Fishing, Photography, Tackle

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Exploring new waters

As a youngster growing up in the Northern suburbs of Sydney, heading off into the bush near our house with a bunch of the neighbourhood kids was a pretty good way to spend an afternoon. Exploring, finding new trails, following creek lines or trying to find a better lookout among the sandstone cliffs was mostly what we did. Following the local creek; bush bashing and wading our way through was a favourite adventure. As I got older and more interested in fishing, the exploring switched to finding out which creeks in the Northern Suburbs held bass. Turns out nearly all of them do, or did, if you knew where to look.  I think at the time, we thought that we were just about the only people to have discovered Sydney suburban bass, fishing explorers who dared to go where no one else would. We never really saw anyone fishing in these tiny waterways back then. Perhaps we were just the only anglers mad enough to hike for kilometres then bash our way through the dense bankside undergrowth to get to the little pockets of fishable water. I’ve since met quite a few anglers who fished many of these same waterways at the same time. It doesn’t take away the enjoyment finding these “new” places gave and the memories created.


Back in those days, a map was an invaluable aid, especially a topographic map. By the time I had managed to buy my first car, I had a collection of these precious sheets of paper that I guarded more closely than just about any other worldly possession. Skip forward 20 odd years and we have an array of tools at our disposal to help find new grounds. How did we live without Google Maps? Whether it is finding an address in the next suburb or trying to figure out whether a creek 6 hours drive away is interesting enough to justify the trip, Google Maps is, let’s face it, amazing. There are still plenty of things it can’t tell you about a location, but you can save days, if not weeks of time in finding new locations to fish. I think back to the days of driving and hiking I did in my earlier years, only to be disappointed by a river that looked great on paper, but just didn’t stack up in real life. In fact I’ve booked a trip to the Solomon Islands later this year, my interest largely piqued by what I saw on Google Maps.

A few weeks ago it struck me that I hadn’t done much exploring in recent times. Work, family and moving house last year had all crept up, as they do, and other activities had fallen away. I had fished quite a bit, but what I craved was to get out somewhere new. Once again some Google Maps gazing occurred and prospective areas were identified. The criterion I was working with was to find a place which I could drive to, then paddle and/or hike in a wild bush setting and it had to be a day trip from home on the Gold Coast. A tributary of the Richmond River looked like it had all that going for it. Even better was that I had never heard of the Creek name. I identified a few access points along the creek that looked like potential kayak launch sites and set about organising gear for the trip.

Ideally a really early start was needed so that I would reach the creek at daybreak. I was a bit slow in getting organised in the small hours of the morning, so that plan didn’t quite come off. Still it was pretty early when I left the highway. My car radio died a little while ago when I dropped a kayak off the roof and tore the aerial off, so I had to keep myself entertained with some tapes I found. A dig in the glovebox turned up a Frenzal Romb mixtape, recorded by my brother sometime in the 90s. Time hadn’t done the tape any favours and it sounded pretty average through my equally average car speakers (so average in fact, it sounded a lot like a Frenzal live gig). Still, it suited my mood perfectly and had me pumped for the morning ahead.


The first spot looked pretty good, lots of nice snags, but steep and awkward for launching the yak. The second was much better, good looking water with lots of fallen timber and a couple of midstream snags visible. I hurriedly set off and began to fish my way up stream. After half an hour of zero activity I realised a couple of things. First, there was very little bait around and nothing but lizards splashing on the edges. Secondly, the creek was flowing backwards! The creek was fully fresh, but still under tidal influence. In late summer, the majority of bass would be a fair bit further upstream, so I wasted no time in paddling back to the car. Third spot looked way better. Bait moving and the water was a little cleaner than before, by far the best looking water of the day. Large old fallen trees lined on bank while the other side had a bunch of shady trees hanging far over the water’s edge. The sun was well up, but it was quite cloudy so I started on the surface with a Soft Shell Cicada. Three fantastic looking snags later with no hits and I was just about to change lures when Boof! I only caught the hit out of the corner of my eye, as I was scanning further upstream. There was a good splash and a flash of blue on the Soft Shell as a bass…no, wait… a kingfisher pounced on my lure. Luckily the Kingfisher realised its mistake and no hooks were set. A few lure changes were made before I started to get some results. Larger bass lures, especially with a rattle, cast right into the bank would get hit on the first or second turn of the handle. A noisy Tsunekeichi  Hama Crank in chartreuse and white was the standout lure, at one stage bagging three fish in around five casts. They weren’t big fish by any stretch, but fun nonetheless.


Finally I reached a point in the pool where I ran out of water. Lack of recent rain meant that the creek appeared to be about 20cm down on its normal level, rendering a tight, timber laden corner impassable, without a lengthy portage. Still, I’d had a good day and with a fair drive ahead I turned and paddled back to the car.


Just before pulling the yak out, I decided to quickly push on downstream past the car. You know, just to see what was round the corner. It was narrow, tree canopies meeting overhead and the water moving fast over a shallow sandy bottom. My progress ended with a bump up against another log jam in only 50cm of water. Just as I stood up out of the boat, three fat bass, all well over 40cm cruised lazily out of the timber right in front of me. Their dark bodies stood out easily against the white sand, swimming away but looking quite un-panicked. No amount of casts however, could tempt those fish into coming back.

Peering between the trees just ahead, I spied the perfect bass hole, deep and timbered. It wasn’t far away but it would require a bit more time and work to get the kayak through.  It would have to wait however, for another day.

“Looks like I have some more exploring to do” I thought to myself, happy with the results of the day as well as the potential for many more visits.


Tight Lines.

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Osaka Tackle Show 2014- Part 2

Beyond the huge stands of Daiwa and Shimano, other big players like Evergreen, Megabass and Jackall all had a large presence. Megabass showed off new topwater plugs, cranks, weedless frogs, and a bluewater stickbait. Evergreen had their new overhead jigging reel on display as well as a bunch of new Kaleido bass rods as well as a seabass rod featuring Daiwa’s AGS guides. Jackall had a smaller stand than usual after the giant bass tank they usually display was banned due to a tank cracking (not Jackalls) at a show last year. Jackall had new topwater lures, some bass cranks and interesting metal jigs for sable (hairtail)

There were so many other forms of fishing covered at the show, from traditional ayu and hera fishing to bait fishing the rocks with floats, burley and a multitude of accessories. Northcraft were showing off some heavy duty jointed swimbaits for hard crunching species like impoundment barramundi. Designer Kitade san (KD) was proudly showing off a pic of a 127cm Japanese barramundi caught on the test lure. Duo had an awesome new topwater cicada lure with rubber legs similar to some of the soft topwater bugs as well as a larger version of the Rough Trail stickbait that has earned them many fans in Australia.

Elsewhere it was obvious that some of the stands were not as over the top as previous years. Many of the regular exhibitors had downsized their stands, but they seemed to make that up with exuberant promotion including loudspeakers and plenty of attractive booth girls to draw the crowds in. At the opposite end of the spectrum, many of the exhibitors were working hard to draw in female anglers, with prominent placing of the professional women on the stands and in the presentations. There was also a lot more female oriented tackle and accessories on display.

The Crowds were plentiful on the Saturday when the show is open to the public.

Crowd at opening



Girls talking











Seabass Talk
























Akashi Brand1











Misuke and Honey1




















ito craft1







Booth Girls

Thanks for reading!

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Osaka Tackle Show 2014- Part 1

For a tackle junky like myself, there is not much better than checking out a heap of new fishing gear. Some of the best new gear appears at the Japan Fishing shows, starting with the Osaka show in February each year. The first day of this show is for the trade only, which gives a great opportunity to get a handle on new gear. The following two days are open to the public, during which time tens of thousands of local anglers cram the large halls to check out the new gear, listen to presentations and maybe meet their favourite Pro-Angler. Some of the top anglers are treated like rock stars here, with fans lining up for hours for the chance to meet their fishing idols

The two biggest companies Daiwa and Shimano came out this year with all guns blazing. Daiwa has released a new Saltiga including the largest spin reel they have ever produced, Their Mag Seal technology has been extended into bail rollers and bearings. At the other end of the spectrum, Shimano released a new Stella in the 1000-4000 size range with new gears, improved body design and balance. In baitcasters, daiwa has released super tuned Steez models at the top end and Japan spec versions of the Tatula reels.

Shimano has a new Scorpion baitcaster and a new version of the famous Conquest reel. The Conquest has been significantly redesigned so that the new 200 model reel is as compact as the old 50 size!

Daiwa Stand

The Daiwa Stand stood tall amongst the others displays this year in Osaka

Daiwa Morethan

The new Daiwa Morethan will be available in 3 sizes and features a Zaion body and magsealed bearings making it lighter and more durable.

Daiwa Branzino

Daiwa Expedition Stand

The new Daiwa Saltiga Expedition in the 5500H & 8000H sizes

Daiwa Expediton Spool

The new Daiwa Saltiga Expedtion feature a new body, gearing and mag sealed bearings

Daiwa Ryoga Bay Jigging

The Daiwa Ryoga Bay Jigging reels were unveiled in a few sizes and speeds. They are a light jiggers dream reel!

Daiwa Namiki Steez

Daiwa has realeased two Steez limited reels and the Namiki custom model is a stunning reel.

Daiwa Steez Ltd

Daiwa SS SV

The new Daiwa SS SV is the new ultralight baitcaster weighing in at an impressive 150g!

Daiwa Tutula

The Tatula was released at ICAST last year and the new JDM versions were getting a lot of attention at the show.

Daiwa Tutula Range

Daiwa Steez Rods

Stella Stand

The new Stella was the stand out spinning reel at the show.

Shimano Stellas

Shimano Stella 4000

The new Stella was both incredibly light and smooth in the hand.

Shim Stella 2500

Shimano Stella SW

The full range of Stella SW reels were also on show

Shimano Cardiff

The Shimano Cardiff is a Trout fishermans dream reel

Shimano Scorpion Front

Shimano Conquest

The new Conquest is very compact. The new 200 size feels like the old 50 size!

Shimano Conquest 101