Pacific Jewel Fishing Norfolk Island Part 1

November 05, 2018

Andy with a huge Snapper caught on downrigger shop big soft plastics

Very fortunate with our fishing tackle business to have some great suppliers who quite often send me samples of new gear. But of course sample lures (for instance) might not arrive at a time of year when they can be used. For instance, marlin lures aren’t much use in the middle of winter. So when old friend and crew member Jay Barker invited me to go fishing on Norfolk Island, I couldn’t say yes fast enough. He's started a new adventure tourism business over there. Check this out:

Not only would it be great to fish with Jay again, but I could try out the summertime tackle samples the factory had been sending me - because Norfolk is way warmer, than Sydney. Time to get the gear together.

Popper prototypes sent to The Downrigger Shop for consideration

First up, poppers and stick baits. The factory had sent a bunch of great new models but as with any top water lure, I needed them to be black. Have learnt over the years that the more contrast, the better. It’s hard enough for the fish to separate the popper from the splash, without having to discriminate a bright coloured lure against a bright coloured tropical sky. Out with the matte black spraypaint:

The new Downrigger Shop poppers in black

Next on the packing list was our new light popping combo:

The new Downrigger Shop Light Popping Combo ready to go

Swapped the reel in the pic above for our Ryobi 4000 and all good to go. A two and a half hour flight to Norfolk Monday last week, with Jay waiting at the airport. Would I like to go for a quick fish? Says Jay. Are the Kennedys gunshy? Says I. There wasn’t time to launch the boat so we headed for a local rock platform. A few casts with the new combo and I was into my first fish on the island - a salmon:

Andy with a Salmon caught on the light popping combo from the rocks

Nothing big caught on day one but the place had a good feel to it. Back there the next day, and that’s when the magic happened. To one side of the platform we were fishing a deep gutter cut into the cliff face. Jay spotted some splashes and went to investigate:

Kingfish and small trevally rolling on the surface, with bigger fish beneath. Jay cast in an unweighted pilchard, and BANG

The action was fast, furious, and very successful:

Jay with a Trevally caught off the rocks on the light popping combo

Next day was a real eye opener. We had booked to fish offshore with Greenwood’s fishing charters. But what I hadn’t realised was that there are no workable boat ramps, on the island. Instead, boats are launched from the jetty, by crane:

We ran south, past Phillip Island, to deep water. Crew was four in total including myself, Jay, Scott our skipper, and extra guy Ken. This was to be one of the most amazing days in over fifty years of my fishing career. Firstly, check out this sounder pic. Those marks are kingfish - with the smallest being around ten kilos:

Kingfish showing on the depth sounder at 60 meters, perfect for jigging

Down went the jigs - and we didn’t have to wait long for results:

Some good fish came aboard. Here’s Scott:

Scott with a Giant Kingfish caught jigging off Norfolk Island

I was busting to try our new high lumo big soft plastics. The big paddle tail on these gives a strong swimming action without the need to jig - or even retrieve:

The new Downrigger Shop high lumo big soft plastics

Put one on a six ounce jig head and spooled it down nine braid colour changes, to ninety metres in one hundred metres of water. Dropped the rod in the holder and let the current and the rise and fall of the boat do the work. It didn’t take long:

The new big soft plastics catching Snapper Norfolk Island

Next drop produced my PB bar cod:

Andy with his Personal Best Bar Cod caught on the big soft plastic


Like to give these a try? They’re deadly, but not expensive. Just set and forget – drop them to where you’re spotting fish on the screen and put the rod in the rod holder while you do something else. Rigs are premade paternosters, where you put a sinker on the vertical line and the dropper has a pre crimped spoon hook installed. The spoon hook keeps the SP waving in the current:

Pre rigged big soft plastics by The Downrigger Shop

Here’s the deal:
Five assorted 175mm/40gram soft plastics
Two pre-crimped paternoster rigs, 80-pound mono
Three x 40gram lead weighted spoon hooks
Two pre-crimped rigs
Sinker just in the pic to show where it goes
Includes delivery to your door
Send $48 to

Then someone noticed on the sounder that the kings were coming close to the surface! Check this out, and apologies for the salt on the screen:

Kingfish showing on depth sounder close to the surface

I tied on one of our black painted poppers and got to casting:

Andy with a massive Kingfish caught off the surface with a new Black Popper

What a day, one I’ll never forget. Cleaning the 300 kilos of fish we caught took til well after dark. Which gave me a chance to see the resident jetty sharks in action! Check this out, crazy stuff:

Crazy inshore micro jigging
Kingfish from the rocks
Hand feeding sharks off the wharf!
Stay tuned and thanks for reading,
Andrew Hestelow
Managing Director
Tel. 0402075000
100+ videos on Youtube
How-to audio clips
Multiple daily fishing updates on Facebook

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