome hull, sadly loved a messy sea, lol, we`ve been caught out up at Broughton at Easter, over one wave then the next over us, this went on for over an hour till we made it back into Esmeralda cove. lol. Over all an awesome boat.


Beaut boat, Ross! Had a look on Google, couldn’t find anything for Kella Craft, but she certainly looks ready for action.

In Sydney, Ruslan tried his first drop with one of our knife jigs:


After about 2hours of arguing with my old man, about how to tie on one of your jigs, I cave in and put it on backwards. After 5 goes I pulled out this morwong, we end up getting two more on a 125g jigs, when we got home I had to spend one hour on Youtube to convince my old man otherwise.


Oi! I’m an old man now, and we know best. Thanks heaps for your pic and report, Ruslan.

Also in the big smoke, a great result for Ben Hathaway and our digital bite alarms:

Hey mate I thought I would give you some feedback on your bite alarms which I love :-)

I will have to go get some more from you sometime.


Well last night we went out chasing some squid but after catching a couple nice sized cals (calamari squid) we were off to tempt a Mulloway. This is when we got to test out your bite alarm and because I have a reel that is really quiet, the bite alarm is what notified us of the run. Luckily my mate was on the ball and was able to land his first Mulloway at 82cm.

 So I thought I would thank you for this great product. I did forget to take the scales I got off you but I won't forget them next time.

Cheers, Ben


Delighted to hear of that because they only arrived two weeks ago, and I wasn’t 100% sure they had a salt water application. It turns out they do and are ideal for fishing off wharves and piers.

Here’s what you get:


1 extendable pole, with a spike base, that extends from 60cm to 1 metre;


A plastic fork to use as a rod rest (not shown);


An electronic bite alarm, adjustable for volume and tone and pre fitted, with an A23 battery.

The rod rests between the two plastic ears, and the line goes through the gap beneath. When it moves, an alarm sounds and a LED flashes. If you are using more than one, you can adjust the tone, so the two sound totally different, and you’re not confused as to which one’s getting the hit. The LEDs are helpful when fishing at night:

To set these up on a pier, just rest the spike end on a cross piece and cable tie the top to the upright. This set up works really well. Spike alarms are $30 each – including two batteries - or $50, for two. Postage is $6, anywhere in Australia, for either one or two. Very well priced. Note the blue LED in the pic below:


Sean Morgan – who I fish with at South West Rocks – went hog hunting with his buddy last weekend. He found some fresh water and just happened to have his rod and lures with him:


…. when Brian mentioned the Manila river held some Murray Cod, I jumped at the chance. We took a break from the guns and grabbed the rods. Unfortunately a tyre puncture delayed us and only gave us an hour and a half to fish a few deeper holes. We ended up with three nice little cod, which was kind of special for me as I had never caught one before.


I’m told this rock (which is in the Manila River) is how Split Rock Dam got its name… which kind of makes sense. My first ever Murray Cod! Check out how beautiful the river is.


Good one mate, picture postcard stuff.

Great to hear from Dave Tweedie at JB:


Hi Andrew, the local boys have been having a great time out on the Shelf lately. Plenty of Blue eye Trevalla, Hapuka, and Sea Perch on each trip out when weather permits. Not a lot of surface fish to be had yet but we are told they are on the way up the coast. Inside the bay and along the cliffs is fishing well with good Snapper, Salmon , Bonito and Flatties and some nice big Squid, coming in with all who go out. Still have a few Kingies coming in but not in big numbers at the moment. Cheers from Jervis bay, Dave and Kate


Excellent, Dave. Would you believe I used to drop those little rock perch back over the side, until one of the crew put me straight on their eating qualities?

 Also on the south coast, Captain Roscoe from MV Signa has been putting his clients onto some nice reds:

Sorry about the lack of reports, but I’ve been a bit under the weather. Should be right, this coming weekend. The boys have been getting flathead on the beach drifts, the snapper are around another week and the cuttlefish should start to expire and bring the bigger ones out of hiding. Will have more next week, weather permitting of course. Listen to 96.5 Wave FM Saturday and Sunday 6.15am for weekend fishing reports and 2ST. Also, The Captain is now on 2KY’s Weekender program, 5.15am Sundays.


Nice fish Roscoe, 2012 will be the Year of the Snapper. I couldn’t make it to Nambucca this weekend just gone, so Phil went without me. I had left a couple of our light rod reel combos with him, plus some large Berkley Gulp Eels we import directly. Glad to hear that whole set up proved to be a winner:

Gday Andy well today was a great success, 8 Snapper, 2 pearl perch, 1 very nice 2.8kg maori cod and a 12.5kg longtail tuna to finish the session. All of the Snapper were caught on your 4000 combos (the best of which was just under 4kg and averaged 2kg) which stood up extremely well to the task. The real beauty of this light gear on the snapper is they don’t feel the rod load up until its way too late and the hooks are well and truly in their gob. We started the day getting snipped on our first cast by presumably a mackerel and then getting spooled by something brutal. The bloke who got done was inconsolable (so obviously we rubbed it in all morning) but he had the last laugh landing the 12.5 kilo longtail at the very end of the session.

Incidentally he caught the 2 Pearlies both of which were over 2kg on plastics including one on the Eels I got from you.


The Snapper were right on the job taking pillies and gars at regular intervals. Looks like an early start to the Snapper season is here so look out!


Yaaaaaah! Hate to miss a run with you mate, but I *will* be back in a fortnight

Wayne wrote in with a question about the light combo:


Thanks for the reports, very good Long tail you got on the light outfit. Can you tell me what rod you were using? I wanted a good light snapper outfit, could you recommend something.


Are the Kennedys gunshy, Wayne? Won’t bombard with you with the specs, just check it out in action on one of these Nambucca snapper last Sunday:




Embarrassed to say that I completely forgot to give away a set of the Hides floating sunglass straps, last week.

However I did use them at Nambucca and found them very comfortable indeed. Here’s a link to a short video and thanks to Sam, for providing these giveaways for our readers:

This weeks’ winner is Paul Grant, for his excellent downrigger marlin adventure. Look for your Hides in the mail soon, Paul. With a howling westerly blowing all weekend, Spiro called  to cancel our planned hairtail session, in Cowan Creek. So I spent Saturday arvo scanning some pics from the 1990s, which our readers might find interesting. If anyone’s thinking of a trip like the one below, send me an e if I can offer any advice? The key thing is, it’s not that hard.

Hope Island is situated smack dab in the centre of the Great Barrier Reef, some ten miles from Cooktown. Surrounded with a fringing coral reef on its east and southern sides, and a lagoon sheltered from trade winds to the west, you can hardly pick a more scenic base for a few days of tropical sportfishing. In the 1990s we would schedule a trip to Hope at least once a year, more frequently if time permitted.


t sat in the yard until a suitable truck was available. By suitable I mean one with a long flat load, for instance steel sheet. The boat was lifted onto the truck deck and sent north, where it was unloaded into the NQX yard in south Cairns. The financial arrangement was between myself and the truckie. From memory, the cost was around $800 each way. Not much, when divided between four or five crew. Anyone who’s trailered a boat from Sydney to Cooktown and back will know the heavy costs - especially in fuel, and motel fees. Not to mention wear and tear on trailer and tyres.

We would then fly into Cairns on a discount flight and our mate Lloyd would lend us his Series 2A Land Rover, for towing. This beast had more rattles than a millionaire’s baby. But with a worked Holden motor under the bonnet it had the power we needed for launching at either the Daintree river ramp, or Yorkeys Knob. A stop for provisions and fuel en route to the water, a taxi for the extra crew, and we were away same day.

Many and varied were the adventures we had on these incredible trips. But in one case, what started as a disaster turned into perhaps the most memorable of all. Circa 1996, Andrew Wily and I flew into Cairns and exited the terminal to be greeted with the decorative palm trees thrashing themselves to pieces in a howling south-easterly.

The key to any successful FNQ fishing trip is what the trade winds are doing and in this case, we had drawn the short straw. Winter winds are regularly 20 knots, and can blow up to 30 knots – day after day, week after week. What’s worse is they blow all through the night, too. But there is nothing for it and because we were heading north in the boat it would be manageable – until we wanted to come home into the teeth of the wind, anyway. Navigation would be supplied by our state of the art Magellan 1000 handheld. I still have mine:


First stop was one of our all time favourite places, the giant sand spit at the mouth of the Daintree River. Known as a producer of XOS queenfish, we have never done much good there – excepting with night time shark fishing. What is special about the Daintree mouth is the amazing and sometimes even valuable selection of flotsam, which drifts ashore. Waterproof cameras, from tourists out on the reef. Hard body lures, originally snagged on the coral or lost to a fish, which float ashore once the hooks have rusted away. And, one memorable day, large baulks of high grade rainforest teak, all of which were too heavy and bulky to be taken aboard, and which were left for some other lucky individual to discover.


We pulled into Hope Island late in the afternoon and set up camp. It’s a rookery for the Torres Strait pigeon, a large white dove which spend all night cooing and squabbling in their countless thousands in the island’s scrubby trees.  They fly out at dawn to spend the day feeding on fruit in the mainland jungles. The pong from the rookery is quite strong but you get used to it, after a day or two. I don’t moor my boat offshore when up north, preferring to just let it go dry sitting on the coral grit at low tide. On big tides the results can be quite spectacular. Here’s the old girl in the Starcke River, in 2003:


With the evening wind settling back we got into the rack early, expecting a big days’ fishing on the morrow.


That wasn’t to be. Early next morning the wind was picking up fast. We were stuck at Hope Island, for the time being.  On the plus side, a huge school of bait had moved into the island lee overnight, seeking protection from predators.



With some solid splashes in the deeper water behind the bait it was time to get a lure working. I opted for one of my all time favourites, the Cotton Cordell pencil popper. It didn’t take long and we were into action. Giant trevally were hunting in big numbers, if not in size.

Not huge fish, mostly eight to ten kilos, but off the beach they fought even harder than from a boat.


Around the western size of the tiny island Andy was hooking up, too:


All fish released after a pic or two:


That evening the fishing was just as hot:


But we had some bigger GTs in our sights. North east of West Hope is the gigantic Cairns reef:


The leading south-east edge of this giant coral horseshoe is big fish country. Huge blocks of coral have been torn from the reef edge in cyclones and are scattered all around. Some, the size of small houses, hurled up onto the reef itself. Others have tumbled down into deeper water and lie jumbled beside each other, with deep channels between them. Giant trevally use these channels as an ambush point to launch attacks on bait schools traversing the reef front.  Next morning we packed the boat and headed east to search for those bigger GTs.

I opted to use Andy’s new 10-kilo overhead combo. Thankfully the new drag was in tip top condition, because a big one hooked up hard:

The fight went for over an hour with the GT thankfully heading into deeper water, away from the coral bommies. Once that happened I knew he was mine, as long as I didn’t do anything stupid:

And that’s how it turned out. I can’t even remember what he weighed, but he gave me a solid workout. After a pic or two he went back over the side:


That afternoon, into the Endeavour River at Cooktown, for cold beers, steaks and a comfortable bed at the Seaview Motel, next to the wharf.



Next morning, after refuelling the boat, we were northbound again, to Cape Flattery and beyond. But that’s another story!

To politics, and with Federal Enviro Minister Tony Burke about to announce the biggest closures to recreational fishing in the country’s history, the greenies are wheeling out their hand puppets to explain why it’s all necessary. Here’s Greens MP and grey nurse Photoshopper Cate Faehrman in the NSW Parliament, 24th May:



Well in the case of mako sharks – fishing for which your mate Peter Garrett tried to ban, only last year – you could try looking over the side of the boat, Cate? Because they swarm around the whole of southern Australia. But who needs the greenies, when the Liberals and Nationals do their work for them?


‘Two years in prison’, for catching a hammerhead shark – a species found all around the world, and under no threat of endangerment whatsoever. Of course, no consultation with recreational anglers. More on Katrina Hodgkinson’s war on NSW anglers, next week. And here’s rent-a-greenie number 4926B:

Researchers say reef green zones work

By Jamie Rule Posted May 25, 2012 11:49:07




The ‘Centre of Excellence.’ J Attach this press release to your next grant application, Garry. Tony Burke’s pre approved it, just fill in the amount yourself. Here at the Downrigger Centre of Excellence we’ll fight on, for angler’s rights:


Meantime those who fight on our behalf in Parliament are still on the field, most notably a politician I admire so much – The Nationals’ Ron Boswell:

By Stephen Smiley Updated May 28, 2012 11:59:15

Liberal National Party (LNP) Senator Ron Boswell says Federal Labor faces "electoral armageddon" if it introduces extended marine parks off Queensland.


Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke is expected to soon announce the boundaries of protected Commonwealth waters in the Gulf and the Coral Sea.

Senator Boswell says the plan is "completely unnecessary" and he will do all he can to block it.

"The only thing I can do is to cause so much furore not only with commercial fishermen but with the amateur fishermen - of which there are four million of them," he said.

"I'm trying to get as many signatures on a petition as possible."

But Senator Boswell says the Federal Government will probably dismiss it.

"Now they can quite rightly ignore it but they'll do that at their own political peril," he said.

"They'll pay a very significant and high price at the ballot box."

Good call, Ron. Here’s what the greenies did to Tasmania in under thirty years, and they’re well one the way to the same result with the Great Barrier Reef:

Ron is dead right, as always. But just like with the carbon tax, this Government is determined to push through legislation the public don’t want, and can’t afford. Here in New South Wales the Shooters & Fishers Party hold the balance of power in the Upper House. That has saved us from disaster countless times. Thanks to their energy,y a new opportunity presents itself to stick it to the greenies tormenting us and I urge all readers – even our interstate ones – to take a moment, and have their voice heard. The situation is a NSW Upper House inquiry, into public land management. A cross section of NSW Upper House MLCs – Greens, Labor, Liberal, with the Committee chaired by Rob Brown from Shooters and Fishers Party:




The scope is wide, on this one. If the Parkies have put a boom gate across the track to your favourite trout or bass spot, lodge a submission. If you’re paying too much for parking at an NPWS-managed boat ramp, lodge a submission. If the Parkies are trying to shut down the local surf club’s jetski (as I’m told they are at Evans Head, this week) lodge a submission. This is a great chance to have your voice heard my friends, don’t let it go to waste.


Until next week, thanks to our readers and especially contributors, and please – keep the pics and reports coming! Tight lines,