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SAINT NICK’S PICKS
  |  First Published: December 2010



Christmas is here again, and that means only one thing to keen anglers – finding the latest and greatest tackle to fill their stockings!

While most anglers usually know what they want, people buying for them are generally at a loss as to what to get. So do them a favour this year and help them out by discretely marking, circling, or highlighting items in this column and leaving it in a conspicuous spot for those nearest and dearest to find. After all, helping others is the Christmas spirit…

TRAVELLING ANGLERS
REVOLUTION TRAVEL RODS

The quality and range of travel rods on the market never ceases to impress me. Seems like every company has an array of light spinning and baitcaster models and for these it is just a case of picking one on price, application and quality.

The recent additions to the Shimano stable are sure to impress with heavy models in both spin and overhead for serious bluewater sport fishers and offshore anglers. If you had one of each of these rods then you would have all your bases covered. There is: 2.13m 5-10kg spin; 2.29m 15-24kg spin; 2.74m 6-10kg spin; 2.06m 10-15kg general-purpose overhead, and; 1.73m 15-24kg game/trolling overhead.

All are three-piece rods with the exception of the 2.74m, which is four-piece. These rods are built with unique three-ply graphite weave construction, Pacific Bay components, zirconium ring guides, extra hard EVA grips and split-butt configurations. The Japanese style V-joints take nothing away from the actions of these rods and each one has a great taper when under load.

I think they are exceptional value, with prices between $180 and $250.

NOMADIC TRAVEL RODS

For anglers who travel a lot, whether during their normal business activity or for specialised angling trips, Berkley’s Nomadic Series travel rods are sure to create quite a degree of interest. Their range includes three telescopic models and five multi-piece models.

All rods are fairly light with the heaviest line rating at 4-6kg. The lone baitcasting rod is a five-piece 4-6kg 5’10 model suitable for light tropical sportfishing plus flathead and bass.

The remaining six models are all spinning rods with lengths and line classes to suit most applications. All Nomadic Rods feature IM6 graphite, Fuji Alconite guides, and come with a hard plastic storage/travel tube and bag. Whether you chase whiting, bass, trout, mangrove jack, salmon or bream there is a rod to suit your purpose. All rods collapse down small enough to be thrown in a duffle bag or suitcase making them an ideal addition to you range of rods.

All rods in the range retail for around $130.

SNOWBEE TRAVEL CASE

Travelling with all your clothes, toiletries, travel rod tubes, reels, tackle and other gear could not be easier than with the Snowbee XS2 Travel Bag. I have owned one of these for a while now so know how much gear they will hold and what a quality product it is.

The XS2 was designed to carry enough stuff for a 10 day trip, has roller wheels for ease of transit, a pull out handle, reinforced waterproof base, rubber base skids and weighs just 4.6kg. It has a base compartment of 60L with stiff sides, ideal for all your travel rods, stowaway boxes, reels and other gear. This lower section is accessible by unzipping the 2-way lockable zips and folding the top section out.

The upper section is split into two sections. The larger is 48L and ideal for all your clothing, the smaller is 15L, and large enough to house your waders or toiletries and other things. Having your clothing in the top gives extra protection to your gear below.

One thing I especially liked about the XS2, which wasn’t the case with my previous travel bag, was that it free-stands on its end, important when traversing airport queues. I have used this bag on several trips now and find it ideal.

It retails for around $300.

SURECATCH HITMAN

While multi-piece travel rods can be carried in your travel luggage, many anglers require safe storage and travel solutions for their other prized rods. It is rather frustrating getting to your destination only to find that the rods you want to use are damaged.

As you take different rods with you on varied trips, there is a need for rod tubes of differing lengths at times. Instead of having numerous tubes, you can now purchase just the one that will cater for rods between 1.5m and 2.2m. The Surecatch Hitman rod tube has an extra large capacity, with a 115mm diameter, allowing you to transport several rods safely.

You will be able to fit around five to eight rods in this tube, dependant on guide sizing and packing methods, and so on. The tube telescopes to the desired length then a locking pin is inserted to maintain that length during transit. I often replace this pin with a padlock for security. It is completely lockable, of a contoured blow-moulded construction and has a handle for ease of carrying.

At under $100 the Surecatch Hitman is a must have for any travelling angler, whether transporting rods on aircraft or on the roof racks of your car.

REELS
TALICA OVERHEADS

Shimano is forever coming up with innovative new tackle to exceed the demands of serious anglers. In the Talica overhead reel range there are four single-speed models (8, 10, 12, 16) and six two-speed models (8,10, 12, 16, 20, 25). Features include six shielded anti-rust bearings, cold-forged machined-aluminium frame treated with cutting edge corrosion protection, waterproof carbon drag systems (when engaged), lightweight cold-forged aluminium spool and oversized high-efficiency gears.

The four smaller models sport maximum drag pressures of 9kg, and the larger models possess between 18kg and 20kg at full strike. With relatively high gear ratios on each model, the Talicas are ideal for deepwater jigging but would also be suitable for trolling, live-baiting and other applications.

The retrieve smoothness is what impressed me most as they lacked the agricultural feel of many other high ratio, large drag capacity reels.

They are a combination of finesse and power and retail from around $600.

THUNNUS CI4 BAITRUNNERS

Those who have been in the fishing game for a while may remember the popularity and quality of the Thunnus baitrunner reels a few years back. Shimano have revamped these quality reels with lightweight metallic blue CI4 frames and rotors (aluminium on 12000 model), aluminium spools, propulsion line management system, waterproof drag, fluidrive11, floating shaft, dartainium11 drag washers, machined aluminium handle with power knob and much more.

With rods getting lighter these days, the Thunnus CI4 baitrunners offer a perfect match to maintain the balance of the outfit. The 4000, 6000, 8000 and 12000 sizes feature drag pressures of 7kg, 10kg, 10kg and 12kg respectively and each model possesses five shielded anti-rust bearings. The benefits of baitrunners are well known to keen snapper anglers and others who like to live-bait and dead bait. The Thunnus CI4 baitrunners have taken things to the next level for those who like quality tackle.

Prices start from around $330.

SEAGATE LIGHT 3500

Deepwater plastics and light jig fishing has really gained in momentum in recent years as anglers realise that they can catch quality snapper, pearl perch and other species on artificial offerings in deep water, even with quite light gear.

A new release from Daiwa is ideal for this application due to possessing a gearing system that boasts 15% more cranking power than conventional gears. The Seagate Light 3500 is built with a Super Metal body and sports a tough Digigear-Drive system.

This is a serious saltwater reel with seven corrosion resistant ball-bearings, titanium nitride ball-bearing line roller, machined aluminium power handle, and Hyper Tournament waterproof drag system. It is relatively fast with a 5.3:1 retrieve and has a powerful 6kg of drag pressure. It is the ideal size for a light yet powerful bluewater reel and will hold around 300m of PE2 (20lb braid).

I think this reel will be extremely popular for applications such as deepwater plastics fishing, slow jigging octo-jigs, spinning for mackerel, jigging for mulloway and even for working frogs and other surface lures for barramundi.

The Seagate Light 3500 retails for around $300.

ANGLER ADDITIONS
BLACK MAGIC PLIERS

Every so often something pops up that is just what you are looking for.

I was just starting to prepare for a long range GT popping trip and was rigging myriad poppers and stickbaits when these little beauties presented themselves. The Black Magic Pliers have anodized aluminium handles (blue, red or grey) and are lightweight at under 200gm.

The stainless steel jaws sport hardened tungsten steel cutters suitable for both braid and monofilament. I have had a lot of use out of the large split ring opener, which was just ideal for rigging my large lures sporting size #8 to #11 split rings. It did a better job than other pliers twice its price.

This awesome tool comes complete with a nylon, belt-mounted pouch and safety lanyard and is attractively priced at under $100. There is also a new smaller size due for release before Christmas. Any serious bluewater fisher must have one in their kit.

DOGGIE 168 WP

One lure that I used on my recent long range trip was the Doggie 168 from River2Sea. This slow-sinking stickbait is 168mm long, weighs 122g and casts exceptionally well. It is filled with water resistant foam so even tooth penetrations will not affect its ability to continue working.

The Doggie 168 features owner ST saltwater trebles, heavy-duty rings and has a slow rolling and meandering action. It can be cast and retrieved at varying speeds for slightly varied actions or can be flatlined and slowly trolled. I recently caught large GT and dogtooth tuna on them and have purchased several more for an upcoming trip.

There are currently around eight colours to choose from. I think the Doggie 168 WP is an exceptional lure for bluewater sport fishers at around $20.

PRESENTATION FILLET KNIVES

Marttiini is a well-known company by those who appreciate a quality knife. This Finnish company has been around for many years and is now owned by the Rapala Freetime Group. They have recently produced several new knives aimed at the fishing market, which ooze quality and seem like works of art.

The Presentation Fillet knives are made from hand-ground European stainless steel with laminated/varnished birch handles. The PRFBL6 has a high-polished finish to the blade while the PRFGL6 has a Teflon coating to allow easier passage through the fillet without sticking. Both have attractively engraved, progressive tapered blades and come with a genuine tooled leather sheath with locking clip and gold embossing. Apart from being an amazing looking knife and sheath, these are precision cutting instruments that could last you half a lifetime.

Any angler would be proud to own one of these and I think they are a great gift for under $70.

EGI-OQ LIVE

Squid fishing has become very popular in recent years and as a result there is a lot of new equipment flowing into the country, mainly Japanese inspired. Yamashita’s most recent advancement has taken Egi (squid jig) technology to a new level.

These new jigs have a special coating called Tactywarm, a thermo storage cloth made from a unique thread that is able to change light into heat. It will absorb sunlight or torch light (candlepower) and make the jig up to 1ºC warmer than the water, depending on conditions, which is similar to the temperature of most baitfish and prawns.

Previously Egi only appealed to squid using colour, sound and action but now a fourth dimension (temperature) has been added to the equation to improve the hook-up ratio even more.

The Egi OH Q Live comes in three sizes (2.5, 3 and 3.5), dozens of unique colours and they retail for less than $20 each.

DAIWA E-GEE

The Daiwa E-Gee 2506 was designed with squid fishing in mind, however, the ultra finesse drag has also proved favourable for those finesse fishing for bream, trout and other species where a light, precision drag is needed.

The E-Gee features Digigear 11, metal body, ABS Air Spool, machined aluminium handle, custom neo ball knob, Cross-Wrap line loading (ideal for light braid) and silent oscillation. The E-Gee 2506 is a smart little reel, with a moderate price of under $250, which will appeal to any angler wanting a reel with a finesse drag.

Bream anglers just love them. If you are after this reel specifically for squid fishing, check out the two models of Daiwa E-Gee rods, the EG83M-L and EG86M, which are also squid specific tackle and around the same retail as the reel.

BERKLEY EGI MASTER BAG

Quality squid jigs are expensive these days so it pays to store and keep them in good order. The Berkley EGI Master Bag can hold a heap of Egi (squid jigs) in the innovative and removable jig storage wrap, which provides tangle-free jig storage and easy access.

There are various separate compartments for general gear plus a mesh leader dispenser pocket, braid scissors pouch and an adjustable strap to allow the bag to be fitted around your waist like a bumbag or slung over the shoulder.

The Egi Master bag has plenty of compartments, is made from quality materials including heavy-duty vinyl and retails for around $40.

SEBILÉ LURES

Probably one of the most exciting and diverse ranges of lures to hit the Australian market in recent years are the brainchild of Patrick Sebilé. Tried, tested and imported by Nomad Charters, the range of Sebilé Lures is extensive and varied to cover everything from bream to dogtooth tuna.

One of the popular, yet different, offerings has been the Magic Swimmer, a double-jointed, slow-sinking swim bait that snakes enticingly through the water. Another, the Flat Shad, a lipless reaction bait, comes in numerous sizes to suit a huge array of species in water of most depths. The sinking versions have been especially successful on snapper with some large fish taken over the artificial and offshore reefs. The Stick Shad is a stickbait with floating, suspending and sinking versions in a huge array of sizes and it looks awesome in the water when worked in a walk-the-dog fashion.

There is a huge array of different styles across the Sebilé range, with numerous lure styles including vibration baits, minnows, shads, various topwater stickbaits, soft plastics, spoons, metals, jointed swimbaits, poppers and more. These are not copies or variations of other lures and the range is quite unique and different to most other lures of their kind.

There is a heavy-duty (Surf & Sun Series) option with these styles featuring reinforced bodies, full wiring and upgraded hardware for extreme fishing situations. There has been a lot of technology and thought put into each and every lure style and the range of colours is awesome, some featuring bodies filled with liquid sporting the blood red or glitter effects. This range of lures recently won four major awards at the Australian Tackle Trade Show.

Check out the vast array of Sebilé Lures, which start from around $20 for most hardbodies. There will be something innovative and interesting for the fisher on your list.

ALVEY SURF BAG

Any avid surf fisher knows the value of a quality shoulder bag to carry all your gear and the day’s catch. Alvey have been listening to angler’s requests and have produced the ultimate surf wading bag, designed with specific features for fishing in this environment.

Made from a heavy-duty, fire-engine red, polyester material, this bag is extremely strong, durable and makes you highly visible during daylight hours. Other features include a pocket for your fish measure, knife sheath securing strap, pliers pouch, hook remover pocket, drink holder and a self-draining front pocket for your tackle box or bait holder. The main pocket (52x52cm) will hold heaps of fish and is self-draining to avoid filling with water or blood.

The heavy-duty adjustable shoulder strap sports a durable rubber shoulder pad to minimise discomfort on your shoulder when the bag is weighted down with fish. For night fishing, Alvey have added a safety reflector so those driving down the beach can easily spot you. This is a great advancement on the traditional shoulder bag and retails for around $30.

PRO 900 CRAB POTS

Crabbing is a popular pastime with the reward of a tasty feed at the end of the day. Whether you drop a few pots off your jetty or are a seasoned crabber, working the various ledges and contours in open water, the Pro 900 Crab Pot is worth checking out if you need a quality pot.

It features 10mm hot-dipped galvanized rings, UV stabilized 30mm2 PE-Mono netting and 6mm poly-film protector rope. This 900x310mm pot weighs 4.5kg (ideal for high water flow areas), has four entries, removable uprights for flat storage and a buffer rope around all rings to protect the taut mesh from wearing as the pot drags over structure during retrieval.

Crabs can be retrieved out of either side and the Pro 990 has an inbuilt bag, with draw-string closure, for securing the bait. The rope used in this pot has a turtle-deterring factor and the pot is Australian designed by pro crabbers.

This is a high quality pot that will last many years and retails for around $65.

RODS
DEMON BLOOD

A new range of rods from Daiwa includes a series called Demon Blood. There are seven spin models and two overhead models to suit applications from deepwater jigging to GT popping.

The four 5’6” jigging models (2 spin, 2 OH) are single piece construction while the five spinning models are all two-piece, mostly with Japanese style, V-joint ferrule technology. The Bias-Wrap construction blanks are fitted with Fuji silicone carbide new concept guides, heavy-duty Fuji reel seats with locking rings and ultra tough EVA grips.

These rods are smartly finished in predominately red and silver, exceptionally light for their line ratings and well built for a rod in the $300 to $400 price range.

The Demon Blood 82XH is a PE8 (80lb) popping rod ideal for GT and is probably the best value rod of its kind at less than $400. There are also some lighter, PE line-class rods in the range for serious sport fishing applications.

NITRO CUSTOM SQUID

Squid fishing, or egiing as it is becoming known, has reached a dawning era in Australia with plenty of specialised tackle for the job. Nitro have recently added a great new rod to their range called the Custom Squid, which is constructed from Torayca carbon fibre as used in structural applications for some Boeing aircraft.

Due to its fast-actioned, slim profile blank, this 8ft long, 2-piece rod is ideal for the longest casts from land-based positions or those wanting to cover large areas over sea grass beds and shallow reef. It will handle squid jigs from 1.8 to 4.0 and features Fuji Low-Rider sloped-frame guides and ultra-light sloped tip section guides, designed to eliminate line fouling.

It has an expeditor style warranty for life and retails for around $300.

WILSON LURE RETRIEVER

Anglers who do a lot of lure fishing, especially those who work in heavily structure areas such as canals, mangrove creeks and impoundments, will be aware of the value of a good lure retrieval system. With many quality lures costing between $20 and $30 these days, we endeavour to retrieve as many snagged ones as we can.

Wilson recently released a great telescopic, pig-tail style, lure retriever that could be just what you need. This retriever is made from four telescoping, black aluminium pieces that extend from around 2-5.5m in length. The Wilson Lure Retriever has locking rings to keep it rigid when extended to any length within these ranges, making it ideal for all sorts of situations.

This product could save you a lot of money and is great value, retailing for around $50.

ADVENTURE ANGLER

Many of you may have seen this great footage on Foxsports: Micah Adams heads to exotic destinations including The Kimberleys, Tasmania, Hinchinbrook Channel and New Zealand in search of unique fishing opportunities. The footage is first class with plenty of awesome fish, stunning landscapes, adrenalin charged fighting action and an interesting running commentary as Micah and his mates get into the piscatorial action using hardbodies, plastics and even flies.

I found this great viewing and very refreshing to watch. You will definitely get some great hints on improving your skills, how to read the water and what to look for when chasing certain species. For me, the best episode was the one where Micah targets his Holy Grail of catching a permit on fly fishing tackle on the flats of the Hinchinbrook Channel. However, every one of the eight episodes on the three disks of Adventure Angler Season One, are well worth watching.

I think it would make an awesome gift for any angler at under $50 for the entire three-disk set.

FISHING DVD #21

Anglers who like informative and entertaining viewing will be pleased to see the release of another The Fishing DVD, just in time for Christmas. Serious anglers collect every edition of this series so would be rapt to find one under the tree with a gift tag sporting their name.

There are five segments on this latest release, as well as various other factual information and hints. A few of these include Wreck Jigging off 1770, Land-based Flathead and Maroon Dam Bass, which just illustrates the diversity of these productions, with something for anglers fishing in the freshwater, estuary or offshore environments.

The Fishing DVD #21 is essential and value viewing this holiday season and retails for $14.95.

CHRISTMAS KAYAKING
RAPALA SLING BAG

I have included this nifty tackle tote system in with the kayak stuff as it is compact, easy to wear and convenient.

The Rapala Sling Bag, as the name suggests, has been designed specifically, with a padded shoulder strap, to be slung around your shoulder, with the main tackle storage being at the back most of the time. However, when required, it can be easily spun back around to the front for easy tackle selection from either of the two 3600 size tackle trays, which hold plenty of lures and other tackle for an outing, or from one of the many zippered pockets.

The Sling bag is made from 600 denier waterproof fabric, making it ideal for kayaking and features a spiral retractor and D-ring for attaching line snippers, pliers and the like that can otherwise be easily lost over the side. With the Rapala Sling Bag all your tackle can be at hand, safe from drowning yet not in the way while you are paddling. They retail for around $70.

HAWK KAYAK NET

For anglers fishing from yaks, space can be a big issue, especially as far as bulky items like landing nets are concerned. They need to be at hand when required, yet have to be stored away while fishing.

The latest product from Hawk, the Yak Attack folding net has this problem solved. This neat net will fold away to a relatively small size, which can fit into all sorts of nooks and crannies, yet with the flick of your wrist it is assembled and ready for use.

It has a knotless mesh netting, lightweight aluminium frame, lanyard attachment ring and an aluminium handle with moulded grip. I have seen similar nets to this one over the years (all at much heftier prices), yet the Yak Attack Net possesses the best locking mechanism and easiest assembly I have found. Retails for around $35.

HOOKEM TELE-GAFF

As anglers get more and more adventurous with fishing from kayaks, they manage to hook larger fish. This has required many anglers to carry a gaff to secure their prize. Out of a kayak you often require a degree of reach for larger fish yet a long gaff is hard to store. Hookem, an Australian company, have solved this problem with their Tele-Gaff.

This quality Australian made product measures only 900mm closed, yet extends out to 1350mm. It has a telescopic design with a half twist to lock it into position. The hook is high quality stainless and substantial enough to secure a Spanish mackerel, cobia or other large game.

This product will easily outlast your kayak and retails for around $80.

QUADS, BOATS ‘N’ YAKS FISHING SAFARI

It is always nice to get off the beaten track and fish water that is not easily accessible. This is exactly what a group of guys on the Central Queensland Coast do as they use all kind of methods, including boats and quad bikes, to access spots off the beaten track.

They catch an array of fish including salmon, barramundi, flathead, sharks, cod and others and although none of the fish are huge they have a lot of fun along the way, teaching you a bit about this kind of fishing.

The third section is of most interest to yakkers with some kayak fishing, some new products explained and a few fish caught. This DVD is worth a look for anyone who likes a little adventure and appreciates the great outdoors.

Quads, Boats ‘n’ Yak Fishing Safari retails for around $30.

SPEARFISHING
HUNTERS AND GATHERERS

As a young bloke I did a bit of shallow water spearfishing in the waters around Bowen and Townsville and many years later at a couple of spots on the Gold Coast. My technique and equipment was fairly simple compared to the efforts and dedication of these guys: Rob Tortelli’s production Hunters and Gatherers was well filmed and extremely interesting, especially if you are a novice to this more extreme form of selective fishing, as I am.

Rob is a seven times Australian spearfishing champion so naturally he has plenty of knowledge on the subject. He demonstrates techniques for free-diving and catching southern crayfish by hand, collecting abalone and much more.

Rob and his friends demonstrate several spearfishing techniques, with a host of species including snapper, snook, King George whiting, squid and many others taken from inshore waters. Every hit is captured on underwater film footage and I was amazed at the accuracy of these guys with their various spear guns and other apparatus. Even in shallow bays adjacent populated areas these guys manage to shoot and collect enough seafood for a smorgasboard.

They demonstate how to use berley to tempt fish within the range of their spearguns and also how to stalk spooky species. The final segment is pretty exciting with the guys heading out to the bluewater. After several attempts, Rob manages to shoot a world spearfishing record bluefin tuna.

Even though I am not really into spearfishing, I really enjoyed this production and naturally learnt a lot. If you are thinking of getting into the sport then you should get your hands on this production, which retails for less than $30.

FRESHWATER
AUSTRALIAN FISHING TACTICS DVD

All anglers love to watch a bit of fishing action to get the adrenalin flowing. Learning about the new and varied techniques for specifically targeting a particular species is an added bonus. Just in time for Christmas, AFN have released a DVD box set with four great titles for anglers targeting freshwater species.

Targeting species such as barramundi, cod and trout are covered in the first three DVDs with special techniques and hints for spinnerbaiting in the fourth. Any angler wanting to fish in rivers and impoundments for freshwater species would benefit from this DVD set. It is guaranteed to give you the piscatorial itch for $30.

Z-MAN SWIMMERZ

While these plastics can be used for a broad array of saltwater species, I have included them in this column, as they are an awesome offering for impoundment barramundi and Murray cod. They are great by themselves but also make excellent trailers for the large spinnerbaits and jigs used for XOS cod.

Swimmerz come in two sizes 6” (3 pack) and 4” (4 pack) and nine colours. They are made from ElazTech, a rubber-like compound, which is highly stretchable, extremely soft, yet capable of handling bites from toothy critters such as mackerel and similar.

ElazTech has 10 times more durability and stretch than most other plastics. Both sizes feature a moulded fish-scale finish, prominent eyes and full-bodied, big profile paddle-tail for excellent action and appearance in the water, even at extremely low retrieve speeds. Also included in each pack is a Z-Man TriggerHook, which is ideal for presenting these plastics in a weedless manner. However, they are regularly fished on conventional jigheads of differing brands.

The Z-Man Swimmerz have an awesome action, are extremely durable and they retail for less than $15 a packet.

SUSPENDING SHAD RAPS

Rapala is well known by anglers who like quality lures. The latest addition to their amazing range is the Shad Rap RS, which is a suspending lure available in both 5cm/9g and 7cm/12g sizes. They cast well, even into a wind and have audible rattles to catalyse strikes and make them easier for fish to locate in murky water.

Their ability to suspend makes them ideal for working along vertical structure such as rock walls and weed beds. This also allows them to be kept in the strike zone for longer periods for a real ‘in your face’ approach to tempt hesitant bass, saratoga, golden perch and other species.

There are five colours in total, with three natural finishes and two fluoro colours. I think they are an awesome little lure and one of the few suspending shad-profiled models around for less than $20.

SPINNERBAIT ORGANIsER

Tackle storage is always an issue for anglers with plenty of gear, and spinnerbaits are one of the harder things to store. They have blades, skirts and other dangly bits that always seem to tangle when laid in a conventional stowaway style tackle tray. The hanging style spinnerbait boxes work well but are very bulky for what they hold.

The FTO Elite Spinnerbait Organiser holds up to 30 spinnerbaits in a stand up fashion. It has a DuraView lid so you can easily select your spinnerbait at a glance, even before opening the box.

Other quality features include non-corrosive pinned hinges and durable flush-mounted lockdown latches. This is a durable and quality box that stores your spinnerbaits well, without taking up a mountain of room.

The FTO Elite Spinnerbait Organiser is a great little addition to your freshwater arsenal for around $25.

MUSCLE DEEP 4

For those freshwater anglers who love their hardbody lures, Jackall Muscle Deep 4 is going to be a welcome addition. This 70mm, shad-profiled hardbody has great casting weight at 21.5g (3/4oz). Its cupped bib produces an enticing body-roll and swagger to a depth of around 4m (18ft).

Like all Jackall lures, the finishes are awesome with around six colours currently available in Australia. If you love casting hardbody lures for Murray cod and golden perch then the Muscle Deep is an awesome addition for your tackle box.

It is a little on the large size for smaller bass but I am sure that the larger specimens will inhale it with gusto. This is a high-quality lure that retails for around $27.

FRESHWATER FEVER VOL.1

Michael Poulos and friends fish the New England area of NSW for the mighty Murray cod using spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, paddlers and deep diving minnow lures. I was amazed how small some of the pools and holes were where they managed to tempt cod with their lures.

They showed the various lures and techniques for fishing these snag ridden waters and discussed how the weather, times of day and other factors affect the cod’s behaviour. They catch loads of cod to around 20kg from boats, kayaks and on foot.

In the second part, Michael joins up with Adrian Preston to fish the Murray River for its awesome speckled inhabitants. They catch quite a few golden perch and then, while explaining trolling techniques, manage to hook and land a 60lb. From here they concentrate on cast and retrieve with a variety of lures and soon land a 1.1m Murray cod on a hardbody minnow lure.

They think they have hit the jackpot but the next fish, a 1.37m Murray cod estimated at around 90lb caps off this great production with a personal best for Michael.

I found this great viewing and anyone anticipating targeting these awesome natives should check it out. It retails for under $40.

FLYFISHING
FLY STARTER KITS

Scientific Angler are one of the biggest names in flyfishing so you know that when they put their name on a product that it is good quality and extensively tested. For anglers starting out in this great sport, the Scientific Angler Starter Kits are a great way to get your first rod and reel without blowing the budget.

They have four kits available, the saltwater (7/8wt), bass (8wt) and trout (6wt) and all feature four-piece graphite rod, 2-in-1 instructional DVD, a box of species specific flies and a disk-drag reel fully rigged and ready to fish, complete with weight-forward fly line and backing.

Priced between $180 and $200, these are a value-for-money outfit that comes attractively boxed, making it easy to wrap and put under the tree.

WATERPROOF FLY BOXES

Another great product from Scientific Angler is their latest range of waterproof fly boxes. In addition to their previous models they have now released the Special Dry 516, Max Nymph /Dry 446, Compact Nymph Max 270, Classic Angled 176 and Compact Angled 164.

Each box has been specifically designed for various fly styles of numerous sizes, dual side opening, waterproof closures, precision slit foam to hold flies securely and clear lids for quick fly identification.

Most are mainly suited to small trout style flies, except the 176, which is ideal for medium to large bass bugs, wooly buggers, small poppers and various streamer patterns.

These boxes retail for between $40 and $60.

FREESTONE FLY VEST

Simms is a company that has built their reputation with quality products. The most recent addition to their range is the Freestone Fly Vest, made from durable, quick drying 100% nylon fabric, with a 100% polyester lining.

There is plenty of storage with a total of 15 pockets to hold boxes of varying sizes, tippets, leader materials and all those other necessary items. The large, zippered rear pocket is ideal for a rain jacket, food or other bulkier items.

Other features include 2 D-rings for accessory attachment, D-ring net holder, rod holder loop and a rib-knit collar for added comfort. This vest would have to be one of the best I have seen for around $130.

The Freestone Vest would last you many years, due to the quality fabric, which repels water, and the excellent workmanship.

WILSON WEIGH NET

For flyfishers targeting trout, a landing net is a safe way to secure your catch. The latest product from L.Wilson and Co. is small enough to easily hang from the D-ring on your fly vest, yet it is substantial enough to secure the largest trout or even a hefty flathead.

It is constructed from an aluminium frame with a rubber mesh that is environmentally friendly and virtually impossible to entangle with single hooks or trebles. There is a duralon grip to avoid slipping even with a wet grip and it has a scale in the handle, which will allow you to weigh any catch to 6kg (14lb).

It also possesses a quick-release clip for attachment to the back of your vest, making it convenient to have at hand, yet out of the way whilst casting and fighting fish.

As soon as I saw the price of under $40 I bought myself an early Christmas gift!

HOT BASS FLIES

Deke Myer is well known to keen flyfishers that tie their own flies, especially in the USA. His publication Hot Bass Flies has been published for a few years now but has only recently been readily available in Australia. He has collected fly patterns and information from some of the world’s top flyfishers for this publication.

The patterns in this book are based around largemouth bass but most of these patterns will work equally well on Australian bass, saratoga and Murray cod. There is a short article in the back, entitled Australian Native Bass, which is the author’s experience with this species.

By my count, there are over 250 patterns, including poppers, sliders, crayfish, subsurface flies, fly-rod spinnerbaits and floating critters, with colour images and recipes for every pattern. Many also include extra notes on the patterns history, interesting stories, angling recommendations and fishing techniques and hints. Many of these flies are absolute works of art and even though I have tied flies for nearly two decades I was pretty excited about some of the stuff I saw and learnt. I couldn’t wait to get to the vice and try them out.

At around $40, Hot Bass Flies is a great book to have on your tying bench or coffee table.

TIPPET HOLDER

C&F Design are forever coming up with great flyfishing items that soon seem like a necessity. Their latest brainwave is an item that has us wondering why no one thought of this before.

It is quite frustrating trying to rig a fly rod while the tuna are busting on the surface or the browns are sipping dries. Your fingers are fumbling and that bloody leader has caught under the coils of fly line or gone behind the backing plate, again! C&F Design have fixed this problem, well the second one anyway.

You might have to take a chill pill to stop your nervous shakes. Leaders can now be kept in order with the Tippet Holder. This small button-style disk is attached to the backing plate or spool of your reel and the tippet is simply pulled under the elastomer cap to secure it while the reel is not in use. Putting a Tippet Holder on each spare spool keeps the leader in check, even when the spool is not on the backing plate.

The C&F Tippet Holders have been designed to appear unobtrusive and to look like an integral part of your fly reel. They are similar in appearance to the counterbalance disk on some spools. The C&F Design Tippet Holders are plain black, or black and silver, come in a pack of two disks and retail for around $15.

GAME FISHING
BILL RAGE

Awesome angling footage is always great to watch, especially when adverse weather conditions have kept you at home and away from doing the sport that we love most. Anglers chasing billfish from boats know what a struggle it is at times to locate hook and land these awesome critters. Imagine trying to do this from a land-based position! Join a group off hardcore LBG anglers as they do just that.

After many weeks, months and even decades of trying, not only do they land a marlin from the stones, they land several, including some awesome blacks to over 100kg. This is no easy feat, these guys have spent most of their angling life refining their approach and technique to capture this Holy Grail, and you are along for the ride. You get to witness every line-burning run, every acrobatic jump, every bust-off and every ounce of sweat and blood that these guys sacrifice for their quest.

The footage on Bill Rage is a little shaky at times but that can be expected considering the terrain the camera guys have to endure as they follow the action across the stones. After watching their efforts you will be thinking how easy it is to catch a billfish from a boat. I really enjoyed this production and think you will too for $40.

MAKAIRA OVERHEADS

Quality tackle is essential for anglers chasing large gamefish. The saltwater environment is hard on tackle and the fish are even more demanding. Okuma’s latest release is the range of Makaira reels.

Makaira comes from the scientific name for black marlin and these reels are ideal for targeting all billfish and other gamefish.

The drag system on these reels is a little different to some others. The patented Dual Force Drag is designed around a pull bar drag system concept, incorporating a custom-made thrust bearing to reduce handle binding. This produces a quality, reliable drag system ideal for even the largest game fish. These smart looking reels have anodized gold frame and side plates, patented T-Bar handles and all reels in the range are two-speed, with seven models ranging from the 10-80 size.

The 15 would be an ideal model to fish 8kg line for juvenile black marlin and sailfish while the larger sizes are matched to all line classes up to 80kg. These are a smart looking, yet quality, reel with an embossed marlin on the end plate and prices vary between $750 and $1350.

As a bonus during December, each also comes with a free Rapala X-Rap 20 Magnum, custom colour Pakula Mouse skirted lure and 1000m spool of Suffix game line suitable for the relevant reel size.

PAKULA TAG TIDY

For gamefishers into tagging and releasing their catch, a good system of storing and organizing your tag cards can save you a lot of stress. Those who fish tournaments need to be especially careful with tag cards. Losing one will negate a capture and this may cost you dearly in the final standings.

Pakula Tackle have recently released a Tag Tidy that has plenty of appropriately sized pockets to hold filled out tag cards, plus spare tags and cards of various types and also a couple of pens. Two of the pockets are made from mesh with zippered entrances and two of them are open.

The mesh in the pockets is important for allowing tag cards to breathe and dry out if stowed away slightly damp. This happens regularly, as anglers usually fill the cards out straight after a capture when there hands are still wet.

The Pakula Tag Tidy is available in blue, red, black or yellow and retails for around $35.

NITRO TUNA WINCH

Southern bluefin tuna fishing in Bass Strait was the inspiration behind the Nitro’s latest addition to their range, which they have aptly named Tuna Winch.

Nitro have made a real name for themselves with their range of quality rods that includes everything from the 1-2kg Vapor to the 15ft Frankenstein. The Tuna Winch is a 24kg IGFA class, fully-rollered, 5’7 stand-up stroker/game rod designed with serious pelagics, such as yellowfin, blue marlin, striped marlin and XOS cobia, yellowtail kingfish and amberjack, in mind.

This rod has been built with Torayca carbon fibre, heavy-duty anodized aluminium reel seat and gimbal and AFTCO heavy-duty roller guides featuring AFLON high-performance bearings. One of the unique features of this rod is a finger-contoured foregrip, which eliminates the tendency for the hand to slip down the foregrip and decrease leverage on the fish.

The flattened upper surface of this winch-grip allows increased, yet controlled, pressure to be applied on a tough fish, by pushing the line down onto the foregrip with your thumb. The Tuna Winch, like all Nitro Rods, comes with an unconditional expeditor style warranty. It retails for $499.

SPANYID BLADES

Spanyid Lures are well known to anglers into casting for species such as mackerel, tuna, tailor, trevally, kingfish and others. They have made high-quality metal offerings for many years now and have gained the praise of many serious fishers. New to their range are five sizes of blade lures.

The smaller blades have lots of applications, however it is the larger 145mm, 126gm Super Blade that is of most interest to gamefishers. This lure can be trolled at quite high speeds (up to 12 knots) for species such as Spanish mackerel, wahoo, tuna, mahi mahi and other pelagics.

A handy technique when trolling over deep bait schools is to slow down, or even stop, to let the lure sink well down. Hit the throttle again you will return to the troll, pulling the blade up through the bait school in the process. This is dynamite technique that is possible with this kind of offering.

The Spanyid Super Blade can also be cast and retrieved from the rocks or a boat, or vertically jigged over structure. It has three different tow points for fast retrieve (trolling), slow hopping and constant slow jigging.

There are five colours (sardine, St.George, fire mackerel, green mackerel and durado) in the Super Blade but several other colours are available in the smaller sizes.

At around the $30 mark for the 145mm model, the Spanyid Blades are a durable and productive lure that should find a home in your tackle box.

SILICONE SPRAY

Maintenance is especially important for your rods, reels, terminals, lures and everything else that gets exposed to the harsh saltwater environment. Preventative maintenance can go a long way in eliminating further problems down the track. Therefore, coating your rod rollers, metal components, fishing reels and other items with a thin spray of Pakula Silicone Spray is a wise move.

This silicone is high grade and sprays a better coverage and more silicone than any other product on the market. It is also ideal for spraying on your skirted lures to untangle messy skirts and keep them soft and pliable for maximum action and smoke trail in the water.

The Pakula Silicone Spray is Australian-made and a 200g can costs around $30.

EXTREME BLUE WATER HUNTING

Although not set in Southern Queensland, this production does feature some very interesting fishing action for southern bluefin tuna and albacore in the waters off Portland using gamefishing tackle. They land some quality fish in the 20-30kg range and then manage to subdue an awesome tuna just over the 100kg mark.

I loved the underwater footage of mako sharks with the cameraman having to take evasive action several times to avoid being their chew toy. Back to gamefishing, they bait a mako with 10kg tackle and after a good fight manage to land it. The entire hook-up and first run is captured with underwater footage which made great viewing. I enjoyed this production even though it was not in my home waters. Extreme Blue Water Fishing Portland retails for less than $30

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Well there you have it folks, just a small selection of some of the latest and greatest fishing tackle and gadgets to become available.

If you want to check out even more, or have a closer look at any of these products, head down to your specialist tackle dealer and peruse what’s on offer. If you still can’t decide, then there are always tackle store gift vouchers so the angler in your life can return after Christmas and choose their own tackle!

Anglers only have one thing on their mind this season, new fishing tackle – so don’t disappoint.

I hope you all have a great Christmas and a safe New Year and holiday period. Seasons Greetings to all.

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