Kingfish and Gemfish

August 12, 2019

Jigging Kingfish

Headed out on Wednesday to test some game changing new tackle. Kicked off with a solo boat launch at Roseville ramp:

Trailering the boat at the ramp

Over to Watsons Bay to pick up crew member Greg Stevenson. Around South Head and out to the famous Peak – a series of bumps and pinnacles running north to south in around 70 metres, off Maroubra. Been fishing it for 40 years and have learned that dropping and hoping is a big waste of time there. These days, I only drop when the sounder tells me to. After scanning some favourite marks we found a bait ball. Down went the jigs and Greg hooked up:

Not a big one! But a keeper. A good start to the day:

200 gram Kingfish catch

Also noticed the king was taken on one of our 200 gram blue jigs. Greg had hooked up fast - while I was thrashing the water to foam, for no result. More about that later. After putting the fish on ice we headed straight for Brown’s Mountain. On arrival, the sounder show was not impressive:

Clear lowrance sounder reading

But I wasn’t worried. August is peak time, gemfish had to be there. And they were. First drop:

Double gemfish catch on first drop

On the small side, as pretty much all have been this season. But still delicious. And plenty there, as we moved around. We bagged out in three drops:

Bringing up Gemfish on electric reels

Getting our limit early meant I had the time for something I’ve been busting to try. The story is that I’ve been following a bloke on Facebook who’s been manually jigging Browns - at 400 metres and more. And, getting great results. His name is Chris Chan:

Deep sea fish species Browns Mountain

I like the idea of manual jigging and experiencing the strike. Not so keen on the idea of winding the jig or fish back up to the surface – for two good reasons. Firstly, Chris’ videos show it takes 15-20 minutes to wind a fish up from that depth. With makos and bronze whalers often swarming at Brown’s the extra time means more chance of getting sharked. And not sure I’m even fit enough to do it!  THE ANSWER.

Red electric reel

A supplier had sent me some pretty amazing electric reels – the Dragon 7000. It weighs about the same as a regular reel – but has an electric motor. Meaning I could:
Drop the lure down, in the usual way;
Jig for fish, in the usual way:

And when I hook up – or even if I don’t hook up – bring the fish or the jig to the surface, without winding. That would leave me free to chomp the burley pot, manage the shark baits, or do any of the dozen things that need doing on your typical busy day at Brown’s.  Best of all, the Dragon combo is nearly half the price our bigger electric reel and rod setups. And its small enough and light enough to fish the same way you would with a regular overhead reel. Here’s a side by side comparison with our Tanacom 750:

Tanacom compared to the Ecooda

Here’s specs and pricing on the combo:
Dragon 7000 electric reel
Line capacity:
400 metres of PE5 or
600 metres of PE3 (we recommend PE3, for less resistance to the current)
Reel weight 630 grams, super light
Lifting power 22 kilos
Rod:  Hercules 15-24 kilo 2-piece five foot six inch jigging rod
Can be shipped by post so, cheap delivery
Cost including rod, reel, your choice of line pre-spooled, leader and jigs $785
Of course it can be fished with bait just like a regular reel. Very handy for the surprising number of blokes who contact us with medical issues like shoulder reconstructions, too:

Dragon Ecooda in red

IMPORTANT. This reel has an auto stop function. The motor beeps a warning and cuts out when your lure or bait is five metres below the boat. Why is this so good? Because if you want to bring your fish or lure up to the boat, you can just drop the rod in the holder and press the up button. Then, go do something else. The reel will automatically stop winding. That prevents the terminal tackle hitting – and damaging – your tip guide.
With a fish box full of ice and gemfish and the wind starting to lift we decided to head for home. Via The Peak, to break up the 22 nautical mile trip. That was a very good call:

Notice anything? The dang 200 gram blue jigs AGAIN. One of ours, but I hadn’t brought any on the boat. Greg’s hooking up on 70 – 80cm kings on them, every drop. I’m using a different jig - and getting tired arms, and no fish.
 ‘Greg, could I borrow one of those 200 gram blue jigs please?’
Tie jig on.
Drop down to 65 metres.
Three lift and winds.
‘Thanks Greg!’
Unbelievable. That’s all they wanted! Kings can be funny critters at times. We only have about 80 left? $65 for ten jigs including hook, cord, AND DELIVERY anywhere in Australia. They won’t last long:

Downrigger Shop 200 gram jigs


Heading back out this coming week and will post to our Facebook page if anything interesting happens. Tight lines and thanks for reading,

Andrew Hestelow

Leave a comment

Also in Tackle News

Mini Kings, Maxi Fun
Mini Kings, Maxi Fun

January 23, 2020 5 Comments

The one reliable and predictable fishery has been kingfish, in metro bays and harbours. They have basically been on tap. But – it’s hard to find keepers.

Read More

Norfolk Island - Getting it Right
Norfolk Island - Getting it Right

January 20, 2020 2 Comments

Norfolk is a beautiful place with very good fishing. But there are a few traps for new players. I get so many inquiries about the place after posting pics and videos! So in this little report I’ll be covering both the good and the bad – without fear, or favour.

Read More

Down Down, Deeper and Down
Down Down, Deeper and Down

January 13, 2020 3 Comments

We ran a live slimy mackerel off the downrigger. Maneuvering the big boat around the moorings in a nasty cross wind wasn’t easy. But James handled it like the champ he is. A few passes and BANG.

Read More