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  1. Extreme 645 Game King

    I couldn’t help but feel a little bit excited when I first laid eyes on the Extreme 645 Game King. It happened when I was standing on the main ramp in Port Macquarie, about to get a firsthand look and test run on the boat with Jason Herbert from Hastings Marine. The first thing that caught my eye as it reversed down the ramp was how good it looked with the black sides and white hard top. Its tread plate deck looked very impressive, and when it was eased off the Tinka Classic trailer and put alongside the jetty I realised how spacious the deck area was. It was clear that this boat had some serious fishing potential. The test day was a perfect Port Macquarie day, with only light winds – not that great for a boat test. Still, with a little swell still hanging around from previous days, Jason believed we could give it a good hit out on the back of North Beach and its prevailing swell. The test boat’s power plant was a 150 Mercury EFI 4-stroke, which is the recommended maximum horsepower, so I knew we were in for some fun. History Extreme Boats is based at Whakatane, in the Bay Of Plenty in New Zealand’s North Island. The Owners are Glenn and Dianne Shaw. The Shaws began manufacturing boats in 1998 and have gone from strength to strength, and now have a staff of 40-plus. They produce more than 200 boats each year, and all the hulls are designed in-house. Extreme has a large share of the aluminium boat market in New Zealand, and have won many awards. They also have a range of dealerships in Australia. Handling AND performance The Game King’s deep vee hull (20.5° at the transom) performed sweetly going through the beach swells, and no doubt would be good in sloppy conditions. We pushed the boat down the swells, across them and then straight back into them without once feeling concerned. Turning on a swell was brilliant. Jason pushed it to the extreme (pun intended) throughout the entire test period, and not once did he back off the throttle. Another thing that impressed me was that when running across the sea, the Lectro Trim tabs enabled quick and easy ride adjustment while underway. This would be very handy into a decent cross wind and side-on swell. Underneath the tread plate deck there are four welded buoyancy chambers, and with the flooded keel this makes the Extreme very stable at rest. This is a cleverly designed hull, and I’m sure this boat will get you out there to the fishing grounds and back again with comfort and reliability. Cabin layout and helm When you enter the wheel house you will notice all the instruments are flush mounted, with the Raymarine ES 98 with CPT-100dvs sitting above the hydraulic steering, and the Mercury VesselView directly above the sounder/GPS unit. The trim tab control is within reach so you don’t have to leave your comfy deluxe swivel seat, and there are neatly positioned grab rails for those sloppier conditions. Sitting above the fishing electronics are a neatly fitted Fusion stereo and Raymarine VHF radio. Visibility is excellent from the helm. It has sliding side window panels, and the main view has a wiper. The fore cabin could sleep two adults and has two side shelves for storage. The fore cabin also provides access to the drum anchor winch. When you are not in the fore cabin, an aluminium rolling door can be pulled down. Back in the wheelhouse you will also notice side pockets which will keep cabin uncluttered. Deck layout and fishability The deck gives you a feeling of room to play when the fish are on. There are two under deck storage units, with one between the seats. Both rocket launchers are out of the way (one across the hard top and another above the bait table), and there are four aluminium through-gunwale rod holders on the sides. At the stern there is a removable three quarter bench seat, along with two transom lockers for batteries, oil reservoir and the wash-down pump. There is a livebait well and a walkthrough transom which is very effective. To the side of the cabin is a freshwater bladder and a pump tap, which is great for washing your hands before lunch. Anchoring Anchoring was a breeze on the test run. We anchored in the river using the Stressfree Mini NG drum, which can lower or retrieve at 80-90ft (24-27m) per minute. The Stressfree is super responsive; it can free fall at 600ft (183m) per minute, but once the anchor hits the bottom the revolution speed slows down and stops, thanks to the engineered braking system. Trailering The Extreme 645 was quite easy to put on the Tinka Alloy fully rollered trailer. It has a 12V Stressfree Trailer winch, but was an easy drive-on to the tandem axle trailer. With a weight of 1550kg, the rig was towed behind Hastings Marine’s dual cab Navara with ease. VERDICT The Extreme is an eye catching, well designed and top-of-the-line offshore fishing vessel which is very comfortable and dry. The Extreme has plenty of room for serious anglers to ply their trade, secure in the knowledge that the boat can handle the rough stuff! If you’d like to find out more about the Extreme 645 Game King you can contact John Morton or Jason Herbert at Hastings Marine on (02) 6583 5511, drop into the premises at 185 Hastings River Drive, Port Macquarie, or visit the website at www.hastingsmarine.com.au. • Quoted performance figures have been supplied by the writer in good faith. Performance of individual boat/motor/trailer packages may differ due to variations in engine installations, propellers, hull configurations, options, hull loading and trailer specifications. Facts FACTORY FITTED OPTIONS Bait board Boarding ladder Cabin roller door Deck wash Upgraded fuel tank Fusion stereo MD-UD650 Choice of black or white Rear pop-out bimini Hard top to transom cover Wiper Facts HASTINGS MARINE FITTED EXTRAS Raymarine ES98with CPT-100DVS Freshwater bladder with pump Stressfree Mini NG with SARCA anchor Stressfree 12V trailer winch DLX Seat upgrade Price as tested: $107,000 drive away* *Price includes NSW registrations, offshore safety equipment, Tinka alloy trailer TA640 T MO with spare wheel, and Mercury 150hp 4-stroke with VesselView 4 Facts SPECIFICATIONS Overall length 6450mm Beam 2500mm Hull thickness 5mm Side and deck thickness 4mm Deadrise 20° Recommended hp 115-150 Length on trailer 7400mm Width on trailer 2440mm BMT weight 1550kg Facts PERFORMANCE RPMSpeed (knots)Fuel (L) 1000 5.2 3.1 2000 7.8 9.6 3000 17.2 16.8 4000 27 29 5000 32.5 35 5800 36 52 Reads: 366 Looking from the rear you can see the Lectro Tabs, the walkthrough with grab rail and fold down boarding ladder It’s easy to walk on at the stern with the walk-through transom door. Viewing is not going to be a problem with widows like this. The Tinka alloy trailer makes launching and retrieving a breeze. The power plant: Mercury’s 150 EFI 4-stroke. The helm is fitted with all the equipment needed for great fishing and safe boating. As any boat reviewer will know, the weather is always perfect when you need to do a test, so we checked out the Extreme Game King on some North Beach surf. The live well is under the deck in between the walkthrough. The bait board with rod holders is located over the hatches that are home to the batteries and deck wash. The optional alloy roller door to the fore cabin. The anchor drum is Stressfree by name and by nature. It’s excellent to use. The Extreme 645 Game King is one serious offshore boat. Whenever you schedule a boat test the wind drops out! There’s miles of fishing room in the Extreme 645 Game King.
  2. Going soft on big snapper

    There’s something very special and exciting about catching big snapper on lures. Not only are they a highly-prized catch, but they fight hard and when they grow old, some develop incredibly striking facial and body features that show us how prehistoric and tough these fish are. Being that they are a long-lived fish, they are seen as wary and smart, but it can be quite simple to outsmart and trick these big fish into eating a lure with consistency if you know how to go about it. Even though large snapper are said to be hard to catch, every year many large snapper are caught on a variety of baits and lures, and with a little understanding of how these fish behave, it can be quite simple to find and catch large snapper – even a fish of lifetime – on a lure. We are lucky in South East Queensland to be able to catch snapper year round, but like with all fish, numbers and sizes can fluctuate depending on the time of year. With winter here and spring approaching, there’s no better time to chase these fish, as large numbers of snapper school up offshore in preparation to spawn. When it comes to luring big snapper, there’s a huge variety of lures you can use, but in my opinion if you want to catch big snapper, no lure is as effective and more versatile as soft plastics. With the simple change of a jighead, you can fish any depth of water, and soft plastics come in a huge array of sizes, colours and styles, all with different actions and scents to entice the fish. If you think about it, soft plastic fishing for snapper is very similar to float lining, even though the plastic doesn’t have the same smell as real bait. To catch big snapper effectively on soft plastics, you’ll need to persist and learn a few new techniques to control and understand where and how you are working the soft plastic. Before we get carried away and go out dropping and throwing soft plastics, we need the right gear to work soft plastics and put the brakes on these powerful reef dwellers. Gearing up When soft plastic fishing for snapper, the key is to use a spinning set up so you cast and free spool your lure with ease. When chasing snapper on soft plastics, I like to have two set ups. The first is a 7ft 10-20lb NS Black Hole Amped spin rod, which has a 10-40g cast weight matched with a 3000 Daiwa Certate that I have spooled with 20lb braid and a 20lb flurocarbon leader. This is my finesse set up that I use in shallower water to work lighter jigheads in the 1/4-1/2oz bracket. It’s still a good all-rounder to use in shallow and deep water, running up to a 1oz jighead with a 5-7” plastics, but it lacks a little in pulling power when you hook up to a really big knobby, which needs controlling around nasty reef. My second second set up is a 7ft 15-30lb NS Black Hole Amped spin rod with a 15-50g cast weight running a 3500HD Daiwa Certate, which I have spooled with 30lb braid and a 30lb flurocarbon leader. If I’m targeting big snapper in shallow or deep water, the 15-30lb is my go-to set up, especially when I’m casting 3/8-2oz jigheads with 7-8inch plastics. You may not catch as many smaller pan size snapper on this set up, but you will land a lot more quality fish and when that fish of a lifetime does show up, you’ll have plenty of power to turn it. On the heavier set up lighter and smaller plastics can be trickier to work, but if a big snapper is about they’ll crush a plastic regardless of how you work it, as long as you can keep in contact with that lure and keep it in the strike zone. If you purely want to catch quality snapper, the heavier set up is what you are after. Snapper can be leader shy at times, and 20-30lb leader can seem light, but as I run fluorocarbon it’s hard and strong enough to handle any snapper and is still finesse enough to get extra bites if snapper are wary. If a snapper is hungry enough, it doesn’t matter how heavy your leader is, as snapper don’t intentionally reef you. There’s probably no point in running a leader heavier then around 40lb, as if they find reef, it doesn’t matter because the braid won’t hold up against the reef. Even though braid isn’t very abrasion resistant, it’s key when fishing plastics, as you must keep in contact with the plastic at all times, feeling for the bottom or a bite. Choosing plastics Choosing the right soft plastic is very important, as anything from 5-8” will catch fish, but some styles and colours work better than others. I’ve had a lot of success on jerk shads in 5-8” sizes, as well as grub, paddle-tail, shrimp and squid/octopus imitation plastics. The colours I find best are pearl white, glow, pink, nuclear chicken and natural bait colours. A lot of the time lure choice and colour comes down to what you are confident with, but some colours are proven fish catchers. Rigging the soft plastic with the right hook is very important to your hook-up ratio, as if it’s too big you miss or foul hook fish and with hooks that are too small, you can pull them or the fish can break them. The rule of thumb I find best is matching the hook size to the size of the soft plastic, so 5” with a 5/0, 6” with a 6/0, 7” with a 7/0 and 8” with an 8/0. It’s okay if the hook doesn’t sit half way in the plastic, as snapper often attack a lure head first, so the closer the hook is to the head of the lure, the better. When rigging the plastic to the jighead, you want to rig it as straight as possible, preventing any spin, as you want the plastic to look and sink naturally. Where’s Knobby? Offshore reefs are without a doubt one of the best places to encounter big snapper in good numbers, and to fish offshore for snapper, a good sounder and GPS and knowing how to use it is key to finding and understanding where these fish are. Snapper can live on any piece of structure, but its understanding the types of reef and structure they prefer and how to fish these locations. Generally the biggest factor to finding snapper and big snapper is fishing structure that holds good bait, as this draws in the fish. Most would think big snapper are bottom feeders, but it’s not uncommon for big snapper to sit up off the bottom searching for prey or feeding off schools of baitfish. They will hold to the bottom at times, but most of your bites with soft plastics come from well off the bottom, sometimes in mid water and even close to the surface in shallower water, as they race up to intercept the lure before it gets down to the pickers. There are many forms of structure that will hold snapper, from large rocky reefs to smaller rocks, coffee rock patches, rubble patches, rocky islands, wrecks and artificial reefs, but as stated the key to finding the snapper is locating the bait in these areas. By using a good sounder and GPS, it can be quite easy to locate these areas. I’ve found there are two types of fisheries for snapper, shallow and deep water. The reason for there being two is that your techniques and approach changes, depending on the depth of the water. I consider shallow to be anywhere from 5m to 40m, and deep from around 40-150m. Shallow It’s not uncommon to find really big snapper schooled up in shallow reef, but you need to be very stealthy with your approach, as large snapper can be easily spooked by the boat. Leaving your motor running, driving over the reef or banging the side of the boat can cause the fish to spook. Even drifting over the fish can be enough to partially spook them. To be stealthy in your approach, you need to line up and start your drifts well before you drift over the reef or structure and drive around the area you are fishing, being as quiet as you can with the motor. Soft plastic fishing is extremely effective when fishing in shallow reef, as you can cover a lot of ground easily as you cast around the boat, plus it’s easier to be connected with your lure, as you aren’t greatly effected by current and wind as you are when fishing deeper water. The jighead sizes I use in this area are anything from a 1/4-3/4oz. Generally I try to use 3/8 and 1/2oz, as these jigheads give the plastic a more natural sink rate to entice a lot more strikes. In the deeper water around 30-40m, I will upsize to a 3/4oz, as I can effectively get the lure to the bottom in most situations, but if conditions permit I will use a 1/2oz. When fishing plastics in the shallows, you need to cast your plastic as far as you can ahead of your drift, so you cover as much grown as you can around and ahead of the boat. Most of the time, I like to cast the plastic on a little angle out to one side of the boat, so that when boat catches up with the plastic, I can continue to work the plastic out to one side and work an area that the boat hasn’t drifted over. I believe the boat drifting over fish in shallow water can temporarily spook them. The way I fish my plastic is quite simple. I predetermine the sink rate of the plastic and jighead I’m using and determine how long it will take to get to the bottom, so once I cast out my plastic and slowly wind in the slack line, the boat drifts towards it. I count down how long it will take to get to the bottom. Sometimes you may feel it reach the bottom as you count it down, and sometimes you may not. If you can’t feel the bottom, don’t worry, just work the plastic up with a few erratic hops, retrieving line between each hop to keep connected with your plastic and repeat the process. Once the lure is near the boat, you can either cast again or continue to let it out, free-spooling it to the bottom and elevating it off the bottom. If you can’t feel you’re plastic hitting the bottom, that’s fine, as you want to generally work the bottom third of the water column, as this is where these bigger snapper will feed. As long as you keep the plastic off the bottom, it will be in a better field of view for a snapper, as they will race up or over from a good distance to destroy the plastic. This is when you need to be ready. Snapper will generally hit the plastic as it’s sinking, so after hopping the plastic off the bottom, be prepared to strike. Sometimes as you free spool the line to let the lure sink faster, they will hit, this is when you want to engage the bail arm as fast as possible and set the hook. When fishing the shallow reef, you want to cover the ground and use the sounder at the same time, trying to locate the fish. Once located, continue to work that area over, predetermining your casts and drift so the plastic sinks down right on top of the fish that you have located and marked on the sounder. If you find you’re drifting too fast and it’s too hard to work your plastic effectively, a sea anchor or drogue is a very useful piece of equipment to use to slow down the drift, you can even use an electric motor if you can afford one. Deep Fishing deep water isn’t that different to shallow in the way you work the lure, but instead of casting far ahead of the drift, I find it’s best to drop the lure behind the boat and let it drift down and work it more vertically. Depending on how fast you drift and how the current is moving, you may need to use the engine if the sea anchor isn’t slowing you down enough so you can feel your lure hitting the bottom. In this case you will need to use the motor to slowly reverse up on the line so you can feel the plastic working the bottom. The motor can put off the snapper, but generally, if they’re hungry and you locate a large enough school over structure, they will feed normally, but it’s best if you can drift without the motor. In the deeper water I like to use a jigheads from 3/4-2oz. In the depth between 40-70m, I like to use a 3/4oz if I can, but with a bit of current I’ll upsize to a 1oz. In 60-90m, 1-1 1/2oz is my preferred weight, and in 90-150m 1 1/2-2oz is necessary. These jigheads make the plastic sink quite a bit fast, but as snapper in deep water aren’t as wary they, have no problem with eating these lures once they see them. You just need to work it correctly, so this means using the sounder to see where the snapper are sitting and how far off the bottom they are, and working the lure through and above the school and letting it sink back through it. A lot of the time when you locate a school of snapper in deeper water, you’ll find the bigger fish are sitting above the smaller fish, around 10-30m off the bottom. So keeping that lure in the face of these bigger fish for longer is the key to enticing a bite from a bigger fish. By-catch When fishing soft plastics for snapper, you will come across a huge array of by-catch from pelagics like kingfish, tuna, trevally and marlin to other reef species such as pearl perch, grassy sweetlip, spangled emperor, mulloway, and pretty much anything that eats fish, squid and crustaceans out there. Most predators will eat a plastic, which can make snapper soft plastic fishing so exciting. Theory into practise Now that you have the basics of how and where to find big snapper and how to work the plastics to catch them, it’s only a matter of time and experience on the water until you learn the patterns and reasons as to when, where and why. Once you have this down, you’ll be able to catch trophy snapper consistently on soft plastics. Until next time, stay safe, keep persisting and I hope you catch that trophy snapper you’ve been searching for. Reads: 366 Glass-calm conditions with light currents make it easy to fish the depths for these trophy fish. Multiple hook-ups are a common occurrence when you find schools of large snapper. Catching big fish on soft plastic gear is a lot of fun. This is where a decent sounder comes into play. Here we can see a school of big snapper sitting well off the bottom with a lot of bait in the vicinity. The by-catch that you are able to catch on a snapper soft plastic rod may surprise you. Low light periods and overcast choppy conditions are excellent when targeting big snapper in the shallows. A school of big snapper sitting mid water 9-10m off the bottom near a small bait school. When you find this, be prepared for bent rods. It’s possible to catch snapper on plastics at night. This big fish hit the author’s soft plastic on the last cast before heading home.
  3. Fillet Flathead

    Filleting flathead is one of those things most newcomers find a little difficult. And let’s face it, they are pretty weird looking fish. But they taste great, are reasonably abundant along the east coast and there are ways to make the most of your catch. The following is how I was taught to clean flatties by an ex-commercial fisher when I lived in Victoria. It’s quick, easy and maximises the fillet yield. And these are all important because you don’t want to be wasting fish. So if you’re keen on getting some boneless, tasty flathead fillets on your plate, check this method out and give it a go if you’re struggling with filleting flathead. You can check out a short video we made of this process via a link on our Facebook page – search for Fishing Monthly Magazines. Step 1. Make a cut diagonally between the pectoral fins to the spine. Step 2. Turn the knife edge towards the tail then run the knife along the backbone, cutting through the rib cage bones and exiting at the tail. The fillet is now removed from the fish. Step 3. There is a small gap between the skin and the flesh just in front of the pectoral fin left on the fillet. Insert your finger or thumb in here and push the flesh away from the pectoral fin. Step 4. The pectoral fin now acts like a convenient handle providing a grip so you can peel the flesh from the skin, moving towards the tail.Step 5. Your fillet is now skinless. Step 6. Feel for the last rib cage bone and run your filleting knife down the tail side of this bone. This will give you a tail fillet with no bones – perfect for the kids. Step 7. Run the knife along the rib cage bones on the non-stomach side and remove the boneless fillet. Step 8. Run the knife along the rib cage bones on the stomach side and remove the fillet. This leaves the rib cage bones to be disposed of or used for crab bait. Step 9. There are two (sometimes three) floating bones in this last fillet that need to be removed. You can cut them out, use tweezers or your fingers to remove these floating bones, leaving a third boneless fillet.Repeat these steps on the other side of the fish, giving you six prime, boneless, skinless and scale-free fillets. You can check out the video of this filleting process by logging onto our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/FishingMonthlyGroup) and check out the post on Filleting Flathead.
  4. TEMPT POWDER PAINTS FOR JIGHEADS

    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 www.temptindustries.com.au. I know I’ll be getting more colours soon. – Peter Jung
  5. ROD ARMOUR

    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
  6. 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
  7. Fish now before the water gets cold

    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 www.somersetfishing.com.au. 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 www.barratackle.com.au. 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 www.lakemonduranbarracharters.com. 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.
  8. The big tease

    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.
  9. Don’t overpower that boat!

    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.
  10. Baffling river fishing

    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.
  11. ASARI BLUEWATER WIND-ON LEADERS

    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! www.jmgillies.com.au
  12. DAIWA EMERALDAS STREAM RATTLE

    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. www.daiwafishing.com.au
  13. Simple snelled hook rigs

    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!
  14. New Years River-lutions

    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.
  15. HONDA NEW CONCEPT OUTBOARD

    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. marine.honda.com.au
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