Yellow plague
  |  First Published: March 2003

Even though I love to chase yellowbelly on lures and fly, they’ve been getting a bit annoying lately.

Many times when we’ve been trolling along looking at the sounder, see a big fish, brace ourselves and – smack! – a yella anywhere between 500g and 3kg has belted the lure in a plucky little hissy fit. Sometimes it’s just about got its head ripped off by an edgy angler expecting something more substantial than a golden perch. They break the boredom, I suppose, on those days where the strikes are few from COD.

But yellas aren’t really a challenge on cod gear. And I mean Cod Gear in the form of 15kg or 24kg Bionic Braid, a 6kg to 8kg Struddy TPS and an ABU 6000 with a 7000 handle fitted. It’s real come-here gear yet still not strong enough in some circumstances.

Over the past three cod trips I’ve been monumentally smoked by fish in the ‘holy s*^t’ range. Unstoppable beasties are relatively common at the time of writing and it is great to see some big fish still about.

One pair of anglers launched the boat at Split Rock the other day and didn’t even get 100 metres before they landed a 15kg-plus green fish. A short time later – bang! – another around the same size. Yep, they did well.

Many of the rivers are filthy at present and I haven’t thrown a lure in the rapids for a while now. I’ve preferred to let the poor buggers handle one thing at a time – at present they are doing it pretty tough with the lack of water. The problem is that if you can piss off a cod enough to hit a lure, the ensuing fight and struggle in oxygen-depleted water might cause the fish fatal stress. So we are mostly targeting the impoundment cod. By the way, don’t discount the shallows for casting with deep divers at present.

Bassman changes hands

Believe it or not, the youngest 62-year-old I’ve ever met has made a life-altering decision recently. Anyone who has any interest at all in spinnerbait fishing has no doubt heard of Robin Sattler. Robin had the drive and enthusiasm to travel all over eastern Australia, carrying on the business of custom-making spinnerbaits for anyone wanting the best-quality bladed lures available.

Husband and ‘Mr Bassman’ Ron Sattler, a gentle, likable character with a passion and knack for any type of bass fishing, lot a lengthy battle with the ‘big C’ several years ago. The Bassman and Robin team was kept alive by Robin and, through promotion and reputation, she became well-known and highly regarded for product quality and versatility Australia wide.

A new kid on the block with extensive experience has bought Bassman. According to Robin, he has the enthusiasm and knowledge to take the lures and the business to another level.

The new guy on the block is Glen Casey, of Byron Bay. Phone him on 02 6685 7764 for orders and inquiries. Robin will train Glen in the secrets of making Bassman Spinnerbaits at the same level of quality. Many thanks go to Rob and Ron for their contribution to Aussie fishing and the opportunity to assist in the development of the lures.

Me? A teacher?

I have just started working with the Armidale TAFE teaching lure design and construction, casting and retrieve techniques and many other aspects of fishing. It should be a real buzz passing on info to people who are really keen and enthusiastic.

The tech course is all about education of the fishing industry and preparation for someone wanting to gain employment in the industry. The course is the only one of its kind and is recognised by potential employers.

Many field trips are undertaken to places such as West Kundarang, on the Macleay River, South West Rocks, Yamba and so on. The course is run by TAFE teacher and guide Rod Bennett and NSWFM’s Glen Porter. It has been going for about five years and is picking up momentum.

It goes to show how many people are mad keen on knowing the ins and outs of fishing and believe me, this is the place to learn. For enrolments call Rod Bennett on 02 6773 7767, during work hours.

Wicked wind

If we could stop this bloody easterly wind, we will be in for a howler of a month, especially for big fish in the impoundments. Weekly reports of cod between 20kg and 30kg are becoming more frequent and, if you can spare some time, come out to Tamworth and get your arms well and truly stretched.

Just do what everyone else is doing at present and let ’em go for next time.


This plucky little 7kg cod nailed a 3/4oz spinnerbait among rocks in less than two metres of water in Split Rock Dam. Stopping the bigger blokes has been a bit more difficult, though.

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