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August 26, 2015

FISH'N'TIP 0760
GX700 VHF Marine Communication
GX700 VHF Marine Communication with Configuration Flexibility

Sydney, Australia: GME, the Australian leader in Marine and Land-based communications equipment, emergency signalling beacons and television signalling equipment has announced a new VHF Marine Radio will be available for sale from May 2015.

The GME GX700 VHF Marine Radio is a compact communication and safety device with innovative installation options. Waterproof to IPX7, the GX700 is the ideal communication tool for your boating lifestyle whether you’re sailing inland waters, or heading offshore.

Compact design makes installation of the GX700 simple and enables installation in locations where space is limited. The GX700’s innovative rear microphone input socket enables the user to run a 5m or 8m extension cable (available as an optional accessory) from the rear input to a convenient location on the vessel where the waterproof flush mount socket can be installed. The waterproof speaker mic can now be input from this location. By adding the waterproof blanking plug to the front mic input socket, obstruction caused by the mic cable hanging in the skipper’s field of view is eliminated. This setup is ideal for above windscreen installations in hard-top vessels.

Crystal clear audio is delivered via the GX700’s dual speaker system, and can be further enhanced by the addition of the SPK45 extension speaker. The GX700’s LCD display features large, easy to read numbers and adjustable brightness. Designed with ease of use in mind, the screen can be read from virtually any angle, day or night.

Dual Watch, Triple Watch and two programmable priority channels provide easy access to regularly used channels. Channel scanning is programmable, making it easy to monitor all important communications. The GX700 comes complete with International, USA and Canadian channel sets making it versatile for use anywhere in the world.

Available in a choice of white or black, the GX700’s sleek design will compliment the appearance of any vessel and matches perfectly with GME’s 27MHz and Entertainment products. The GX700 is available through Authorised GME Dealeres at a Recommended Retail Price of $249in GST.
See you on the water

Rob Paxevanos
Host Fishing Australia Television Series

Catch Rob on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RobPaxevanos


August 5. 2015

FISH'N'TIP 0759
The 30 Barra Per Hour Smile
Fun New Ways to Catch Barra!

On a recent trip to the NT I was told that the barra are slow in winter but I hear this every year and was keen to see if could again prove otherwise. My team and I had introduced things like downsizing tackle, bibbless minnows, softies and finesse hard bodies to the locals and our Fishing Australia TV audience over the past 15 years, and these techniques are now commonly used by many. This time around I had a few extra tricks that would hopefully up the catch rates further.

First up we hit the East Alligator River with local Kakadu guide Shannon Summerton. The strategy was to cover a bit of ground by trolling deep diving barra lures and if we sounded up a school along the way we would drop in some new soft vibe style lures. Hard body vibes had worked well on barra in the past, but the soft vibes I got my hot little hands on were proving to be a revelation on XL flathead, snapper, jew and a huge range of fish down south, so we were all keen to see what the barra thought.

We got a few touches but no hook ups and we were struggling to catch a barra or get our trolling lures to the sounded barra in the 7 meter deep holes on the up current side of the rock bars. So as planned we stopped and cast in the soft vibes, let them sink to the bottom and boom it was game on-we caught a dozen barra in less than an hour before the sun got low and bull sharks moved in and slowed up the bite.

A few pointers for this scenario: the deep holes were rocky but not too snaggy thanks to having little if any timber so 20 or 30 pound main line with 30 pound fluro carbon leader was all we needed; this lighter leader meant more bites. Also our leader was only 70cm or so long so it didn’t have to run through the fine guides of the finesse thread line rods we used (in this case a Storm Mojo S602M which is rated between 8 and 17 pounds)

The soft vibe lures I’ve been putting to the test around the country are known as Atomic ‘Semi Hardz’ and they come in 40, 50 and 60mm sizes weighing roughly 11, 15 and 22 grams respectively. The standard lighter gauge hooks the lures come with have been good on southern mentioned species and they also worked well on the 40 to 65 cm barra because you can coax them up gently with the light tackle. However we found that in some scenarios we removed the middle treble all together and put a stronger treble on the tail of the lure.

Given barra have a big mouth and the soft vibes are a smallish lure they were typically inhaled without it getting hindered on the way in (as often happens with large lures). This meant the bite to solid hook-up conversion rate was exceptional.

Selecting the thickness or strength of the trebles we put on the tail is a bit of an art. In snaggy areas, especially timbered spots you can use hooks light enough so that your main line can bend the treble open if you flat line the rod and pull extra hard (much harder than you would ever pull with a bent rod when tackling a barra). This way you get your lure back, bend the treble back into shape with your pliers and get back into the fishing in double quick time (I want you to collect more lures rather than replacing too many of ones you have already brought). However in some instances you simply need a heavier treble to wrestle out bigger barra in snaggier areas and unless you’re using more traditional 50 pound braid and 80b pound leader you won’t be able to bend these trebles off a snag.

Another option is an in line single facing upwards, this is more snag resistant but has possibly slightly less hook ups-although I would like to do more on this front before concluding. But back to trebels and at the end of the day you need to pick hook strength to suit the tackle environment and size of fish you are targeting. On most barra trips I take a the spin stick mentioned above, a sightly lighter version and also the typical heavier 50 pound braid 80 pound leader baitcaster. Then in my soft vibe tray I have a variety of weights/sizes rigged with various strength trebles/singles and pick them to suit the terrain/fish size on location.

The technique was pretty straight forward: cast out towards the spot the barra are holding or have been sounded. Let the lure sink on a tight line because some bites came on the drop, and from there you either hopped it back across the bottom in a flathead like retrieve or even burned it back and everything in between. Slower and close to the bottom retrieves were typically best though. Handy thing is these lures are so versatile that with a little bit of experience you can work them across just a meter of water or the deep holes / vertical snags we most commonly targeted. It was fun to play around with the retrieves, but the best thing of all is that it’s easy to feel the soft vibes working (vibrating), and we found even beginners that joined us got excited and focused when they felt their lure is working like this. One word of caution here, you get what you pay for-the well balanced quality soft vibes we used vibrated well even with larger trebles on. We also tried a few cheap versions and they just didn’t have the vibe that got us and the barra excited.

We used the same approach and techniques with Shannon in a couple of Billabongs and tributaries ie we would find a few fish on the troll and then cast at them or where is was very deep/snaggy/strong current jig straight up and down. In some cases we went from hoping to catch half a dozen barra to catching 30 an hour and leaving them bitting. Shannon and others we worked with were just as hooked on the soft vibes as we were!

About the only speed bump we hit was when a South Easter set in, which ‘can’ make barra fishing up north tough in winter, but even then it was the soft vibes that pulled the barra. In this case we were fishing the mangrove lines tidal creeks at La Belle Station from the bank and the soft vibes were handy in getting down to the middle of the channel where the barra were holding. The across and down technique worked best in this scenario. Just hop the lure along the bottom and sound out the 5 to 6 meter deep holes with the countdown technique and presto, we would find fish. This was infinitely more practical than diving lures in this scenario.

A little bit of testing showed that hard bodies vibes, especially those with rattles, also worked, especially in murkier/faster water but often the fish wised up quickly to their noise. Various softies also worked, as did the metal vibes (Atomic Hardz in this case), but the soft vibes worked best in the scenarios we fished on this trip.

I’m certainly not the first to use soft vibes on barra, and of course every type lure has a place where it suits and works best and I carry a large variety for this reason. But from this trip and the feedback flowing in from guides ever since I think you’ll be seeing more soft vibes in barra fishing kits in years to come, they are a very handy tool indeed!

If you would like more detail on knots, tackle, locations and techniques there is full on dedicated instructional chapters on Barramundi in my books and dvd’s available at www.robpax.com or www.fishingaustralia.tv

See you on the water

Rob Paxevanos
Host Fishing Australia Television Series

Catch Rob on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RobPaxevanos


April 15, 2015

FISH'N'TIP 0757
Someone drowning doesn’t splash violently like you see in the movies- knowing how to recognize drowning may just save a life.
First Aid for Fishing

The team from Australia Wide First Aid have prepared this informative article for us keen anglers, it is well worth your reading:

Fishing is a widespread leisure activity in Australia. What you may not have considered is that fishing incorporates many hidden dangers ranging from a hook in the finger, infected wounds, or drowning due to rough seas or unexpected currents.

Hook In the Finger

Fishhook injuries often occur when you are trying to remove a slippery, flopping fish from the hook and line. However, it doesn’t stop there. Rigging up your fishing rods, casting a line or walking bare foot near fishing gear (which we do not recommend) can also result in a fishhook in the skin.

Trauma from a fishhook piercing the skin is common. Once the fishhook enters the skin beyond the barb, it can be difficult to remove. As the barb prevents a smooth backward removal, it is recommended for you to push the hook gently through the skin, following the curve of the hook, until the barb is released. Once through the skin, cut off the barb from the hook so the unbarbed portion of the hook can be smoothly removed through a backward motion, again following the curve of the hook.

If a fishhook is in the eye, face or embedded deeply into muscle tissue, it is recommended you seek a medical professional for fishhook removal. A fishhook injury is considered dangerous and also may require professional medical attention if:

. The barb cannot be removed using home tools
. Bleeding is severe and cannot be stopped
. The wound is deep/wide enough to need stitches
. If the victim is pale, white, blue or has cold skin
. Decreased ability to move the affected area
. Numbness or tingling

Cleaning Fishing Wounds

Skin wounds from fishing products have a higher chance of infection due to the environment which they occur, involving bacteria from bait, fish and the delayed cleaning of the wound (due to being out at sea, or not having first aid equipment readily available). If you endure a cut or wound from fishing, Australia Wide First Aid recommends you to follow the first aid steps below:

1. Attempt to stop the bleeding before cleaning the wound

You can control external bleeding by putting pressure on or near the wound if there is an object embedded in it. When delivering first aid to a bleeding causality, your aim is to reduce the amount of blood loss. To do this, apply direct sustained pressure to the wound. Sit the causality down and elevate the wound area, where possible.

2. Clean the wound

Rinse the wound under cool, running water for 5 to 10 minutes. Washing the wound will remove as much dirt, debris and bacteria as possible which will reduce your risk of infection. If you don’t have access to clean running water, give it a good wash in the ocean or river. Be sure to wash it with clean running water when you return home. Large, deep or very dirty wounds are best to be evaluated by a medical professional immediately.

Drowning

As fishing is performed next to large bodies of wild and unpredicted water, knowing how to recognise drowning may just save a life. Drowning is not the violent, splashing call for help most people expect or see on television. If you are fishing off rocks or from a boat, make sure you look for the following signs if a fellow fisherman or nearby swimmer are immersed in rough, even still water:

. Head low in the water, mouth at water level
. Head tilted back and mouth open
. Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
. Eyes closed
. Hair over forehead and eyes
. Hyperventilating or gasping for air
. Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
. Trying to roll over on to their back
. Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder

If a fellow fisherman falls over board and everything looks OK, don’t be so sure. Sometimes the most common indication that someone is drowning is that they do not look like they are drowning. They may just look like they are treading water and looking up at the deck of the boat or at the edge of the rocks/water front. One way to be sure is to ask them “ARE YOU ALRIGHT?”. If they can answer, they probably are. If there is no answer, you have approximately 30 seconds to get to them before they begin to disappear underwater.

This doesn’t mean the person splashing around in water and yelling for help isn’t in trouble. They are simply in aquatic distress. These victims are able to assist in their own rescue, such as grabbing onto floatation devices and kicking while you bring them to safety.

This article was supplied by Australia Wide First Aid

This article was researched and created for the purpose of first aid information. It should not be used in place of advice from qualified health professionals.

See you on the water

Rob Paxevanos
Host Fishing Australia Television Series

Catch Rob on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RobPaxevanos


March 18, 2015

FISH'N'TIP 0755
Rob Paxevanos with campaign spokesperson Neil Patchett.
Wear a Lifejacket-it Never Ruined a Day on the Water.

It's a sad but true fact that 9 out of 10 people who drowned when boating were NOT wearing a lifejacket!  With this in mind, it's great to see the 'Wear a lifejacket, it never ruined a day on the water' campaign go from strength to strength. After all, if there was ever an important campaign for water lovers and their friends and family, this is it!
 
The campaign is just one part of the massive undertaking by Transport for NSW to educate watersport lovers on the importance of wearing a lifejacket and to make folks understand and stick to the laws for safe and responsible boating.

While the campaign is NSW based, it is relatable for all waterways around Australia, and I'm sure other states and territories have implemented similar initiatives. Readers from further abroad are already benefiting from the information, with the campaign being adopted in New Zealand.
 
Here at Fishing Australia, we have been keen to embrace this campaign. Last year the team and I joined up with Neil Patchett and his colleagues from Transport for NSW to discuss the huge developments in lifejacket technology and the 'Old4New' program.  

The meet formed an important part of a special Fishing Australia Television program we were filming at the time, and we posted the resulting clip on our opening page at www.fishingaustralia.tv. It was great to share this with our audience and it continues to be an eye opener for viewers…allow me to elaborate.  
 
Lifejackets have evolved, gone are the days of the big bulky "block of cheese" foam type lifejackets that made you feel like the Michelin Man.  There are now so many wonderful products to choose from and it has made wearing a lifejacket a joy rather than a chore.  
 
Lifejackets are now slim and come in a huge variety of styles that mean you can partake in the water sport of your choice with an unrestrictive yet fully functional life jacket.  Some styles can be worn on top of either a cool summer shirt or a warm winter rain jacket, while some come actually made as a WEATHER jacket!  
 
Amongst the huge variety of choices there are some super fashionable ones that would be right at home on a super-model, to smaller more convenient hip pouch models for the space conscious traveller, and also lifejackets complete with lots of pockets for us anglers who love our gadgets.
 
The one that stands out from them all is the hero model, a versatile self inflating yolk style jacket. It is easy to maintain and you can even service it yourself.
 
Effectively there is now no excuse for not wearing a lifejacket where required by law, and in fact many water lovers, myself included, make the lifejacket a part of the their personal 'must take kit' even where not required by law.  My personal lifejacket sits with my sunscreen, tackle and safety kit, ready to go when I have my chores done and dusted for the week.  
 
 Of course there are occasions where I expect the boat I'm going on has lifejackets…but with this in mind I always ask and check.  On the rare occasion in my travels I've found deteriorated jackets or jackets that were not where they are supposed to be!  The fact is this happens, so don't feel embarrassed to ask to sight the required safety gear before heading out!
 
To further assist this vital campaign a Lifejacket Upgrade program has been launched to the public. This program makes use of the 'Old4New' van that visits boat ramps across NSW, to spread the word about modern, comfortable lifejackets and offering a great price for new lifejackets when you trade in your old-style models. The Old4New program has even been a hit in New Zealand thanks to the efforts of the Coastguard based in Auckland.
 
If you wish to find out more about the huge range of new modern lifejackets available and the 'Old4New' program visit www.lifejacketwearit.com.au
 
Remember, 9 out of 10 people who drowned when boating weren't wearing a lifejacket, so make sure you 'wear a lifejacket-it never ruined a day on the water'… it's never been more comfortable and practical.

Because a great day on the water, is a safe day.

See you on the water

Rob Paxevanos
Host Fishing Australia Television Series

Catch Rob on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RobPaxevanos


February 25, 2015

FISH'N'TIP 0754
Stability is superb, allowing sight fishing in style.
Hobie's New Tandem Pro Angler; An Aussie Kayak Lovers Perspective.

I recently had the chance to have a proper test run in Hobie's latest Fishing Kayak, the Pro Angler 17 Tandem, and it's now obvious there are some new fishing scenarios that this craft has catered for.

First up I was very pleased to find the PA 17T has more room than I could've imagined….. enough for two mates and couple of swags for example, a kid or three, 10 rods (yes 10 rods) and all the supplies you'll ever need. Furthermore stability is simply AWESOME when you want to stand up.

Most surprisingly, it is extremely manoeuvrable; it goes where you want it to thanks to a brilliant rudder and keel system. Furthermore with two Mirage drives, one can be installed in reverse, meaning that with just a little practice, you can turn in the area the size of a back yard pool.

SPECS: The PA 17T is as the name suggests 17 feet long (5.2m) and has a width of 1.1m. It weights around 105 kg when rigged up and can take a massive load of 408 kg !

FEATURES: Too long to list here, but includes the new Vantage XT Seats which amongst other things are fully adjustable (even the lumbar support) and are up off the floor to keep your bum comfy and dry. The H Rail system is also worth a mention; this allows easy fitting of any gadget you like (sounders brackets, cup holders, angled trolling rod holders, cameras holders, phones holders etc)

The PA 17 T comes Lowrance Sounder/GPS ready including a recessed area that protects your precious transducer.

The craft also has two of the new Mirage Glide Foot Propulsion systems, and this expands the possibilities further: both anglers can fish even when there is racing current or strong wind without stopping to pick up a paddle. To give you an example cruising at 6 knots is about as strenuous as a stroll in the park. This beauty almost planes if you both pedal hard!

This PA 17T also offers a multitude of seating configurations but my fav so far is both seats facing each other; known as social seating. This is a very personable way to fish...I kid you not, I am tickled pink just thinking about how much fun this is compared with having to yell at your mate in the front, or turn back all the time to see what your mate in the stern is doing.

Facing each other means you can spoil each other with lure changes, unhooking fish, food, drinks, etc.

But it's not just the romance with your lady or bromance with your mates the face to face seating enhances; if the two dads are taking the kids fishing to get them out of mums hair, things have become very easy: you can watch the kids safely in the middle of the yak where they are entertained yet not able to get out of reach and into trouble! I can't tell you how much more fun this makes family kayaking.

But get this, should you wish to ditch everyone and get a little 'Me' time, there is a single/middle seat option! That gives you the biggest, baddest single person yak in town by a country mile.

Transport? The PA 17T is in most instances transported on a trailer. This is proving quiet handy: leave the yak on the trailer in the back yard, and when you need it simply hitch it on and off you go.

It soon dawned on me that the real revolution here is that you can easily share a first class fishing boat with others, all while getting the kayak experience. Nothing is lost, like plying through the water with just the magic sound of the bow slicing the waves and the water lapping the hull. Then along the way you see you see cool stuff up close like fish, birds, lizards, turtles and dolphins.

The Beach Cart (Accessory) means you can still launch the craft on your own where there are no ramps and hence get to magic spots where there is little fishing pressure and hence great fishing!

There are other factors I like about kayaks in general, such as the lack of fuel and registration costs, and I love the fact that maintenance time is practically non-existent.

But most of all, as regular readers will know, it's the close-quarter stealth of the Hobie Mirage Drive that has lead to some of my biggest and most exciting catches yet.

In summary the PA 17T was specifically designed and tweaked extensively for anglers and will definitely expand the kayak Fishing Horizons for Aussies. On the speed, comfort and fishabilty front, there's no Tandem Kayak like it anywhere on the planet.

See you on the water

Rob Paxevanos

Catch Rob on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RobPaxevanos


February 4, 2015

FISH'N'TIP 0753
Various trevally species inhabit the system and they have one thing in common-they all fight hard.
12 Months Living on Pelican Waters

It's been around a year now that we've been living right on the water at my new base in Pelican Waters on Queensland's Sunshine Coast. It was long term dream of my families to move here: in all my travels hosting the Fishing Australia TV series I couldn't find a place with better climate, water temperatures and water ways that also has the great schools, universities and other things a family need.

We saved hard to get here and it's now paying off on so many personal and professional fronts. In the case of this article the fact we're learning new things and reinforcing much about what we understand about our fishy friends means I can now deliver yet more to my writing and TV audience.

I live above the loch in the brackish reaches and thanks to having an office perched above the water I've even seen some incredible things, even whilst having a break for breakfast!

Take for example watching huge masses of bream move onto the flats about two hours after the sun rises. It's a non tidal area so I would've thought right on dawn or at dusk would be better, but I think in this instance they are moving in to munch the worms and crustaceans just as the water warms up and things start to wriggle. They sometimes move in first and then feed later when the prey appears. It's a wonderful sight.

The mullet then move in behind the bream to sift through the stirred up mud. The lesson for new comers is that if you see stirred up water, fish are there, and more importantly they are feeding, and while early and late in the day are often best, keep your polarized fishing sunnies on and keep your eyes peeled at all times or you'll miss a lot of these handy clues.

Note that I fish around the system as much as I do in my own back yard so I've combined the most important parts of what I've seen at both to help you make the most of the place and also give you an insight into a wonderfully rich and diverse fishery.

BREAM: As I've already hinted this place is bream city, there are untold thousands of them throughout the system. They are extremely easy to catch on bait; one good technique is fish where neighbours feed the bream and use an unweighted bread ball for bait. You'll make handy fishing friends quickly around here...angling the most popular recreation in S/E Queensland (by Government Survey)...but if you are brand new too or visiting the area there is loads of spots with public access to the water, even water front Gazebos...it's like a high end video game course made for fishing!

Another great technique is too to pop a striped tuna strip the size of your thumb on a 2/0 circle hook on a running sinker. Use no more than 3kg line for best results. Besides bream this also works on other fish; I've caught some 30 different species to date!

Check the bait every couple of minutes, or after nibbles: the place is nursery loaded with squillions of tiddlers that steal your bait once they cotton on to the scent in the water.

Speaking of tiddlers, while waiting for a bigger fish on the tuna bait, use a tiny unweighted size 8 hook in a burley trail. This is a great approach if you need to need to keep the kids occupied. Bread is a good cheap bait and burley ...and the kids don't get messy. Keep some sealed so it stays fresh and moist, otherwise it gets to to dry and crumbly to stay on the hook.

If you want to up the ante, fishing for bream on lure and fly is a fantastic high end challenge that's very popular with more advanced anglers. There's plenty of land based spots, but a Kayak is the go...you can have a handful of casts at each jetty or point and then quietly move to the next one easily covering lots of spots in double quick time.

Tiny 3 cm long poppers are good, and little 2 to 4 cm long deep diving minnows are good too, especially those with a tight action. Vibes and plastics also work well.

Fly is by far the most effective of all though, and I expect to see a few more people getting into this now that plenty of people have seen me pull some big bream from under their noses. Around a size 4 bead head nymph on a long 4 pound tippet is THE GO. If you're just getting into fly remember, learning to cast comes first...fishing come later.

One big tip with Kayak Fishing, it's very hard if not impossible to hold or move a kayak with a paddle and hold your rod at the same time. Save up for a Hobie with the foot propelled Mirage Drive…it's angling bliss!

Moving on and it's worth mentioning the bait and non target species in the system, after all they all help the eco system tick. More common bait species include butter bream, herring, poddy mullet, hardy heads, silver biddy, shrimp, butter prawns and snub nosed gars. They mainly move in en mass via big warm springtime tides that surge over the loch, and then slowly thin out by the time winter comes.

Spotted rays, long tom and giant mullet are also a common sight. Less seen but still about are long tom and blue swimmer crabs, and on the rare occasion I've even seen squid!

TREVALLY: Back to the fish you want on the end of your rod, and while not nearly as common as the bream trevally are great fun to catch. Various species such as big eye, golden and tea tree trevaly inhabit the system but they are 'where you find them'. You'll either cross paths with them as they lap the area, or on occasion you'll find them smashing up bait schools.

The trevally typically range in size from 30 cm up to at least 60cm, but like all 'trevs' they fight hard at any size and will give the bream gear a real work out. Use similar techniques as per bream, but if you see bait or bird activity move there quick and cast in a small lure or fly.

TARPON. These are another cool option, and you'll catch them from below the loch in tidal reaches right up into the freshwater creeks above the loch, and even in the golf course lakes! They love small baits eg nippers or prawns on a lightly weighted size 6 hook, and lures work great too, but again fly is best of all.

THE best time to target tarpon is after heavy rain when they move towards inflow points, such as the weirs. A day or two after a significant rain event will see a few anglers casting lures and flies where the water is flowing on occasion it's a 'poon per cast' !. They are not always easy to find outside these times, but whenever you catch a tarpon you won't forget it, they are only 30 to 50 cm long but can jump 5 foot clear of the water - LOVE EM!

FLATHEAD: Above the loch I've only seen one big 80 cm job travel past while I was gardening one weekend, and a few friends have caught the odd one. Below the loch there are a few including some world beaters above the meter long mark. However if you really want flattys in numbers head to the passage and paddle across to the lagoons in the flats. All standard flatty techniques work, but shallow running hard bodies worked swiftly in water between 0.3 and 1.5 meters deep will see you catch your bag limit in double quick time...and keep your family happy with a great feed at the same time. All year round is good, but spring time is the best.

WHITING? I had one big lone 50cm pet one move in to my back yard for a few weeks over spring, but below the loch and especially in the passage is the go. In fact the passage is whiting city and many locals head out there after work to get their bag of this very sweet tasting fish. Locally pumped Nippers on a running sinker rig is the usual technique, but personally I like catching whiting on tiny poppers-great sport.

TAILOR: are also very common in the system, the cooler months of year are best and like tailor everywhere else they respond well to oily rich burley and baits eg tuna and pilchard. Small lures also work well, but a short bit of 3 pound trace will stop them thinning out your lure collection with their razor sharp teeth. Average size is 30 to 45 cm with some 90 cm plus cm 'stonkers' in the mix.

JACKS: While there's even a few barra in the system the biggest trophy of all though is the mighty mangrove jack... These revered fighters average 35 to 50 cm, with the best one we've seen measuring a whopping 65cm: a world class jack in any ones books! There are however much bigger ones again, we've seen them, but no angler has stopped one yet-they dust you up before you can blink! More detail on Jacks in an up coming piece... I simply love targeting them out of my yak when the working day is done.

There are many more types of fish and ways to catch them, there's even a big hole in the system that's 11 meters deep where many species hide over winter or after a big fresh, and they have some company in the form of big estuary cod, jewfish and others I have yet to identify.

Then of course there is the nearby bass and saratoga rivers and lakes, plus the brilliant beach, reef and rock fishing...I'll pen down what I know when I get a chance, but even for me who fishes for a living there's plenty more to see and catch and that my friends is a truly enjoyable thing to look forward too.

See you on the water

Rob Paxevanos

Catch Rob on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RobPaxevanos


January 21, 2015

FISH'N'TIP 0752
State of the art Kayak Fishing Competitions are a great way to learn about sustainable fishing, stay fit, and enjoy a brilliant social network of like minded anglers.
Exciting News For Local Kayakers

The Iconic Hobie Fishing Kayaks, whos headquarters are based here on the NSW South Coast, have boosted the sport by joining forces with kayak competition body 'B.A.SS Australia Nation'

This means more events for anglers throughout this region to compete in, and what great events they are.

The Hobie Kayak Fishing Series has gone from strength to strength since it's inception in 2009 to become the elite kayak fishing series in Australia. 2013 saw the series evolve to include the Hobie Kayak Bass Series and now, with two solid years of growth and development in kayak bass fishing, it's time to take it to the next level!

Hobie and B.A.S.S Australia Nation have moved further forward and in 2015 aim to establish the Hobie Kayak Bass Series as the recognized standard for excellence in kayak bass fishing tournaments throughout the country.

With these objectives in mind, B.A.S.S. Australia Nation and Hobie Fishing have united to take the series to a completely new level on a whole new playing field. This affiliation will assist in reaching their shared goal of producing the best kayak bass series in Australia.

"Hobie and B.A.S.S. Australia Nation share similar values in tournament fishing events. Each encourages enjoyment while maintaining safety, courtesy, honesty, sportsmanship, good conservation practices, a strict adherence to fishery regulatory standards and a desire to perpetuate quality, competitive bass fishing opportunities. It's a perfect fit!" - Steve Fields, Managing Director Hobie Cat Australasia.

"I can't think of anything more exciting in the Kayak world than Hobie and B.A.S.S. Australia Nation partnering up to create the Ultimate Bass Kayak Tournament Series for the anglers. With this new venture we expect the Kayak tournaments to reach new heights, and as time goes on more and more will be available for the competitors and fans. Bring on the 2015 Kayak Season!" Drew McGrath, Managing Director B.A.S.S. Australia Nation.

The Hobie Kayak Bream Series and Hobie Fishing World Championship events have both been enormous successes. They have raised the bar in terms of kayak fishing tournaments and have set the standard for others to follow worldwide. With this new association B.A.S.S. Australia Nation and Hobie intend to take Kayak Bass Fishing in Australia to these same world standards.

I urge you to try one of these competitions, or even just go down to the weigh in for a start and have a peek at what's on offer.

For more info check out www.facebook.com/Hobie.Fishing.Australasia

See you on the water

Rob Paxevanos

Catch Rob on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RobPaxevanos


December 17, 2014

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BASTARDS! Thieves stole the motor of this raffle prize being used to raise funds for NSW Marine Rescue!
THIEVES SPOIL MARINE RESCUE FUND RAISING DRIVE!

Marine Rescue NSW members have been dismayed by callous thieves who have set back the volunteers' efforts to raise funds for their vital work to save lives on the water.

Marine Rescue Middle Harbour Unit Commander Peter Nott said thieves had stolen the motor from a 3.9m aluminium runabout that is the centrepiece of the unit's annual raffle, damaging the boat in the process. The raffle prize is a Quintrex 390 Explorer runabout fitted with a 9.9hp Mercury 4-stroke outboard on a registered Quintrex trailer, worth almost $9,000, similar to the one pictured above.

UC Nott said he had discovered the theft and damage to the boat, which was chained to a tree in a high-profile location on the grass foreshore next to the unit's base on the eastern side of Spit Road, at 8.30pm on 24 November.

"I noticed the motor was missing and on closer examination, found the thieves had also used a hacksaw to cut through the transom brace bracket to which the motor was locked so they could rip off the outboard," he said.

"There is obviously a great deal of traffic on Spit Road and many pedestrians in the area, so if anyone passing saw any suspicious activity leading up to 8.30pm on Monday, I would ask them to immediately contact the police.

"People will still be able to buy tickets in the raffle but the prize won't physically be on location until a new one is delivered."

Three new Fisheries patrol vessels for NSW

Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, and Member for Port Macquarie, Leslie Williams, have launched three new Fisheries Patrol Vessels to target illegal fishing activity along the NSW coast.

Ms Hodgkinson said the three high-speed vessels – to be based at Port Macquarie, Tuncurry and Batemans Bay – will enable Department of Primary Industries' fisheries officers to conduct patrols in offshore, coastal and estuarine waterways.

"Here on the North Coast, the purpose-build 6.1 metre vessel will be stationed in the Hastings fisheries district," said Ms Hodgkinson, who visited Port Macquarie to make the announcement.

"This new vessel will patrol the waters of the north coast covering Port Macquarie, Laurieton and South West Rocks to detect and deter anyone engaged in illegal fishing activity.

"These vessels have been fitted with the latest state-of-the-art navigation technology for accurate recording of offence locations at sea and have many enhanced safety features.

"Each of the three vessels feature a twin Suzuki 90 horse power engine that is fuel efficient and provides high speed capacity for ocean patrols.

"Fisheries Officers will utilise the vessel in ocean trawl, ocean trap and line, rock lobster, ocean haul and recreational fisheries to conduct compliance checks and surveillance operations. "

Ms Williams said the Port Macquarie-based vessel will also patrol the Grey Nurse Shark critical habitat of Fish Rock and Green Island at South West Rocks, as well as the Commonwealth Marine Reserve Cod Grounds off Laurieton.

"This vessel is capable of being launched from ocean beaches and can safely cross bars at river mouths," Ms Williams said.

"The vessel located at Port Macquarie is to be named FPV Watonga, after an historical coastal steamship which serviced the local and North Coast region in the late 19th century."

See you on the water

Rob Paxevanos

Catch Rob on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RobPaxevanos


December 3, 2014

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The GME Christmas Pack will keep anglers extra safe this Christmas
SURVEY SHOWS IMPORTANCE OF ESTUARIES AND COASTLINE

 The Marine Estate Management Authority (MEMA) recently released the results of a survey indicating the importance and value the NSW community and coastal visitors place on the NSW marine estate.

 MEMA Chair, Dr Wendy Craik, said the results reflect the views of over 1,700 people across NSW who were randomly selected to obtain a representative sample of the community's attitudes.

"We have taken the first step to ensure the views and ideas of the community are included in the new management regime for the marine estate: its estuaries, coastline and marine waters," Dr Craik said. 

"This process was guided by the MEMA paper Managing the NSW Marine Estate: Purpose, Underpinning Principles and Priority Settling, which outlines our aims to effectively engage communities as well as identify and prioritise benefits and threats to the marine estate.  

"The survey results show that the community considers the health of the marine estate to be a core value that underpins the social, economic and environmental benefits derived from the estate." 

Survey respondents considered the natural beauty and biodiversity of the marine estate as important for regional tourism – 44 per cent of those surveyed considered the marketing and promotion of these values as a key economic opportunity. 

Pollution of the marine estate, such as littering, spills and land-based runoff, was considered a major threat to the benefits of the estate, with 55 per cent of respondents believing the loss of appeal due to pollution is a key social threat.

In addition, 62 per cent of respondents felt water pollution affecting the viability of tourism was the greatest economic threat to the marine estate.

Dr Craik said the feedback also showed the marine estate is considered integral to the NSW community's social and cultural well-being, particularly for coastal Indigenous communities.  

"A key social benefit for 48 per cent of respondents was knowing that the marine estate exists with all its natural beauty, even if they can't visit it regularly," Dr Craik said.

"The coast and estuaries offer countless opportunities for the community to socialise, stay healthy and active, and be part of nature."

A number of key management opportunities have been identified through the survey, including addressing pollution; encouraging public involvement in decision-making and environmental action support programs; improving public education; working on increased public access; and moving to rehabilitate coastal habitats and address coastal inundation and erosion.  

Dr Craik said that this is the first time the key social, economic and environmental values and benefits which the NSW community derive from the marine estate have been identified at a state-wide level.

"We also have an understanding of their views of threats to, and opportunities for, the marine estate," Dr Craik said.

The full findings are now available on the marine estate reforms website at www.marine.nsw.gov.au/key-initiatives/marine-estate-community-survey 

The results are also informing a number of marine estate reform projects including the proposed Marine Estate Management Act and Regulations, threat and risk assessment for the marine estate and the Marine Estate Management Strategy.  

Register to receive further information and updates on the marine estate reforms projects at contact.us@marine.nsw.gov.au

GPS Equipped EPIRB and BONUS Pack From GME for Christmas

In other news, and with the busy boating and fishing season upon us, anglers are reminded to check the battery expiry date on their beacons, do a self test, and update registration details.

And if you need a new beacon, here is a great deal just in time for Christmas:

Market leading Emergency Beacon manufacturer GME has released the MT600G in a special promotional BONUS Pack, just in time for Christmas. Coupled with the MT600G GPS equipped EPIRB is the versatile ET80 waterproof, twist-to-charge torch.

The MT600G features enhanced GPS functionality ensuring faster location in an emergency situation, a ten year battery life and advanced self testing capability giving users greater peace of mind. Certified by COSPAS SARSAT for worldwide usage, the MT600G is an Australian made safety device that could save your life.

The ET80 torch features a unique twist-to-charge capability which means that your emergency torch will never be without charge.

You can charge your torch via USB on the way to the boat ramp, and using the USB 'out' cable, charge other USB powered devices such as a phone. With three brightness modes plus S.O.S and strobe modes, the ET80 is a fantastic addition to your safety kit. To top it off, the ET80 even has a stainless steel bottle opener moulded into its base. Perfect for those hot summer days!

The MT600G BONUS Pack with ET80 torch is available at Authorised GME Marine Dealers at an RRP of $399 including GST during December and January or while stocks last.

See you on the water

Rob Paxevanos

Catch Rob on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RobPaxevanos


November 5, 2014

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Wild Spawned fish and fish stocked at small sizes, like this cracker caught by Scott Gray, are harder to tempt than large 'stockys'
TROUT ANGLERS SUSPICIONS ON 'STOCKY BASHING' CONFIRMED

Experienced Trout anglers have long believed that trout stocked at a large size are typically much easier to catch than their wild counterparts that were spawned naturally (or stocked at a small size and allowed to adapt to the wild.)

Fishing for 'Stockys' or Stocky Bashing, is the term seasoned anglers use when targeting large newly stocked fish, and while you still have to find where the blighters are, when you do they are often much easy to tempt. A very interesting study from Finland proves on paper. The study was called "Fish 'personality' linked to vulnerability to angling", and for the scientific minded it goes like this:

Individual differences in moving activity in a novel environment are linked to individual differences in vulnerability to angling, according to an experimental study completed at the University of Eastern Finland and the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute.

The study used novel, long-term observations of individual behaviour in groups and authentic angling trials to analyse if behaviours predict the vulnerability to fishing in brown trout reared in traditional and enriched hatchery rearing environments. Based on the results, it can be predicted that fishing modifies the heritable behavioural traits of fish by favouring cautious fish.

The study was carried out in the Paltamo Unit of the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute. Earlier research has shown that fish in heavily fished populations reach sexual maturity earlier and also grow slower than their ancestors.

This new experimental study discovered individual differences in the behaviour of brown trout transferred to semi-natural stream environments. The differences discovered especially in the exploratory behaviour of the fish soon after the transfer were linked to vulnerability to fishing in an experimental fishing setting. In the experiment, brown trout were fished by angling from ponds with different fish densities.

The more active the brown trout were to explore new environments in the behavioural test, the more vulnerable they were to fishing. However, fish body size or individual differences in swimming activity during the entire experiment were not linked to vulnerability to fishing. Individuals that did not learn to eat the natural food items present in the seminatural behavioural test channels during the long behavioural test and whose condition weakened during the test were more vulnerable to fishing than individuals that remained in good condition. The probability of brown trout to be caught grew as fish density in the experimental ponds increased.

In enriched hatchery rearing, ponds are modified to resemble natural environments more than in traditional hatchery rearing: Ponds have structures providing the fish with shelter, and water levels and current speeds and directions are altered at irregular intervals. Furthermore, feeding takes place according to an irregular schedule. Brown trout reared in traditional environments were more active to explore new surroundings than fish reared in enriched environments, and this behaviour also makes them more vulnerable to fishing. It was also observed that during the experiment, brown trout reared in enriched environments were better able to make use of the natural nutrition available in the semi-natural streams in order to maintain and even improve their condition. The condition of fish reared in traditional environments, on the other hand, weakened during the experiment.

According to the study, the introduction of natural elements to fish hatcheries enhances the later survival of fish released into the wild, as fish grown in enriched environments learn to find food and avoid fishing more often than fish reared in traditional environments.

The study was published electronically in Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences: http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/abs/10.1139/cjfas-2014-0221.

So wild spawned or fish stocked at a small size do adapt and grown quicker, and are not 'fished out' as easily. This is good food for thought, and worth considering when it comes to managing stocked fisheries around Australia.

See you on the water

Rob Paxevanos

Catch Rob on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RobPaxevanos


October 9, 2014

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Lee Georgeson 68cm flathead Clyde river
Hunting the great hunter – catching dusky flathead

Perfectly camouflaged and lightly covered in sand, it is virtually invisible. It lies waiting, watching with eyes on the top of its head. An unsuspecting mullet swims pass. With a puff of sand the buried fish explodes off the bottom, its long and powerful tail propelling it towards the hapless mullet. It opens its cavernous mouth and swallows the fleeing fish whole, small sharp teeth on the top and bottom jaws preventing escape. With its meal now secured it returns to the bottom and nestles down into the sand once again. This fish is the dusky flathead, one of the great hunters of salt water rivers, estuaries and beaches.

But does this perfectly adapted hunter ever become the hunted? While floating around Wagonga inlet at Narooma recently, I discovered I wasn't the only one fishing for a 'flattie'. A cormorant landed near the boat, ducked under the water and emerged with a nice sized fish. The fish was clearly too big for it to swallow, so the cormorant swam around for a few moments, presumably posing for a photo. Then a sea eagle took off from a nearby tree to investigate. As the eagle bore down, it was joined by another bird of prey: a kite. The cormorant dropped the fish and ducked underneath the water to escape the raid. The eagle grabbed the fish in a single claw and flew back to its tree for lunch. It's a dog-eat-dog – well, eagle-eat-fish – world out there.

Of course if grabbing a flathead with your mouth or bare hands isn't for you, there are alternatives. You could fish with a piece of bait and a hook, but if you're looking for the perfect introduction to lure fishing you might like to try fishing for flathead with soft plastics.

As mentioned, dusky flathead live on the sandy or muddy floor of saltwater systems and ambush their prey as it swims past. Keep casting into new water and ensure the lure hits the bottom regularly. The first tip is to fan your casts out from left to right and after a few casts, move twenty or thirty metres down the bank and cast out again. In a boat, let the wind or current push you along and cast out in front of the drift.

The second tip is to ensure you have the correct weight of jig head on the lure. Too light and the lure may get caught in the current or wind and rarely hit the bottom. Too heavy and a flathead may not have time to swallow the lure – flathead will usually grab a lure as it sinks and a heavy weight will leave it falling too fast. In deep or tidal systems like the Clyde River or Wagonga inlet, I would suggest 1/6 or 1/4 oz weights, while in the shallower lakes like Durras or much of Tuross 1/8 or 1/6 oz should suffice. Hook sizes are generally 2/0 and 3/0.

Try soft plastics that look like a bait fish, 60-80mm in length, in bright but natural colours such as silver, gold, or white. Cast the lure out as far as you can and wait until it hits the bottom – you'll know because the line, which is taught when the lure is falling, will suddenly relax. Lift the rod from horizontal to 11 o'clock to swim the lure off the bottom, then wind in slack line as you drop the rod back to horizontal. Wait for the lure to hit the bottom again and repeat. Aim for the lure to take roughly three seconds to reach the bottom after each lift, changing the weight as necessary. Armed with a few soft plastics and a couple of different weights of jig heads, you'll soon perfect a strategy, like the cormorants and eagles, to hunt the great hunters of the saltwater.

Graham Fifield - www.flickandflyjournal.com

Catch Rob on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RobPaxevanos


August 20, 2014

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Sediment Pollution running into Spring and Major Creek, tributaries of the Deua River on the South Coast of NSW.
Some news from the Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW:

Dargues Gold Mine ordered to pay $196,000

Big Island Mining Pty Limited (BIM), the operator of the Dargues Gold Mine near Braidwood has been ordered to pay $196,000 in fines and costs after polluting Spring and Majors Creeks, tributaries of the Deua River near Braidwood, on three occasions in 2013. The offences occurred in the first two weeks of work on the minte site.

BIM failed to install adequate sediment and erosion controls and following a period of rainfall, muddy water was allowed to discharge from the construction site into Spring and Majors Creeks as shown in the picture from The Braidwood Times.

Majors Creek is a water supply for rural properties and flows into Araluen Creek, then the Deua River. The Deua River provides 60 per cent of the water supply for the Eurobodalla.

The Land and Environment Court ordered BIM to pay $103,000 to the Upper Deua Catchment Landcare Group Inc to be used for riparian health works in and around Araluen Creek; to pay the EPA $93,000 in legal and investigation costs; and to publicise its conviction in the Sydney Morning Herald, The Braidwood Times, and Australian Mining Magazine.

Land and Environment Court Judge, Justice Nicola Pain, said that, 'As the operator of a gold mine of this size the Defendant should have ensured it had sufficient expertise to confirm that its project approval was being complied with, including where a contractor selected for its particular skills was being employed. That obligation included the ability to ensure adequate implementation of controls on the ground.'

Squid fishing ban in North (Sydney) Harbour Aquatic Reserve
Stan Konstantaras, Secretary RFA of NSW

This has been a very contentious issue and one that has been pursed vigorously by the RFA for over a year now and a good outcome might be on the horizon for anglers who fish for squid in the area. From what we know anglers have been doing this since 1982 when the Reserve was announced and up until a few year ago they never had an issue until the compliance issue was raised and anglers started being cautioned. Anglers can fish for "finfish" but not squid and the RFA still to this day cannot understand or be given a good reason why this cannot occur. 

We know the squid are not under any threat. They are targeted with no by-catch, we use lures, we drift over the habitat areas and spend limited time in the zone. It's about as eco-friendly to the area as it gets. On behalf of the RFA of NSW, ANSA NSW and the local fishing clubs in the southern part of Sydney, Stan Konstantaras was joined by Nick Martin and Vic Levitt (Charter), Al McGlashan (Media) and Peter Johnson (north side angling clubs and Shooters & Fishers Party) to discuss the issues with DPI staff, SCUBA divers, conservationists and Manly councillors. 

With a good mix of views around the table the issue of squid fishing was sometimes overshadowed by more extreme calls to completely ban fishing and further expand the Reserve. In one case the SCUBA representative claimed squid jigs were being taken by sea birds, turtles and even whales and that "ghost fishing" and "secondary predation" was an issue. The anglers around the table were gob-smacked and asked for photos - suffice to say that this tired old argument went nowhere.

The social issues surrounding anglers access to squid are immense;  from the huge increase in squid or EGI tackle being a major part of tackle sales around the Harbour, there are forums and Facebook pages and even competitions around Australia based solely on squid, the increase in boat and tackle sales (downriggers, heavy tackle rods and reels) focussed on catching kingfish and the use of live squid for bait is a multi-million dollar industry, and European and Asian migration has presented the culinary delicacy of squid into our Australian diet. North Harbour Aquatic Reserve is a safe spot for anglers to fish off the shore and let's not forget the tourists who come and charter our local guides to catch a squid and kingfish, pumping more dollars into the local economy.

All these positive social issues will far outweigh the chance of a whale coming and taking a squid and jig from inside the reserve!

With no threat to the stocks, no need for more science into squid that make up a sustainable and massive biomass of "fish" the only sensible thing to do would be to allow the taking of squid in the North Harbour Aquatic Reserve and in fact all Intertidal Protected Areas in NSW (IPAs) with techniques that are targeted and low impact. With regards to the IPAs we know they were designed to limit the harvesting and hand gathering of creatures like octopus, urchins, limpets and crabs, not transient and migratory fish, including squid. Everyone around the table came to that conclusion, including DPI.

The meeting was well convened and DPI staffers did a great job helping everyone work through the issues and the only sensible outcome the RFA can see is that there isn't any reason why anglers  should not be permitted to fish for squid in the Reserve.

We'll let you know about any further developments.

See you on the water

Rob Paxevanos

Catch Rob on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RobPaxevanos


August 20, 2014

FISH'N'TIP 0746
Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson at the Fishing for Therapy Workshop
FISHING 4 THERAPY MAKING A DIFFERENCE

One of the State's favourite pastimes is able to be enjoyed by those less mobile thanks to a grant which benefits people who suffer from physical and mental disabilities says Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson.

Ms Hodgkinson attended a Fishing 4 Therapy program workshop, which is funded by a $21,500 grant from the NSW Recreational Fishing Trusts.

"These recreational fishing therapy workshops are co-ordinated by the NSW branch of the Australian National Sportfishing Association (ANSA) and provide an opportunity for those suffering disabilities to benefit from the therapy of throwing a line," Ms Hodgkinson said.

"Each fishing workshop is held at the Fly Casting Pond in Sydney's Centennial Park, allowing the workshop attendees to fish for carp from the pond viewing platform, adapted to suit people using wheelchairs and frames."

Co-ordinator of the Fishing 4 Therapy workshop program, Tony Steiner, said the workshops give attendees confidence, time to socialise and bond with other people and a chance to have a laugh, while undertaking specially designed exercises that improve basic hand eye co-ordination skills.

"Attendees of our workshops have come from Head East and Head Way, a community based service for people with an acquired brain injury, which is a permanent injury acquired after 10 years of age," Mr Steiner said.

"Attendees also come from New Era, a care facility for those with Cerebral Palsy and Down syndrome in their early teens to mid-30s.

"The fishing workshops allow these people to enjoy fishing in a safe environment, and reap the rewards of the physical and mental therapy that the activity provides.

"The fishing gear that our attendees use is all specifically built by the ANSA volunteers, who also come along to the workshops when they can to help out."

Ms Hodgkinson said the NSW Government is proud to have supported this program.

"This is a remarkable program which makes a huge difference to ensure everyone, regardless of their ability, can enjoy the benefits of fishing and enjoy a brief moment where disabilities are forgotten," Ms Hodgkinson said.

New Rapala XXX-Rap Cast

Bibbed minnows often work better than metal slugs, but metal slugs cast further…until now.

Built with extreme casting distances in mind, the XXX-Rap Cast is a heavily weighted minnow IDEAL for casting from the rocks at southern species like salmon, kingfish, tailor and tuna.

Up north I have used them on queenfish, various trevally species and many more.

But it's not just land based where I have used these beauties, they are also GREAT off boats and kayaks when you need to hang back and cast at the predators without your craft spooking them.

In addition to its ultimate castability, the XXX-Rap Cast features a heavy-duty construction and in-line VMC 7266 single hooks for added strength against big predators. These are a great feature and proof that Rapala is keen to work with Aussie anglers on what we want.

With its extreme rolling and wobbling action, the XXX-Rap Cast is designed for high speed presentations but also responds well to slower twitching retrieves with a sinking, fluttering action on the pause when needed.

Available in 12cm & 14cm lengths; weighing 36g and 54g respectively, and some brilliant colors and also some wonderful metallic finishes. Best lure in Yonks, you'll see me using them plenty.


See you on the water

Rob Paxevanos

Catch Rob on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RobPaxevanos


July 16, 2014

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Kayak for Two Thanks!  At a massive 17 foot long and with exceptional stability, the new Hobie Pro Angler 17T has opened up the options for many anglers.
SOUTH COAST NSW TESTS WORLDS LATEST AND GREATEST KAYAK

That's right the biggest and most advanced kayak in the world, the new Hobie Tandem Pro Angler 17T, has arrived on the NSW South Coast and is currently being used on the local rivers, estuary's, lakes and oceans, before being zipped up to Sydney for the International Boat Show.

At 17 Foot Long this is the Taj Mahal of Kayaks with amazing new features, but she still handles like a kayak, and these along with the many other attributes will really help anglers make the most of the local waterways in an eco friendly fashion.

Just one of the scenarios where the Pro Angler 17T will excel is where two anglers wish to kayak fish together: it has unreal stability and speed, along with the option to face each seat towards each other so the social aspect is greatly enhanced. These attributes will suit fishing buddies, couples, and also guides. Just a few scenarios that already suit is fishing shallow or less accessed water ways in style. Of course those looking to be distracted by fishing while exercising on the oceans and bays will also love it too.

It can also be used solo, all with enough room for man's best four-legged friend…and with plenty of space for standing, casting and fly fishing.

This new Pro Angler 17T integrates all the features of its predecessors including Hobie's iconic patented MirageDrive pedal system and Vantage XT seating and adds new features such as the H-Rail System for customising accessories, a tracking skeg for covering long distances and a battery platform for an optional trolling motor, crate or small cooler.  The result is like nothing else on the market.  A human-powered 17' fishing machine.  No gas needed, no-motor-zone compliant and made in the U.S.A.  It does not get better.

"We challenged ourselves to expand our Pro Angler collection with a fully decked-out guide-style tandem where the aft passenger could provide MirageDrive power and put the front angler on the fish.  We also wanted it to have the ability to hold an optional trolling motor for use as a bass boat," commented Doug Skidmore, president of Hobie Cat Company.  "Our new Pro Angler 17T meets that challenge." 

All anglers know that customising their watercraft is a major part of ownership fun.  The new patent-pending twelve-sided H-Rail mounting system runs along each side of the boat and provides a quick and easy way to secure multitudes of accessories. Two-each H-Rail Mounting Plates, Rod Racks and Cup Holders come stock with the boat.  An infinite number of optional accessories can then be added to the H-Rail such as tackle bins, fish finders, camera mount or rod holders. 

The large rudder provides steerage and manoeuvrability while the new drop-down tracking skeg can be deployed when covering long distances in challenging conditions.  An optional anchor trolley kit for anchors, drift chutes, nets or stakeout poles is easy to install using eight strategically placed brass inserts on each side. An optional Power-Pole® Micro with a customising Hobie mount can be added to the stern.

Two MirageDrives with adjustable Turbo Fins provide propulsion, leaving hands free for casting and catching fish. Two strong and breathable Vantage XT Seats ensure comfort with back, bottom, Boa lumbar and kickstand height adjustability. They also can be easily removed from the boat for on-shore use.  Storage for up to twelve rods, ten horizontally and two vertically, keeps them handy but out of the way. A large front hatch and liner offer easy access for storing fish, ice, food, clothing or extra tackle. The built-in Lowrance Ready transducer mounting plate and pre-installed wire plugs make it quick and easy to install electronics. Three large rectangular hatches provide easy access to pivoting Tackle Management Systems and in-hull storage.

The Pro Angler 17T weighs 185 pounds fitted and 230 pounds fully rigged with standard features and has a 900-pound capacity.

Optional accessories designed specifically for the Pro Angler 17T include the new Livewell XL, Adjustable H-Bar, H-Rail Tackle Bin, RAM® Mounts, Trolling Motor Mount and Trailer.

Anticipated availability of the Pro Angler 17T is the 4th quarter of 2014.

But keep your eye out for the first one on local Southern NSW Waters: it's being tested by kayak fishing enthusiasts, myself included: exciting times.

See you on the water

Rob Paxevanos

Catch Rob on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RobPaxevanos


July 2, 2014

FISH'N'TIP 0744
Rob is the main draw card at the Lismore Show and promises to be able to answer the trickiest of Fishing Questions.
My First Gig at NSW's largest Outdoor Leisure Show

The Lismore 4WD, Caravan, Camping, and Marine Show is the biggest show of its kind and all proceeds go to the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter.

This is my first appearance at this event, and besides presenting on all things fishing, I'll be personally checking out the huge array of stands.

Over three fabulous days you will be able to view hundreds of the very latest industry products all in the one place, while discovering all there is to know about caravanning, motor homes, camping, boating and four wheel driving in Australia.

Everyone who comes to the show goes into the lucky door draw to win loads of fabulous prizes!

Gates open 9am-4pm daily with free onsite parking available. Entry for Adults is $12, Aged Pensioners (government issued only) $10, and children under 14 free (when accompanied by an adult).

I'll be on main stage (near the marine Pavilion) from 1 to 2 pm on Saturday, and 11am to 12 noon on Sunday. I'll also have a stand with signed books and dvd's (site number 1 in the Marine Pavilion) where you are welcome to come and say hi and talk fishing (My staff/Family are manning this table, but except when presenting I'll also be there personally from 2pm Sat onwards.)

The event is proudly supported by radio stations 2LM and ZZZ FM, NBN Television, The Northern Star, The Coffs Coast Advocate, The Daily Examiner, Daily News and the Lismore City Council.

Hope to see you there and answer some of the trickiest (fishing) questions anglers may have.

For more info check out www.lismore4wdshow.com.au

See you on the water

Rob Paxevanos

Catch Rob on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RobPaxevanos


June 25, 2014

FISH'N'TIP 0743
The new Storm Knock' R Minnow
Two men charged with using illegal mesh net on Border Rivers:

NSW DPI report that two men caught fishing with an illegal 47 metre long meshing net on the Border Rivers between Boggabilla and Texas have been charged and had their boat seized.

"Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Fisheries Officers from Inverell last month apprehended the men, aged 47 and 59, from Minden in South East Queensland," DPI Supervising Fisheries Officer Jason Baldwin said.

"The men also had a second monofilament meshing net in their camp site which measured 79 metres in length.

"The men have been charged under the NSW Fisheries Management Act 1994 relating to the unlawful use of a net and the possession of illegal fishing gear. The matter will appear before Boggabilla Local Court in August," he said.

"Both offences carry a maximum penalty in NSW of $22,000 or imprisonment for 6 months (or both) for a first offence.

"The boat the men used to set the 47 metre meshing net was seized at the time and we are seeking forfeiture of the boat when the matter is heard in court."

The men may also face sanctions under the Queensland Fisheries Act because the offences occurred on the Border Rivers, where the border between Queensland and NSW is the centre of the river.

Mr Baldwin said meshing nets and gill nets are illegal because they indiscriminately entangle large quantities of fish regardless of the species.

"The mesh entangles all fish above a certain size range and they die within hours," he said.

"Meshing nets and gill nets, like other illegal fishing gear, can also pose a serious threat to protected fauna such as platypus, turtles, water fowl and some species of reptiles," he said.

"Both the use and possession by recreational fishers of mesh nets and gill nets in, on or adjacent to NSW waters is strictly prohibited."

In a separate incident, a 47-year-old man from Goondiwindi has been issued infringement notices totalling $700 for being in possession of 56 fishing lines downstream of Goondiwindi.

The lines comprised of three rods, five illegal drift lines and 48 illegal set lines. The set lines and drift lines were seized by fisheries officers.

The maximum number of lines permitted in NSW waters is two per person and in Queensland waters it is six per person.

Mr Baldwin said drift lines which are also called float lines are totally prohibited in both Queensland and NSW.

"Set lines also commonly referred to as 'droppers' have been prohibited in NSW for many years to reduce the high level of impact on target and non-target species," he said.

"Most native fish caught using set lines, undergo prolonged stress and become easy prey for predators including other larger fish. Many fish become 'gut hooked' which, when stainless steel hooks are used, usually proves fatal."

Fisheries officers across the north west are committed to stopping illegal fishing in northern inland NSW.

Please report any suspect or illegal fishing activity to the Fishers watch hotline on 1800 043 536 or directly to your nearest DPI Fisheries Office.

Storm Knock'R Minnow

In other news Storm Lures have finally got their highly anticipated Knock'R Minnow onto tackle store shelves. I had the pleasure of testing prototypes of these lures with success on several XL species including barra, murray cod and of course jewfish. They now form a very effective addition to my collection of useful lures.

At first glance anglers would notice the shiny external disks featured on the sides of this lure. As well as added flash, these disks form the walls of the Knock'R Minnow's through-body rattle chamber which generates a loud, knockin' sound. A pronounced lateral line and realistic fins add to this lure, creating additional vibration in unison with the cadence of the rattle chamber, producing a somewhat orchestral underwater experience that makes fish zero in.

Big is an understatement when trying to describe the paddle tail of the Knock'R Minnow. The kickin' action produced from it, together with the natural strong body roll of the bait combine to create a soft lure that offers more than any other in past history.

At 18cm in length and weighing a hefty 67g, the Storm Knock'R Minnow is built for big gobs. Complete with VMC single hook and belly treble for an increased hookup rate.

See you on the water

Rob Paxevanos

Catch Rob on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RobPaxevanos

May 7, 2014

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Check the deals available on these awesome Lowrance Products.
CATCH A GREAT DEAL WITH LOWRANCE

Lowrance has just announced its latest great deal, saving you hundreds of dollars when you buy a Lowrance HDS Gen2 fishfinder/chartplotter combo unit.

Lowrance customers will receive a free 83/200 skimmer and StructureScan® transducer with all HDS Gen2 Touch models, and a free 83/200 skimmer transducer and StructureScan kit with HDS-8 and HDS-10 Gen2 models (HDS-7 Gen2 units come with a free 83/200 skimmer transducer only). This is up to $900 RRP of extras free!

Lowrance is Australia's leading brand of marine electronics and continues to raise the bar bringing you all the latest new technology first. HDS Gen2 units include extensive mapping options including Insight Genesis personalised map options, are GoFree™ Wireless ready, offer optional video camera input (HDS-9 and 12 Touch models only), built-in award-winning Broadband Sounder™, and built-in StructureScan for Touch models (StructureScan support for non-touch models). All Lowrance products are covered by the Lowrance Advantage Service program -offering the most comprehensive service and support program available in the industry.

Catch a great deal with Lowrance! Offer is available in Australia from participating independent stores, and runs from May 1st until August 31st 2014.

For more information on the Lowrance HDS Gen2 and HDS Gen2 Touch series and the entire Lowrance line of marine electronics, or to locate an authorised Lowrance dealer, please visit www.lowrance.com

Tonic goes high fashion with new styles

Tonic Polarised Eyewear, the new leader in high quality fishing sunglasses, has added two new high-fashion frame styles to its range of high-performance sunglasses.
 
The new Torquay and Cove styles are on sale now at Tonic's 200-plus retailers throughout Australia and New Zealand.
 
Tonic founder Doug Phillips said the new styles were designed to broaden the appeal of the range beyond the dedicated anglers who have already taken Tonic to their hearts.
 
"There are thousands of people who love their Tonics for fishing, but Cove and Torquay bring our 21st century optical technology to a more fashion-conscious customer," he said.
 
"For people who want all the Tonic performance, but prefer a more cosmopolitan style, these are our first models specifically styled to suit their tastes.

See you on the water

Rob Paxevanos

Catch Rob on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RobPaxevanos


May 7, 2014

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The XXX Rap, Williamson Popper Pro, and expanded Gomoku Rod/Lure Range are Rob's favourites from the new products out this season.
HOT NEW PRODUCTS 'ROB TESTED' ON LOCAL WATERS

Amongst the influx of new products headed our way, there has been some there's been some particularly cool ones that got my attention; here's a sneak peak at how I am finding them.

Williamson Popper Pro

The Williamson Popper Pro takes the traditional popping action to the next level and produces extraordinary results. At a length of 130mm, the streamlined profile of the lure casts a mile and the versatile action opens up a range of surface fishing options; you can pop, bloop, slash and stall the lure to mimic an injured baitfish fleeing across the surface.

Williamson precisely weighted the Popper Pro at 35g to ensure the lure has natural buoyancy when in the water making it look lifelike, and maximizing hook exposure.

In addition to this, the rear casting mechanism ensures the angler is able to maximise their casting distance without the lure spinning or fouling.

By incorporating heavy-duty oval split rings and VMC 7266 single hooks, Williamson ensures you remain connected to the very biggest fish that attacks this lure. Additionally, the laser cut plate hook hangers and In-line hook design further enhances the Popper Pro's swimming action, point exposure and hook set. Personally I've used with great results on various tuna and some quality kingfish (great fun to see them track and smash these lures, especially on the pause) of course it's toughness is appreciated up north on the reef and tropical speedsters.

Storm Gomoku

If you haven't seen the Gomoku range of rods by Storm you've been living under a rock. These new age sticks have set the fishing rod world on fire, and as a result the range of rods and associated jigs is expanding.

Stemming from a Japanese technique of fishing for survival, Gomoku provides 'anytime, anywhere'.

The Japanese development team at Storm have nurtured and refined the Gomoku way into a specific concept. Gomoku jigging allows anglers to adopt traditional vertical jigging methods on a much smaller scale – a proven Japanese method of targeting a large variety of species in various scenarios.

Ideal for inshore and light offshore use, Storm Gomoku Elite Jigging Game rods have been designed with the tournament angler in mind; featuring a Fuji VSS reel seat, Fuji Alconite Guides, a highly distinguishable graphite blank, and a set of aggressive EVA grips available in various colour schemes; with models rated to fish PE 0.4 - 1.0, PE 0.8 – 1.5, and PE 1 – 3 in both spin or overhead configuration.

Storm Super Gomoku and Micro Jigs have been developed specifically for Gomoku-style jigging and make a perfect match to Storm Gomoku rods, available in weights from 8g to 60g with either treble or assist hooks.

Also look out for the Gomoku minnows, stick baits and poppers, which are my go too hard bodies on the local brean, flathead and whiting. Then there is the all new 'Stiletto.' One look at this lure and you'll see it's yet another all new item from the Gomoku craze…remarkable out of the square thinking, and as I suspected they work brilliantly.

RAPALA XXX Rap

And finally, here's one that I've been waiting on for years. A 10cm long lure that has a very slow to almost neural float yet has super strong construction and fittings.

It arrived in the form of the new Rapala XXX Rap 10 Rap. The XXXR-10 lure comes RTG for big fish with 6x strong hooks and rings, wire through construction, and new ultraviolet and metallic colours.

It is in some ways it's the hard core brother of the now famous XR10.

The XXXR-10 dives to approximately 5 feet, and has a wonderfully wide wobble at slow speeds and a nice shimmy at the suprizingly high speeds it can handle. And while it already starting to make waves in the barra and tropical fish areas, it has also been great to me on southern species like salmon, tailor, kings and various tuna. I'm not scared to throw this relatively small lure at big fish; it's amazingly tough.

That's it for now, I'm back out to use the above products on our local waters, you can see them in action on the Fishing Australia Program which starts screening in July.

See you on the water

Rob Paxevanos

Catch Rob on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RobPaxevanos


May 7, 2014

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These latest Australian Built Beacons enhance the safety of people at sea
AUSTRALIAN MANUFACTURER LEADS THE WAY WITH NEW EMERGENCY BEACONS

New GPS equipped EPIRB from GME ensures faster location - Market leading Emergency Beacon manufacturer GME has released the MT600G, a new Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) with improved GPS functionality ensuring faster location in an emergency situation.

Built on the foundation of 35 years of experience designing and manufacturing EPIRBs in Australia, the MT600G features a 10 year battery life and advanced self testing capability, giving users greater peace of mind.

The GME MT600G boasts a 66 channel GPS receiver which reduces the search area to less than 100m radius, and a 121.5MHz homing signal to further aid in location and retrieval in an emergency. Complete with quick release mounting bracket and automatically deployed antenna, the MT600G is certified by COSPAS SARSAT for worldwide usage.

Marine Marketing Manager at GME Brad Darch said 'GME EPIRBs and PLBs have lead to more rescues in Australian waters than any other brand, and the MT600G continues this heritage. It was designed and manufactured in Australia to deliver next generation performance and reliability.'

The MT600G is available at all authorized GME Marine Dealers at an RRP of $399 including GST. Locate your nearest dealer at www.gme.net.au/contacts

PUBLIC FORUM ON SNOWY MOUNTAIN LAKES FISHERY

Fishers are invited to attend a public forum on the Snowy Mountains Lakes trout fishery with Department of Primary Industries (DPI) managers and scientists in Cooma at the Cooma Ex-Services Club, Vale Street, Cooma, at 6:00 pm on 29 May 2014.

DPI Inland Senior Fisheries Manager, Cameron Westaway, said some fishers have reported reduced catches of rainbow trout in Lakes Jindabyne and Eucumbene during the past two years.

"While brown trout catches have continued to remain stable in the lakes and the brown trout spawning fishery has been excellent, we have received reports of lower rainbow trout catches from some fishers using traditional surface and shore based fishing methods – while other fishers have reported good catches using deeper trolling methods," Mr Westaway said.

"Various theories for these changes in catch rates have been suggested by the public. These fisheries provide significant social and economic benefits to the region and we are committed to their long term success.

"The forum will give fishers the opportunity to hear about the current trout stocking program, management practices, and updates on research.

"Leading New Zealand scientist Dr Michel Dedual from the Department of Conservation in Turangi will provide insights into the iconic Taupo trout fishery which has also experienced changes in catch rates of rainbow trout in recent times.

"Importantly the forum will enable DPI managers to gain feedback from the fishing public on some of the most popular trout fishing locations in NSW. This feedback will assist DPI and the angler based Snowy Lakes Strategy Working Group who provide direct advice on the management of the fishery.

See you on the water

Rob Paxevanos

Catch Rob on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RobPaxevanos


May 1, 2014

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A happy angler with a superbly conditioned Snowy Mountains Spawn Run Trout
Trout spawning season has started

Fishers are reminded that the annual trout spawning season commences in the Snowy Mountains from 1 May 2014.

Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Inland Senior Fisheries Manager, Cameron Westaway, said the annual trout spawning season fishing rules apply to the Thredbo River and its tributaries and the Eucumbene River and its tributaries - upstream of the Lake Eucumbene dam wall and including Providence Portal.

"Restrictions are in place from Thursday 1st May to provide protection for early spawning trout while also providing fishers with the opportunity to catch a trophy sized trout," Mr Westaway said.
 
"The Eucumbene River in particular has provided excellent fishing for large brown trout over the past two years.

"A minimum size limit of 50cm, daily bag limit of 1 and possession limit of 2 trout will apply to these waters from 1 May to the end of the Queens Birthday long weekend on Monday 9 June.

"Anglers can use 1 attended rod and line with up to 2 hooks with artificial flies or lures and up to 3 treble hooks attached to any lure is permitted. Fishing gear rigged for bait fishing is prohibited."

The annual closure on fishing in trout streams throughout NSW will then be in place from Tuesday 10 June 2014 allowing brown and rainbow trout to breed uninterrupted until the trout fishing season re-opens on the October long weekend on Saturday 4 October 2014.  Trout dams remain open to fishing throughout the year.

"The minimum size limit of 25cm, daily bag limit of 2 and possession limit of 4 trout will again apply to the Thredbo and Eucumbene Rivers when the season opens in October," Mr Westaway said.

"While 150,000 rainbow trout have been stocked into Lake Eucumbene and 50,000 rainbow trout into Lake Jindabyne each year for more than a decade, it is important to provide increased protection for brown and rainbow trout during their annual spawning runs."

Fisheries officers will be patrolling the Thredbo and Eucumbene Rivers to ensure that fishers are abiding by these rules.

All fishers are reminded to respect other users, use facilities provided, dispose of any rubbish or refuse responsibly and not interfere with other fishers by parking or camping too close to the water (where permitted) when fishing these rivers.

Detailed information on the fishing rules can be found at www.fisheries.nsw.gov.au or in the NSW Freshwater Fishing Guide which is available from DPI fisheries offices and most bait and tackle stores.
BOATING SURVIVAL GUIDE

What is it about boating that brings more and more people to it every year? Nowadays life seems to be faster, more complicated and more stressful. And getting on a boat is a great escape, even if it's only for a few hours on the weekend. You can get away from it all, find your own peaceful place and forget about the rush of modern life.

With the right knowledge, skills and techniques, boating is an easy, safe and pleasurable pastime. However, it can be very unforgiving; you cannot walk away from a broken-down boat, nor is help immediately available if something goes wrong. The key to successful boating is to learn how to do things the right way the first time, understanding what the risks are and how to effectively manage problems if they arise.

BOATING SURVIVAL GUIDE, by respected boating expert Doug King, is your key to a lifetime of enjoyable and safe boating experiences. The topics and areas that are commonly covered in other boating books are discussed, but with a difference. Here you'll find hints, checklists, case studies and examples, presented in a practical, easy-to-read format.

Explanations for those that are new to boating are included, along with more detailed information that will interest the experienced boater and those wanting to enhance their knowledge and skills.

See you on the water

Rob Paxevanos

Catch Rob on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RobPaxevanos


April 16, 2014

FISH'N'TIP 0737
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Anglers line up at the 2013 Hobie Worlds in Marlo Victoria, as a drone hovers above capture all the action.
Australian Anglers expected to have another strong showing in the 4th Annual Hobie Fishing World Championship

The fourth annual Hobie Fishing World Championship (HFW4),presented by Rhino-Rack and hosted by Hobie Kayak Europe, will take place in Amsterdam, Netherlands, October 5-11, 2014.

Anglers from over twenty countries are expected to compete in Europe's first-ever HFW4 for the chance to be crowned this year's Hobie Fishing World Champion. And with the event being spawned in Australian and having been won by aussie anglers 2 times now, Australia is expected to be well represented at the Amsterdam event.

All competitors will fish for pike, zander and yellow perch from identically rigged Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12's provided by Hobie Kayak Europe and outfitted with Lowrance Electronics, Ram Mounting Systems and Power-Pole MICRO™ Anchors.

A series of three qualifying events to be held in Australia will give anglers the opportunity to qualify for six coveted spots on the Australian team. Locations, dates and sign-up links for the qualifying events are as follows:

March 15 – 16 Hobie Kayak Bream Series Presented by Daiwa Round 3. Marlo VIC. hobiefishing.com.au

June 14 – 15 Hobie Kayak Bream Series Presented by Daiwa Round 9. Georges River NSW. hobiefishing.com.au

September 13 – 14 Hobie Kayak Bream Series Presented by Daiwa Round 13. St Georges Basin NSW. hobiefishing.com.au

The tournament will be a traditional CPR (Catch, Photograph and Release) format in which each competitor will enter his or her three best lengths in aggregate each day. The angler with the highest cumulative length over the three day period will be crowned Champion. Prizes will also be awarded to the top team representatives. Each participating country will be represented by at least one two-person team and combined measurements will be added to determine the Team Champion.

Interested anglers can find out more info at hobiefishing.com.au

Fish responsibly to avoid fines this Easter
 
In other news, as fishers across the State prepare for one of the busiest periods on the water this year, they are being reminded to ensure they have a licence, are aware of the current bag and size limits and fish safely.

Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Acting Director Fisheries Compliance, Tony Andrews, said fisheries officers will be patrolling popular fishing areas such as the Hawkesbury, Central Coast, north coast, south coast and inland waterways.

"Easter is one of the most popular times of the year to drop a line but I would like to remind everyone who is fishing, just because you're on holidays – it doesn't mean our fisheries officers are," Mr Andrews said.

"Additional fisheries officers from across the State will be patrolling NSW waterways up and down the coast and inland fishing spots to ensure everyone abides by recreational fishing rules, whilst taking good care of our precious beaches and waterways.

"Fishers must hold a current NSW recreational fishing licence, unless exempt, for any fishing activity including angling, prawning, shellfish gathering and spear fishing, and the licence must be carried on the person at all times when fishing.

"Anyone found without a licence faces a $200 on the spot fine. Additionally, a penalty of $75 can apply if you do not have the licence in your immediate possession. 

"Fishers must follow the rules for bag and size limits and should only catch sufficient fish for their immediate needs and release all others using best practice catch and release techniques."

NSW recreational fishing licences are available at more than 1000 outlets including bait and tackle shops, some Kmart stores and online at www.licence.nsw.gov.au or by calling 1300 369 365.

Licence fees are:   3 days - $7, 1 month - $14, 1 year - $35,   3 years - $85

Details of bag and size limits can be seen in the 2013 NSW Recreational Fishing Guides, which are available at tackle stores and on the DPI website www.fisheries.nsw.gov.au.

See you on the water

Rob Paxevanos

Catch Rob on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RobPaxevanos


April 2, 2014

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Shark Survey: Commercial fishers are being asked their opinion on the NSW shark and rays identification guide.
SHARK SURVEY

Commercial fishers and fishing business owners are being encouraged to complete a survey as part of research to assess the effectiveness of the NSW shark and rays identification guide.

The research project entitled 'Shark Futures: sustainable management of the NSW whaler shark fishery' is being led by Department of Primary Industries (DPI) shark scientists, Dr Vic Peddemors, and Dr Paul Butcher.

"We are asking commercial fishers and fishing business owners to take a few minutes to complete this survey to help provide us with further information to effectively manage the NSW shark fishery," Dr Butcher said.

"The questionnaire will help us gain an overview of those people in the commercial fishing industry that could be using the 'NSW sharks and rays identification guide'.
 
"We are after feedback from commercial fishing business owners and fishers on what should be added or removed from the guide to make species identification and catch reporting easier.

"The response to this survey, and to any question is completely voluntary but we value their input.

"The survey will take 5–10 minutes to complete and consists of 19 questions.

"Anyone who completes the survey will not be individually identified in any reports or scientific papers resulting from this research."

Funding for the project is provided by DPI and the Fisheries Research & Development Corporation on behalf of the Australian government, with support from the University of Queensland and the IMOS Australian Animal Tagging & Monitoring System.

A copy of the 'NSW sharks and rays identification guide' was released in 2008 via hardcopy and is still available online at:

http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries/commercial/fisheries/otl-fishery/identifying-sharks-and-rays

Please fill in a hard copy of this questionnaire and return using the stamped, addressed envelope enclosed or complete online at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SharkIdentificationGuideSurvey

The Survey should be completed by 31 May 2014.
 
For further details contact: Dr. Paul Butcher Fisheries NSW: (02) 6648 3910, E: paul.butcher@dpi.nsw.gov.au

TROUT STOCKING EFFORT DEBATE CONTINUES

There's been lots of feedback from my article 'Snowy Trout Have Not Disappeared'. This is one of the more interesting letters from Secretary of Jindabyne Branch of the Monaro Acclimatization society (MAS):

"Hi Rob, I read your article in the summit sum with much interest. Putting it out there, while others are doing 'OK' I am one of the anglers who has had a very lean season on rainbows.  The worst in 7 years for me and I am scratching my head and asking some questions.   I really believe it is time that the stocking of Lake Jindabyne had a major shake up.

The brown trout fishery is fine, there are still plenty of good browns around for those who know where to find them.

My view on the rainbow trout stocking is pretty simple.

1. Stop stocking Brook Trout into the lake.   There is no value in them to the recreational angler, they just do not return the catch rate compared to Rainbows and know one knows how much food they are consuming.  Put the Gaden hatchery resources being used on Brook Trout into increased production of rainbows.

2. Reduce the Atlantic Salmon stocking to minimum levels and concentrate resources on Rainbow production.

3. Change the stocking release techniques and improve the survival rate:
 
Last year the Monaro Acclimatisation Society pointed out that staff at Gaden Hatchery are breeching the DPI's own code of practice by lazy release techniques.  

Eg back the transporter up to the boat ramp and dump 20,000 fry into the lake only to have them get wiped out by seagulls and cormorants.    There was a plan put in place to get volunteers to take over the lake release stocking but it fell over due to release times being in early January when volunteers were in short supply.

Besides MAS, there are reputable clubs in town that WILL also help, a few phone calls and a bit of planning and the hatchery has our co-operation.

For example MAS have helped distribute 25,000 of the fry into the Thredbo River for the last 3 years and guides are reporting rising numbers of 1-2 year old fish. Some of these fish will end up in the Lake, the river effectively forming a 'grow out' pond in that effect. Not to mention the joy they bring river anglers in the interim.

Meanwhile I have been working my butt off trying to find the rainbows in Lake Jindabyne.   I am trying to put my finger on what is going on with their feeding habits, they just seem to have shifted mode.  

Talking with a few of the local bait fisherman they appear to be moving around  more, one day they are in a particular bay and the next they are gone.     The days of a spot being a regular producer seem to have gone.

There is good fishing, it just seems not quite as good, and experienced trout biologists and anglers agree that correct stocking techniques including spreading stocked fish out around snags, weed beds can mean the difference between happy anglers and those that head elsewhere where the fishing is better.

Anyway, that is my two bobs worth.  I am looking forward to seeing how the planned fisheries study plays out. In the interim my colleagues and I from bait, lure and fly clubs in the region have put our hand up to help.

Regards, Eric Burns, Jindabyne"

Thanks Eric, my thoughts are:

Point 1-Brookies are fun to catch, it took me years to get my first one, and now when they are stocked I usually get a few rippers. But the effort/cost and return needs to be considered.
Point 2-Stocking small salmon is a waste of effort, they don't grow, time has proven this in Lake Jindabyne. But a few stocked big ones spices up the fishing.
Point 3-Your on the money; release of fish has to be done properly. Volunteers spreading trout around the lake correctly is the GO.

Importantly; regardless if anglers out there think the fishing is good or bad it is clear there are people like Eric who are keen to help Fisheries improve it (if possible)…that's a good thing.

See you on the water

Rob Paxevanos

Catch Rob on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RobPaxevanos


March 26, 2014

FISH'N'TIP 0734
FISH MYTH BUSTERS! l to R.  Nick Elliott and David Hogan with a fine brace of Rainbow and Brown Trout caught with Steve Williamson.
SNOWY TROUT HAVE NOT DISAPPEARED!

Special Report By Rob Paxevanos

A recent Canberra Times Article and a 2XL radio broadcast suggesting 'Snowy rainbow trout have gone missing' have created a real stir amongst anglers and the Snowy Tourism Industry. Is it true? Well it depends who you are or who you talk too: but I wouldn't blame the Journalists that put out these reports, readers in a hurry can at times focus on the headlines and see what they want to see...missing the details... as John Thistleton Said in the Canberra Times Article ''Fishermen are the worst people for making excuses for themselves.''

More interestingly it can be keen anglers themselves that start these 'poor fishing' rumours. Trusty spots, times and techniques that fail due to changing conditions become personal headlines that spread like wildfire...allow me to explain:

Where ever you fish and whatever you fish for it can take just one isolated bad session to start wondering where all the fish have gone…bump into another angler who's had a bad day and heck it can be like you're the only two anglers on the lake and all fish have vanished for good! A bad season and the whole sky is falling. But fish don't just suddenly vanish forever: especially in the snowy lakes; it is after all an 'impoundment' not the open sea!

Thankfully most keen anglers are optimistic and patient; have you ever seen an impatient person that gets anywhere with fishing?

So after a particularly bad day anglers usually come to their senses, lick their wounds and start over again…and talking is the key…for it only takes hearing of some ones else's success to realize that either you are doing things the wrong way, or that luck still plays a major role in fishing at times, no matter what skill level you are at.

Even in elite competitions the best anglers have lean days or lean seasons while someone else is cleaning up 'somewhere and somehow'.

I am in a bit of a lucky position: reports come flooding into my computer and phone regularly so in many instances I can add these to my own experiences and form a 'statistical approach' to how the fishing is going. Furthermore I follow up by talking to the most seasoned guides on the lake.

And yes it is true that while the brown trout fishing on Lake Eucumbene has been reasonable, the stocked rainbow trout fishing has been very slow. Eucumbene Authority Col Sinclair blames a 3-4 year boom cycle of good fishing that brought in more anglers and this increased the 'take'.

Meanwhile stocking levels have remained the same so the 'put' hasn't kept up with the 'take'. But as anglers disappear due to poor fishing the 'put' trout will grow to a nice size and so begins the cycle again, and it takes a stocked fry rainbow 2-5 years to be of the 1-2 pound size people expect to catch.

But business are suffering and can't want years for anglers to return, so Col and other Eucumbene folks are suggesting stocking levels must increase quickly.

The size of the stocked fish will b examined as well: stocked fry have a tiny survival rate of approx 10 percent or less while 'grown on' 20 cm fish have an 80 percent survival rate. Fund raisers to grow already allocated fry in private dams or even an Australian Freshwater First-grow out pens on Lake Eucumbene -are touted as a possible solutions.

The problem has alleviated a bit in recent weeks as the extreme heat has vanished and Eucumbene rainbow trout that were out deep are returning to the edges in 'Sort of alright' numbers. A handful of trollers have done exceptionally well trying new areas.

Over at Jindabyne there were lots of rumors that rainbow stocking was on a downward spiral: not true according to Steve Williamson who explained that; NSW DPI collected the same amount of eggs as 'usual' from the Thredbo Spawn Run and stocked the same amount of trout as 'usual'. And surprise surprise the fishing has been going 'usual' as well which for most anglers means a good time catching a few plump rainbows and the occasional brown trout most sessions. The browns have often been chock full of yabbys, while the rainbows have had lots of goldfish in their stomachs at times.

The trick has been to get down deep, trolling at 30 to 40 feet has been as good as ever reports Steve. Surface temps peaked as high as 24 degrees in before the heat waves dissipated, but at the same time were measured at 15 degrees 30 feet down

Weed beeds as high as 3 meters have formed in Jindabyne, so sounding these out in the deeper water and dropping a fly or lure into them has also produced good trout. Doing this from the bank has been harder, you can only move around a bit until you find a deep gap in the weed, after which you're in pole position. And don't forget to supplement artificial baits with a natural bait like worm or bardi grub, it makes a huge difference.

Problem with us more experienced anglers who can innocently start the 'where are the fish gone rumors' is that we have fished so much that we have seen some freak seasons and sessions with loads of big fish…so we keep looking for this same high, forgetting that just a few good trout per angler is still a big success. I never take a catch like this for granted (not for long anyway).

Meanwhile newcomers fresh to the whole experience are wrapped with just a trout or two and can't wait to do more. This is why educating anglers on the basics is such a growth area, in fact the trout dvd from my instructional library collection focused on the essentials in the Snowy Lakes and has been by far my best seller. Many a newcomer writes in each week happy with the trout they have been able to catch, particularly on Lake Jindabyne.

Likewise longest serving and best known Jindabyne guide Steve Williamson has been astonished by the headlines of poor fishing, while in the meantime his facebook page glows with happy anglers, especially in recent weeks.

Hopefully Eucumbene will get better soon; time will tell.

See you on the water

Rob Paxevanos

Catch Rob on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RobPaxevanos


March 19, 2014

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NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, at the launch of the NSW Fish Habitat Partnership today in Sydney.
FISH HABITAT BOOSTED WITH NEW PARTNERSHIP

The more I learn travel, learn, talk with experts, and research, the more I see how important Habitat is to fish numbers.

Sticking to bag limits, stocking, good fish handling when releasing unwanted/undersized fish, educating other anglers on sustainable practices and more are all important; but without good habitat fish will not hang around and more importantly they can't feed and breed.

It is with this in mind I was particularly happy to hear about a new government initiative that is boosting fish habitat via new partnerships.

A new independent initiative to improve fish habitat and increase productivity of important species, called the NSW Fish Habitat Partnership, has just been launched by Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson.

The Partnership will be led by inaugural Chair, oyster grower Mark Bulley, and includes 11 peak representative organisations from key commercial and recreational fisheries, conservation and industry bodies.

The focus is on improving fish habitat and health of aquatic ecosystems in order to increase the productivity of important recreational and commercial fish species.

"Fish habitat is essential for the survival of fish – it underpins the productivity of our State's fisheries resources. It gives me great pleasure to witness and support the formation of this partnership today as a constructive way for our State's key fisheries stakeholders to work together on such an important issue." Ms Hodgkinson said.

The partnership includes:
* NSW Council of Freshwater Anglers;
* Professional Fisherman's Association;
* Australian National Sportfishing Association;
* NSW Farmers;
* Nature Conservation Council;
* NSW Aboriginal Land Council;
* Australian Fishing Trade Association;
* Recreational Fishermans Alliance;
* Sydney Aquarium and Sea Life Conservation Fund;
* Sydney Fish Markets; and
* OceanWatch.

The NSW Government is assisting the partnership by providing administrative support funding in the first year.

Tonic releases Blue Mirror Limited Edition

In other news I've been working with a leading aussie fishing eyewear manufacturer on producing some specialized blue mirror lenses for extra high glare conditions-and that's not for young bucks with a hanggover: it's for those days when brightness can make fishing uncomfortable.

So I'm please to hear that Tonic Polarised Eyewear has released these special Blue Mirror Limited Edition.
 
Available in Tonic's popular Evo and Shimmer frame styles, the Limited Edition is a stylish solution for high-glare conditions.
 
The Blue Mirror lenses were specially developed for Australian anglers and outdoor enthusiasts, and share their high-tech optics with all of Tonic's growing range of lightweight polarised optical glass lenses. Glass is of course a brilliant material for the base of a premier lens, having this lightweight makes them much more comfortable to wear all day compared to traditional lenses.
 
Since launched into the fishing and boating market just over two years ago by founder Doug Phillips, Tonic has amazed its customers with the wonders of 21st century optics.
 
Tonic's unique VistaView de-centred lenses allow undistorted vision across the eyes full scanning range, and is something that Doug has Pioneered right here in Australia. This represent the culmination of Doug Phillips' 27-year quest to constantly push the boundaries of optical technology.

See you on the water

Rob Paxevanos

Catch Rob on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RobPaxevanos


March 12, 2014

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Gavin Colby and Josie Mark from Western Australia ultimately took the top prize in the Hobie 16 Open class.
Beauty and spirit of NSW South Coast sees Hobie 16 World Championships were a huge success

The pristine postcard perfect waters of the NSW South Coast, along with hard working and hospitable locals have helped see the Hobie 16 World Championships rated as a huge success.

After one and a half years in the planning, and with a 38 year legacy to uphold, Hobie Cat® Australasia has successfully held the world's largest Hobie 16 World Championships in Jervis Bay, NSW Australia.

This global event, which was supported by The Hobie Cat Company World-Wide, The Shoalhaven City Council and Destination NSW, saw 901 Athletes from 24 countries travel from across the globe to Huskisson in Jervis Bay to compete in the 16 day regatta.

Hobie Cat Australasia built the 60 Hobie 16 catamarans sailed in the event, and Hobie staff and a crew of volunteers worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure the event went off without a hitch.

NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events, George Souris, congratulated Hobie Cat Australasia on hosting the hugely successful event.

"The Hobie 16 World Championships was a major regional event on the 2014 NSW calendar, and the NSW Government is incredibly proud to have supported it through our tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW."

Mayor of Shoalhaven City Council, Joanna Gash, said: "Hosting this event was a tremendous coup for the local area. I can think of no more scenic backdrop for such a prestigious event than the beautiful surrounds of Jervis Bay, and it was great to see competitors, officials and spectators make time to explore the Shoalhaven during their stay."

Five World Champions were crowned across five classes during the regatta. South Africans William and Lucinda Edwards took out the Hobie 16 Masters, Australians Rod and Kerry Waterhouse from NSW claimed the Hobie 16 Grand Masters title, Bella Zanesco and one time Jervis Bay local Jesse Dobie picked up the Hobie 16 Women's crown, and Daniel Bjornholt and Felix Grech took the Hobie 16 Youth title home to Denmark.

Gavin Colby and Josie Mark from Western Australia ultimately took the top prize in the Hobie 16 Open class with a 38 point lead over fellow Australians Cam Owen and Susan Ghent in second place and incumbent world champions Jerome Le Gal and Marco Iazzetta from New Caledonia who finished third.

Originating in Hawaii in 1976, the Hobie 16 World Championships are a One-Design class event that tests the skills of the world's best twin hull catamaran sailors over 16 days in identical Hobie Cat 16 catamarans. The catamarans are rotated through the teams randomly to ensure no one boat and team ever has an advantage.

With the race won and beach back to its original pristine state, organisers are looking forward to the announcement of the 21st Hobie 16 World Championships, to be held in 2016.

For more info video and pictures visit www.hobieworlds.com

See you on the water

Rob Paxevanos

Catch Rob on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RobPaxevanos


March 5, 2014

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48 years of experience in motor home construction has been transferred across to the new range of Avida Australian Caravans
Avida Australia Changes the way Caravans are made.

The Avida Sapphire caravan range was only launched to the Australian market late last year and already they are the talk of the Caravan Industry.

Stronger and lighter than other caravans, the Avida Sapphire has set a new benchmark for toughness, style and customer support.

For over 40 years, the majority of caravan manufacturers worldwide have continued the make their vans in the same way as they did decades before, essentially offering a heavy chassis necessary to support a very lightweight body constructed mostly of cheaper Meranti timber, thinly lined with wispy insulation and skinned with aluminium sheeting susceptible to water leaks from the many joins and easily damaged by road debris and hail, certainly not sturdy by anyone's definition.

Avida has revolutionised the caravan market in Australia by introducing a caravan range that offers strength yet is lighter than most equivalent caravans thus is more stable and easier to tow.

Unlike the others, much of the strength of an Avida caravan is in the body construction which offers body panels up to around four times thicker than the average caravan, fully insulated with dense polystyrene foam in the floor, wall and the roof and is the only locally manufactured caravan that offers full sandwich panel construction to cope with the toughest of Australian roads.

The one piece floor, wall and roof panels eliminates any chance of rot occurring as often happens with timber, as Avida ensures each panel is precision cut by computer controlled equipment and utilise 21st century materials in the construction.

Unique features include the fully metal lined under floor with next to no cables, pipes or protrusions under the floor to minimize damage, the strong Duragal 150mm (6") chassis rails, furniture supported by metal plates embedded into the body and screwed and glued, not stapled like others and of course, the smooth, stylish outer fibreglass skin which not only looks good but is dent resistant and impervious to weather.

A good example of the quality manufacturing is in the Avida Sapphire caravan floor.

The standard caravan floor found in most other caravans is basic 12mm thick non insulated plywood sheet. An Avida Caravan floor by comparison is over four times thicker at 49mm comprising, two top and two bottom sheets, overlapped at the sheet joins to prevent floor creak and movement. Sandwiched between the plywood sheets is 35mm dense insulation for superb temperature and noise control.

The vinyl floor covering, offering a 15 year warranty, is sandwiched to the top panel and underneath, a one piece aluminium skin, protects the caravan's under floor against rocks, water, and other road debris.

To back the claims made for Avida Sapphire Caravans, each caravan is offered with a free nationwide customer care package that includes a two year factory backed warranty, double that offered by most other manufacturers plus Avida's five year structural guarantee, two years free emergency roadside assist, free first service and access to Australia's largest accredited nationwide RV service network, all for your own peace of mind.

Avida has been building motorhomes, mostly under the brand name of Winnebago for over 48 years and understands the road conditions that are likely to be confronted around Australia. Avida Sapphire caravans are designed with that in mind.

Why not go and see the extensive range of new Avida Caravans, a choice of up to 156 different derivatives in the range including Tourer and Multi Terrain models, all with large ensuites, all with showers and toilets and with a choice of three fibreglass wall colours, thirteen trim and decal choices, single, queen width and bunk beds, dinettes or modern lounges and even models featuring an electric slide out room.

For further information please contact your local Avida Caravan dealer ON 1800 102 201 or check out the accelerated performance test (and pics of one Avida stacked on top of another!) at www.avidarv.com.au

About Avida: Family owned and 100% Australian, Avida is Australia's No. 1 motorhome manufacturer. Established in 1965, Winnebago Australia launched another brand, Avida, in February 2013. Avida is derived from the word Avid, meaning passionate. Avida locally designs and manufactures a wide range of motorhomes and caravans at its state of the art factory in Emu Plains, In western Sydney and is a major employer of people from the local area. All Avida motorhomes and caravans are built with strength and longevity in mind and comply with all Australian Government design and safety regulations.

See you on the water

Rob Paxevanos

Catch Rob on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RobPaxevanos


February 26, 2014

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Rob with a stunning 'Queen Snapper', a prized catch from the great southern ocean.
The Eyre Peninsula:South Australias Fishing and Seafood Frontier-Part 2

This week I pick up the adventure with the main event: reef fishing 70 minutes cruise south down in the Great Southern Ocean.

It was a bit bumpy south of Cape Catastrophe, and one could see why without modern Navigational aids Flinders crew came undone in the maze of reefs and islands. But we were plenty safe: this is Doddys Back yard and the fishing was exceptional.

Impressive red snapper to 55 cm were plentiful: these fish are bright pink and taste as good as they look.

While many other tasties graced our creel, it was a queen snapper that I wanted most: we lost what felt like a cracker, and then we caught a reasonable one later that evening: exciting stuff! These fish have brilliant colours, fight extra hard and most importantly the locals put them at the top of the long list of high end table fish. We also caught standard snapper to 20 pounds…fish of a life time in many parts but par for the course on Doddys Trips.

The wind came in from the north for the next few days-perfect for beach fishing on the south facing beaches and cliffs of the Lincoln National Park, for which Doddy had already organized a pass.

The cliff fishing is for the experienced angler who is not scared of heights-but it is still worth seeing the view from well back from the edge; the salmon schools form over winter and are great to watch. Sharks, dolphins and seals can be seen feeding on the salmon at times, and whales cruise in season.

But better still is the beach fishing: it's safe, and given this is more or less the start of the Great Australian Bight you can't help but be awe struck by the atmosphere and scenery. The usual light-tackle spin or larger surf rod bait techniques produced a dozen salmon to 4 kilos in the 2 hours we fished. The drive to and from the spots included four wheel driving thru massive sand dunes and was another highlight.

Yet another tasty treat is the iconic King George Whiting, and the lads at Mad Keen Charters at Tumby Bay produced these in droves, along with some XL southern Calamari. Tumby Bay is just 30 minutes drive north from Port, and there is also Coffin Bay 30 minutes to the west, famous for Oysters, King George Whiting and Squid to name a few.

The region is also famous for the cage diving with the great white sharks, but I filmed this last visit with Super Model Erin McNaught, so this time it was hand feeding and swimming with bluefin tuna up to 70 kilos in size-this was equally as impressive as the shark cage dive and a great family friendly set up to boot.

To cap things off we checked out a short demo on fish cleaning and cooking at what's called "the Fresh Fish Place." This is a full on commercial plant from start to plate and one of few places of its kind that I have come across.

We learned some great new ways to clean and cook all the fish we caught earlier, and those who don't wet a line will be happy to know that all the above mentioned fish and many more are available for purchase fresh and local: not shipped to the city and back to restaurants as happens in many places these days (crazy but true). You can also get local fish pre-prepared: the smoked kingfish and queen snapper were my favorite from the deli section.

Local coffin bay oysters are prepared in a variety of ways, the tempura ones are INCREDIBLE and are almost a meal on their own and the fact that all the batter was made from local flour added to the experience.

That's about all I have room for, but if your thinking of heading to the Eyre Peninsula a good reference site with lots of info for travelers is www.exploreeyrepeninsula.com.au

See you on the water

Rob Paxevanos

Catch Rob on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RobPaxevanos


February 19, 2014

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Doddy and Rob with one of the bigger School Sharks...a strong fighting and very tasty adversary.
The Eyre Peninsula: South Australias Fishing and Seafood Frontier

n Sat the 1st March at 2pm on GO there is an Encore Screening of my epic Jewfish mission into the Great Australian Bight; pencil that in. But note that for variety of fish and ease of travelling and accommodation, the Eyre Peninsula represents a better option for most anglers and seafood lovers.

Every time I go to the Eyre Peninsula I am gob smacked by the piscatorial delights on offer, here's a brief diary of what happened on my last visit.

Things kicked off proper when we boarded REX Airlines on the Adelaide to Port Lincoln Leg of the flight schedule. Suburban Adelaide disappears behind shortly after takeoff as you cross the wonderful Gulf of St Vincent and then not long after the York Peninsula grows on the Horizon. After that is the mighty Spencer Gulf, the larger of the two gulfs, and this makes the goose bumps grow further. You see to a die-hard fisho like me the massive shallow fertile upper reaches of these Gulfs immediately means rich fields for fish recruitment-and indeed many of the whoppers start their life here; the snapper, king George whiting, squid cuttlefish etc-this is their spawning and nursery grounds.

We then took in the sights of the Sir Joseph Banks Islands, these are towards the bottom of Spencer Gulf: it's starting to get deeper by now, amongst the islands is Dangerous Reef, famous for Great White Shark Scientific Studies and Docos.

Finally comes the jewel in the Crown: Port Lincoln. This stunning satellite seafood city is at the southern Tip of the Eyre Peninsula and is surrounded by 3 massive waterways: Spencer's Gulf to the east, the Southern Ocean to the South, and the Great Australian Bight to the West. Few places have such vast and iconic waterways nearby: it's like Neptune has walked up onto the beach and put up a big sign: "Fishos and Seafood lovers-STOP HERE!"

There's was range of accommodation on offer from Budget to 5 star, we stayed in the holiday park on Boston Bay, one of the largest natural Harbours in the world.

The locals were catching squid and king George whiting off the holiday park jetty, and there is a boat ramp near by-the place bustles in summer, but note that the calmest seas for heading further offshore come in two to four day long spurts between the cold fronts in Autumn and Winter.

There is also plenty of high end accommodation to choose from. For example the many executive apartments on the Marina: we had a peek in the ones right on the up market Monterey Drive… NICE! There is also the Iconic Port Lincoln Hotel which is the largest flashiest place in town, with wonderful gourmet chefs, room service…the lot.

First morning was calm so we boated 90 min east into the middle of the Spencer Gulf, we were just to the south of the Sir Joseph Banks Group. .

Our skipper Michael Dodd from Port Lincoln Charters is veteran of the area, and helped me with the fishing side of my first book. We were soon into the 'rugger' snapper-perfect eating size at about 1-2 kilos. Doddy and I regularly catch us the giant 20 pound plus snapper in this area, but this session we wanted a school shark and we got some good ones including Doddys superb 1.5 meter male specimen-a prized fighting and table fish.

Much of our success on this trip was due to the fact that we booked Doddy for 4 days. On the calm days we went well out to sea, on the windier days he took us inshore for whiting and squid, or to the surf beaches.

I've run out of room for now, but watch this space, next week I'll pick up our adventure with the main event, deep sea fishing in the great southern ocean.

See you on the water

Rob Paxevanos

Catch Rob on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RobPaxevanos


February 12, 2014

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TESTING TESTING...Robs dad Tony Paxevanos with the freakishly hard fighting and tasty Threadfin Salmon caught while on the extended Australia wide testing of the Okuma RTX Pro
Okuma's Greatest Spinning Reel Yet!

I've tested 100's of spinning reels for this column, including lots from the Okuma Range, and I'm happy to say they have raised the bar significantly with the new RTX pro.

First impressions are…well…impressive, the reel is extremely silky smooth to wind and is so light yet solid feeling and comfortable to hold.

But for me it is the extended test in a wide variety of elements that separates the show ponies from the thoroughbreds. The RTX series has proved to be the later: 8 months of testing from freezing nights on the Snowy Lakes, to extreme heat, humidity and salt spray in the tropics the reel hasn't faltered. Basic cleaning and maintenance is all that has been required….

The RTX pros in their various sizes have pulled in everything from humungous brown trout and golden perch in the fresh, to snapper XL jewfish and barra in the salt.

The reel has even handled some punishment from my dad Tony: an old school handliner who is un intentionally rough on gear. He has big beat up welders hands and can't feel as well as many of us, and is a harsher critic than me, but even he loves these reels…

Predominately constructed of Okumas C-40X elongated carbon fibre material, Okuma's RTX Pro delivers a 25% reduction in weight and 50% increase in strength over traditional graphite reels of a comparable class, drastically reducing body flex commonly found in lesser reels.

Internally the RTX Pro features Okumas custom multi-disc carbonite drag stack with Hydro Bloc watertight seal; and a 7HP bearing system with quick-set anti-reverse. Okuma's EOS Aluminium gearing is incorporated to increase smoothness, longevity; and to assist in achieving additional weight reduction on top of the impressive C-40X construction.

Additionally these reels have a one-piece aluminium bail wire; a machined two-tone aluminium spool; and a practical lightweight EVA handle knob.

The RTX Pro comes complete with a Lifetime Guarantee.

Highly recommended; get in a tackle store and have a feel for yourself.

Whaler shark study to help inform management arrangements

A study investigating ways to reduce unwanted catch and any environmental impacts of the large shark fishery in NSW is continuing with a number of tagged sharks being monitored in ocean waters.

The study will be led by NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) shark scientists, Dr Vic Peddemors, and Dr Paul Butcher.

"The Shark Futures: sustainable management of the NSW whaler shark fishery project is taking a deeper look at the ecology, population, movements and distribution of Sandbar and Dusky Whaler sharks and how best to manage whaler shark stocks in NSW waters," Dr Butcher said.

"The two-year project, based out of Coffs Harbour in NSW, also aims to develop a fishing technique that will decrease mortality of unwanted species, particularly threatened and protected species and to minimise the environmental impact of the fishery.

"So far, we have been able to obtain an extensive set of samples to evaluate, with 50 Sandbar and Dusky Whaler sharks tagged with acoustic transmitters and 16 sharks fitted with satellite tags. A further eleven species of sharks have been tagged with external dart tags.

"The use of acoustic and satellite telemetry will assist in the development of potential spatial management options."

The project builds on ongoing research investigating the biology of the shark species targeted by NSW commercial fisheries and aims to enhance the sustainability of the fishery to ensure ongoing livelihoods.

Dr Vic Peddemors said the study will also try to determine whether Sandbar and Dusky Whaler sharks found in NSW are part of the same stock that occur in Queensland and whether an effective population size can be calculated using modern genetic techniques.

"This information will help in determining whether these sharks should be managed separately by each state or collaboratively and whether independent estimates of biomass can be made," Dr Peddemors said.

"It is the last piece in the puzzle to help manage on-going, long-term sustainable shark fishing in NSW waters."

The project is set to be completed later this year.

Funding for the Shark Futures: sustainable management of the NSW whaler shark fishery project, is provided by NSW DPI and the Fisheries Research & Development Corporation on behalf of the Australian government, with support from the University of Queensland and the Australian Animal Tagging & Monitoring System.

See you on the water

Rob Paxevanos

Catch Rob on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RobPaxevanos


February 5, 2014

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REVEALED: I can't tell you how many anglers walked straight past these big bream because they didn't have purpose built fishing eye wear.
The Best Eyewear for Fishing?

What's the best Eye Wear for fishing? And we are not talking about what looks the best-that's one for the fashonistas and yourself to decide...I'm talking about which are that best sunglasses for helping anglers with sight fishing?

Short answer is usually-'the best pair you can afford'...but that doesn't mean a designer brand pair worth a mint are going to be ideal, far from it, us anglers that are serious about our sight fishing need purpose built eye wear that are made with experience and passion, not driven by profit.

I'm lucky enough to have worked with many of the major brands, and have access to any brand I want, and there are some good ones out there, but Tonics built by Doug Phillips, in my professional opinion are the best on the market.

For a start the decentred lens means you can look up, down, left or right with no optical distortion.

Furthermore the lenses have 4 layers which gives superior vision and eye protection, and the inner anti glare layer is a MASSIVE help when scanning the water for fish and their habitat.

This and more all happens because Doug drives the Tonic Company ie the company is not driven by a C.E.O who is there to make money rather than better products! Doug is insanely passionate about fishing eye wear, and while he was in charge of a major brand for a long time, these days he has the freedom do things his way...and stops at nothing to develop designer lenses that lead the world in their ability to help anglers see into the water.

As just one example of the lengths he goes to I have been looking for specialist sunnies to cope with harsh brightness in the tropics in summer, yet still allow me to see into the water. Doug could've done what most brands do and that is get an existing mass produced blue mirror lens that are easy to source and have them on the shelves in double quick time. But instead it took Tonic over 2 years and dozens of attempts to get their latest Blue Mirrors up to his specs, and for high glare tropical fishing they are something else. Not to mention they have an icy cool look!

Similarly Tonics low light 'Neon' lenses (used for darker area sight fishing-eg valleys, shadows, fog, cloud and the all important dawn and dusk bite) are a result of some true pioneering work in this field. These glasses actually light up what you look at like you have flicked on a little light yet, reduce glare and increase color separation-I can't work out how he did this, but he did and you NEED to see this for yourself. It is the work of a master in his field, and something that low light anglers will truly appreciate. While they don't suit cloud free mid day sunshine (they are too bright for this) it is not uncommon for more hard core sight fishos (myself included) to swap to a pair of Neons these when light levels drop.

If you're after one lens for all conditions Tonics time proven and popular copper coloured photocromatic lenses are the go, these are my own personal choice if I am only taking one pair fishing. Like the blue mirror and the Neons, the clarity and detail you get is beyond compare.

I mainly use the Tonic glass lenses, but for the kids, visitors, or other instances where you need a cheaper product Tonic also has the best Polycarbonate Lenses I've used to date.

I have to say I'm pretty proud an aussie bloke is driving all this and achieving new heights in fishing eye wear. When I was a child I had a patch my left eye to correct a strong left eye. From this age I was determined to 'get my eyes' better than any ones and with the help of optometrists and my families encouragement I now enjoy a career that depends on my ability to spot fish, and I'm glad there's folks like Tonic helping me enjoy my work.

Check out www.toniceyewear.com.au for more info on Doug's products, and if you're in the market for purpose built fishing eyewear do yourself a favour and go into a shop and compare them directly with any other brand on the market.

See you on the water

Rob Paxevanos

Catch Rob on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RobPaxevanos


January 15, 2014

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This years 'off the hook' program was a huge success with smiles beaming from young and old.
Off the Hook - Jervis Bay Bigger and Better

The 'Off the Hook Program' is a brilliant event for the local Jervis Bay community, and one that I am proud to have covered in the media since its inception. It's a simple but effective concept: a fun community based program that brings together local indigenous kids and local police officers through a common love of fishing.

You see by getting youngsters and police out on the water together each party gets to know each other and the opening of the communication line fosters a familiarity and respect between the parties that has proven to be a resounding success on and off the water.

The event is the brain child of Australian Federal Police Officer Andy Warton. With the help of the AFP and his local station in Darwin Andy got the program off the ground and its success saw it soon spread around much of the Northern Territory. Some may remember the coverage we gave the Tiwi Islands leg of the program on a Fishing Australia Television Program a few years back, it was just brilliant community building fun for young and old (myself included.)

This local Wreck Bay leg of the event just completed its third year, and was bigger and better than ever. Major prize was an awesome Hobie Kayak and accessories, and each participant received a cool little rod and reel amongst other goodies.

Kids of any age or culture love a participant prize, and the chance of a bigger prize, so this was a great way of getting lots of entrants, but it didn't dilute the more important theme of there being some quality time between local youth and law enforcers. One of the priceless results is that the youth gain confidence and trust in being able to approach and talk to their local officers when needed...something most of us will remember as a daunting proposition at that age.

And let's not forget the brilliant local fishing and the fact that Wreck Bay is a stunning part of Australia in which to wet a line.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the kids who participated, and all the officers staff who all volunteered time before, during and after the event to make it happen. I'd also like to thank local sponsors BCF, Tackle World, Kmart, Bunnings, Shimano, Nowra Marine, Coles and Hobie for making the event possible.

Estuary perch habitat crucial to spawning success

Research on the habitat estuary perch need for successful spawning has found that complex structure, such as woody debris, is a crucial requirement. During their winter spawning, these fish generally make multiple, large-scale (up to 50 km) spawning migrations from where they are living downstream to specific locations close to river entrances. Once there, they have a small home range around a preferred site, and areas of woody debris are prime real estate. Degradation of riverbank habitat, particularly riparian vegetation, means that there is very little recruitment of new large wooden debris and it appears spawning output may be limited by the number of fish that can physically fit into the area of preferred habitat present within a spawning ground.

For more on this research by van der Meulen and others in Marine and Freshwater Research go to http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MF13060

Another Fish Friendly Marina gets onboard

Sydney's Middle Harbour Yacht Club is the latest marina to be awarded 'Fish Friendly' status and accredited as a Level 3 'International Clean Marina' by the Marina Industries Association (MIA). The Fish Friendly Marinas initiative, developed by Fisheries NSW in collaboration with the MIA and the NSW Boating Industry Association, acknowledges that marinas can provide important habitats for fish. It outlines how to manage marinas to maximise the benefits for fish and recognises those operators actively working to improve fish habitat. Being Fish Friendly aligns with the International Clean Marina Program goals to reduce non-point source pollution and promote clean water and clean air.

See you on the water

Rob Paxevanos

Catch Rob on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RobPaxevanos


January 8, 2014

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Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, and Member for Coogee, Bruce Notley-Smith, have reminded people to hold a valid NSW Recreational Fishing Fee Receipt if they are going fishing this holiday season.
GET HOOKED, BUT DON'T GET NABBED

NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, and Member for Coogee, Bruce Notley-Smith, have today reminded recreational fishers to follow the rules this holiday season and ensure they hold a valid NSW Recreational Fishing Fee Receipt.

"Fishing is an integral part of an Australian summer for many people but it's important to remember that if you're trying your luck on the water during the break – you had better make sure you've got your fishing receipt in your pocket too," Ms Hodgkinson said.

"The NSW Recreational Fishing Fee Receipt is required for all types of fishing activity in NSW including angling, netting for prawns, spear fishing and shellfish gathering, and must be carried at all times.

"Summer holidays are usually one of the busiest times on the water for our fisheries officers and seasonal fishers can sometimes forget that they need a receipt to fish in NSW.

"But a $200 on-the-spot fine applies for fishing without a valid fishing receipt, unless exempt, and a $75 fine will apply if fishers do not have the receipt in their immediate possession."

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) fisheries officers will be patrolling NSW waterways throughout the summer months to make sure fishers hold a current recreational fishing fee receipt and follow a range of rules including fish size and bag limits.

Ms Hodgkinson said money raised from the NSW Recreational Fishing Fee is placed into two trusts and spent on projects to improve recreational fishing in NSW. "A great example of how this money is spent is the terrific artificial reef off Sydney, which I know recreational anglers love," Ms Hodgkinson said.

"The rules are in place to encourage responsible fishing, reduce the chance of over fishing and to ensure stocks remain at sustainable levels."

Mr Notley-Smith said recreational anglers should take care when fishing.

"It is important if you are heading out in a boat to check the weather and water conditions beforehand. This is also a timely reminder to fishers to take particular care when fishing on rock platforms and take all safety precautions," he said.

The types of fees available include $7 for three days, $14 for one month, $35 for one year or $85 for three years.

NSW Recreational Fishing Fees can be paid at more than 1000 outlets including bait and tackle shops, online at www.licence.nsw.gov.au or by calling 1300 369 365.

More information can be found in the NSW Recreational Fishing Guides.

SNOWY MOUNTAINS SCHOOL HOLIDAY LEARN TO FISH COURSES

The team from 'Steve Williamson's Fishing Adventures' are offering an introductory course in 'How to Catch Trout', and Kids, Adults and Families are all invited.

The course covers fishing regulations, fish species, safe handling and care for fish, tackle, lures, baits, knots, rigs and casting. This is a great introductory course for the beginner angler no matter what age!

The Course will be run over a 2 hour period on TUESDAY and THURSDAY over the school holidays from 9am to 11am

The cost is $20 per participating person, with attendees meeting up at the Discovery Holiday Park Conference Room (rear of Thai Restaurant)

Bookings are limited to a max of 20 participants, and are open to children (from 5 years of age) and adults. Children under 12 years of age must be supervised by an accompanying adult over 16.

Each child will be eligible to a FREE SHOW BAG containing lots of goodies including a BONUS 'How to Fish' DVD  to every family! (value over $40) To book call Steve Williamson's Tackle Shop on 64561551

After instruction join us for a casting competition where you can win instant prizes for hitting the targets. Lots of fun for everyone and heaps of prizes as well!

Hire of rods and tackle will be available at a cost of $15 for the rest of the day should you wish to try your hand at fishing.

Adults keen to learn the finer and more challenging points of fishing can talk to Steve about his various bait, lure of fly fishing packages.

See you on the water

Rob Paxevanos

Catch Rob on Twitter: http://twitter.com/RobPaxevanos


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