NOT SO FUGLY
Our Cover... The current down time provides the perfect opportunity to get everything sorted (See story on page 26)
DOWN TIME MAINTENANCE
LOOK AFTER THEM
BOAT PROJECT FUGLY GETS SOM BLING
80 ANGLER PROFILE ROD MACKENZIE HOW IT BEGAN - HALCO WHATâ€™S NEW
92 COMPETITION PAGE www.spooledmagazine.com.au
From the Editor
From The Editor
SO, WHERE TO NOW? “Whatever you do, Marty, don’t land the DeLorean in 2020!” spluttered Dr Emmett Brown in clever a Facebook Meme inspired by Back To The Future.
And it’s hard to argue with the good Doctor’s advice on that one. For most of us at least, the first half this year has been a dead-set shocker. Without going back over some pretty muddy ground, suffice it to say COVID-19 has changed our lives forever; where we go, how we travel, how we earn a living, how we socially interact…… 04 the list of significant life and lifestyle changes is indeed an extensive one. How about fishing? What have the effects been and how different will things be in both the long and short term? As anticipated, the national social distancing and lock-down protocols initiated when COVID-19 was first declared a pandemic essentially saw rec’ fishing grind to a halt. It was officially banned in some states and at least frowned upon in others. As a South Aussie, it was never illegal for me to wet a line, so long as I adhered to social distancing regulations. Living as I do within two minutes’ walk of a very productive beach, this is something for which I was extremely grateful. Being able to get out of the house for a couple of hours each day and maybe catch dinner certainly helped relieve the boredom of familial isolation. Mind you, I was always discrete about going fishing, particularly as my many Victorian angling mates were totally locked out of the game by Government decree. As I write this now in early June, things are at last beginning to loosen up. Borders are set to reopen, the poor Vic’s are allowed to go fishing again, and it would seem the light at the end of that proverbial tunnel is no longer the on-coming train. COVID-19 is still out there, but as a nation we are finally well on top of it and the future looks encouraging. Barring any unforeseen mishaps, we should be OK. With four months of severely restricted fishing dominating the scene, how have our tackle stores, marine dealers, charter operators, accommodation providers and other allied businesses fared? I’ve been keeping a close eye on all of this and can report that the effects have varied considerably. Bearing in mind that my sample group is basically South Australian only, it would appear regional caravan parks, holiday rental owners and other accommodation houses have been hardest hit. For them the normally hectic Easter period was a virtual non-event, and many have been gasping for air ever since. Both tackle stores and marine dealers suffered somewhat in the beginning (those in Victoria obviously far more), but now that things are opening up again, most seem to be reporting average or even above average sales. I haven’t heard of any SA-based charter operators closing down either, so it would appear that, as long as we don’t experience another wave of COVID-19, they should all be OK. I do know that we all need to get out there again – not only to support these industries that have served us so well for decades, but also to reinvigorate our minds, bodies and souls. A decent fishing trip can do exactly that. www.spooledmagazine.com.au
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STEVE ‘STARLO’ STARLING
LURES SPOOLED MAGAZINE
STARLO OFFERS SOME VALUABLE INTEL’ ON MODIF YING, CUSTOMISING AND OTHERWISE “PIMPING” YOUR FAVOURITE LURES — HARD AND SOF T — TO IMPROVE THEIR CATCH RATES.
Starlo with a chunky Murray cod taken on a customised soft plastic consisting of a Squidgy Lobby dressed with an added skirt.
Like so many other keen anglers, I own a heck of a lot of lures. I’ve been buying, using, swapping, giving away, occasionally selling and sometimes losing lures for 50 years or so. As you can imagine, over this time my collection has grown far beyond any logical bounds or rational needs. I’m sure that well over three quarters of the lures now in my possession are unlikely to ever see serious action again. Many are buried away in tackle trays on dusty storage shelves, while some hang on a sheet of peg board in my shed that theoretically serves as the “rotation bench” for my frontline team of day-to-day choices. However, when it comes right down to it, there are probably only 20 or 30 hard-bodied lures that regularly get a run, along with a couple of trays of soft plastics and jig heads. These are what our American friends (and an increasing number of Aussies) might call my “go-to” lures.
It’s interesting to pull those trusted frontline soldiers out and have a closer look at them. One of the first things that becomes apparent, at least to my eye, is that the vast majority 07 of them have been “tweaked” or customised in some way. Most of the hard bodies are now sporting non-standard hooks or split rings, and some are on their third, fourth or even fifth set of hardware, having been periodically refurbished and updated over time. More than a few have stick-on scales, new eyes, drawn-on lateral lines, added spots, pimped colour schemes or similar cosmetic additions, and some also sport adhesive lead dots and strips, or molded putty add-ons, all intended to subtly adjust their buoyancy.
Fifteen different way to skin the same cat. All of these surface lures will effectively take bream, whiting, flathead, bass estuary perch and many other species when worked correctly. Most of them have been custom-tuned or “tweaked” in some small way to enhance their performance.
Modifications to my frontline soft plastic arsenal are less obvious, and most of those won’t get tweaked until it’s actually time to rig them on a jig head, chatterbait, spinnerbait or worm hook and send them into battle. But when that time comes, there’s a strong chance they’ll have a quick date with the braid scissors first for a cut and tuck, as well as a dip in some dye, a touch from a marker pen or 08 a squirt from a tube of scent. Very few of my frontline soldiers ever go into battle dressed and equipped exactly as they arrived on the day of their enlistment. Put simply, I fiddle about a fair bit with my favourite lures. Exactly how much impact this fiddling has on my actual strike rate is something I can never know for certain, but what I do know is that all of that tweaking and fine-tuning dramatically increases my own faith in what I have tied to the end of my leader. In the end, that confidence is important.
Two different approaches to buoyancy adjustment: a stick-on SuspenDot (left) and some Knead It putty (right). These lures are examples of the nowdiscontinued Bushy’s Stiffy range.
//HARDWARE WARS A lot has been written and spoken over the years about the need to upgrade lure hardware to suit Australia’s tough fish and demanding environments, and there’s a fair bit of truth in that. Imported lures designed primarily to target trout, American bass, walleye, pike or perch are often found sadly wanting when it comes to barramundi, mangrove jacks or Murray cod. For many years, serious Aussie lure users — especially those fishing in our northern waters for barra and other tropical species — simply removed the standard lightweight hooks and rings these hard-bodies arrived with and replaced them with much stronger and heavier hardware. This became almost a reflex action, and few of us ever questioned it. However, I still clearly remember sitting at the bar of a Top End fishing lodge many decades ago with a tangle of brand new imported minnow lures spread out in front of me, along with my split ring pliers and packets of heavy gauge trebles and www.spooledmagazine.com.au
rings, ready to do the standard hardware upgrades while enjoying a cold beverage. A very experienced barra guide walked in just as I was starting on this process and made an observation that has stayed with me down through the years. “Y’know, I wouldn’t be in such a hurry to get rid of those original hooks,” he said, picking up one of the lures from the bar. “You’ll never pin barra as well on anything else as you will on these things. I’d wait until you straighten them on a fish, then change ’em.” What he’d clearly identified — and what I’ve come to recognise and embrace myself over the intervening years — is the fact that very few lures ever swim quite as well or pin fish as effectively with “upgraded” heavyweight hooks and rings as they do with their original, factory-fitted hardware.
Smaller minnows like this little Rapala can be absolutely deadly on barra in shallow, clear water. The conundrum lies in achieving enough strength via upgraded hooks and split rings to stay connected without “sand-bagging” the lure’s action in the process. It’s a fine line!
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There are several reasons for this. Firstly, good lure makers spend a lot of time precisely balancing all the fittings and fixtures on their products to achieve each lure’s optimum action and buoyancy. Secondly, those factory-fitted hooks are typically fine gauge and ultra-sharp, which equates to improved hook-up rates. Whether they also have the strength and structural integrity to keep you connected to a fish long enough for it to be landed is, of course, a moot point!
Putty compounds such as Knead It can be quite useful for adjusting the buoyancy of floating/diving hard-bodied lures, although stick-on weights such as SuspenDots (bottom left) are neater and easier to use.
But hanging thick, over-engineered hooks and rings on a finely-balanced lure can have a couple of highly undesirable results. Firstly, this heavy hardware can dramatically sandbag the lure’s action. Secondly, the new hooks and rings will definitely alter the lure’s buoyancy, potentially turning a floater into a sinker (or even a stinker!). Finally, those thick hooks — no matter how sharp — will never penetrate as readily as finer gauge models, meaning you’ll miss at least some of the strikes you’d otherwise have pinned. Of course, that’s all academic if the first barra to engulf your shiny new lure turns your hooks into pretzels and your rings into bent paper clips before disappearing down the river with one last gill-flaring victory leap, apparently intended to mock your defeat! Getting them on is one thing, getting them out is another. www.spooledmagazine.com.au
//A BALANCING ACT Since accepting this conundrum of balancing finesse and strength in lure hardware, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of my time and effort attempting to find the perfect solution. In reality, it doesn’t exist and we’ll be forever walking the fine line between those extremes. But I can tell you that I no longer automatically reach for the thickest rings I can fit through a lure’s eyelet, nor the heaviest hooks on the tackle shop shelf.
This thick-shouldered Daly River barra ate one of Starlo’s tweaked “Squidg-abin” plastics. The lure tore free of the wide-gape worm hook during the ensuing struggle, but by then, its job was done.
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Winning these endless hardware wars can involve some clever balancing of many variables. It might mean completely removing one set of hooks and rings from a lure, or using different sizes for the front and rear trebles. It could even involve switching to in-line singles or doubles instead of standard trebles. It might also mean accepting that you’ll need to run slightly lighter drag settings to avoid straightening fittings, or build some more stretch into the system via longer leaders, or by running nylon or fluorocarbon “straight through”, instead of braid… Or it could just come down to accepting that you’ll suffer the occasional failure and loss as a trade-off for more hookups in the first place. But what it definitely doesn’t mean is an automatic change to the heaviest possible hardware.
Loop knots enhance the actions of most lures: soft or hard. Theyâ€™re especially important in heavier leader material.
//TEST, TEST AND RE-TEST! In the final analysis, there’s no substitute for spending time test swimming and fine tuning your hard-bodied lures, especially as you begin to tweak them in any way. Not only will this teach you a lot about the behavior of each lure in the water, it’ll also show you when you get it wrong and wreck the action of the lure by adding too much weight or bulk. (Watch the accompanying video clips for more detail.)
The Gold Bomber is a classic twitch bait for barra, jacks and various other species but, like any hard-body, they can go “out of tune” over time and may require subtle adjustments to the tow point to once again track properly. Think about whether you want a split ring on the nose or not, as well.
A swimming pool makes a wonderful lure testing tank, but so does any stretch of reasonably clear water. I’ve even used the bath at a push! However, one thing to bear in mind is the varying density of salt and fresh water. A lure that just floats in the salt may sink slowly in less dense freshwater. This is a factor worth considering. The other important purpose for test swimming lures is to tune those that aren’t swimming properly. Floating/diving plugs and minnows, in particular, can go out of tune and begin swimming off to one side or the other. It’s often relatively easy to fix this by very gently bending the front eyelet or tow point with a pair of longnosed pliers, as shown in the accompanying video clip. Tiny adjustments are usually all that’s needed. If you come across a lure that simply refuses to run properly, despite tweaking, chances are you’ve found a dud that was never any good, that the bib itself is damaged or out of whack, or water has leaked into the lure.
//A CLASSIC EXAMPLE Let me give you a practical example of the results of this sort of hands-on lure tweaking and testing:Over the years, one of my favourite big fish lures has been the Rapala Super Shad Rap (SSR) in its 14 cm size. Interestingly, this lure was originally made in two very different densities: a 45 g floater and a 71 g sinking model. To be honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of the sinking model for anything other than bluewater trolling, as its action isn’t particularly inspiring. On the other hand, the floater has an amazing action, but is extremely buoyant, meaning it shoots to the surface if paused, and has a tendency to rise in the water column during the retrieve if you slow down too much. To counter these drawbacks, I’ve spent many hours tweaking and modifying the floating version of the Rapala SSR 14 to achieve exactly what I’m looking for. I typically fit heavier hardware to the floater and then add various forms of additional ballast, such as stick-on
lead foil SuspenDots, or even a small Mustad Fastach sinker on the front hook hanger. What I’m looking for is a much slower rise on the pause without any significant loss of action. Once achieved, this produces an awesome lure that has, amongst other things, accounted for my PB saltwater barra at 126 cm and my best mulloway or jewfish off the rocks, plus a swag of other memorable captures. It’s pretty hard to argue with results like that and, for me, that makes all those hours of tweaking more than worthwhile.
The fish will let you know when you get things right. This small saltwater barra has completely inhaled a suspended lure, sucking it in head first. That’s a good indication that the fish was 100 per cent convinced of the deception! Note the chafing on the leader… Time for a re-tie!
//WHAT ABOUT COLOUR? I’m often asked to rate the importance of colour in lure selection, and over time I’ve developed a stock response to that query. It goes something like this: “Colour isn’t usually all that important, but when it is important, it can be critical!” In other words, in my humble opinion, colour isn’t very often the single key in successful lure selection… but on those relatively rare occasions when it makes a difference, colour can actually make a huge difference. www.spooledmagazine.com.au
We’ve all been in that boat or on that stretch of bank where one colour or even one particular shade of colour out-fishes everything else. Not having that tone in your collection is a bad situation to find yourself in. This is one reason those of us who are serious about our lure fishing amass such large and diverse collections of hardware in every hue of the rainbow. You just never know when that day will dawn on which purple or pink or puce or passion fruit pavlova is the killer colour!
The spotted dog pattern works because it mimics the flank markings of mature, pre-spawning brown trout and apparently triggers territorial aggression in other prespawn trout. It is one of those rare examples of a colouring tweak that can dramatically increase your catch rates, at least when used in the right place at the right time.
Starlo first popularised and named the “spotted dog” custom paint job for minnows aimed at spawn-run trout way back in the early-1980s. It has since accounted for tens of thousands of trout, and even been incorporated into some commercial lure ranges.
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For example, some switched-on trout chasers have been adding bright, pea-sized red spots with lighter-coloured halos to their minnows, plugs and spoons for years, especially when fishing the pre-spawn and post-spawn runs of trout in autumn and spring. I first helped to popularise this customised colouration four decades ago, and gave it the name “spotted dog” in my writings. That label has stuck, and has even been picked up by a few commercial lure makers. But I certainly can’t claim to have “invented” the spotted dog pattern. In fact, it was first shown to me by a very canny Finnish trout fisher named Erkki Norell in the early 1980s, and it had been used in his home country (with great success) for at least a generation or two prior to him telling me about it. There is very little under the sun that’s truly “new”!
//NO HARD RULES I wish there were more hard rules for colour selection when lure fishing, but there arenâ€™t. The best I can give you are some broad guidelines. For example, I tend to use natural, neutral, life-like and fairly subdued tones in very clear water, brighter colours in dirtier water and very dark, solid colours like black, midnight blue or purple at night and in filthy water. There are sound principles behind those general rules of colour selection, but they should never be regarded as more than a starting point and a basis for experimentation and observation. Exceptions abound.
One way to free up your choices in the colour selection department is to carry some form of marker pen collection, or a couple of fast-drying dyes, and to make and test colour modifications right there in the field.
Scented lure marking pens allow instant customisation in the field, which can be handy at times.
Scented dyes and dips definitely have their place in the lure tweakerâ€™s arsenal. www.spooledmagazine.com.au
Most permanent marker pens will colour both hard bodies and soft plastics, although it can be difficult to add significant changes and variations to lures that originally have a dark-based colour scheme. Just as in house painting, it’s easier to put dark over light than vice versa. For this reason, anglers with an urge to try some onwater customisation would do well to consider packing some white lures or other light colours in their kit. These provide an ideal base for creative customization. One drawback with most of the standard permanent marker pens you’ll find on the shelves of your local newsagent or stationery supplier is the very strong, chemical odour of the ink or dye they dispense. I doubt that this smell is attractive to fish!
One of the simplest yet most effective tweaks you can make to any lure is the addition of a little scent. S Factor is Starlo’s favourite sauce.
//LESS IS MORE My best advice when using these purpose-made pens and dyes to modify and customise your hard and soft lures is to tread gently and use only subtle applications of aftermarket colouration. Think in terms of adding highlights and features, rather than a total re-paint. Sometimes, less is more. It’s also desirable to maintain the translucency and semi-transparency that is so often a feature of highly productive lures, especially softies. Don’t make them opaque with an overly heavy application of marker dye. www.spooledmagazine.com.au
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Fortunately, there are some purpose-made lure marking pens and dip-able dye pots on the market that not only lack that acrid chemical whiff, but have actually been impregnated with odours that are claimed to be attractive to fish.
Adding a flush of colour to the tail or gill area of an artificial bait can sometimes work wonders. So, too, can the addition of lateral lines, gills, spots, scale patterns and brighter eyes. Where these pens and dyes really come into their own, however, is on those occasions when the fish are showing a clear preference for a particular tone that you don’t happen to have in your lure collection. That’s the time to grab a white, clear or pale lure and paint it up to match the hatch.
//THE FIRST CUT
Actually taking a pair of sharp scissors or a craft blade to your soft plastic tails and modifying their size and shape requires a greater leap of faith than painting a few spots and stripes on a lure. However, once you’ve made that first chop or slice, it gets easier! That first cut is often forced on us by expediency. As the old saying goes: necessity is the mother of invention. We may be running low on a particular tail that’s catching fish and suddenly find that the one we have left is becoming a bit too old, tired and torn to stay on the hook or jig head properly. Instead, it keeps sliding down and bunching up in the bend of the hook, rendering it next to useless as a fish-catcher. One of the best ways to fix this common problem (beyond super gluing the plastic back into position, which also works) is to carefully remove the tail from the hook and trim a short length from its head or nose. This allows us to re-thread the plastic with the hook travelling along a slightly different internal path, fixing the slipping problem and effectively giving the lure a second life.
Don’t be afraid to take your braid scissors to a soft plastic in order to adjust its profile, size or action.
One thing you may notice as you begin shortening plastics in order to get a second or third life out of them is that you’re also reducing their overall profile and marginally speeding up their sink rates. (That’s because, as a rule of thumb, smaller and less water-resistant tails drop through the water column a little quicker on the same jig head than bigger, bulkier plastics which act like little parachutes to slow the sink rate.) These changes could be either good or bad things, depending upon where you’re fishing and what you’re chasing. Either way, those changes in the behaviour of a tail as you trim it back should be starting to give you some clues about where we’re going next…
While you should always bring your chewed and torn soft plastics home and dispose of them correctly, don’t be too hasty to bin them. It’s sometimes possible to re-purpose damaged tails, or even weld together entirely new Frankenstein-like creations! //DOWNSIZING One of the commonest pieces of customisation I perform on any soft plastic tail (after shortening it as just described so I can create a new hook path and thus extend its fishing life) is to give it what I call the “Jenny Craig treatment”. This, of course, refers to the famous weight loss program of the same name! To “Jenny Craig” a plastic, I’ll simply take my braid scissors or a sharp blade and carefully trim a little “meat” from it. Typically this begins by snipping away any fins or other dangly bits, then going a step further and cutting away a slice of the belly and, if necessary, the back of the plastic. www.spooledmagazine.com.au
A solid Daly River (NT) barra pinned on a weedless-rigged “Squidg-a-bin” plastic customized by the author. www.spooledmagazine.com.au
With a little creativity and some careful nip and tuck work, it’s possible to significantly alter a tail, both in appearance and behaviour. You can turn a fat grub into a worm, a deep-bodied shad into a thin profile baitfish or a chubby yabby into an anorexic shrimp! You’ll also notice that lure’s action and sink rate changes a little as you make these adjustments. As you can imagine, there are practical situations where such relatively simple transformations to a soft plastic lure can work wonders in terms of your strike and catch rates.
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One common scenarios calling for a little creative plastic surgery occurs when we find ourselves chasing aquatic predators that are quite clearly feeding on much smaller or thinner prey items than the lures we have in our tackle box. Trout (especial sea-runners and some lake-dwelling fish ) periodically become fixated on chasing thin-bodied smelt or whitebait. But bass, barramundi, saratoga, Australian salmon, kingfish and even the smaller tunas can also become surprisingly single-minded about dining on small, thin-bodied baitfish at times. Being able to cut our lures down accordingly can sometimes spell the difference between a blank day and an absolute blinder under these trying circumstances. That’s when the Jenny Craig approach really comes into its own.
There are a few important tips and tricks that will help when it comes to trying this caper for yourself. The most important is to remove only a little sliver of plastic from the tail with each cut. Remember, it’s easy to take weight and bulk off a lure, but much harder to put it back if you make a mistake! Also, try to avoid square-edged cuts that produce an unnatural, blocky-looking tail. Instead, round out and bevel all of the pruned edges with a series of smaller cuts and slices. The end product will be much more pleasing to the eye: both yours and the fish’s! (If you’re worried about getting it right first go, practice on some old, chewed-up and useless tails first, to get the feel for this lark.)
It should also go without saying that you need to bring all of your off-cuts home with you and dispose of them properly in your household garbage. Applying the Jenny Craig weight loss treatment to reduce the length, girth and profile of a soft plastic tail is really only the beginning when it comes to this sort of hands-on nip and tuck customization. You can cut belly slots to better facilitate weedless or Texanstyle rigging, trim down overall tail dimensions to speed up kick rates, thin out tail wrists to enhance slow speed action and so on. Then there’s the addition of eyes, legs, feelers and so on. Once you embrace this sort of soft lure customising, the sky really is the limit! There are many other interesting modifications that can be made with both soft and hard lures, but I’ve run out of space for now to tell you about them, so they’ll have to wait for another time. Meanwhile, don’t be afraid to give lure tweaking a crack yourself. The results can be both satisfying and extremely rewarding.
Prominent or even subtle eyes on lures can sometimes be an attack response trigger for predators. www.spooledmagazine.com.au
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Down Time Maintenance
DOWN TIME MAINTENANCE SPOOLED MAGAZINE
WITH THE COOLER MONTHS NOW UPON US, IT’S HIGH TIME TO DO SOME BASIC MAINTENANCE ON ALL TACKLE COMPONENTS. JAMIE CRAWFORD POINTS US IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.
I usually have a good stint or two down in the shed servicing reels, cleaning rods and the boat, and maintaining terminal tackle during the cooler months. While this may not be as exciting as hitting the water itself, the result of wellmaintained tackle is more fish landed, so think of it as steps towards future success. In this feature we’ll look at tackle maintenance, mainly rod, reel and terminal tackle. Boat and trailer maintenance is worthy of a feature in itself.
//REEL MAINTENANCE We have a lot of people through our shop complaining about seized or rough reels, and when asked what maintenance they offer, their reply is often a sheepish ‘none’. Even the best reels on the market will require some routine maintenance to function optimally. Higher-end reels will contain better quality components (or at least you would hope), and they generally boast better-sealed bodies and moisture-dispersing features. As a rule of thumb, after each session I tighten the drags on my reels, give them a quick wash under running water, a quick spray of lubricant/water dispersant such as Ballistol or Inox onto moving parts, then loosen the drag and wind the handle to remove moisture off the reel. This quick process will help to keep the reel clean and disperse salts, and should see the reel performing well until a more comprehensive service is completed in winter. Not all reels can go a full season in between servicing though. Surf fishing can be very taxing on tackle, with sand and salt infiltrating quite easily. I generally give my surf fishing reels a service after about four or five days’ use on the beach. Similarly, before a fishing trip away I clean and service my reels; the last thing you want are reel issues in a remote location. For the rest of my reels though, a service and clean out in winter generally sees them through until the following season. www.spooledmagazine.com.au
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While we still have some good fishing options around our country during the winter months, the weather quite often throws a spanner in the works for welllaid plans, and hitting the water regularly is certainly more of a challenge. The cycle of winter weather means we have more than our fair share of down time at home during the cooler months. This presents the perfect opportunity to go down to the shed with a hot brew, some reel lube and cleaning cloths, throw on some tunes in the background and get into some tackle maintenance.
Down Time Maintenance
First, I prepare an area. I usually set up a clean table in the shed with adequate lighting above. Items required will be: 1. Screw driver set, including small Phillips head and flat head screw drivers 2. Long nose pliers and tweezers 3. Tooth brush 4. Tissues and cleaning cloths
5. Container for small screws and parts
Prepare an area first with all the tooks you will need //OVERHEAD AND BAITCAST REELS For overhead and baitbast reels, start off by removing the side plate and sliding the spool from the reel housing. Physically clean the inside of the reel with a cloth to remove dirt and use a cotton bud to clean in the hard-to-access areas of the reel. Use some reel oil on the brake collars and any internal bearings. www.spooledmagazine.com.au
Next, remove the handle assembly, star drag (if applicable), and second side plate. Once inside, you can remove the drive gear, pinion gear and drag washers, and clean them of any old grease or dirt. I basically look to physically clean the internal components of the reel before reassembling and adding new reel grease to the contact components, such as the drive and pinion gears. Once again, I offer a light spray of lubricant to other moving components. www.spooledmagazine.com.au
Down Time Maintenance
Greasing the drive and pinion gears
Oiling the brake collars
If your reel has a level wind, it is a good idea to remove the worm drive and Archimedes screw and give them a clean to remove old grease. Because the worm drive is partially exposed in overhead reels, it can attract sand and dirt onto the grease. Once cleaned, add some new grease and reassemble. You may need to realign the level wind with the line placement coming off the reel before locking the Archimedes screw into place, depending on the model of overhead you are using. Once again, add oil to moving external parts such as the handle knob and a quick surface clean to remove dirt and grime and you will be finished.
//THREADLINE REELS With threadline reels I start off by undoing the drag knob and removing the spool from the main shaft. I spray the underside of the spool and the shaft with non-degreasing spray such as Ballistol or Inox. Both of these sprays disperse moisture and salt and offer an anti-corrosion lubricant. I then use a soft cloth or tissue to remove the excess spray, which normally removes any sand, salt and grime that may have built up. I check the top lip of the spool for any cracks or cuts that might catch the line on the cast. I remove the drag washers, and if they are metal washers, I simply wipe them clean with a cloth and replace. If they are wet washers, I will reapply drag grease.
Removing the drag knob will allow you to remove the spool
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After servicing and cleaning my reels, I then inspect the main line to make sure the line looks okay to withstand another season. If the line is rinsed off after each session and reels are kept inside, the main line should last multiple seasons under normal use. If you fish around heavy structure or do regular land-based game fishing, you may look to replace your line earlier than normal. Likewise, interaction with clumps of weed while surf fishing will shorten the lifespan of main lines. If Iâ€™m happy with the main line, I will just remove the top five metres and tie a new leader ready for the next session.
Down Time Maintenance
Removing the spool to access the main shaft I check the roller bearing to make sure there are no cuts on the roller, and that it spins freely. You can usually tell when a roller bearing is seizing, as it squeals when line passes over the roller. A few drops of oil (Singer sewing machine oil or Shimano Bantam oil will do the job) onto the roller will ensure smooth operation. A few drops of oil into the moving mechanics of the bail arm will also aid in smooth movement.
Using a cotton bud will allow you to remove any build up of sand and grime
Cleaning the underside of the spool
I then remove the handle and add a few drops of oil into the gear bearings, which are often visible once the handle is removed. Due to the complexities of some of the new generation threadline reels, some manufacturers do not recommend removing the side plates to service the internal gearing. If you are confident in servicing your reel internally, by all means go ahead. To do this it pays to have an expanded schematic diagram of your reel, and to methodically lay parts in sequence as they are removed from your reel to aid in reassembly.
Oiling the roller bearing
Down Time Maintenance
I still strip down a lot of my reels, but there are some well-sealed and complex reels I do not open up. If you do service your reel internally, carefully clean the removable components to get rid of any salt or grime and use grease on moving friction points such as the main shaft. I offer a light spray of lubricant (make sure it’s a non-degreasing lubricant again) to protect the internal components. It’s a good habit to avoid contact of any aerosol sprays with fishing line. Some sprays will be okay, but others can degrade fishing lines, especially monofilament and fluorocarbon, so as a rule of thumb, avoid contact.
When you start putting the reel back together, try adding a dob of reel grease to each 34 screw to prevent them seizing in the future. A few drops of oil in moving parts such as the reel handle and a wipe over the reel with a soft cloth or tissue will complete the clean.
//ROD MAINTENANCE Rods play an equally important role in the field, but with fewer moving parts the maintenance regime is less involved than reels. After each session I will rinse my rods with a hose and will wipe over with a damp cloth, just to remove any morsel of bait, salt or sand. During the winter months though, it’s a good opportunity to give your rods a once-over. Start by using some warm, soapy water and with a cloth wipe over the rod from tip to butt, then rinse off under fresh water. Be careful of using strong cleaning agents on the rod blank, as some solvents can damage the resin used on binding. Use a dry cloth to remove moisture before inspecting the guides for any small cracks. These cracks can cut line, especially braided line when under load. A good test is to use a cotton bud and wipe over each guide insert. Any crack will catch the cotton. Cracked guides should be replaced immediately. You can wipe reel grease onto the guide frames to prevent corrosion, and for roller-tip game rods, the rollers can be regreased. Similarly, the reel seat can be cleaned and the thread sprayed with a lubricant to ensure smooth movement.
Checking rod guides with a cotton bud will reveal any cracks in the guide inserts www.spooledmagazine.com.au
//LURES Most fishers accumulate lures throughout each season, and before you know it you’ve got a mixed bag of hard body, top water, crank baits, skirts, vibes, slow jigs and soft plastics mixed in with each other. I take this opportunity to sort through my lures. I start off by removing lures from circulation – lures that I don’t and won’t use in the future, plus damaged or aged lures. I don’t throw these away. They’re just put in a ‘special tray’ in the bottom of the cupboard.
Sorting lures into the right tackle trays Check assist hooks on metal jigs
Down Time Maintenance
Replacing assist hook on a small butterfly jig Sharpening a stainless hook on a skirted lure I like to sort my lures and group into appropriate tray. How did that six inch skirt end up in my bream tray? Iâ€™ll inspect all lures used in the past season, and will replace trebles, in-line singles and split rings if required. Some hooks will just require a sharpen, especially stainless steel trolling hooks. Iâ€™ll inspect leaders on blue water
Hanging lures on a line to dry before storage prevents corrosion
lures such as skirts, and will replace if showing signs of wear. Similarly, with my metal jigs I’ll inspect the assist hooks and sharpen or replace if needed. Before I stow any lures away I make sure they are 100 per cent dry. Any lures I have rinsed I will hang up to dry in the shed before stowing in a tackle tray or lure wrap. I love my soft plastic fishing for flathead and bream down south, and as any keen soft plastic fisher can relate, you end up with a tackle bag or lure wallet full of opened packets of plastics. It’s best to keep plastics within resealable bags to prolong the shelf life – such as the packets they are supplied in, but there lies the issue a mountain of opened packs at the end of the season. When I sort my soft plastics, I remove jig heads from plastics and remove any ripped, worn or torn plastics. Some people trim pre-used plastics to create shorter versions, and while this works, I prefer to use original profiles.
Sorting packets of soft plastics and jig heads I will try to group same brand and model plastics into the same packs. It’s not a good idea to mix plastics with different brands or models. Soft plastics are predominantly made from various vinyl plastics such as plasticol, phthalates, PVC or polyvinyl alcohol, and mixing different materials together can result in a chemical reaction that can chemically melt and fuse the plastics into a big, gooey mess. Similarly, mixing different coloured plastics together can leech colours, so your white plalstics can take on the colour of darker plastics stowed with them. When you stow soft plastics, make sure they are laying straight, as they can take on memory when curled inside a packet. www.spooledmagazine.com.au
Down Time Maintenance
//GENERAL TERMINAL TACKLE While I’m in my cleaning and maintenance mode, I’ll go through my tackle bag and will do a big clean out, removing rubbish and noting terminal tackle or equipment that needs topping up or replaced. I keep trays of hooks, swivels and crimps in my tackle bag, and these slowly get used throughout the course of a season. I’ll also go through my tag cards to make sure I have submitted all outstanding cards and I have enough stock of the various tags for the next season.
Sorting through tagging supplies to ensure there are adequate tags for future trips and all cards have been completd and submitted Winter time is also a good opportunity to make rigs for the coming season. This includes tying and swaging bait fishing rigs, live bait rigs, bottom bouncing rigs, shark traces etc. Preparing terminal tackle takes time, and I always prefer doing it at a leisurely pace rather than having to make several rigs the night before a fishing trip. Prior preparation goes a long way. www.spooledmagazine.com.au
Winter is a good time to replace trebles for inline single hooks...
...and the perfect time to sit down and make rigs for the next season. www.spooledmagazine.com.au
Down Time Maintenance
Storing rigs into a wallet will offer dry storage and easy access ready for the next season
I also spray my pliers and crimping tools with an anti-corrosion lubricant to prevent them from seizing up. Winter is also a good time to back up all the fishing marks from your GPS and onto your computer. Backing up your marks more frequently than once a year is wise, but if you only remember in winter, then thatâ€™s better than never! Our cooler months can still be a productive time of maintenance and preparation for the next season. We are bound to lose a day or two on the water due to the forecast this winter, so why not use the time wisely? www.spooledmagazine.com.au
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Look After Them
LOOK AFTER THEM! SPOOLED MAGAZINE
AS SHANE MENSFORTH EXPL AINS, SPENDING A BIT OF TIME AND EFFORT TO LOOK AF TER THE FISH YOU CATCH WILL CERTAINLY ENHANCE THE SUBSEQUENT SEAFOOD EXPERIENCE.
Removing the fins and tail after dispatching a school sharks will definitely enhance flesh quality. www.spooledmagazine.com.au
It’s widely agreed that we in Australia are blessed with some of the best seafood on the planet. The diversity is truly amazing and, when compared to the rest of the world, the waters from which much of our seafood is taken are pristine. Whether it’s a salt water barra from the Territory, a King George whiting from Kangaroo Island or a blue swimmer crab from Mandurah, it’s quality all the way.
Bluefin tuna need to be bled and iced as soon as possible after capture.
43 SPOOLED MAGAZINE
Although sport and game fishing remain incredibly popular across the country, there’s no doubt an increasing number of Aussie anglers are now shifting their focus toward quality table varieties. Either subconsciously or deliberately, I know that’s the way I’ve been thinking for quite a while, and I now find myself spending much more time throwing little stickbaits at yellowfin whiting than live baiting for kings or trolling for tuna. I’ve even started chasing the humble mullet again – the species on which I learned my craft as a keen, fish-crazed four year old. This focus shift may be a symptom of growing older and less energetic, I guess, but the enjoyment level hasn’t wavered in the slightest.
Given that Aussie seafood is both top class and readily accessible to all of us, catching and enjoying the subsequent feed is incredibly appealing. It’s how we look after the catch, however – from the moment it’s taken from the water to the time it hits the plate – that will determine exactly how good a seafood meal will be. Quite often I take a late afternoon stroll along one of Adelaide’s metropolitan jetties to check out what’s being caught. There are seven piers scattered along our metro www.spooledmagazine.com.au
Look After Them
foreshore, most of which are well used by rec’ anglers of all ages and ethnicities. Considering these jetties are adjacent to a capital city and cop the inevitable amount of pressure, the catch remains pretty damn impressive. According to season, yellowfin whiting, garfish, tommy ruffs, mullet, calamari and blue swimmer crabs are regularly on tap, all of which can be converted to great seafood meals, provided, of course, they are looked after – and unfortunately this isn’t always the case.
I can vividly recall a rather animated ‘discussion’ I had with an older angler last Christmas as I took an otherwise enjoyable walk on one of our local piers. This guy had been drop netting blue swimmers, which are generally available in good numbers 44 throughout the summer, and had managed about 15 big, meaty males. Unfortunately, despite an air temperature in the low 30s, the crabs had been dumped thoughtlessly into a 20-litre bucket, half filled with sea water, and were obviously deteriorating rapidly. The water in the bucket must have been close to air temperature, which could only result in sub-standard flesh quality and an inferior table experience to come. Although this situation was essentially none of my business, I couldn’t help commenting on how unfortunate it was to see such prime seafood going off in the sun. To say this remark got the guy’s hackles up would be an understatement and, not surprisingly, he let me have it with both barrels. I absorbed the tirade without further comment – after all, it was me who initiated the ‘discussion’ – other than to conclude by telling my new-found sparring partner I’d be happy to buy him a five dollar bag of ice to ensure his crab catch wouldn’t end up in the rubbish bin. That didn’t go down well either, so I turned and left the scene of the crime before things escalated further! As far as I’m concerned – and I’m tipping most who read this will feel the same way – catching quality seafood of any kind is pretty much a futile exercise (and criminally wasteful) if it’s not looked after to optimise table quality. Caring for the catch often means little more than carrying some ice and keeping things away from the sun – certainly not rocket science and by no means expensive. Having said that, the whole business of caring for what we catch is certainly worth some thought. The underlying premise is that the flesh of any fish, cephalopod or crustacean begins to deteriorate the moment it is removed from the water. Retarding that deterioration process is the key to quality retention, and something that quickly becomes second nature if you truly appreciate the value of your catch. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ method that can be applied across the board to ensure premium seafood quality, but getting your catch as cold as possible as quickly as possible is the bottom line. Achieving this often varies according to circumstances, as well as the type of seafood concerned, and it’s worth breaking things down a bit to figure what works best for you. www.spooledmagazine.com.au
Naturally, one of the major factors to consider is the climate in which you do most of your fishing. For example, it’s more significant to quickly dispatch and ice down a Darwin Harbor barramundi in November than a brown trout taken from Tassie’s Little Pine Lagoon in early May. The warmer it is, the quicker those nasty little bugs begin their quest to enter and taint fish flesh, so shutting them down (or at least slowing them down) should always be your prime objective.
An ice slurry will vastly improve blue swimmer quality. //LET’S HAVE A QUICK LOOK AT CRUSTACEANS FIRST. In my experience at least, there are two alternatives when it comes to looking after crabs, prawns, yabbies or lobster – you either keep them alive or get them immediately into an ice slurry. From this quartet it’s blue swimmers I chase most often, and as far as I’m concerned there is no better way to preserve their delicate meat than drop them straight from the net into an eski containing a well constructed sea water ice slurry. Because it’s difficult to find salt water ice (only a few seafood processors have it for sale these days), readily available cubed fresh water ice is the most convenient alternative as the basis for a slurry. Prior to a crabbing trip I’ll grab four bags of party ice from the local servo’ and split it into two eskis. Before the first crab net goes over the side, I’ll discard the plastic, empty two bags of ice into the eski they came from, and then top up with sea water. It’s important to ensure the cubed ice is well separated www.spooledmagazine.com.au
Look After Them
rather than stuck together in a couple of solid frozen lumps. A ratio of 40 per cent ice to 60 per cent water is about right. I’m talking a 60 litre eski here, which is what I generally need for a reasonable haul of crabs. Sea water takes longer to cool down than fresh water, so preparing your slurry in advance is definitely the way to go.
Crabs won’t throw claws if iced immediately after capture.
Blue swimmers (and most likely all Aussie crab varieties) react instantly to extremely cold water. Rather than thrash around in the eski and try to destroy everything they can lay those menacing claws on, blueys slip into a temperatureinduced coma very quickly if your slurry is a good one. Because they are not fighting with each other, shedding claws isn’t an issue, and body temperature plummets rapidly as the near-freezing sea water takes control. Aside from the desirable quick chill down factor, I’m guessing this is also the most humane way to sedate and ultimately dispatch your crabs.
As the slurried ice volume begins to diminish through melting during the crabbing session, I like to top up with more from the reserve supply in the other eski. It’s important, however, to drain a bit of water at the same time and bucket in some extra from over the side to maintain salinity. You don’t want to end up with a slurry that’s more fresh than salt. If you’ve set up and maintained your slurry correctly, when it’s time to clean and cook your crabs, they should be firm, have claws intact and be super chilled. I’m aware that crabbers in tropical Australia traditionally keep their muddies alive by binding their claws and storing them in a cool place, but I’m sure the ice slurry option would be equally effective. Maintaining a decent ice slurry will always be more challenging in a hot climate, of course, but I’d suggest it’s at least worth considering. www.spooledmagazine.com.au
I also slurry yabbies when fishing in the Murray, particularly in the warmer months, as not only does the ice component sedate and chill the catch quickly and humanely, it also helps ‘set’ the tail meat. When it comes to cooking and peeling the yabby tails, the meat pops out of the shell neatly and the internal gut tube comes away with minimal effort. I’ve not heard of anyone using an ice slurry to optimise flesh quality in lobster or prawns, but there’s no doubt it would have a similar positive effect. Most seem happy enough to keep their lobsters alive prior to cooking, and those who net prawns at night in lakes generally refrigerate them and cook them as soon a possible.
Primo seafood if looked after straight from the water. //AS FAR AS FISH ARE CONCERNED, There are several factors to consider in optimising table quality, some of which are based on practicality. Most of the smaller fish without a lot of blood and oil – species like whiting, garfish, flathead, leatherjackets and bream – will benefit greatly from the same ice slurry treatment as described for crabs. Rapid cooling definitely assists with maintaining freshness while helping to firm the fresh prior to filleting. And if organising a slurry seems like too much trouble, depositing the fish directly onto crushed ice is always a reasonable alternative. www.spooledmagazine.com.au
Look After Them
Fresh sardines in an ice slurry – yum! In the case of larger fish, such as kings, school tuna, mulloway or big snapper, one of those terrific insulated, zip-up fish bags can be a great asset. You can get them in several sizes; in fact, I own three, the largest of which will accommodate a couple of 15kg kings or tuna and enough crushed ice to keep the fish cold all day. Again, I like to carry reserve ice in a separate eski to keep the level up as meltage inevitably occurs. Bleeding and brain spiking larger fish undoubtedly assists with flesh quality maintenance, particularly with any of the tuna varieties, and there’s a bit of science to get your head around here. Rather than try to describe these processes, I’m more inclined to direct you to YouTube, where you’ll find several excellent instructional videos on each technique. And speaking of tuna, they belong to a rather unique class of fishes that create their own body heat and therefore require a somewhat specialised treatment protocol. I still enjoy the odd bluefin expedition, and because well treated tuna is so versatile in the kitchen, I always go out of my way to look after the handful of fish we keep. This means a bit of prior thought and planning, but I guarantee that going the extra mile is well worth it. Most of the school bluefin we catch and keep are in the 15-20 kilo bracket, meaning they are too big for the average trailer boat eski, but slip comfortably into the insulated ‘body bag’ mentioned earlier. However, before the bag comes into play, I like to stick a tuna directly aft of each pectoral fin with a sharp, slender knife as soon as it comes aboard, then hang it over the transom on the rear boarding platform for ten minutes or so to drain as much blood as possible. I have several custom-made ‘strops’ for this purpose that loop around the fish’s tail wrist and can be tied off to an aft cleat or handrail. www.spooledmagazine.com.au
Once I’m happy that the blood flow is minimal, I’ll swing the tuna back on board and remove the gills and stomach immediately. This can be done via a rather clever cut near the fish’s vent and across the gill latch (again, illustrated nicely on YouTube), but simply running a sharp knife along the belly before traditional gut and gill removal will do the job adequately.
Mako sharks make fine table fare, but you’ve got to cool them down quickly with ice.
Although nowhere near as popular (or as regularly encountered) as bluefin, the mako shark is another fish that creates its own heat and needs to be cooled internally if taken to eat. Small to medium makos are surprisingly palatable, and should be bled, gutted and iced in much the same way as tuna to ensure premium flesh. The same applies to other members of the mackerel shark family, although none are a common catch in Aussie waters. Despite the fact they aren’t endothermic, most other popular table sharks like gummies and tope also need to be dispatched and processed quickly before icing. Removing fins and tail as soon as a shark is dead will allow blood and ammonia to escape, and gutting immediately is naturally a sensible option. Fish intended for the freezer (as opposed to eaten fresh) demand equal attention. A trap some seafood lovers occasionally fall into involves keeping fish in the fridge for several days before deciding to freeze them. It’s easy to do; you intend to cook www.spooledmagazine.com.au
49 SPOOLED MAGAZINE
It’s when you reach inside a freshly caught and killed tuna that its internal body heat becomes apparent, and reducing this heat should be number one priority. Filling the gut and gill cavities with crushed ice does this very effectively, but it will mean carrying a fair bit of ice, particularly as you’ll also need to pack some around the tuna as it’s placed in the insulated bag. I know this all sounds like a lot of effort, and it probably is, but you’ll definitely be providing your family with the best tuna possible – particularly so if sashimi is your thing.
Look After Them
a couple of fresh fish meals during the week, but circumstances change and you end up having a dozen premium fillets still sitting there four or five days after they were caught. The temptation is definitely there to whack them in the freezer, and at this stage it’s still quite safe to do so. However, there is no way these fillets will taste as good as those designated immediately for the freezer and frozen promptly. It goes without saying that vacuum packing will increase the freezer life of any fish – whole or filleted – and particularly so with those lighter fleshed, low oil varieties like whiting and gar. We regularly eat whiting fillets that were vacuum packed six months earlier, often having trouble picking them from freshly-caught ones.
Really oily fish like tuna doesn’t freeze anywhere near as well, however, and these days I rarely bother about bringing home more bluefin than we can eat fresh. Even generally well regarded fish like snapper don’t freeze that well, and I’ll seldom vacuum pack more than a small amount that can be consumed within a month or so. My ideal seafood basket, and one we make quite regularly these days, consists of fresh King George or yellowfin whiting fillets, blue swimmer crab, calamari and maybe some silver trevally or kingfish for sashimi. Provided each variety has been cleaned, iced and prepared according to the principles outlined here (and these days they always are), this is a meal fit for the fussiest of seafood connoiseurs. It doesn’t take a whole lot to look after your catch, and I’ll guarantee putting in that little extra effort will enhance your next seafood experience markedly.
A small vacuum packer will markedly increase fish fillet freezer life. www.spooledmagazine.com.au
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Boat Project - Fugly Gets Some Bling
SPOOLED’S PROJECT BOAT IS NEARING COMPLE TION, AND IT’S LOOKING PRE T T Y DAMN GOOD! JOHN WILLIS REPORTS.
Wow, we might have to consider a name change, the ugly duckling is getting close to being a beautiful swan - at least in a fisho’s eyes. www.spooledmagazine.com.au
The tale of Fugly continues onwards and upwards. As we wheeled her out of Nautek Marine she was almost fit for purpose, but even with the spray job, including the black wavebreaker from the boys at Ozsea Plate Boats and a complete rewire and refit from our mates at Nautek Marine, she was still butt ugly. Let’s face it, Fugly needed all the help she could get with her homely aesthetics that only a mother, or a welder, could love. There’s no hiding these blemishes with stage lights and makeup, and we certainly didn’t want to have to chew our arms off waking up to Fugly for early morning fishing trips in her rather undesirable condition. She was far past a simple bedroom makeover, so it was off to the experts to make her not only liveable and functional, but to transform her to be appealing and alluring.
Dressing a boat simply must have a programmed approach with a plan that’s clearly understood between the contractors. The stainless engineers need to work with the canopy makers and upholsterers to ensure a suitable framework for differing styles of canopies. In this case, our original rocket launcher was adapted with new fittings for the navigation and deck lighting, taking care that it was suitable for attaching the bows and fittings for a complete bimini and set of clears. Steve also converted the original mounts on the rocket launcher to make the tilting mechanism much easier.
We transformed the original alloy rocket launcher and added a full set of bimini and clears
Steve and Rick work together often on projects and hence there was nothing left to chance. Both understand the requirements of varying fisho’s, and the overall need for adaptability for those who will be fishing in extremes of climate – from stinking hot to freezing cold, but also in many varied target species, from fresh to salt water, lakes, rivers, bays, estuaries and offshore. Hence, layouts and accessories need to be flexible. www.spooledmagazine.com.au
53 SPOOLED MAGAZINE
They say money can’t buy happiness, but it can definitely buy bling! And nothing dresses up a craft like some fashionable stainless steel jewellery, accessories and a new dress-up. I’m talking, of course, of custom stainless steel work and a new set of canopies, so it was over to our mates at Steve’s Custom Welding and Barca Covers and Canvas in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs.
Boat Project - Fugly Gets Some Bling
Ozsea had already manufactured that ripper bait board with its live bait tank, storage and a couple of trolling rod holders. However, we do loads of bait fishing down south for the likes of snapper, whiting, bream, gummies etc and hence needed a set of strikeout style rod racks that could hold up to four rods on either side of the boat and at near horizontal angles to allow the rod blanks to perform when that strike finally occurs.
They have been made easily detachable, with rod holder insert one end and a thumb-screw fitting to the bait board. If we change from bait fishing to trolling during the day, itâ€™s an easy conversion. I must say that it is a pleasure to see the quality of welding and overall workmanship displayed by Steveâ€™s Custom Welding, 54 producing a very professional high gloss custom product that assists the bling.
Detachable rod holders and a fully plumbed live bait tank in the cutting board module www.spooledmagazine.com.au
We love our stainless steel rod holders from Steveâ€™s Custom Welding - and we can strike a fish easily
Steve worked with Nautek to design and fabricate the dash-top mounting bracket for the Garmin electronics Steve also worked with Nautek to design and fabricate the dash-top mounting bracket for the Garmin multi-function electronics that has allowed exceptional protection and security, as well as line of sight vision. It has expanded the limited dashboard availability utilising the protection of the wavebreaker. www.spooledmagazine.com.au
Boat Project - Fugly Gets Some Bling
Our Boatcatch makes launch and retrieve safe and effortless.
Steveâ€™s last assignment was to fit our new Boatcatch to the existing Dunbier trailer, giving it single handed launch and retrieve operation. There are a great many similar products on the market, but none with the absolute strength, simplicity and reliability of Boatcatch. The spring loaded locking mechanism is virtually failsafe and being constructed of 100 per cent marine grade stainless steel (316), this incredibly robust product comes with a lifetime warranty. With only three moving parts, it requires little maintenance and, being highly polished, Boatcatch is a very attractive accessory to any trailer boat, adding to the bling. Thereâ€™s no doubt that Boatcatch not only makes boating easier, but drastically improves safety for all at the boat ramp. www.spooledmagazine.com.au
//UNDERCOVER EXPERTS Next it was over to Rick at Barca Covers for a complete Bimini and full set of clears, upholstery and travel/storage covers. Rick is a very likeable fellow who showed a high level of skill in the job. His work has absolutely transformed Fugly to help evolve her growing attraction.
Weâ€™ve got new work lights and navigation lights from Narva, plus rod holders on the collapsable rocket launcher
Our new set of bimini canopy and detachable clears are great for every climate - and donâ€™t they look great!
Boat Project - Fugly Gets Some Bling
There have been some terrific advances in canopy design, construction and materials, and nowadays a good Bimini cover with detachable front and side clears allows you to adapt to all conditions, hot and cold. Modern materials simply last longer and look sharper than previous offerings. The soft-top Bimini material is Sattler Excel 290gsm 100 per cent solutiondyed acrylic with a TexGuard coating, allowing outstanding water, dirt and fungal repellence, 90-100 per cent shower protection, strong UV protection and a 15-year warranty. The clears also withstand far greater abuse and UV exposure, however they all still need to be treated carefully. To care for them you should wash them with a mild detergent only and never pressure wash, as it removes the coatings. After cleaning, itâ€™s recommended to maintain your clears with an approved cleaner for a longer lifespan. Itâ€™s also worth noting that you should never fold your clears for storage, nor put them away wet, as they can trap the moisture, causing damaging mould. The chunky size 10 zips slide easily and even the method of manufacturing has seen advances, including overlapping and Velcro flaps to minimise water ingress. Attaching the clears to the return lip of the wavebreaker has always presented a challenge, but Rick fixed the problem with extensions to the detachable clear section that folds under the return and secured by stainless press studs. This will ensure that the water should never flood onto the dashboard, even when punching through a nasty head sea. www.spooledmagazine.com.au
Rick from Barca Covers weaving his magic with premium materials and workmanship The front clear section is also getting its own zip-up window to make it easy for the driver to see at night. Itâ€™s amazing how restrictive the reflections, even on clear vinyl, can be obscuring your view, especially when salt water has crystalised. www.spooledmagazine.com.au
Boat Project - Fugly Gets Some Bling
Travelling long distances with the front clears up will cause enormous added drag and draw greatly on fuel efficiency, so we decided on a full travel cover from windscreen to rear. The clears are easily removed and the Bimini folds back to the rocket launcher with its own storage bag, making the travel cover easy to fit. It encloses the whole cockpit for secure storage and weather resistance. I must say I was a little taken back with the choice of canvas colour! I honestly expected it to be black matching the theme of the wavebreaker and white hull. My first impression of the finished item was WOW â€“ itâ€™s BLUE! Like so many new fashions, it took a little while to fathom the colour concept, however when I looked at the matching internals, old Fugly took on an entirely new character and dimension. It was almost enough to put a horn on a jellyfish!!!
The bimini frame is custom designed and manufactured and the clears ensure vision and protection
Rick has done an excellent job with the black graphite-style upholstery with its vivid blue embroidered inserts and trimmed edges that also match the blue offsets on the switch panels, front and rear. We had decided on simple, but thickly padded seat cushions, as there really isn’t enough room for a pair of large bucket seats, and hey, it’s a fishing boat, not a maiden’s parlor!
We decided seat cushions were far more practical in the small space, and still comfortable. Plus the new cuddy layout is far more functional especially with the Icey Tek removeable cooler.
We can bag up the bimini and tilt the rocket launcher for low storage spaces and the full storm cover keeps everything dry and secure www.spooledmagazine.com.au
Boat Project - Fugly Gets Some Bling
We have also ordered a clip-in rear curtain to enclose all of the fuel tank, plumbing and electricals under the transom that will have the Spooled logo embroidered to match the seats. To say we were impressed with the quality and function is an understatement, but more so the Bimini and trim really altered the overall presentation from a daggy old fishing boat to a very impressive and amazingly attractive sportfishing weapon!
//FEEL THE POWER
Oils ainâ€™t oils and batteries ainâ€™t batteries! Australian owned Club Assist has forged worldwide partnerships in the automotive industry, including in excess of 66 million 62 members across the world. They partner with motoring clubs, providing operations, distribution facilities and mobile battery service programs including marine power.
Their products and services provide the finest automotive batteries and mobile roadside support tools, including state-of-the-art testing and diagnostic equipment, and tools related to battery replacement. Their service partners include our local RACV plus the NRMA, RACWA, and RAC New Zealand. Club Assist migrated across the world in 2001 to partner with the American Automobile Association (AAA) in the United States, and the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA). We were very thankful to have partnered with Club Assist, who provided a pair of their own Atomic Batteries to power our little Stabicraft, and with the amount of new electronics fitted by Nautek Marine, we will need them to maintain tip top power supply. www.spooledmagazine.com.au
Fugly now has two Atomic lead acid 7601 “dual-purpose” marine batteries. (720 CCA 85Ah 160 RC calcium lead acid) Dual purpose batteries are designed to put out optimum cranking power for starting the engine with the good amount of deep cycle AH (Ampere Hour -the measurement of supply circuit discharge capacity), keeping all the accessories and gadgets on the boat powered up long after the engine is switched off.
Boat Project - Fugly Gets Some Bling
Atomic batteries are constructed to handle harsh, high impact marine environments and require extremely low maintenance, as their strong inner construction, partnered with a rugged, fully sealed outer casing, means ultimately safety, as they cannot spill and never need to be topped up. All Atomic battery products meet ISO9001 quality systems and ISO14001 environment system accreditation. Atomic marine batteries are the battery of choice for reliability, durability and high-performance with premium Club Assist service to match. With close to 30 years as Australia’s leading battery experts, Club Assist expertise covers just about everything mechanical. And so it seems that all batteries, nor their maintenance services, are created equal. So now to complete the bling, it’s over to our great mates at Form A Sign for a complete individualised wrap and some ripper U-Dek flooring. I think we’re going to need a new name for Fugly!
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Angler Profile - Rod Mackenzie
MATTHEW TAYLOR PROFILES ONE OF THE COUNTRYâ€™S BEST KNOWN FRESH WATER ANGLERS.
Over the past 25 years Rod Mackenzie’s name has become synonymous with ‘monster’ Murray cod. Among the Australian fishing fraternity few anglers would be unaware of his nearly endless list of accomplishments.
Angler Profile - Rod Mackenzie
Despite countless challenges, Murray cod is a species that has survived the test of time and is often considered as almost sacred. They are a fish at the top of the bucket list of many Aussie anglers for good reason: cod are widely known for the spectacular marbled colours they boast, not to mention the mammoth sizes they often grow to. Don’t be fooled into believing cod are a walk in the park to target and catch. Immense dedication, knowledge and experience are simple necessities to consistently catch cod. Very few anglers ever come close to mastering the art of Murray cod fishing. Rod Mackenzie is a rare exception.
While Rod is by no means a ‘big’ man, anyone will look small behind these massive Murray cod. //A MASTER OF HIS ART To many, Rod is regarded as one of the most eminent figures in our sport’s history. Most anglers struggle to catch a single metre-long Murray cod in their lifetime, let alone more than 300. Rod Mackenzie is perhaps the only angler who has ever achieved that feat. Outsiders to our sport may struggle to truly understand Rod’s longstanding and vital role in Australia’s fishing industry. Essentially, Rod is our sport’s equivalent of cricket’s Don Bradman. In much the same way ‘The Don’ mastered the art of top-order batting www.spooledmagazine.com.au
over an illustrious career, Rod Mackenzie has dedicated his life to learning how to catch giant Murray cod under any conditions. Rod is an incredibly talented angler and a true gentleman of our sport. His life story is as impressive as it is inspiring.
Greg Gull, Mackenzie’s uncle, was a highly influential figure during Rod’s early years, introducing him to fishing at the tender age of five. Greg lived in the nearby town of Merino, fishing local waterways, as well as the Glenelg River, where he targeted species like bream and mulloway. He taught Rod the basic principles of fishing, such as important knots and how to bait a hook. He can be largely credited for opening Rod’s eyes to the world of fishing.
From the time Rod was knee high to a grasshopper or, in his own words, “the time he was plenty old enough to pick up a fishing rod”, Rod spent every available opportunity fishing local creeks, rivers and lakes, targeting the abundant species those fisheries had to offer. Trout, blackfish, redfin, tupong and eel were all regular captures for Rod. Still the realm of Murray cod fishing remained far away and undiscovered.
While today Rod resides in the small town of Manangatang in North-West Victoria, his early years were spent living in the state’s western district. It was during the time Rod lived in Hamilton (later relocating to the nearby town of Digby), that his passion for fishing was born. Rod’s early years were formative to the path he would follow later in life.
With his uncanny knack for lure fishing, one could almost believe that Rod was born with a Venom Rod and Stump Jumper in hand! Unfortunately, for the sake of a good story, that wasn’t the case. Like most of us, Rod didn’t start off fishing with lures. He believes early bait fishing experiences not only provided him with essential knowledge he uses today as a cod fisherman, it also instigated his lifelong fishing addiction.
Rod Mackenzie is addicted to learning how different fish live and feed. It’s fair to say he knows a fair bit about catching mulloway too.
Angler Profile - Rod Mackenzie
Born in 1965, Rod grew up in a time when bait wasn’t a ‘storebought’ item. Rod was (and still is today) addicted to the very process of formulating a plan to catch his prey. To him, the mission of gathering bait was as enjoyable and challenging as ultimately catching the fish.
“Sourcing your own bait is a really important part of the apprenticeship that is fishing. If you understand where the bait lives and how to catch it, you’ll learn the relationship between the fish and the bait. If you aren’t catching them in one spot, but are catching plenty in another area, you might learn – as an example – the correlation between where yabbies live and where they don’t. It’s an important learning 70 experience that can then be taken to any other fishery. If there’s a lot of yabbies around leafy tree matter, you’d be inclined to think that’s where big cod may hunt in another river, lake or dam. As a youngster, bait fishing provided me with a great deal of knowledge I use today to target and catch Murray cod. Fishing is very much a crumb trail; you’ve just got to pick it up and follow it along,” Rod said recently. As Rod grew older, he became more and more independent with his fishing expeditions in the local area, though he still jumped at the chance to experience other forms of fishing. He continued to travel to the coast at Narrawong, Yambuk and the Glenelg River with his family almost every school holiday. It was at this time he expanded on his already broad depth of knowledge, learning how to target and catch fish in estuaries and from the beach. When Rod reminisces on these memories, he believes ‘the more he learnt, the more he experienced, the more he then learnt’ – a phrase that truly encapsulates the fishing learning experience.
The first and last big Murray cod that Rod ever kept. Since that time, he has become one of Australia’s most well-known advocates for catch-and-release fishing. www.spooledmagazine.com.au
When the long-awaited day came that Rod finally finished school, he seized the opportunity to begin working for a local fencing and sheep shearing contractor. In his time off, Rod would travel to his uncle’s fruit farm situated on the banks of the mighty Murray River. It was here that Rod caught European carp, yellowbelly and his very first Murray cod. Still, the biggest of these fish were nowhere near the size of cod we’re all used to seeing glimpses of Rod hiding behind! Rod’s work took him all around Victoria. In 1988 sheep shearing opportunities encouraged Rod to move to Manangatang. With the Murray River nearby, it didn’t take long before he caught the cod fishing ‘bug’.
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Kingfish are one of many species Rod has been fortunate to catch in his life. How about the size of this one!
//ROD’S FIRST LURE-CAUGHT COD Rod regularly fished the Murray River with bait for nine years after relocating to Manangatang. By his current standards, the fish he caught were “alright cod – probably mostly 15 to 18lb”. It wasn’t until 1997 that Rod experienced his life changing epiphany – the idea of lure fishing for cod. That very same year, he caught his first massive Murray cod. At the time lure fishing for Murray cod in his local waters was rarely practised. Over Rod’s lifetime he’d heard only whispers and discovered rare pickings of information about the concept. It was a struggle to uncover information on the topic, or even come across anybody who had come close to working out the fine art of lure fishing. Rod eventually stumbled upon articles from well-known fishing personalities of the time discussing their lure fishing experiences at Lake Mulwala. Rod swiftly concluded, “Well, why wouldn’t that work here in the Murray River?” www.spooledmagazine.com.au
Angler Profile - Rod Mackenzie
From that point on, Rod was a man with a mission. He was soon walking out the doors of a local tackle store with a Predatek Boomerang in one hand and a Halco Poltergeist in the other. Before long, he and good mate, Gus Storer, were headed to a local stretch of the Murray River. In the lead up to that expedition Rod had a sense of anticipation like a child trying to sleep on Christmas Eve; he could hardly wait to trial his new ‘toys’. Rod’s electric motor had barely chugged away for 20 minutes before a feisty golden perch gave its best effort to engulf Rod’s Predatek lure. A sheer sense of relief and newfound confidence swept over him as his ‘hypothesis’ was proved correct.
Rod returned to the same stretch of water the very next weekend and his ‘Barra Blue’ coloured Predatek and Halco lures were both soon swimming through an underwater labyrinth of snags and rocks – the perfect hunting grounds for the cod that Rod desired. His rod was quickly buckled over like a pool noodle and he was reeling in a moderately sized Murray cod, a further confidence booster in the technique. From that moment on, Rod’s anticipation levels were sky-high, and rightly so. The stars aligned later that very day and any doubts about lures were forevermore blown out of the water.
Rod has worked alongside our industry’s most well-known figures. In this photo Rod is pictured with Steve Trelly (far left), Rex Hunt (second to left) and Glen Casey (far right). www.spooledmagazine.com.au
While Rod was talking to a nearby professional fisher about his earlier successes, Mackenzie’s Predatek was once again aggressively thumped. This time, the fish on the other end of Rod’s line gave a far more vigorous account of itself, soon burying into a hidden snag. Rod exhausted himself trying to extract the fish. He pulled the line one way and back the other. He reversed the boat until the line was on the verge of snapping. A call from the nearby pro-fisher came, “Don’t bust if off. I’ve never ever seen a cod caught on a lure before!”. So, Rod continued to chat to the fisherman for quite a time, all the while playing what appeared to be a losing battle of tug-of-war. To Rod’s great surprise, the fish eventually surrendered and abandoned its underwater fortress.
Many different companies have supported Rod along his journey. Bassman Spinnerbaits became one of his earliest sponsors after he met Glen Casey more than 20 years ago.
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As the fish began to glide its way downstream, even managing to spin Rod’s small ‘punt’ around, the pro-fisher exclaimed, “You’ve got a pretty darn good fish on there, mate!”. Little did Rod know the true size of the beast he was fighting. When a whopping 86 pound giant Murray cod surfaced in front of him, Rod was truly gobsmacked. His success hooked him on the art of Murray cod fishing and forged a lifelong addiction for catching them on lures. From that time on, Rod nearly wore the bottom out of the river with his lures and he’s still doing it today!
Angler Profile - Rod Mackenzie
This is why Rod is so widely known. He simply understands how to catch big Murray cod.
Angler Profile - Rod Mackenzie
Often affectionately referred to as ‘The Codfather’ of lure fishing for Murray cod, I probably wouldn’t struggle to fill a book with Rod Mackenzie’s achievements. While Rod may not like me saying this, he truly is one of the trailblazers of our sport. Through trial and error, Rod taught himself all about cod fishing with lures. In the days before sounders he discovered how to chart the river, its depths and how to plan a trolling run. In Rod’s 76 words, he “knew every bloody rock bar from Belsar Island to Euston Weir.”
Anglers come from across the world to fish with Rod. Czech-born adventure fisherman Jakub Vágner is one example – presenter of National Geographic Channel’s ‘Fish Warrior’. www.spooledmagazine.com.au
In those early years Rod caught a lot of big fish and lost nearly as many. Early on he was using only Predatek Boomerangs, though as time went on lure sizes and quality got bigger and better. He tried and tested almost every lure, from the Whitmore Mega Boomer to the JJ’s Stump Jumper. “Back then I was lucky enough to work with different lure makers developing lures that are still widely used today. Some of the lures I started using looked so big that you could fry them in a frying pan. When you look back though, they were probably only 150mm long.”
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As Rod learnt more and more, he was soon being asked to write countless articles for many of Australia’s most prestigious fishing magazines, thus teaching countless others about the best lures and techniques to catch giant cod. Rod’s key teachings continue to form the basis of the way many anglers target Murray cod today.
Angler Profile - Rod Mackenzie
When Rod looks back on his career, he believes the entire journey has been a joyride. One of the standout moments was watching his son Jock catch his first big cod. Rod’s decision to become a full-time fishing journalist in his thirties was largely influenced by a childhood trip to a Hamilton Fete. It wasn’t the cakes, pot plants or second-hand push bikes that took his fancy, rather a box of old fishing magazines that set him back a mere 30 cents. Rod read every magazine from cover to cover. The work of old-school fishing writers such as Vic McCrystal, Rod Harrison, Steve Cooper and Alex Julius left a lasting impression on him. While Rod recalls his “teachers were flat out getting me to read anything without holding a cane to the back of my head”, the impact those magazines had on him as child were enough to persuade Rod to give writing a go. After living in Manangatang for only a short number of years, Rod decided to hang up the shears and has made a living out of fishing ever since. To list just a few of his accomplishments, he’s written as a freelance journalist for many local and national newspapers and magazines. He’s published a book called ‘Cod Secrets – An Aussie Icon’ and has established a well-known on-line tackle store – CodMac Lures. He has also produced a high quality ‘Cod Almighty’ DVD series and featured in a radio show with Steve Cooper for several years. In addition, Rod regularly features at fishing seminars and on television shows such as IFISH with Tackleworld. Over a long career Rod has had an undeniably profound impact on Australia’s fishing industry. There’s no two ways about it – Rod’s life is centred around the fickle art of fishing for Murray cod and he is one of few anglers to come close to mastering it. He was born to be in the great outdoors. When he’s not fishing, writing or filming, you’ll find Rod spending time with his family. He regularly enjoys cooking up a feed and then sitting around a fire with a cold beer. Rod is a down-to-earth bloke and one of the true legends of our sport. www.spooledmagazine.com.au
Fish can’t resist ‘em...
Australia’s best Spinnerbait, made by anglers, for anglers!
How It Began - HALCO
BEGAN SPOOLED MAGAZINE
HALCO SCOTT COGHLAN KICKS OFF A NEW REGUL AR FEATURE WITH HALCO’S TIM CARTER TO REVEAL WHY THE WABASED COMPANY HAS BECOME ONE OF AUSTRALIA’S MOST SUCCESSFUL TACKLE MANUFACTURERS.
Few lures have caught as many fish at the redhead Laser Pro.
Scott Coghlan: Tim, what is your role with Halco Tackle? Tim Carter: My official title is Sales and Marketing Manager, but in a business like this we all wear many hats, myself included. I am also heavily involved in new product development, develop all the new colours for the coming season and even designed my first soft plastic lure to be released later this year under the Madeye brand. SC: Are you a keen fisherman yourself?
SC: How did you get involved with Halco Tackle? TC: For a number of years I worked the decks of game boats out of Perth fishing for marlin during the late summer and autumn. Ian Stagles, Ross Ezekial and I were heavily involved in the early days of lure fishing for marlin, which at that time was not the preferred method. Bait fishing was the general rule and we wanted to prove the fishery here could produce fish on lures, which naturally it did. The rest, as they say, is history.
Tim Carter shows off the Halco Slidog. www.spooledmagazine.com.au
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TC: Yes, I have been a keen fisherman all my life. My family were lucky enough to have had boats since I was a little bloke and I grew up with summer holidays fishing from Rottnest and, as I grew, out of Two Rocks. Winter school holidays always involved a fishing trip to Shark Bay and Kalbarri. It was a great grounding terms of boating and fishing techniques. When I wasn’t fishing out on the boat I would be fishing from the shore for tailor, whiting, herring, bream, etc. Basically, I was a fishing nut.
How It Began - HALCO
All the colours of the rainbow and plenty of different shapes and sizes.
I was invited by Neil Patrick, who fished a lot for marlin out of Perth, to join his crew, which was a huge honour. He was an IGFA Trustee at the time and we were lucky enough to have many years fishing together all over the world. By that stage Neil had sold Halco to his son, Ben, and as the business continued to grow, he needed a hand. After some discussion, I joined the company in 2004.
Halco’s stand is a regular feature at trade shows in Australia and overseas.
SC: What have been some of the big changes, or challenges, you have dealt with in your time at Halco? TC: The fishing trade has been in evolutionary change for the most part. Our move to Batam in Indonesia for the manufacturing was a huge change. At the time we were in the middle of a mining boom and there was basically zero unemployment in WA. We were growing rapidly, both in Australia and also overseas, and couldn’t get reliable staff, plus our costs were making us uncompetitive on a worldwide scale. By moving the manufacture to Batam we could keep our prices lower than our competition, retain our intellectual properties and even introduce processes we couldn’t afford to do in Australia, which made the product better. www.spooledmagazine.com.au
How It Began - HALCO
Double of Albany salmon for Lachlan and Tim Carter. It was a win for the consumer and the business at the same time. I also think internet sales of fishing tackle has been a big challenge for the entire trade and we haven’t completely gone through the process yet. I think there will be plenty more changes to come in this respect. The other major change has been a very recent one with the COVID-19 virus problem. This has seen a fundamental shift that all businesses, not just Halco, have had to deal with. Only time will tell if we got it right. SC: For many years Halco was based right in the heart of Fremantle, but you recently moved premises. What was the thinking behind that and what memories do you have of the old offices? TC: Time has passed quickly. We have been in the “new premises” for nearly five years now, which are just 500m as the crow flies from where we were before. We still feel part of the Fremantle community though. The facility we have now was custom designed and built for us and is a pleasure to work in. It’s a far cry from the previous premises. It allows us to develop products with the most modern technology www.spooledmagazine.com.au
available to us and also to easily test products due to our location relative to the water. As far as the old factory was concerned, my memory is of winters that were pretty cold and miserable affairs while summer was a sweltering exercise. It’s a much nicer and more productive environment we are lucky enough to enjoy these days. SC: Halco lures used to be produced locally, but in recent years the production has been shifted overseas. What was the reasoning for that?
SC: Are your lures still hand painted? TC: Yes, our lures are still hand painted. There is no magic bullet for that, although we have looked at different technologies. At this point in time hand sprayed is still the best and most effective way to paint the lures. Some of the technologies have changed, but it’s still left to a very specialised and skilled workforce to apply the products and finishes.
Halco lures are still hand painted overseas, just as they were in Fremantle for many years.
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TC: As I mentioned before, before we shifted as we needed to meet a number of criteria that were very specific. We needed to make a product that was at least as good as it was when it was made in Australia, if not better. We needed to protect our intellectual properties, we needed to make a product at a price that would keep us world competitive, and we had to be able to guarantee continuous supply. Thankfully, we were able to achieve all these criteria and more with the move.
How It Began - HALCO
Ben Patrick, Tim Carter and Al McGlashan with a quality Abrolhos Islands treble all caught on Halco lures.
SC: How has technology changed the way Halco Tackle does business? TC: Yes, there have been many technology breakthroughs during my time at Halco. Things like four-colour printing, UV cure topcoats, designed-tobleed VM undercoats and many others have all occurred since I joined the company. All have been game changers in one way or another for us. SC: Halco is known largely for its lures, but what else does it produce? TC: We produce many allied products, including various wire traces, windon leaders, hook rigs, swivels, fish ring pliers and even casting plugs. SC: What about your lure range. How many does Halco produce these days?
SC: How many countries does Halco export lures to these days? TC: We sell not only to Australia, but to over 70 other countries around the globe. SC: Why do you think Halco lures have stood the test of time so well? TC: We focus our products to be the toughest, most fish-catching products on the market while bringing them to the world at modest prices. There simply isn’t a product out there that delivers the same level of features and benefits for the price, in our opinion. They are built to last and are the mainstay of many commercial markets. That in itself is testament to their durability.
Costa Rica snook on the Halco Trembler.
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TC: We have 41 models of hard body lures in the range, but that excludes all our Madeye soft plastics, our metal range and jigs. There are another 22 in that lot.
How It Began - HALCO
Abrolhos Islands pink snapper on a Laser Pro for Tim Carter.
SC: Do have a favourite Halco lure, both as a staff member and a fisherman? TC: I do a lot of barra fishing and I love fishing with the Trembler 70XS. It’s just such a versatile lure. It not only catches barra, but I use it in many shallow saltwater situations with great success too. SC: What about lure development? In a challenging marketplace how does Halco keep innovating to stay ahead of the opposition? TC: We tend to concentrate our lure development on models we want to fish with ourselves. It might be a bit self indulgent, but we figure if it’s something we want to use as hard-core anglers, chances are it’s something others will want too. There are never any problems with what to do next – so many lures and ideas, just not enough time.
TC: This year we have a new size in the Slidog coming, a fantastic new soft plastic in the Madeye range, plus some absolutely sensational new colours that I can’t wait to show people. Given the major trade shows are cancelled, we should be able to talk more about the new colours mid-June and new models around the first week in August.
Roosta poppers are proven fish catchers. www.spooledmagazine.com.au
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SC: Any inside mail on what we might see next from Halco?
How It Began - HALCO
SC: How much pride do you take in seeing great captures on your lures, and are there any that stand out from your time with the company? TC: We all take great pride in fantastic captures on our products. It’s sort of being like expectant fathers presented with their children. Whether it’s a world record or just some sort of outstanding angling feat, we know our products are up to the challenge. All you need to do is find the fish! SC: What’s the most satisfying feedback you can get on your lures?
TC: For me, I think the feedback I enjoy most is when we have someone 90 that’s struggling with a species or problem that we can lend some advice on and then they get onto the fish of their dreams. It really is the most satisfying feeling for me, and I am sure Ben Patrick would say the same. SC: There have been many challenges for businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. How has Halco Tackle coped with this and how optimistic are you about the future? TC: COVID has been a very difficult time for us, despite knowing we are not the only ones affected by this, but when you put it into perspective, we have remained healthy and haven’t struggled like some other countries have. Places like Spain and Italy have had some devastating loss of life, so I think we should all be pretty thankful for the position we find ourselves in today. We have still managed a few fish while socially isolating, which has been great. I think fishing itself is a hugely beneficial mental release for many people and just too important to ignore if handled with common sense and following government guidelines. SC: If you were asked to sum up Halco Tackle in a single sentence, what would you say? TC: A business with real fishermen at its core with a longheld commitment to its customers and end users.
One of Halco’s oldest lures, the humble Twisty still produces the goods.
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What’s NEW? SPOOLED LOOKS AT WHAT’S NEW IN THE MARKE T. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ANY OF THE PRODUCTS, SIMPLY TAP THE BUT TON SHOWN.
TSUNAMI PRO PULSE LURES The new Tsunami Pro Pulse lures provide Aussie anglers with effective minnow-profile hard-bodies for light tackle lure fishing. These small, but powerful lures pack plenty of punch and work well on species such as bream, bass, flathead, perch and tailor. Featuring refined slender profiles and fish-enticing actions, the new Pro Pulse lures are certain to attract plenty of attention. The versatile lures are also available in subtle translucent colours for clear water, in addition to brighter tones for murky water. These well-constructed lures include internal rattles for added acoustic attraction and 3D eyes for underwater realism. There are two size options (50mm and 65mm) and all lures are pre-rigged with high-quality Mustad Ultra Point hooks. Often it’s the small details in action and design that help to create effective lures that consistently deliver results. The Tsunami Pulse is certain to entice a variety of light tackle sportfish, so get your finger on the Pulse and start catching!
JARVIS WALKER BULLSEYE X REELS The development of the new Bullseye X spinning reel range adds an elite, light-tackle dimension to the Jarvis Walker stable. These high performance and reduced-weight reels boast an aluminium body and spool, in addition to a high-strength carbon rotor. The design also features ported elements to reduce weight and deliver a modern and streamlined aesthetic. The Bullseye X strikes the perfect balance between strength, weight, style and performance. Bullseye X spinning reels also feature machined CNC handles and EVA handle grips for smooth and flawless cranking. The reinforced, line-friendly bail wire also provides strength and enhanced line management. Internally, the Bullseye X is packed with six stainless steel ball bearings and an infinite anti-reverse bearing for enduring smoothness. The reels are also equipped with a fibre-reinforced FRS drag system that enables powerful, yet refined drag settings that are essential for finesse fishing with light braided lines. The Bullseye X range also includes a low profile and lightweight baitcaster reel that features four ball bearings, an infinite anti-reverse bearing, anodised aluminium spool, alloy handle, multi-disc drag system and a 6.2:1 gear ratio. The Bullseye X reels are ideal for light tackle sports anglers seeking highly-refined, lightweight reels for casting soft plastics and lures. Whether youâ€™re chasing bream, barra, or snapper the Bullseye X reels are sure to hit the mark!
PRO-CURE – EGILICIOUS ULTIMATE SQUID JIG SCENT When the squid won’t eat or it’s time to make your squid jig stand out from the crowd, Pro-Cure’s Egilicious Ultimate Squid Jig Scent is definitely worth a try.
A major breakthrough in bait scent technology, Egilicious Jig Scent is made up of water-soluble fish oils that totally dissolve into the water column, travelling further and faster than regular fish oil, creating the ultimate attraction to your squid jig. Application is quick and easy with the 115ml spray bottle design. The cloth of the squid jig holds the watersoluble oils, releasing a cloud of scent and scent trail upon contact with the water, drawing squid to the jig. A UVenhanced formula and powerful amino acids assist in attracting squid to the jig, while also triggering strikes. There are two ‘flavours’ available – #0556 Shrimp Squid Jig Scent and #0557 Pilchard/ Sardine Squid Jig Scent. Suggested retail price is $29.95 per bottle.
JARVIS WALKER RAMPAGE COMBO’S The new Jarvis Walker Rampage rods, reels and combos offer everyday Aussie anglers vibrant tackle options for fishing and boating adventures. The eye-catching designs, excellent value and reliable quality make the Rampage range a clever choice. Rampage rods, reels and combos are available in a variety of popular sizes to suit a broad range of Australian fish species and fishing conditions. The rods feature quality reel seats, line-friendly guides, durable EVA grips and an impressive metallicred finish. Constructed from tough, lightweight tubular fibreglass, the rod blanks provide an effortless casting action and are very forgiving when fighting fish. The Jarvis Walker Rampage range delivers tough and reliable rods and reels that won’t break the bank. They’re the perfect outfits to grab for those quintessential Aussie beach holidays or for a relaxing fish in your local estuary! Aussie kids, families, weekend fishos and holiday anglers will love fishing with the Rampage!
SHIMANO CAIUS An exciting member of the affordable range of low profile baitcasters is the Caius 150, now with a new red and matte black cosmetic.
The Caius certainly looks the goods, but also delivers on performance. With three 96 stainless steel bearings and one roller bearing, operation is as smooth as silk. The Caius offers 5kg of drag, VBS Braking System and Super Free Spool. This means casting is effortless and uncomplicated — something that’s essential for anglers new to baitcasters. An upgraded gear ratio of 7.2:1 will really get those lures cranking in. The reel is perfectly suited to both salt water and fresh water environments, and handles 20-30 pound braid nicely. Match the Caius up with a graphite baitcasting rod from Shimano’s Squidgies or Revolution rod range and you have an awesome fish catching combo. The new Caius should be ideal for those who enjoy chasing callop in the Murray or maybe anglers heading up north for a tropical fishing holiday. Recommended retail price is $149.95, and stocks are expected to arrive in SA stores shortly.
ZMAN NEW COLOURS There have been some exciting new colour additions in the range of popular ZMan 10X Tough ElaZtech soft plastics, including Purple Death, The Wright Stuff and Hot Craw.
The Wright Stuff, named after US angler Jesse Redfish Wright, who helped design the colour, is a natural translucent brown with a mix of black, gold and copper fleck, making it dynamite it dirty and tannin stained water, along with targeting species that reside around muddy and weedy environments. Again in a 3” MinnowZ and 4” DieZel MinnowZ, these two new colours will be on the menu for flathead, barramundi, mangrove jack, mulloway, bass and more. The other new addition is the Hot Craw colour – dark back over a bright red with a black and gold glitter that is available in both the 2.5” TRD CrawZ and 2.75” TRD BugZ. Hot Craw is an excellent reaction colour that will stand out from the natural colour range offered in these models. The 2.5” TRD CrawZ, 2.75” TRD BugZ and 3” MinnowZ have 6 per pack, while the 4” DieZel MinnowZ has 5 per pack, with a SRP of $11.95.
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Purple Death is making a name for itself in both the fresh and salt, thanks to its UV reactive green belly, translucent purple back and micro glitter that adds a natural scale flash. It is available in both the 3” MinnowZ and 4” DieZel MinnowZ.
DOWNRIGGER BOMBS FROM SAVAGE TACKLE
Blue water anglers have long been using downriggers to deploy baits and lures for a variety of species like kingfish, samsons and tuna. When the fish are feeding down deep, getting your offering into the strike zone is imperative, particularly when you’re slow trolling or drifting. Savage Tackle, based in Adelaide, manufactures high quality downrigger ‘bombs’ that are available at a highly competitive price. They come in a variety of weights up to ten pounds, and a new six pounder has recently been added
JARVIS WALKER SOFT-SIDED LURE BAGS The new Jarvis Walker Soft-Sided Lure Bags offer a convenient tackle storage solution for anglers on the go. The handy carry bags help to organise, secure and protect terminal tackle, accessories and personal items into a neat and tidy system. The Soft-Sided Lure Bags feature padded and adjustable shoulder straps for premium comfort, as well as multiple pockets and pouches for pliers, scissors and personal items. The bags also come equipped with two removable tackle trays for storing hooks, sinkers, swivels and lures. Tastefully designed and constructed from durable materials, the Lure Bags are available in two sizes (Large and Small). The large option includes two LB3000 Boxes, while the small option includes two LB1000 Boxes. The Jarvis Walker Soft-Sided Lure Bags are easy to carry or stash in a car or boat and provide a fresh new look and improved functionality for portable tackle storage systems. Most importantly, the Lure Bags keep essential tackle organised and within reach so that you can focus on catching fish!
UPGRADED LURE WALLETS The Wilson Lure Wallets are available in two sizes, large and small. Striking in their design with a clear swatch to allow you to see what’s inside, these lure wallets are exceptionally functional allowing anglers to store plastics and spinnerbaits in a convenient and easy to manage way. The Large Lure Wallet is ideal for larger spinnerbaits and 7-9” long plastics. It features 8 zip lock sleeves that are held in place by three stainless steel rings. The Small Lure Wallet is perfect for 5” and smaller plastics as well as spinnerbaits up to about an ounce in weight. This wallet features 10 sleeves and a two stainless steel rings. Both wallets are double zippered with easy-pull zipper tabs and feature a sturdy carry handle for easily transporting them from home to the boat.
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SPOOLED FISHING MAGAZINE Welcome to Spooled, a dedicated digital magazine that can be downloaded and read at your leisure; you don’t have to...
Published on Jul 2, 2020
SPOOLED FISHING MAGAZINE Welcome to Spooled, a dedicated digital magazine that can be downloaded and read at your leisure; you don’t have to...