With Father’s Day rapidly approaching on Sunday 3 September, now’s a great time to audit the tackle box, identify what’s missing, and figure out how you’ll drop the not-so-subtle hints to the kids.
To save you having to make yet another ‘emergency’ trip to the tackle shop yourself (and don’t we hate those), here is a list of bits and pieces that might interest you.
To make it really easy for family members to ‘get your drift’, I’ve grouped suggestions into price categories. You might need to top up the kids’ pocket money budget for a few weeks to really get what you want, but one has to make sacrifices!
Rod Grotaers from the Totally Trout Fishing Centre in Alexandra suggested a jar or two of PowerBait nuggets for those interested in chasing the big trout that have been stocked into the Eildon Pondage.
“There are about 50 nuggets in each jar, and you only need to use half of one for a bait,” Rod said.
“Fish them on a running sinker rig and a Mustad size 12 chemically sharpened hook. PowerBait nuggets float so fish the rig with an open bail arm. That way, the trout can take the bait without feeling any resistance. Just keep an eye on your spool and give the fish a few seconds to take the bait properly before striking.”
Rod also recommends using a ledger stop rather than a swivel on your running sinker rig so you can adjust the leader length and find the most productive depth. Just remember that your bait floats so the longer the leader, the higher up in the water column your nugget will sit.
If you haven’t fished with PowerBait before then Rod has a few tips. Firstly, don’t put wet nuggets back in the jar. Secondly, keep the jar cool by storing it out of direct sunlight. They will last a lot longer. And lastly, don’t worry too much about colour. Although orange sells the best, Rod believes that their effectiveness has more to do with scent.”
Jars of PowerBait retail at Totally Trout for $9.95 each and the Mustad chemically sharpened hooks for $3.95 per pack of 12.
Chris Hall from Portland Bait & Tackle suggested a tackle tray from the Plano range. They come with a lifetime warranty, which is reassuring back-up in this day and age.
“It’s hard to go wrong with tackle trays because every angler needs somewhere to put their terminal tackle. There are so many different models available that there’s sure to be a size that meets your needs, ” Chris said.
“The beauty of the Plano range is that it’s integrated. Many of these smaller trays are designed to fit into larger boxes so you can leave behind what you don’t need, depending on what you’re fishing for.”
“Trays also provide an extra level of protection for tackle. If you’ve got your entire collection of hooks and swivels open to the air for hours on end, things are going to deteriorate, particularly if you fish in the saltwater. But keep your bits and pieces in small sealed boxes and they’ll last for years,” Chris said.
“The 3540, 3640 and 3740 Stowaway trays are really popular because they all have waterproof O-rings to keep water out and tackle in. The 3540 is the smallest and ideal for hooks, sinkers and swivels. Depending on how you structure the internal plastic walls, which are removable, you can have anywhere from 5 to 15 compartments. It retails for $7.95.”
“At the other end of the size range is the 3740 with between 3 and 28 compartments. It retails for $16.99,” said Chris.
Rudy Holzfeind from the Compleat Angler in the CBD suggested an Ecogear SX40 would be a valued addition to any lurecaster’s tackle box.
“These are tournament winning hard-bodied lures that have become extremely popular with bream anglers,” Rudy said.
“But what most anglers don’t realise is how effective they are on other species: trout, redfin, yellowbelly, trevally, flathead and even whiting have all fallen for this pocket sized hard-body.”
“Available in 19 colours, they come equipped with Owner chemically sharpened trebles and instructions on how best to use them,” Rudy said.
“The SX40 was designed and developed in Japan, specifically for the Australian market. It’s actually not sold anywhere else in the world.”
They retail at the Compleat Angler for $19.95 each.
Jim McClymont from the Orbost Angler suggested Hooked in Paradise, a 148-page full colour guide to fishing and boating in Victoria’s coastal waters.
The book includes aerial photographs, feature articles on particular species, boating and safety tips, GPS marks for fishing spots, recipes, knots and rigs, and overlays of Marine Parks.
It covers all of the major bays and inlets including Port Phillip Bay, Western Port, the Gippsland Lakes and Corner Inlet.
“Regular customers have been really impressed with this guide, so much so that two regular fishing mates bought one each,” said Jim.
The Guide retails for $29.95. For more information visit www.hookedinparadise.com.au.
Will from Allways Angling in Traralgon recommended the Rapala pliers and scissors combo, which comes in a customised black nylon pouch that can be attached to your belt. A small Velcro tab secures both items so they don’t fall out when you’re leaning overboard or landing a fish.
“These are really popular with soft plastic anglers who chase bream, flathead and estuary perch. They like to have instant access to essential fishing tools, whether they’re in a boat or walking the bank,” said Will.
“The pliers are nickel plated and the scissors are stainless steel so they’re pretty tough. The pliers also feature crimpers and a wire cutter – useful if you’re going to be using heavier gear in bays, inlets and offshore. And the scissors are specially designed to cut braided line, which can be tough with normal scissors.”
The combo retails at Allways Angling for $24.95.
Chris from Portland believes that in this price bracket, the smallest offering from Plano’s Guide Series is a great gift.
“This extendable bag comes features a rubber moulded bottom and a padded shoulder strap. It comes with four 3600 trays and a spiral zip allows you to ‘extend’ the bag’s capacity and store another 2 trays, or other gear such as a light windproof jacket,” Chris said.
It retails at Portland Bait & Tackle for $69. Larger models follow the same design principles, but just take bigger trays.
John Joubert from Gone Fishing Charters suggested an ‘experience’ gift in the form of a fishing trip rather than an ‘item’.
“If you can manage it, some shared time on the water with one of your kids can be really rewarding for both parties,” John said.
“We run 5-hour charters for $95 per head, which are ideal for youngsters who might not endure a full day on the water with dad. It’s important that fishing trips experienced at a young age leave them wanting to do more.”
“We’re also increasingly seeing father and son customers consisting of adult males and older dads. The son is often busy working and balancing commitments with a young family of their own. They both end up chatting away at the back of the boat for most of the day.”
“An 8-hour day trip is a good option for older pairings because it captures two tides. If they’re not biting on one then there’s a second opportunity later in the day. These trips cost $130 per head and depart from Queenscliff or Portsea, depending on the day,” John said.
“A September or October day of fishing is most likely to encounter the start of the snapper season. Plenty of salmon and calamari should also be about. For the really keen, there are also sharks and even 10-hour trips that specifically target toothies.”
Chris Baty from the Compleat Flyfisher in Melbourne’s Flinders Lane suggested a pair of Horne waders as a versatile gift for boaters and non-boaters, freshwater or salt.
“Whether you flyfish for trout in streams, cast pilchards in the surf for winter salmon or pump bass yabbies from Western Port’s mudflats, a pair of waders is hard to beat,” said Chris.
“The Horne range of waders are made in Australia and come in two basic forms: thigh and chest.”
“The thigh waders are most popular with those anglers who need to walk long distances because it can get pretty warm and sweaty in there.”
“The surf fishing guys often go for the chest waders because they offer more splash protection from surging shore breaks and a bit of extra insulation from the elements.”
“We stock the Blundstone boot models of Horne waders, in sizes 7 through 12, because they are more durable than other models and feature a deeper tread.”
Horne thigh and chest waders retail at Chris’s store for $140 and $180 respectively.
Rudy suggested that, at the upper end of most Father’s Day budgets, is a quality Daiwa spinning reel.
Daiwa’s Caldia Kix spinning reel includes many angler-friendly features usually found in more expensive models. Five ball bearings and a roller bearing, a 4.7:1 retrieve ratio and a silky smooth drag are just a few things that make the Caldia worth considering.
“We stock two sizes – a 2000 model that weighs 230g and holds 150 yards of 8lb, and a 2500 model that weighs only 30g more and holds 150 yards of 12lb,” said Rudy.
“Both models are really light and so they really suit lure casters who hold their outfits for long periods, whether it’s casting Lofty’s Cobras at Eildon trout or tossing Grass Minnows at pinkies in the Bay,” Rudy said.
Both models retail at the Compleat Angler for $299 each.
If you’re like me then any excuse to visit your local tackle shop is a good one, particularly if you’ve got the kids in tow and are looking to entertain them for a half hour while you make your preferences known.
Regardless of your intentions, my bet is that you’ll walk out with one or two items whether you really needed them or not.
And if come Sunday 3 September, and your equipment desires haven’t been satisfied by the family, there’s always Christmas only 4 months away. Certainly gives those kids some more time to save up!
Tips for the Kids
If your Dad is a tough one to shop for when it comes to fishing gear then here are a few tips to help you get it right:
• ask his fishing friends next time they’re over watching the footy or playing with the boat in the garage,
• identify those species he commonly catches and ask the tackle store to suggest items to suit,
• have a look through his tackle box and see what items have almost run out. Write down the details so you get the brands and sizes spot on.
HOOKED ON PARADISE
PLIERS AND SCISSORS
SOFT TACKLE BAG