Fishing Monthly

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  1. When you need to build, repair or service something, I’m not the first person you would turn to. I am more than happy to spend the money and pass everything over to the experts who have those skills. The other thing I would not call myself is artistic. However, I recently got the chance to be both a DIY-er and an artist when some containers of Tempt Powder Paint came into the office. As soon as I saw them, they piqued my curiosity. As a fan of using painted jigheads to further enhance the appeal of the soft plastics I use, I was intrigued to find out more. I read the instructions, and found the concept to be very straightforward. You simply heat your jighead, dip it into the container of paint powder, remove it and you now have a jighead which is coated in a colour that matches your plastic, or provides a contrast to the colour plastic you are using. I liked the fact that the instructions contained the word ‘simple’. Still, I knew from experience that something described as ‘simple’ could sometimes turn out to be more complicated than I had first thought. Fortunately, this wasn’t the case with the Tempt Powder Paints. Minimal experimenting was required before the finished product looked just the way I wanted it to. Here are a few tips I discovered along the way. Heat source Any heat source can be used to heat the jighead – anything from a lighter to a hair dryer. However, I have found that the key is to have something that provides a consistent temperature and can be channelled, but also isn’t too hot. The jighead doesn’t need to be very hot at all for the paint to stick to it. I bought a heat gun from a hardware store (it would normally be used to heat shrink tubing or soften adhesives) and it has been great. Temperature-wise it is perfect, and the added bonus is that after you have dipped the head you can gently reheat it to get a beautiful gloss finish. Less is more This relates to both how much heat you use and the amount of dipping time. After heating the jighead, a quick dip in the powder is all that is required. Make sure you cover the area you want, but remove it quickly and tap away any excess. This ensures that the paint will be smooth and not lumpy. A little bit of heat can be used to smooth things out if lumps occur. Clear UV coat Although a number of the colours in the range have a UV component, many don’t. If you want to add UV to those, there is a separate, clear UV coat available. It can be used directly on an unpainted jighead, but I have been using it as a second coat on some of the colours. I use a little bit of heat on the paint, then a light coating of the UV coat and then finish it with the heat gun. The result under blue light is awesome. Conclusion I have never used a lot of non-painted jigheads, as my preference has always been to have the jighead either continue the profile of the plastic or provide a complete contrast. I was disappointed the painted version of my old favourite heads was discontinued, but now it doesn’t matter because I can colour them myself. Additionally, in the case of some other jigheads, I can colour the head a different colour from the grub keeper, and have it provide a contrast inside the plastic. All of this helps improve my confidence when I am fishing, and that can only be a good thing. For me, the Tempt Powder Paints have been a godsend. Tempt Powder Paint comes in 50g containers and retails for $16.50 per colour. It is currently available in 21 colours, and more information can be found at I know I’ll be getting more colours soon. – Peter Jung
  2. Transporting fishing rods can be a challenging task. Modern high-quality graphite rods are susceptible to scratches, nicks and bumps which can cause the rod to break under load without warning. Rod Armour tackles this issue with an affordable and effective solution: rod sleeves. These sleeves give customers peace of mind, secure in the knowledge that their quality fishing rods are protected. With the high prices of quality fishing rods these days it makes sense to protect your investment when travelling in the car, boat, or even just in your storage racks at home. They’re also useful for tournament anglers, allowing them to colour code their different set-ups. Rod Armour sleeves slip on and off easily, and they’re available in an assortment of colours and patterns. Rod Armour also has plans to expand the range even further. For more information visit the Rod Armour website, or check them out on Instagram at @rodarmour. Price: RRP $14.95
  3. The partnership of crunchy tempura batter and seafood is delightful; especially when you add the wonderful brininess of oysters into the mix. I add an egg to the tempura batter ingredients, which is not traditionally done, however I have found that this batter sticks better to the seafood (especially slippery little suckers like oysters). Another tip is to ensure that your soda water is icy cold when adding it to make the batter. When deep-frying tempura batter the batter does not have to turn a deep golden colour as in beer batter – a pale coloured batter is perfect. 1 Add the plain flour and cornflour together in a bowl and combine well. Then add the egg to the flour mixture. 2 Pour sufficient icy cold soda water into the flour/egg mixture to form a light batter (note the bubbles frothing). Stir well but gently to combine. You want to keep as many bubbles as possible in the batter so that you end up with a light but crunchy batter to coat your seafood. 3 Keep adding the icy cold soda water until the batter is of a light consistency. 4 Dip each oyster individually into the tempura batter. Remove the oyster from tempura batter and allow a little of the excess batter to drain off. 5 Deep fry the tempura battered oysters in the hot vegetable oil in the Kambrook Wok. This will only take a few seconds. 6 With a wire scoop (to drain off excess oil), remove the tempura oysters from the hot oil in the wok. 7 Repeat the process with fish fillets. 8 The finished product – serve your fish after draining them on crumpled paper towel. Serve alongside the oysters with lemon wedges, chilli jam (for a spicy kick) and a traditional seafood sauce. Ingredients 1 cup plain flour 1 cup cornflour 1 egg 1L icy cold soda water Fish fillets Oysters Reads: 314
  4. Despite the start of winter, some of the lakes are still fishing well. There has been a run of bass at several spots, as well as a noticeable increase in barra captures from Monduran. If only the impoundment Murray cod would fire up, we would be all set. A lot of anglers hang their rods up over winter but there really is no need. Freshwater fish need to eat to survive so they can still be caught, even when things get really chilly. The warmer weather leading into winter has kept the lake’s core temperatures warmer and so it will take a while to see any dramatic changes. The first fish to respond to the cooling water will be those found closer to the surface layers that are exposed to the elements more. Fish caught out in this water can suffer from a cold snap and the sudden change can be enough to kill them if they are caught out with nowhere to go. Deeper areas will hold a more constant temperature and will tend to fish well over the cooler days. Keep this in mind if you are chasing bass, golden perch and even sooty grunter further north. Cod tend to tolerate the cooler temperatures well and can actually fire up during the colder months. Last year, Coolmunda Dam fished exceptionally well through winter and into the start of spring for the big green fish. Barramundi can be caught in deeper water over winter but are best targeted after a run of warm weather up in the shallows where they will feed more happily. There are no secrets to chasing freshwater winter fish, you just need to put in the time to locate them and then find what they want to eat. Until next month, buckled rods from The Colonel! South East Queensland Cressbrook Closest Town: Crows Nest Quality bass are still on the chew at Cressbrook. There have been a few fish about earlier in the day around the lake’s edges. These bass are quite fond of 1/2 and 5/8oz small profile spinnerbaits. To start the day, flick around the edges of the lake up near the toilet point in Bull (Beams) Creek. There is a nice bay either side of the point and the shallow edges quickly drop into deeper water as a feeder creek runs through each bay. Spinnerbait action tapers off early in the morning but the cooler and shorter days may see the bite time extended. Schooling fish can also be found in this area. When the fish are packed tight, it is hard to beat a tail spinner hopped through the school. The 18g Jets have scored some great fish over the past month with a few up around the 50cm size. Small bass are also holding in the bay between the boat ramps and the buoy line near the pumping tower. These fish are keen on the same tail-spinner approach. Enjoy the reaction bite action as it may steady up as things cool down even more, making soft plastics a better option. Trolling hardbodied lures has been one of the most effective methods to produce quality bass consistently. Deep diving lures like the Blitz Baga and Golden Child work well but my favourite has been the Little Rippa. These are a locally made timber lure stocked at Highfields Bait and Tackle and Fish’n’Bits in Toowoomba. Trolling lures in the two arms up Bull Creek has scored some of the bigger fish. You can cover plenty of water on the troll and you’ll find fish in many pockets throughout the dam. Some of the bass have been of exceptional quality with plenty in the high 45-50cm size bracket. For all your fishing supplies and the latest reports on Cressbrook and the surrounding dams, call in to see the specialist tackle stores in Toowoomba. Tackleworld Toowoomba in Ruthven Street on the north side and Fish’n Bits in Alderly Street closer to the south side have a great range of lures and fishing gear. Support these tackle stores because they will be able to direct you to where the fish are biting. Just remember there is a speed limit of 8 knots and a restricted area at Cressbrook Dam. Check out the signage to ensure you stay out of trouble and abide by the rules. The gate hours for the boat ramps and day use area change this month and will be 7am-6pm. Somerset Closest Towns: Esk, Kilcoy Somerset has fished well for bass over the past two months. They are stubborn fish at times but there has been the odd day where they turn on the action a little better. These fish take cast lures if you put in the effort, but some of the better catches have been on trolled deep diving hardbodies. The hardbodies seem to be able to produce the bites when casting lures fails. This is most likely due to the bass clueing in and refusing to bite when a boat sits on top of them. Trolling Blitz Bagas, Little Rippas, Poltergeist 50 Crazy Deeps and other divers capable of reaching 10m deep will see you in with a good chance. To get your lures down to this depth, fish with lighter braided line of 4-8lb. I usually run 6lb Spiderwire braid or Fireline for my deep water bass fishing and have found that its fine diameter slices the water and punches lures way deeper than they could probe on thicker lines. In a deepwater bass dam like Somerset, this is critical if you want to consistently catch fish trolling and casting. The edges of the Pelican Point flats have held good numbers of bass. Try to follow the drop-off to the old creek bed and you should be in with a pretty good chance. Lure casters have found the bass in the same area with the occasional report of fish on the flats at Bay 13 and Kirkleigh. Tail-spinners have been the standout lure and are capable of enticing bites when the fish are tough. The 18g Jets has accounted for quite a few of these fish. Soft plastics and Jackall Mask Vibe 60s are also doing the damage. Between these three offerings you should get some action. Continue rotating lures and moving the boat to get bites when the fish won’t cooperate. The longer you sit on a school, the tougher they can get. I like to work a fresh school at about a 45° angle from the bottom to the boat. Fishing lures through this section of water seems to pick up the more active fish. The ones directly below the boat are the hardest to fool but those on the perimeter of the school are a little more willing to bite. Lure casters should get into the action now, as these deep schooling fish can get tough over the winter months. Some winters, they are near impossible to get a response out of but we won’t really know what is to come for another month or two. For the latest reports, check out Somerset Fishing Tackle online and on Facebook. The store is in Kilcoy but they mail order fishing gear all over the place. For some of the most competitive prices around visit the website Moogerah Closest Towns: Boonah, Aratula Bass have been the main attraction at Moogerah and fish have been found around the weed edges and out in the deeper open areas. The big point between the boat ramp and the dam wall will be worth inspecting this month. The bass here are suckers for slow rolled soft plastics. Rig plastics, paddle-tail grubs and shads on 1/2oz jigheads to get them down deep and keep them in the zone. Sound around to locate fish before you start casting and you will be in with a good chance. Schooling fish can also be found on the flats just outside the timber out from The Palms. Inside the trees, bass schools can be located but these fish seem to be more mobile and move around to different areas from day to day. Search shallower water around 7-8m deep inside the timber. These deeper fish will fall for the usual presentations of vibes, spinnerbaits, soft plastics and tail-spinners. If they are particularly stubborn, try hopping small blades (1/6 and 1/4oz) around the boat. Fish the blades no more than 20m from the boat and use small, sharp hops to get the bites. Good numbers of fish have been found closer to the weed edges. These bass bite spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits and soft plastics. The cooler weather should see this shallower bite pick up even better with fish catchable for most of the day in this area. Try fishing shallower early in the day and follow the fish out to the edges of the weed as the day brightens up. Through the middle of the day the bulk of the fish are likely to be outside of the weed edges where they can be caught with blades, plastics and tail-spinners. Some stragglers may stay up shallow and these are often bigger fish. Darling Downs Granite Belt Region Cooby Closet Towns: Highfields, Toowoomba There was a flurry of golden perch caught only a couple of weeks ago. It’s as if the fish know winter is here and want to get a gut full of food before it really gets cold. Live shrimp and saltwater yabbies have done most of the damage but there have also been quite a few fish caught on hopped lures. Bites have come from deeper water, so try your luck out in around 10m. Be prepared to move around and try different water depths to see where the fish are. Jigging ZX40 blades has been a deadly approach but other sinking lures can work too. Lipless crankbaits, ice jigs and soft vibes will all produce the occasional bite. Local angler Ray Bass, scored a cracker of a golden up near the buoy line at the wall end of the lake on a tail-spinner last month. A few small Murray cod have also been on the prowl, so make sure you release any that are undersized with care. Cooby Dam’s proximity to Highfields and Toowoomba makes it a very popular fishery. If you are looking for somewhere close to home to drop the boat or kayak in then Cooby is definitely worth a visit. The dam hours are now 7am-6pm. Remember; outboard motors are banned from use on the dam. The concrete boat ramp is on a shallow angle when the dam is full and can be slippery in places, but a big electric powered boat can still be launched with care. Outboard motors can be left on the boat but must not be used. Tackle, lures and saltwater yabbies can be purchased from Highfields Bait and Tackle on the New England Highway in Highfields. Call in and see Doug and check out the great range of fishing gear, kayaks and accessories he has on display. Leslie Closest Town: Warwick The fishing has fired up at Leslie Dam over the last month. The lake level is still very low and water releases seem to have slowed, which has kept it at a more stable level. The main basin is the place to hit with the lower levels and boaties and shore-based fishers have been getting into the fish. Jigging small blades like the ZX40 will be the way to go over the cooler months. Locate structure or even the drop-offs to the old creek on the sounder is the trick to finding productive water. Drop the blade to the bottom and vertically jig with small sharp hops and the bites will come. Last month, some of the experienced jiggers nailed dozens of goldens in a session. Baitfishers have had fun in the deep and shallow areas of the main basin. Boats seem to head for deeper water and produce good numbers of goldens on live shrimp and saltwater yabbies. Land-based fishers have nailed a mix of golden perch, silver perch and catfish on baits fished opposite the Washpool Camping Reserve. Take care when boat launching. Due to the low levels, the edges are boggy. There is a sandy spit that runs out on the dam wall side of the high and dry concrete ramp that serves as one of the better launching sites. Other peoples’ wheel ruts will give you an indication of the bottom hardness. Along with getting a fishing report, stock up on all your gear while at Warwick Outdoor and Sports at 115 Palmerin Street, Warwick. For a small store, it carries a great range at a very competitive price. Warwick is only a 10-minute drive from the dam and you can pick up any supplies you might need. Coolmunda Closest Town: Inglewood The fishing has been a bit slower at Coolmunda than some of the other lakes. The golden perch have been tough to tempt with live shrimp one of the best ways to score a few. The old creek beds will be the best spot to head to with the lower dam levels. When the water level is shallower further up the lake, try the drop-offs (if the water is around 3m deep) on the outside of the creek or inside the actual creek bed. Murray cod fired up last winter, so hopefully we will see a repeat of this big fish action. The lower water level compared to last year means the cod will be in new areas. With less water to fish they should be more concentrated; it will just take some time to work out where they are holding. Look around the deeper water of the creeks. The cod may venture from there up onto the flats, especially if there is nearby structure. A side imaging sounder is a great way to locate sunken trees and stumps and the cod shouldn’t be too far away. Troll big hardbodies on a short line to cover plenty of water and locate cod. Casters will need to concentrate on the fishiest areas with spinnerbaits and big swimbaits. The Coolmunda Caravan Park is only around 1km from the lake. The park is just off the Cunningham Highway but far enough away from the noise of trucks to get a good night sleep. It offers camping sites, cabins, caravan facilities, tennis courts, a swimming pool, BBQ shelter and a camp kitchen. The park now has extra wheelchair friendly cabins to add to their older ones. Camping is also available near the boat ramp with toilets and hot showers to make your stay more comfortable. To take advantage of this and the great fishing opportunities in the lake and the river below, give the park a call on (07) 4652 4171. Wide Bay and Burnett Region Boondooma Closest Towns: Proston, Kingaroy Boondooma has really turned on some great fishing for casters, trollers and baitfishers. Earlier in the mornings, the timber has been productive for tossing spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits into the edges. Sink the lures to the bottom and slow wind them out from 2-5m of water. The bass and golden perch can be a handful, especially when they take lures close to the trees so up your mainline to at least 10lb and fish a 14lb or heavier leader. The edge bite in the timber usually dies off mid-morning, so it may be time to work deeper into the trees or head to other areas. The weedy edges of the lake’s main basin will also be worth investigating earlier in the day. Tossing spinnerbaits or suspending divers around the weed beds will score a mix of bass and golden perch. For better numbers of fish, the schools should produce the goods. Schooling bass will be found in 5-9m of water out from the edges of the lake. Look from the start of the lake’s second basin all the way up to Pelican Point. These schooling bass are suckers for soft plastics rigged on 1/2 or 3/8oz jigheads. Other lures will also get results, so rotate through the tackle box and test out tail-spinners, blades and soft vibes until you find what they prefer. Lure trollers are still whacking a few bass and golden perch. This month, try contour trolling the edges of the lake in the second basin. Stick to around 7m of water and pick a lure that almost bounces off the bottom. The steep banks closer to the dam wall are also worth a troll, especially around the rocky points. This area is home to heaps of golden perch, but don’t be surprised if you nail a bass as well. Baitfishing with live shrimp in the timber will pick up a mixed bag. Golden perch are likely to be most common but bass and eel-tailed catfish will also want a taste of juicy shrimp. Tie up to trees and keep moving every 10-minutes if the action doesn’t eventuate. Boondooma is a great place to camp right near the water and sit by the fire while enjoying the view. Pack some warmer clothes, as the nights will start to get rather chilly. You could also stay in more style and comfort by booking into one of the cabins overlooking the dam. The kiosk at the main office does hot food and other basic items including fishing tackle. For campsites, cabins and bunkhouse rooms call Corey and Niki on (07) 4168 9694. Bjelke-Petersen Closest Towns: Murgon, Goomeri The cooler conditions should see a few fish holding around the edges of the lake early in the day. Cast spinnerbaits and blades to weed beds and drowned saplings to produce both bass and golden perch. If there is a severe cold snap, this action may die off as the fish get a shock from the colder water. On the flats, cast soft plastics, vibes, tail-spinners and blades for reasonable numbers of bass and the occasional golden perch. Treasure Island, Bass Point and Lightning Ridge have all held scattered fish over the past month. Find the fish on the sounder and then experiment with lures to see what they want to eat. Up in the deeper water in the timber, golden perch should still be willing to take a spinnerbait fished around the drowned trees. If spinnerbaits slow down due to the cold, switch to live shrimp and you can just about guarantee results. For help catching Bjelke and Boondooma fish, call into your local Bass 2 Barra store. Bass 2 Barra stores stock an awesome range of gear suited to chasing freshwater fish and the staff have all the knowledge to guide you on how to use it. You’ll find the stores in Kingaroy and Dalby. Matthew Mott also runs fishing charters on the dams and you can reach him through the Kingaroy store. The Yallakool Kiosk is all set up with a great range of tackle if you don’t happen to have the right lure or lose one. Be sure to call in and check it out. Give them a call for accommodation and camping bookings on (07) 4168 4746. Monduran Closest Towns: Gin Gin, Bundaberg Some of the barra lakes have slowed down already due to cooler conditions. This is the time of year to plan your trips around good warm weather and a constant wind direction. The barra at Monduran fired up a bit last month with quite a few visitors landing or at least hooking the target species. There is a lot of water between fish so sounding them up is almost critical. A side image sounder will reveal the hiding barra in bays, around points and near islands. Most of the action is coming from windblown shorelines in the upper part of the dam above the junction of ‘B-Arm’ and the Kolan River. When the southeasterly wind funnels into Jacks Bay, the barra can sometimes be found along the western shoreline. Casting hardbodies is still one of the preferred methods. Bigger fish may destroy these lures, but there are quite a few smaller models mixed in with the 80cm+ fish at the moment. The new Hot Bite Kamikaze 96S swimbait is sure to be a hit with lure casters on this lake. In testing, the prototype scored heaps of hits and hook-ups. This lure can be slowly wound like a soft plastic or hopped like a vibe, which makes it very versatile. You can check them out at Foxies. Foxies tackle store in Gin Gin stocks a range of effective barra lures. The store will mail order and you can check it out online at Be sure to call in and get directions to some of the best barra fishing in the area or pick up one of the detailed maps. Accommodation can be booked through Lake Monduran Kiosk and Tackle Shop. They look after all the cabins, houses, powered and unpowered campsites, as well as houseboats and boat hire. You can also make bookings for Guide Lines fishing charters through the kiosk, on (07) 4157 3881. Jamie Bein runs Lake Monduran Barra Charters and fishes that dam more than anyone I know. His regular visits ensure he has a good understanding of what’s going on. Contact Jamie on his mobile, 0407 434 446 or through his website Whitsunday Region Proserpine The barra were tough to catch last month. Quite a few fish were still holding in the main basin and hadn’t yet made the move back across to the western side of the lake. The last two full moons have fished well at night so if you were planning a trip this would be a good time to do it. With the fish moving back to the timbered areas and creeks, Proserpine Point, which juts out hundreds of metres into the main basin just before the tree line, will be worth a look. Barra should use this area in their transition, as it is such a prominent feature. Flicking soft plastics up to the weed edge and slowly rolling them back is one of the easiest ways to fish this point. Lindsay Dobe, the dam’s guide, has played with the new Kamikaze swimbaits so hit him up to see how they perform. These lures can be hopped and jigged, but are also perfect for slow rolling retrieves just like a plastic. Lindsay owns the tackle shop in Proserpine right beside the highway. The shop has always been known as Proserpine Bait and Tackle but has just undergone a name change and will now be known as Barra World. As you can imagine, they carry plenty of the best barra lures and gear available. The store also caters for the close-by saltwater fishing in the estuaries and offshore. Call in to see Lindsay or Dane and check out what they have done with the place after the renaming. You can call them for all your barra needs or book a charter on 07 4945 4641 Barra are still an option over the cooler months. Pick the warmer days and try fishing later in the day and into the night. In case you are wondering where to fish in the cooler weather, what about a Murray cod session on the border rivers? The author was happy with the performance of prototype swim bait at Monduran Dam. The Kamikaze 96S is now available. Adam Krautz landed some quality bass fishing Somerset Dam's Pelican Point. The standout lure was the Jets 18g tail-spinner in the swamp monster colour. Not all Murray cod are monsters. Ian Ryan was more than happy with this river fish caught near Goondoowindi.
  5. Offshore trolling is extremely popular these days due to the quality of fishing available and the excitement that every hook-up brings. You do not need a floating hotel to get out and troll up some awesome pelgics, a moderate craft of 4.5m or so will do in the right conditions. The waters off Brisbane will require a degree of travel to get out past Moreton and Straddie to the fish-rich waters, however productive areas just out from the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast can start from less than a 1km past the bar. Anglers will often stock up with an array of different trolling lures for this pursuit, yet forget one of the other important factors in their spread, a teaser. Let’s look at why these help and some of the types on offer. WHY TEASE Understanding how you benefit from having a teaser will require that you first understand why fish are attracted to them. To a pelagic species feeding in the open blue ocean, either down deep or closer to the surface, the isolated patch of white water and turbulence created by your boat’s propellers initially looks like a school of baitfish close to the surface. The churning water and the noise created by your propellers is the best fish attractor you can get, however adding other factors into the turbulence to enhance this image can greatly increase your chances of attracting a predating fish closer. When a baitfish school is pushed to the surface and being set upon by hungry predators, there’s a lot of splashing, flashing and audible features noticed from below. The noise of the boat, motor and churning white-water does a reasonable job of initially getting a predators attention, however, by adding more splashing and flashing to the equation we are more likely to raise fish and have them excited and hot to trot by the time they do rise. Once they are fooled into thinking the trailing white-water is a bait school and rise to investigate they will not find any baitfish, only your baitfish imitating lures. If they are hungry, or excited enough by the deception, they will strike the lure and hopefully you will be hooked up solid to a marauding marlin, wahoo, sailfish, mackerel, tuna, mahimahi or other pelagic. TEASER TYPES Anything that can be added to the equation, which flashes or splashes will help to emulate the sun’s reflection off the flanks of a darting baitfish or marauding predator, the splashing created by frantic baitfish and even the diving and feeding antics of birds attacking from above. Whilst I have even seen a string of Fosters cans used for a teaser (and it did get crunched by a big Cairns black) there are several types of teasers readily available from suppliers of game fishing tackle that will enhance your chances when trolling offshore. Although there are several variations of these teasers, the three main types are mirrored teasers, birds and daisy chains. 1. Mirrors One of the more productive teasers types in my opinion are the mirrored varieties. There are many types of these with the most popular being the witchdoctor style, which are basically a block of timber with a slant face on the towing end and mirrors along the side. As these are towed through the water they rock from side to side putting big flashes of reflected light into the water. There are many quality locally produced versions and all work in pretty much the same way with slight differences to the basic size and finish of each. These are usually positioned between 4m-10m behind the boat in a patch of clean (undisturbed) water between the prop wash and the wash coming off the side of the boat. These flashes of light can be seen from a considerable distance below the boat and will entice predators in from quite some distance away. Obviously, they are less effective in cloudy or dull light conditions but still worth having in the water in my opinion. As they will generally sink rapidly when at rest, they should be the first thing retrieved after a hook-up, otherwise they may tangle with the propeller if you engage the propellers. With mirrored teasers costing between $120-$200, it is wise to store them in a dry area and wash them with warm soapy water after use to prolong their life. Mine has served me for about 15 years now and I consider that mirrored teasers are a small investment for a big return, considering the money spent on lures, fuel, tackle and other ancillaries. 2. Birds Another popular teaser is the bird. These are commonly made from timber or various types of plastic and have a wing protruding from each side. When towed behind the boat they will skim across the surface, rocking from side to side with the wings dipping and splashing into the water. The surface disturbance they make is similar to that produced as a bird’s wings dip the surface as they pick up hapless baitfish from the surface, but basically they just help to enhance the overall commotion at the back of the boat. Birds can be towed from any position behind the transom or are sometimes trolled from the part way up an outrigger on larger boats, being controlled and retrieved from the bridge. On smaller craft they are simply run from the transom, often as part of a larger teaser conglomeration, sometimes with a swimming gar or other enticement that a pelagic fish can bite and get a taste of, which will generally increase their aggressiveness. There are numerous birds on the market, some commercially made and others are local cottage industry products and you will probably pay between $20-$50 for one. 3. Daisy chains Often towed behind a bird or just by themselves, daisy chains are a series of squid or baitfish profiles. Apart from the visual effect and profile, these will splash across the surface and create quite a commotion. They are generally brightly coloured, often glow green or bright pink, and a single string will generally consist of 4-8 squids, baitfish profiles or mini-birds which are varying lengths apart, generally between 0.5-51m. Often these are rigged on a spreader bar, which is a thick stainless wire or bar around 1m wide. Commonly 3-6 chains of different lengths (and sometimes different types) are trailed from this bar giving the visual effect of a baitfish conglomeration skittering across the surface. Often, these are attacked by a marauding pelagic and may need to be pulled from the water to switch the pelagic across to attacking the lure, which obviously has the hook on it. Sometimes daisy chains and spreader bars are trolled without any lures in the water, especially in line class tournaments or when you want to switch bait to cast a fly at a fish. Basically, the pelagic, often a marlin, will come up and attack the daisy chain and then the angler will decide what type of offering they will present and on which line class, which will maximise points when fishing a line class tournament. They may cast a lure, or more commonly, a live bait, on a circle hook on the appropriate sized line class, depending on the size of the fish or species that is teased up. Fly anglers will also use daisy chains and spreader bars to raise fish and get them to the surface and ready to eat. Once up, the angler will put the motor into neutral (as per IGFA rules) and cast the fly to the hungry and aggressive fish. Sometimes in this situation, the daisy chain or spreader bar may be trolled 30m or so behind the boat to enable time to cast to the fish, as the teaser is retrieved to the boat. Daisy chains are available in many different sizes and forms, but basically they help to enhance the image of the white-water at the back of the boat being a school of stricken bait, a visual catalyst that will bring pelagics up from deep down and have them excited and ready to eat when they do get up behind the boat. Obviously there is no baitfish there, just your lures, which the excited fish will generally smash. The rest is up to you and lady luck! Reads: 1530 Mirrored teasers will entice fish in from a greater distance than most other teasers, especially in sunny conditions when they reflect big flashes into the water. There is an array of birds available on the market yet all splash across the water’s surface in relatively the same way. Daisy chains can be made from conglomerations of plastic squids and fish profiles and are ideal for exciting fish that come up into the spread. They are used extensively for switch baiting and fly fishing teasers.
  6. It’s a strange thing about human thinking: bigger seems to be better and faster seems to be more fun! Maybe it harks back to primitive times, when brute strength and fleetness of foot ensured survival. Things have certainly changed today with bigger, better, faster and more fun are morphing into a penchant for flaunting achievements and enjoying speed. Where we can enjoy it, that is! That said, we live in a very measured society where rules are made for a common good and checks and balances are designed to ensure the safety of all of us. Whether motoring or boating, there are certain things we just need to comply with. The boating compliance system Along with posted speed limits and other boating rules, there are certain stipulations regarding capacity and powering of small craft. In fact, those designed to be fitted with a combustion engine are fitted with a metal Australian Builders Plate affixed to a prescribed location within the boat. The ABP sets out vital compliance information such as number of passengers, combined weights of persons aboard along with engine horse power ratings, maximum engine weight, with an overall stipulation of maximum engine and passengers weight all up. These specs are not designed as rough guidelines to work around: they are there to ensure that the boat strictly complies with AS179, Australian Standards for Small Craft. Where the plate shows that a maximum engine is, say, 40 or 50hp, or if the weight, for example, is set at 120 kg, then those are the limits. Most manufacturers tend to adequately power their boats without overdoing things and on this latter topic, I’m on record as not being a great fan of maximum powered small boats, as smaller craft – under around 4.5min length – can be twitchy when there’s maximum power fitted. That said, so long as an engine is within limits and has been fitted by a qualified marine craftsman correct weight distribution, used in conjunction with judicious use of the throttle, things can be kept on the level, so to speak. And make no mistake, correct engine fitting is a science, not something to be done at home as an afterthought. Mayhem on the water I recently saw an example of a small craft, under 4.3m, which was far overpowered or maybe set up with a badly fitted engine. It was a scenario that could have so easily ended in tragedy, but luckily did not. I was not close enough to ascertain the exact engine horse power, but the engine sure looked very, very large on the back of that small tinny, which meant that the bow high attitude was caused by the outboard being either too heavy for the craft or grossly over powering it. My suspicions are that it was a combination of both circumstances. The craft was cruising along at around 8 knots with so much of the bow out of the water that the skipper, and sole occupant, had to stand, hand on tiller to actually see where he or she was going. That was the first part of my disbelief, but more was to follow. On the throttle being opened, the craft leapt upwards out of the water and the skipper departed, exit stage left. Fortunately, so very fortunately, as the skipper departed the rig the throttle must have flicked closed and although the craft kept moving in the traditional circle, it was quite slow, so a passing boat firstly picked up the skipper from the drink then they managed to corral the runaway rig and tame it. Once the skipper was back aboard, the craft proceeded on it’s way at a reduced speed, but with the bow still very high nonetheless. The ramifications. This is an extreme example, but there’s a few lessons here. Firstly, never drive a boat that has either been so overpowered or overweighted in the stern to the extent that the bow is so high there’s no forward visibility available, even if engine ratings are within specified limits! The day the rig enters the water is the day to check things out and if the craft exhibits these sorts of traits, it must go straight back to the dealer or seller and have things rectified or changed. Most small craft will lift their bow to commence planing, that’s a given, but once the power comes on line the bow should return to a flat condition. That’s also a given. Remember that in the overpowering or overweighting situation, there will be no insurance forthcoming in the event of a claim. Insurance companies keep a careful and exact record of all emails, phone calls and paper work forwarded when insurance cover is requested, so if there is a discrepancy between engine specifications quoted on the initial request for insurance and that noted by a claims assessor, the company walks. Also, if injury or worse occurs, it becomes a matter for police investigation and action. Remember, the skipper is responsible at all times. It’s different to driving on the roads, where blame can be apportioned. It’s food for thought, but well worth remembering when it’s time to purchase a new rig or repower an old one. Stick to the guide lines, and stay safe. Reads: 301 Here we see a small craft lifting it’s bow to plane. Within a few boat lengths the craft returned to a normal, flat attitude. Power is fine if the rig is designed for it, as is the case with bass boats. A ski race craft in action: these hulls are powered to their maximum. Although it may seem overpowered, the hulls are specifically designed to take as much power as possible.
  7. It’s that season again to enjoy time with family and get some much needed hours on the water. The lead up to Christmas is usually busy – we have to get the house ready for visitors, prepare the camping gear and pack for the holidays. For those that don’t have to worry about all the fuss, or are prepared, the couple of weeks prior to the holiday chaos usually have great fishing. The lead up to the full moon on the 14th will be well worth a pre-Christmas fishing adventure, as the tides will be great for estuary fishing. The Burnett The Burnett has produced some great fishing for cod, grunter, bream and even a few mangrove jack. Barramundi have been caught recently. Remember that it’s closed season and if you hook one while chasing other species, don’t lift them out of the water. Release them boat side as carefully as you can. The town reach of the Burnett has produced school mulloway ­– they are small but fun for the kids. The bridge pylons have schools of trevally hanging around, with a few big jacks mixed in. The jacks have been destroying lures and rigs. Night fishing around the lights has produced some bigger fish including jacks, mulloway and some very big river whalers (sharks). The mouth of the river has started to fire, as the large schools of baitfish move up and down the coast. Mackerel of all sorts have hit trolled lures and baits, with the odd big Spaniard around the bait schools. The ever-present mac tuna have turned up and are a bit of fun on light tackle. Spinning with chrome slices and slugs will get you hooked-up. The Baffle The Baffle is getting more and more popular with locals and travelling anglers and so it should. It’s a magic place that can produce great fishing and crabbing. If you can sneak up there before the crowds then do so – the creek will get a lot of traffic over the break. The jacks have really fired up with warmer water temperatures and they have spread out throughout the system. The creek is still flowing fresh in the upper reaches, which should get the prawns moving. Prawn imitations will be a go to for the lure fisherman. My favourite technique for the Baffle is fishing with surface lures, and I fish them pretty much all day. Mangrove jack are my main target, but I also catch trevally, bream, queenfish and barra when in season. Have a happy and safe Christmas and I hope Santa brings you heaps of new fishing gear. Reads: 169 The author’s daughter Amity with a nice trevally. Christmas is a great time to take the kids fishing.
  8. New to the Asari range are the Bluewater Wind-on Leaders, designed with the serious bluewater angler in mind. These longer length leaders come in poundages ranging from 100lb all the way through to 400lb, and they can be up to 7.5m in length to cover most bluewater fishing situations. These leaders are perfect for anyone who spends time out on the blue chasing big fish, from beginner through to the expert. With wind-on leaders, you can wind the leader through the guides and onto the reel and bring the fish much closer to the boat where you have better control. This means there’s a higher likelihood of landing the fish, which ultimately means you’ll land more fish! Asari Bluewater Wind-on Leaders are available now, so make sure you don’t leave the shore without some!
  9. Daiwa Japan’s latest premium squid jig range is here! The Emeraldas Stream Rattle is truly unique and features many design innovations that make it the most one of effective jig available on the market today. The Emeraldas Stream Rattle is a visual and action jig, its unique lifelike pattern design incorporated with a rattle system is designed to attract a squid by sight, sound and action. Unique to this jig is the new gliding wing design. Rather than traditional feathers on the jig, the Stream uses plastic wings. These wings allow the jig to glide smoothly when ripped and glide in current more naturally compared to a standard design. By attaching the Agorig sinker to the keel eye the jig will glide slowly at a 30-45° angle, but when attached to an EG-Snap the lure will sink rapidly at a 75° angle. This is ideal for deep water or fast current situations.
  10. Effective rigging and good bait presentation can go a long way in determining the success of your next fishing trip. Being able to rig baits in a way that presents them naturally and promotes maximum hook setting potential will result in more bites and an increased bite to capture ratio. For many longer baits, including whole squid, pilchards, pike, mullet, fillet baits and the like, you need to have good hook coverage of the bait and also keep it straight without it bunching up, which would cause the bait to spin in the current and appear unnatural. Several smaller hooks will present a bait better than a single large hook in most situations. There are several ways to make a snelled hook rig, yet this month we are going to look at the Simple Snell, an easy and effective rigging option that will make these sort of baits a much more productive offering. [PIC A goes with the WHY SNELL section] WHY SNELL? Basically, a snelled hook rig comprises of two or more hooks which are knotted onto the line at a set length apart. This offers better flexibility than when rigging with hooks ganged in the eye-to-eye fashion and allows you to make rigs of any length with the hooks at any distance apart. You can even use hooks of different sizes in the one rig allowing you to have a larger hook at the head of the bait and a smaller one through the tail. Any type of hook can be used, however patterns with a turned out eye often present better than those with a straight eye, especially when using thick monofilament or fluorocarbon leaders (see image A). All types of leader materials including monofilament, fluorocarbon and even nylon-coated wire can be used when making snelled hook rigs therefore this type of rig can cover a huge array of bait fishing situations. Nylon-coated wire rigs are great for when you are targeting sharks and other toothy creatures and snelling the hooks to this type of wire is so easy. The snell knot we utilise for this rig is exceptionally strong and the more tension you put on the rig the tighter the knot locks. The only exception would occur if you were trying to use thin leader on large hooks, say a 10/0 hook on a 20lb leader. In this instance the knot may slip, however I can’t imagine why you would want such a large hook on such thin leader anyway. When using a sensible hook size to leader ratio, snelling will work a treat and personally I have never had a rig fail. In fact, the snell knot puts less stress on the leader than tying most other knots as there is no friction caused when the knot is pulled tight and no sharp angles on the leader material. [PIC B goes with the HOOKS section] HOOKS A wide array of hook styles, brands and sizes can be used for this rig. You will need to match the hook style to the bait and target species, and then choose a suitable leader material type and breaking strain. Be aware of some cheap, lower quality hooks where there is a gap where the eye curves around back onto the shank. These can sometimes damage the leader material or allow it to slip through the gap, causing the rig to fail. Circle hooks work exceptionally well with this type of rigging as they offer a semi-stiff connection between the leader material and the hook. This has proven to offer better hook setting potential with this pattern. Even circle hooks with straight eyes can work well but you need to ensure that the leader material exits the eye on the gape side of the shank (see image A). This should be the case with all your snelled hook rigs but is especially important with circle hooks. I have used hooks as small as 6 and as large as 12/0 when making snelled rigs. When drifting with whole fish (herring, whitebait, frogmouth pilchards and suchlike) or fillet strip baits in the estuary, it creates a great presentation that can attract anything from whiting to mulloway. I commonly use hooks from size 2 to 1/0 for this application (often Mustad Penetrators) with one hook pinned up through the head laterally, and the other down near the tail. Other popular applications include float lining for snapper with baits of whole pilchards and squid (generally using a three hook snell-rig) and a twin circle hook rig on plastic-coated wire for whaler sharks in the bay and rivers. Just like any other rigging, you need to choose the hook style and size that best suits your application, yet this type of rigging works exceptionally well in a host of scenarios. Let’s look at making this extremely easy yet effective rig. (In the photos below I have used braid to make it easier for you to see the tying process, but I wouldn’t use braid as a leader material.) [PICS 1-8 go with THE SIMPLE SNELL section] THE SIMPLE SNELL Step 1. Cut a length of leader that is a little longer than you want the finished leader to be. Pass the tag end of the leader down through the eye of the hook to the end of the bend. Step 2. Holding the tag end against the shank, wrap the main portion of the leader around the shank, just below the hook eye. Step 3. Continue wrapping the main portion of the leader around the shank five to eight times. You should make more wraps in stiffer leader than you would in more supple leader, but never less than five times. Step 4. Pass the main portion of leader up through the hook eye, from the back of the shank through to the gape side of the hook. Step 5. To attach the next hook, pass the main portion of leader up through the eye (from the back of the shank through to the gape side). Space the two hooks apart at the desired length, depending on the size and type of bait being used. Step 6. Again pass the main portion around the shank, just below the hook eye. Step 7. Wrap the leader around the hook shank five to eight times. Step 8. Pass the main portion of the leader back up through the hook eye. Subsequent hooks are put on exactly the same way with the spacing between each being any length you desire, depending on the bait being used. Attach a swivel, ring or loop to the other end of your leader and your snelled rig is ready for use. [PIC C goes with the ADAPTABILITY section] ADAPTABILITY Snelling allows loads of options in hook style, leader type and overall size of the rig. I use this rig for a host of baits and a huge array of fishing situations, both inshore and offshore, for species as diverse as bream, snapper and billfish. It is extremely easy and you can quickly make a rig out on the water, depending on the size of the live baits you catch or the size of the bait you purchased on the way to the boat ramp. If it wasn’t so easy it wouldn’t be called the Simple Snell!
  11. In the Murray River, reports have come in lately of a lot of black water around, which isn’t a great sight and is having an effect on both anglers and our loved native fish. Affected areas seem to be the Edwards River system including Yallakool and the Wakool rivers as well as the Barmah area. Although these may deter you, these fish have survived a lot through thousands of years and numbers are strong now, thanks to river stocking. With the good flush we have received this year, fishing should be a corker on both bait and lures. Best baits to use for cod are usually cheese or medium sized yabbies, which can be bought from most tackle shops. Even better, get the kids out with three simple tools – a net, string and some fresh meat. They’ll be sure to have a great time catching yabbies. For lures during the summer, I suggest sizing down. Cod aren’t always after a huge offering during the heat. A 100mm sized hardbody lure will do the trick. Try casting some 1/2oz spinnerbaits, which will give you a chance at golden perch. Goulburn River The good news is that the Goulburn River has finally dropped and started to settle. Great reports are in of plentiful golden perch being caught on scrub worms and small yabbies around the 2” size. It’s great to hear that locals finally have a successful place to fish. I recently went out just using scrub worms and the fish wouldn’t stop biting. I was fishing in around 2m water with plenty of small sticks and a nice big laydown which extended 10m out into the water. There is currently a healthy flow to the river and fairly good clarity. It could be better, but with the wild winter and spring we had, I’m surprised. There’s plenty of shrimp to go around in the river and if you’re after some cheap bait, just chuck a shrimp net in with some meat, eucalyptus leaves, cheese, or even just a bar of soap. If you don’t have a shrimp net, use a small fishing net or butterfly net. Stand in some water about a foot deep and wait for the shrimp to start walking on your legs then scoop them up – it’s that easy! I’ve relied on this method plenty of times. We should see plenty of PB fish in 2017 and some great fishing if all goes to plan and our crazy weather returns to normal. I can’t wait for March and April to come. They aren’t all that far and these two months provide some of the best fishing (and it isn’t too hot). Campaspe River I’m not going to lie – I haven’t heard hundreds of reports from Campaspe. I’ve heard of one good report which saw an angler land some nice golden perch on bait. I’d rather fish the Goulburn, but if it’s all you can do, you may strike it lucky with plenty of carp through the system and a fair few golden perch. Worms are the ideal bait to use in the Campaspe system with a size 2 running ball sinker. Hopefully we start to hear some reports. In the meantime, get out and wet a line. Kaleb Oxley is honoured to be writing for the Echuca area and all the keen anglers out there who read Fishing Monthly. You can follow his page on Facebook – Ox’s Fishing. Kaleb lives just shy of a couple great rivers and fishes all over Victoria and NSW, predominately in the Murray and Goulburn rivers. He hopes to bring exciting reports full of great catches and stories and help make catching some great fish just that little bit easier. A fine example of what the Goulburn River offers. A simple size 3 sinker with a small hook and worm fooled this hungry cod.
  12. Honda Marine broke the mould for marine engines at the 2017 Miami International Boat Show, with a bold, new concept engine. For exceptional aerodynamics, the tailored packaging of the Honda Marine concept engine includes a sculpted centre channel inlaid with a honeycomb mesh trim. The heat ducts feature an interwoven design with black honeycomb mesh reminiscent of the intakes on the 2017 Honda NSX. The most striking part of this innovative outboard, however, is the floating winged blade, inspired by the 2017 Honda NSX Supercar. There is currently no production intent for this specific design concept, but it will be interesting to see what design variations it may inspire in the future.
  13. Black Magic’s new range of Squid Snatchers comes in seven proven colours covering four size options. Five of these have ‘super lumo’ bodies, giving that extra glow when night fishing, and these can be recharged simply by holding them in front of your lamp or torch before you cast. The colours available ensure you’re able to choose the best jig for the conditions you are fishing in (i.e. light, current and depth). Black Magic Squid Snatchers feature a luminous cap on the hooks, a luminous band around the tail, black hooks, red/black wings and sapphire blue eyes, making them more attractive to hungry squid. All seven colours have been rigorously field tested by Black Magic’s team with great success, and have been developed specifically for Australasian squid species.
  14. A conundrum that usually confronts someone buying a boat is whether to buy new or used. Let’s face it, new is lovely – clean and polished, everything spick and span, but cost is the major factor with the very slight chance of some component or feature of the new rig not quite working as it should. On the latter point, boats are not like motor cars, which are mass produced by the millions to a rigid schedule of robotic assembly, which ensures that things rarely differ thanks to rigid quality control. With boats there are few variables in the actual construction of a hull, but once into the fit out and finish, the fun commences. Engine ratings vary for a start, so a hull can be under-powered, adequately powered or over powered, the latter being a real cause for concern. Selected fittings, equipment and other items are all manually fitted by fellow humans, so it naturally follows that sometimes there’s a mistake or mismatch in components. I was once reviewing a brand new craft – a massive plate alloy rig – where the trim tab controls were reversed causing a very bad situation once we started to move quickly, and was only solved by a very slow return to the ramp in total silence. While that’s a very extreme example, there’s no denying that teething troubles can occur with brand new rigs. In contrast, the situation with a used craft is different, all bugs are generally ironed out and it’s a going concern. With those matters in mind, a second hand boat might make a lot of sense, especially if it’s with an original owner, or in a reputable dealer’s yard with full history and mechanical background on display. Even a rig that has had a couple of owners and still looks to be in really good condition is worth some consideration, even if all precautionary checks come through with flying colours. With the dealer A suitable craft from a well-known manufacturer is spotted in a well-known dealer’s yard and it’s within the proposed price range. It’s important that the boat is on a trailer that, while there might be some discoloration of the springs and axle or perhaps even some dulling of the galvanizing here and there, is otherwise in good nick. Remember that the trailer must have brakes if the total weight of hull, trailer, engine and full fuel load is over 750kg. Trailer considerations aside, the boat should be exactly the type you had in mind in that it will fulfil requirements in regard to anticipated use, crew capacity, interior storage and comfort levels, and the engine’s within manufacturer’s limits, as set out on the builder’s plate which will outline year of manufacture along with passenger ratings. If a near maximum crew capacity is likely most of the time, it’s probably best if the engine is towards the upper limits of power rather than lower, or the rig might struggle to perform well. Taking interest further, the dealer will explain the craft’s history and draw your attention to the extra components or features that have upgraded the rig from standard. A mechanic’s inspection report of the engine will show the engine computer’s hours, list any components they replaced such as oil within a four stroke engine, a water pump impeller or spark plugs along with the fuel filter. An engine compression check can be provided and it’s important that the compression readings of all cylinders are within 10% of each other. If a factory warranty still covers the hull and/or engine, such warranty is transferable and the dealer can explain how to facilitate this procedure. Next will be a test run and the dealer will easily arrange this very important part of the procedure. If all goes well, the transaction is finalised, and with the registration transferred the rig’s on its way home. The private purchase A dealer needs to cover staff wages, maintenance of financial transactions, insurance and a host of other things, all of which must unavoidably add cost to any craft in the yard. A private sale avoids this kind of overhead and, as we are all dollar driven, it follows that a lot of purchases are directly from a private owner rather than a dealer. In truth, many boats are sold this way and if the buyer goes about things correctly, everyone wins. Remember though, it’s buyer beware! Due diligence does apply to boats – the same as other major purchases. Peace of mind comes from a standard REV check – via the craft’s Hull Identification Number – which can reveal if it’s free and unencumbered. Again, first impressions are very important. The boat for sale should look clean, tidy, and well-presented and if it does, it’s well worth considering. Understand though, that many of the things I mentioned previously in regard to purchase from a dealer still make perfect sense, although some of the more involved checks and investigations, that of the engine specifically, will require arrangement by the buyer and should be sorted beforehand. Assessing fibreglass hulls When surveying the hull’s condition, a well maintained fibreglass hull should still look quite shiny with metal fittings, clean and corrosion free, thanks to being kept washed and polished. Likewise, any bimini or other frame work should be corrosion free while fabric, clears, and the like are free of mildew or marks, which are both a sure sign of some neglect. A walk around inside the hull should not reveal any saggy or soft areas on the floor. There’s something wrong there if it is! A good look under the hull might reveal some minor scuff marks or longitudinal scratches, which are very hard to avoid on glass rigs, and tell only of use rather than outright neglect or abuse. Deep indentations or dings are another matter and cause for second thoughts, especially if the gel coat is deeply scarred, which can lead to water absorption and deterioration of the fibreglass. Fibreglass, however, is highly repairable, so if there is any sign of repairs, full disclosure should set a buyer’s mind at rest. A glance inside storage compartments such as those under the floor or under bunks or seats will be reassuring if such areas are totally clean, dry, and without any odour. The main advantage with fibreglass hulls pertains to the ride, which is usually superior, due to the enhanced shape, particularly in regard to larger off shore style rigs, than that of alloy. At the same time, glass hulls always require more care around the ramp and fixed obstacles to avoid damage. And, of course, they are not available in the small sizes that alloy rigs are. Alloy hulls Alloy hulls are a different proposition again. Alloy craft have come ahead in leaps and bounds in the last decade and many are fast approaching the ride quality of their glass rivals. In truth, most smaller trailerable alloy craft have a ride that is more than satisfactory for general fishing and boating pursuits. They are offered in both painted and unpainted styles, so there are pros and cons. Unpainted alloy is designed to take on a dull appearance over time, and this minor oxidisation actually protects the hull. Painted hulls look great but can quickly show up areas of accidental contact. Remember that scratches, scuff marks and the like are all signs of use, rather than outright neglect. Neglect will involve large areas of salt build up, corrosion under things that can be lifted up, damp or smelly areas within the anchor well or within any storage hatches. Big dings or dents under the hull along with gouges along the keel proper also are indicative of a very hard working life. Electrolysis is a factor with alloy hulls and shows up as powdery residue around add-on fittings, which, if made of disimilar material to the alloy hull, can cause electrolysis. Note there might be corrosion or severe bubbling of paint work in a painted craft, or some powdery residue near fittings in an unpainted craft. Consider this though. Alloy hulls, even if only a few years old, might well display tiny areas of random bubbling of paint here and there, the size of a five cent piece perhaps. When of a minor nature, these should be no real cause of concern. On the other hand, large areas of such corrosion are indicative of neglect and are a red flag to a buyer. Something to remember is if you do buy a used alloy craft and the floor is removable, lift it up once home and look for any loose or foreign metallic objects down there, as these will certainly cause electrolysis down the track. The engine Boat engines work very hard in an extremely hostile environment and demand some TLC to maintain top performance. So with the chosen hull looking good and the trailer up to scratch, it’s time to assess the engine. Few buyers have the nous to really assess an engine other than look under the cowl, check on how easy it starts, give the nod to a steady stream of water from the tell tale and to ensure the year of manufacture matches the hull’s. To provide more involved engine assessment and general condition, there are plenty of properly certified mobile marine mechanics able to do just that and provide a written report for consideration. It’s a wise move to arrange a mechanic’s inspection prior to finalizing a purchase, and if the mechanic specialises in the brand of motor involved, so much the better. An experienced mechanic can also run an eye over the whole rig and make a generalized report on its overall condition. Also, if an hour meter is fitted, it’s always interesting to have the mechanic compare actual hours (via a dedicated computer) with those of the meter. However, if the seller seems uncooperative for a mobile mechanic to be involved, the upshot is obvious, and it’s time to look at another boat. There are a few small things about the engine worth considering as well. The overall cleanliness under the cowl is indicative of regular servicing and ample TLC from the owner. Tell tale indications of salt residue (powder showing) are pointing to a leaking gasket. One area where it certainly is good to see a bit of grease is around the engine’s pivot point, near where it’s bolted or clamped onto the transom. There are grease nipples there and if the owner has kept the engine in good nick, it’s nice to see a bit of grease showing. Unpainted areas on the bottom of the skeg and removal of paint from the prop reveal plenty of sand contact. Note that the engine should start within 6-10 revolutions when the key is turned, run smoothly, and should snick in and out of gear with only a small jar. Electronics All wiring, switches and links to important accessories or functions such as lights, bilge pumps, bait tank plumbing and marine radios where fitted are expected to be fully functional in any boat, new or used. It’s fair to say that items such as nav aids, sounders, in-built battery chargers or sound systems are only a possibility and really not to be expected as part of a sale. If provided, they can be fairly regarded as a bonus and whether sounders and nav aids are working perfectly or otherwise will be debatable, perhaps, until the craft is off its trailer. That aside, additional electronics are still worthy of consideration in any deal. Last thoughts A boat is a major purchase in many instances, so choosing correctly and wisely is very important from the outset to ensure money is not ill spent. Whether from a boat yard or a private sale, a test run is mandatory to finally assess performance and the craft’s suitability for intended use. Ease of removal from, and entry back onto, the trailer is quite worth noting as well. Overall, it’s very important to make the right choice, as passengers in the boat are going to remember with great detail exactly what happened if things go pear-shaped later. If this happens, it may be hard to coerce them into another fun time on the water. New boats are great! Everything’s shiny and brand spankers like everything on this TABS I reviewed, but some serious dollars can be saved if you can find the right used craft. One area where a bit of grease should put in an appearance is the engine’s pivot point at the transom. What an engine should look like: no leaks in sight and no excessive oil or grease. Launching most small craft will see the springs in the water, hence the minor discolouration, but if the rest of the trailer looks OK, there’s no real cause for abandonment of further enquiries. When the trailer shows this sort of neglect, the rest of the craft likely won’t have been given too much TLC either. Big sounders are a bonus in any second hand craft, but should not be regarded as standard equipment. The same goes with sound systems. Rod racks, rod holders and other useful equipment installed in a used rig will always add both interest and perhaps value to an intended sale. The builder’s plate reveals all. It’s well worth checking if the engine and hull match in age, and that the proposed capacity is correct.
  15. It’s amazing how a little extra flow in the rivers can really fire up the fish. The steady flow of clean water pushing downstream sends many of our favourite target species into overdrive! Work your artificial presentations with the natural flowing water to get your rod bent and your drags screaming! I have spent most of my time recently targeting the sweet water jacks. I just can’t get enough of these little red devils. The best part about targeting them in the fresh is that you get to witness everything! Every time I see a jack race out from the snag my adrenaline starts pumping! They are such an amazing species. This is a good time of the year to get out there and have a crack at landing a few red pups, they will be stocking up on as many goodies as they can as the temperature starts to cool down. When targeting these fish keep a sharp eye out for ambush areas. They will be holding back in the dark waiting to smash your lure if you can land it in the strike zone! Remember to have you drag set right because when they hit they are already heading back to the darkness. If you’re looking to get into some jungle perch action this month, then head up to the rainforests of the tropical north. The jungle fishing in FNQ is special, and those who have experienced this style of fishing know just how amazing and beautiful this part of the world is. Jungle perch are an absolutely stunning fish and offer freshwater fishers some exciting opportunities to test their angling skills. When you target this beautiful fish, use your hunting and stalking skills to get results. They are very aggressive hunters, and often when you come across a good-looking hole you will have a pack of them fighting for your presentation. There are some real trophy fish out there waiting for your lures, so get your hiking boots on and explore some spectacular country and catch a few fish in the process. A drive out west in search of a few sooty grunter will be worth the mission in May. There are a plenty of great spots along the Burdekin River that produce endless amounts of line peeling fun! These fish are little pocket rockets and will get you working that wand like Harry Potter to get them out of the snags they are headed for. I highly recommend using spinnerbaits when targeting sooties. They can be worked deep in the snags, and their strong flash and vibration will get the attention you are looking for. Sooty grunter also love a surface presentation! Work any style of surface lure in the low light times of the day and expect some amazing surface explosions! Remember to hang on tight because these fish like to fight dirty! I hope everyone gets out to enjoy this beautiful country and catch a few fish in the process. Fish on! The Herbert Gorge is a delightful spot to throw a line in. Mangrove jack are ready to sneak out from a snag and grab your lure. Put a bit of focus and determination into your fishing and the results will speak for themselves. Cool yourself down with a wade in the shallows, you might even find a friend to swim with!