As a lot of our readers know I’m a Cub Scout leader, managing around thirty 8-11 year olds.
Amongst them are some pretty fanatical young fishos. They watch all the TV shows and Youtube clips, read fishing magazines and have an amazing thirst for angling information. However, many of them don’t have the opportunity to do it as often as they’d like to, and even then, nine times out of ten, the fishing is shore based, with a lot of mados and toadies involved. So when John S asked if I could take him and his ten year old son out for a run a few years ago, I was quick to say yes.
They met me down at Apple Tree Bay boat ramp on a sunny Sunday morning and, an hour later, we had a tank full of livebait and were raring to go. I elected to do a run straight up the middle with live yellowtail, knowing that the place had been firing for kingfish and other inshore pelagics, over the previous week.
The only downside was the lad’s gear. It was your typical Big W/K-Mart blister packed combo. The size was right, a 4500 threadline reel matched with a 10 kilo rod, but the quality was terrible. A rinky dink little handle more suited to a trout reel, and stiff hard sun baked mono line, that looked like it had been on the reel since Adam was in Kimbies. I said straight out to his dad that the gear couldn’t cut the mustard, and recommended he use one of the outfits we had on the boat. ‘No’, said dad, because the lad had ‘always wanted to catch a good fish on his own gear.’ So it was with misgivings that a live bait was rigged, and put it over the side.
My son was aboard too and first up, he caught a solid salmon. About five minutes after that our young visitor’s live bait was hit hard. I actually saw the kingfish because, at that time of year (February), Pittwater is so clear on a flood tide it’s like a big aquarium. Not a big one, maybe 75-80cm, but the effect on the boy’s tacky tackle was horrible to behold. The rod doubled over and the reel gave line in short jerks. It was actually making screeching sounds, as the dry spool lubricated with beach sand moved against the el cheapo plastic washers, which are always fitted to this type of combo. It was all over in ten seconds or less, with the line parting somewhere near the rod tip. I turned around to cheer him up and say, ‘don’t worry, another one will be along soon’, but the little bloke just burst into tears. It was the biggest fish he had ever seen, let alone hooked. I immediately regretted not demanding that our own gear was used, and from that point forward have always been a lot more insistent that, if the visitors’ gear is sub-standard, they should leave it in the rod rack.
We are now offering a beautifully matched light combo ideally suited for three kilo line. Really, it’s for trout, bass, tailor, bream and squid. But in capable hands, can be used for larger species. Of course, with our wacky clients there’s always someone who takes that option too far! So when mad keen Sydney fisho Andy W sent me a cell phone video of him using the combo on kingfish last weekend I wasn’t totally shocked. How’s this, for rod bending?
Good onya Drax and thanks for sending the vid and pic. With 10 ball bearings and carbontex drags, the reel is unbelievably smooth. We spool it with your choice of 3 or 6 kilo colour-change braid.
Three kilos is recommended, but 6 kilo good, if you need a little insurance.
The rod is the closest copy we were able to have manufactured of the ABU Hellbender 800, which in my humble opinion is one of the best three kilo light spin rods ever made. The good part is that, despite the rod being six feet long, we can post it. So delivery is by no means expensive. If you want something that is well made, casts beautifully, is smooth as silk both with winding and drag, and doesn’t cost a packet, call or email for more details. We’ve had a few sample sticks out in the field, being tested by some keen clients:
A kingfish even got into the action. How’s this, Darryl giving our light spin combo a major workout. He brought the king boatside, too:
I thought I would send you a couple of fish (blue salmon, queen fish and a Barra) we have got over the last week or so, the queenie was on one of your $99 outfits with the light braid, I am not quite sure the rod and reel was made for this but it handled it well. I brought a couple for when I take our nieces and nephews out but I couldn’t help myself and I thought I would see how they go.
Andrew, just a quick pic of this nice 10kg red that I caught last week at Gnaraloo in WA’s north. Just did a quickie 4 day trip with my son and 2 mates to try my mates new 7.0m Swiftcraft boat before our more serious trip in 3 weeks. Got some smaller 4-5kg reds on those $59 dollar 10bb reels that I got from you earlier this year loaded with 30lb braid.
Peter H, June
Hi Andy, things were a little quiet here over the weekend but still managed a nice 3kg Snapper and a Mack tuna on the combo.
No need to thank me for using your combos, I'm having a ball seeing how far I can stretch them. I'll use them right through the snapper season and see how they're standing up at the end for salt intrusion, main gear wear, bearing failure and general rough and tumble. At this stage they're going well with the rod bent right to the butt on the tuna and bigger snapper and the reels still smooth. They're a real pleasure on the soft plastics when you're launching hundreds of casts in a session too.
Phil B, June 2012
But this fish ran too hard and too fast, to be a snapper. Here’s a short clip:
At one point so much string was out we couldn’t see where the line touched the water. Thirty minutes or so later a nice 22-pound northern bluefin tuna came aboard. As far as I’m concerned our light combo has passed the test! These fish go hard: