Cracker Christmas hints
  |  First Published: December 2004

There aren’t too many things that a fishing fanatic would prefer for Christmas than one of the latest and greatest pieces of tackle or associated paraphernalia. Fishing is the largest accessory sport in the world, so there are heaps of options when it comes to choosing a gift for the angler on your Christmas list.

A lot of new products have hit the market over the past year – especially in the areas of deepwater jigging and finesse soft plastics fishing – and all other facets of our sport have also had plenty of new gadgets added to an ever-growing range. If you see something on this page that would be adored by the angler you know, rush down to your local tackle store and make them one happy little vegemite on Christmas Day. If however, there is an item you would like someone to purchase for you, circle it and leave this magazine open in a conspicuous place where they are sure to find it – like the kitchen table, dunny door, wrapped around the weekend fish and chips or under the remote control. If you don’t get what you want, you haven’t made it obvious enough!


There are a lot of new titles available this year on DVD and VHS, and many older VHS titles are now also available in DVD and keen anglers are updating their library accordingly.

Jewfish Secrets gives valuable information on chasing the mighty mulloway in waters around Sydney, but also offers some great fishing tips on catching suitable baits, rigging up and prominent tide and moon phases. The Storm Soft Plastics video is presented by renowned Sydney guide Craig McGill and gives hints on rigging and fishing plastics for a broad array of species around Australia. Other new titles available this year include the AFC Bream Pro Series, Walkerbout, Snapper Secrets, Fish Filleting Techniques and Australian Inshore Saltwater Fly Fishing.

Older titles recently released on DVD include Breamin’ 1 and 2, Alex Julius’ Fishing North Australia series, as well as Wildfish series 1 and 2. Most of the new DVD titles retail for between $30 and $40. More titles are released all the time, so check out your larger retailers for the available selection.


Many anglers enjoy reading about fishing as much as actually doing it. Out of all the new titles released this year, here are some of the standout publications.

Australian Fly Patterns by Rick Coulsen is a recipe book of proven Australian fly patterns by some of the better anglers around the country. This hardcover book, with colour photos of every fly and comments by the anglers who tied them, retails for around $50. For an extra special gift, a limited-edition leather-bound volume is available for $125.

One of the best general fishing publications I have seen for a while is Top Fishing Spots of Australia by Alistair McGlashan. It includes detailed descriptions and fishing methods for some of the best fishing locations in the country. It has general fishing info and rigging tips that will increase the knowledge of even the seasoned angler, and it retails for around $30.

The annual Flyfisher publication by Rick Keam has also been released recently and comes with a casting techniques DVD for $29.95.

Most shops should have a multitude of books to cover topics such as knot tying, rigging, baits, maps and locations, and even a few novels. Many books retail for as little as $10.


Daiwa has long had a reputation for quality tackle, and its latest releases are no exception. The Saltiga 6500 Expedition will hold 500yds of 50lb braid and is the strongest spinning reel I have laid eyes on. It has been designed with the deepwater jigging market in mind, but would also double as a heavy-duty spinning reel for targeting large trevally and the like on poppers. At a 4.3:1 ratio, it returns 101cm of line to the reel with a single turn of the handle and can exert 30kg of drag pressure. Other features include a waterproof housing, ultra-precision computer-designed marine-bronze gear and zero friction main shaft. With such quality workmanship and a retail price of a little over $1400, it is definitely a long-term purchase.

The Daiwa Certate series consists of 1500, 2000, 2500 and 3000 model spinning reels, which are capable of exerting between 4kg and 7kg of drag pressure – a huge amount for such small reels. They all have 4.8:1 retrieve ratios and are brilliantly finished in a cobalt blue glitter finish with air bail. I can see keen soft plastics snapper fishermen taking a liking to these powerful little reels, which are also washable (fully submersible). They retail for a little over $700.


When crabbing it can be frustrating and dangerous to have floats and ropes in a mess on the floor of the boat. Lok-Stak crab pot floats, which have a somewhat square design, not only mark the location of your pots but also allow the rope to be wound onto the float for storage. Several floats can be clipped together to make a larger float or for storing convenience. The rope can also be secured to the float when there is enough out, to avoid more rope trickling off the spool. The side can be labelled with a marker pen, detailing the owner’s name and registration number. Each float meets the minimum size specifications for crab pot floats in Queensland waters, and they recently won an award at the Australian Tackle Trade Show due to their innovative design. They are available in white, fluoro orange and fluoro yellow and retail for under $10.


After many years of absence on the Australian tackle scene, Braid fighting systems and accessories are back. Braid products are world-renowned for being some of the best fighting harnesses and gimbal belts money can buy. This brand has the whole stand-up tackle spectrum covered, from Light Tackle Hip Pads for around $20 to the Brute Buster Tuna Belt for a little under $300. They produce fighting harnesses and belts to suit all line classes up to 60kg (130lb) as well as lures, rigging kits, tools and other products. Dennis Braid, the founder of Braid tackle, spends hundreds of hours a year on the water to perfect and fine-tune his products (lucky guy). It is serious tackle for serious offshore anglers.


For many years, G.Loomis has been the main runner in the premium rod market. Their recent release of the Bass and Barra Series GLX rods recently won Best New Rod at the Australian Tackle Show. They feature nickel titanium guides, which offer superior heat distribution and are physically lighter than any other guide on the market today. The real benefit of these guides is that they’re as close to indestructible as you can get. The nickel-titanium guides can be bent flat to the blank or twisted to the side and they will just spring back into position when released. This makes them a great option for the travelling angler. Never again will you get to a fishing location and find that one of the guides on your rod is broken.

G.Loomis also offers an expeditor program with this series of rods, and if you ever accidentally break one they will replace the whole rod for only $190. There are several spinning and baitcasting rods in the series and they retail for around the $700 mark.


I’m a sucker for quality Australian-made products, so naturally I’m rapt with the range of products from Hookem. They produce a range of premium quality fixed gaffs, landing nets, flying gaffs, telescopic nets, multi-piece rock gaffs, tag poles, deck taggers, lip gaffs and berley munchers, plus accessories.

Hookem has several gaff/net combos where a single pole is supplied with a detachable gaff head and a detachable net head – great for smaller boats where space is limited. One of my favourites is the TAGRCOM, which is a two-piece tag pole with detachable and reversible head (to accommodate two types of tags), which can be fitted to the two-piece pole or the smaller deck tagger handle.

All Hookem products are made of quality solid stainless steel and/or heavy-duty aluminium. I have around a dozen Hookem products in my boat and highly recommend them as serious fishing tools. With such a broad array of products the prices vary accordingly, but you can expect to pay only around $30 for a small gaff, around $70 for a landing net or larger gaff and in excess of $100 for a flying gaff.


The range from Stimulate berley products includes a broad array of berley additives, instant bait and berleying containers. It is a complete berleying system with products to suit all forms of fishing.

One interesting product is the Instant-Bait, which comes in two parts, dry and wet, which are added together to create a dough-like bait with built-in fish-attracting scents. It has a long shelf-life and suits species such as gar, mullet, bream and a host of others.

There is also an array of berley cages and floats, raw fish oil, bait enhancer, concentrated bait attractant and pellet baits with the Ultrabite enhancer added. Prices vary between $5 and $15 for most products.


With the growing craze in finesse fishing with soft plastics, tackle manufacturers are bringing out some great new products to the market. The overall quality and variety of spin rods has improved but the prices have fallen. The latest releases from Berkley are some of the best value for money finesse rods yet. They feature full Fuji Alconite guides, Fuji DPS reel seats and cork grips. They have sensitive tips yet still possess enough power in the butt to stop most freshwater and estuary plastic-pounders. There are seven rods in the range – five one-piece models and two two-piece models. They vary in length between 6’6 and 7’2 and all retail for around $100.


The days of wearing your oldest clothes when fishing are just about gone. There are a lot of special fishing clothes that not only make you look like you’re a gun angler, but more importantly protect you from the sun while allowing you to stay relatively cool. Shimano, Barrawear and Kokoda have all released vented long-sleeve shirts, which retail for around $50. Columbia’s Bonehead and Bahama shirts have UPF 30 ratings and will set you back around $80. Trakka and FishKool shirts offer good sun protection as well as several fishing-friendly features.

If you are after a quality dress shirt that makes you stand out in a crowd, check out some of the great new prints in the Guy Harvey range of short-sleeve dress shirts, T-shirts and polos. They also have a good range of embroidered hats and caps, which are almost too good to wear fishing.


With all the new tackle and accessory releases this year, there’s something new to suit even the fussiest fisherman. Get down to your local tackle outlet and purchase a special gift that the angler in your life will really appreciate for Christmas. If it all becomes a bit confusing, there are always gift vouchers, which allow them to choose their own present. They will definitely appreciate it more than jocks, toiletries or the latest kitchen gadgets!


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