Two Trips to Browns Mountain

July 25, 2019

Two Trips to Browns Mountain

Saturday morning 20th July and I’m excited to be invited on James Taylors’ beautiful Blackwatch 30, for a run wide of Sydney. Down to the marina at Brooklyn in the half light of dawn, loaded the gear and we were away:

Preparing to leave the marina

Out to Twelve Mile reef with a nor westerly tail wind and, on arrival, about eight boats on station. Have fished there so many times I can just about feel whether they are biting simply from looking at the energy levels of the crews, on other boats. Today the place looked dead as a doornail:

Lots of boats fishing the reef

That assessment confirmed by James’ amazing new Garmin sounder, which showed the bottom as bare as a billiard table. On we went to Browns. Once there, the sounder screen looked way more promising:

Garmin sounder showing clear reading

I broke out our Tanacom 750 combo:

Tanacom 750 combo with battery

This is a lighter version of the Tanacom 1000 combo we sell in big numbers. The 750 combo is a better option for some jobs, because it:
1.       Has a sensitive tip, making it much easier to detect bites;
2.       Uses 50-pound braid, which means a lot less drag from the current;
3.       Can be used as a regular rod and reel, which I reckon is a big plus.
More details here:


We dropped down in 420 metres, with me watching the spool like a hawk.  You must bring the sinker and rig up a few metres as soon as it touches down, otherwise a snag is certain on the insanely rough bottom. In this case the line stopped going out, I brought the rig up 5 metres to clear the reef, and instantly saw the tap-tap-tap on the rod tip. We were hooked up in under 30 seconds of reaching the sea floor:

But the gemfish were all small. Still legal, still delicious eating, but not in the size of previous years. The good news was they were thick, and we hooked up every drop:

Catching Gemfish every drop

After an hour something crazy happened. There is no place like Browns for the unexpected. In this case, one of our crew pointed out a line of breaking waves a few hundred yards away – heading towards us. I groaned. Strong currents are the last thing you need when fishing in over 400 metres of water. As soon as it arrived our drift jumped from 0.5 knots to 2.5 knots. It was time to pull the pin. We trolled most of the way back, covering over 100 nautical miles in the day:

GPS tracking of our fishing trip to browns mountain

Back out on Monday (22nd July) with old hand Greg, and new young crew Oscar and Xavier. To the Peak, which as many readers would know is not a proper reef by Twelve Mile standard, but actually a series of bumps spread across a kilometre of sea floor. I like to move around the hot spots, watching the sounder for a good show of kings. The place holds all kinds of fish, often in big numbers, so we drop on every good show. That worked:

 First kingfish on a jig for Xavier:

Xavier with his first jigged Kingfish

 As on any 40 – 80 metre deep reefs, our 100 gram jigs worked a treat:


But the kings were by no means thick and I didn’t want to waste time inshore, knowing that windy conditions were forecast for after lunch. On to Browns:

Sounder reading of Browns Mountain

The current was raging but the gemfish were there, in even bigger numbers than Saturday. Should mention that when I posted this sounder pic to our Facebook page, I received private messages asking what magic I was working to get such a good sounder image:

What transducer are you running? 10x better than what i get on my HDS9.

The cheapest Airmar, Ben. But I got even better pictures on my old 5X, using the transducer that came with it. Can I make a suggestion? Even though this video is a bit dated I found it fantastically helpful. Especially as regards colour palette selection, which in the past I didn’t care about. Check it out:

Here’s Oscar with his first ever gemfish:

Oscar catching his first Gemfish

But as you can see in the background the dang seas were already lifting. After only a couple of drops we had to head for home. After dropping the crew off it was back to the boat ramp, where I ran into old mate Wayne who had been water testing a new boat:

Catching up with friends at the boat ramp

Having a friendly catch up was a great way to end a top day. Hoping to get out both days this weekend and, if you’re in Sydney, don’t forget it’s only ten days to the Mako Comp:

Mako Tournament Date

Thanks for reading and will email a report to you next week if anything interesting happens,
Andrew Hestelow


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