A bit of Summer in the middle of Winter

I recently returned from a trip to Cairns in Queensland, Australia where I attended a conference. Prior to leaving I decided to take a couple of days’ vacation and explore nearby fishing opportunities. I did some Google searches only to find out that a guided fishing trip would cost a small fortune, so I adopted plan B. I surveyed the surrounding area on Google Maps and to my surprise found a place called Cowley Beach, so I decided I had to go visit my “name sake” spot, approximately 120 km south of Cairns. On closer examination it looked like a remote location with a long deserted beach and a fair-sized estuary. Accommodation at the local caravan park was also affordable, so I was sorted. I packed a couple of rods and an assortment of lures and had my heart set on catching my first barramundi.

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After two days in aeroplanes and airports I arrived at Cairns in the evening and rented a car to travel down to Cowley Beach. Upon arrival my welcome wasn’t that big and nor was my room! This didn’t worry me as I knew I was on a three-day mission to catch a barra. Thanks to a serious dose of jet lag I was wide awake by 3h00 the next morning, so I got up, made a cup of coffee, packed a small tackle bag and set off on my first Oz outing. Without any knowledge of potential dangers (e.g. crocs and snakes) I walked along the beach casting small plugs and jigs along the way, until I got to the estuary mouth. I was told that the pushing tide was the best time to catch barramundi but the tide had already turned before I got there. The strong out-going tide started producing good current lines and eddies, and soon I noticed some nervous bait fish on the surface. I rigged up with a small STORM Gomoku popper and it wasn’t long before a small GT attacked the lure. My tackle consisted of my old faithful SHIMANO Sustain 2500 reel spooled with 15lb SUFIX 832 braid and a two-piece SHIMANO Beast Master spinning rod (SBMEX24XHP) that I was testing for the first time. This 8’2” rod gave me an advantage of casting light lures a good distance – almost across the estuary – and into the action zone when I noticed bait fish. I persisted with the Gomoku popper which soon got engulfed by a good sized fish, and after a first run of about 20m exploded into the air. It was a queenfish of approximately 1m in length. The battle ensued for another 5 minutes with the fish providing a spectacular aerial affair until it came off. My heart sunk to my knees as I had just lost the “bonus” fish of my trip! Hoping that others were still around I replaced the two small treble hooks with a single big treble on the back end, and continued to flog the water. Indeed, it was my lucky day because a little while later I hooked and landed a nice Queensland queenfish of about 60 cm on the little Gomoku popper.

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On Day 2 I decided to go straight to the estuary mouth before first light. We had some rain in the night and conditions had clearly changed. The water was more turbid and the nervous bait fish were absent and didn’t see any chases by bigger predatory fishes. Since I had nothing better to do I persevered and caught a few small GTs. Jet lag had set in so I called it an early day to get some much needed sleep.

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After a good night’s rest I hit the estuary mouth again at first light on Day 3.  I arrived on the full high tide and noticed lots of surface action further up the estuary, which was inaccessible on foot due to extensive mangrove stands and I wasn’t too keen to be wading in waters inhabited by crocs! Patience was the name of the game and it wasn’t long before the action started with a few small GTs which always punch above their weight on light tackle. While having fun with the small GTs using sub surface lures such as the STORM So-Run pencil and soft plastic baits, I notice something break the surface, so I switched back to the Gomoku popper. It was instant action as a shoal of oxeye tarpon moved into the estuary mouth to take advantage of the abundance of small bait fish that were feeding on the plankton in the current lines. I hooked plenty of the aerial acrobats but only landed three of them. This didn’t worry me in the least as I was in heaven, having a blast on a deserted beach thousands of kilometres away from home.

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The arrival of the mosquito squadron at sunset marked the end of my 3-day stay at Cowley Beach. Although I didn’t catch a barramundi, I was certainly entertained by other equally iconic species, and was not disappointed.

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Written by Paul Cowley

Second favorite go to dip combo

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Most definitely one of my favorite combos are Mystic Spice, Turbo Garlic and Caramel Extreme. This will normally be the combo that I will start of the day at any venue like Bloemhof dam,Vaaldam, Koster dam, Roodekoppies and Olifantsnek dam. You can use redcard floats and garlic floats which combines well with this combo. Ladies and Gents make sure that you have these three Conoflex signature dips in your tackle boxes to catch those extra fish.

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Written by Andre De Wet.

 

Storm Gomoku Dense

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The Storm Gomoku Dense Fire Tiger had me blown away with my first outing using the lure.I was amazed with the distance that the little 6gram lure can travel with a fast sinking fluttering action, I tried a slow twitching action with a pause in between which didn’t work out that well for me as I increased my speed of retrieve i would be guaranteed a bump or rewarded with a quality small species of fish. The lure for me should be fished with no quick release clips at all as I feel the clips tend to disturb the action of the lure, one should tie a straight forward Rapala knot with Double X 20lb fluorocarbon leader. The beauty of this little 4,8cm lure it can be fished with ultra light tackle in harbours and estuarys targetting all types of spieces from Russell Snapper, Perch, little Kingfish, Rock Salmon, Springer as it imitates a perfect little bait fish.

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Written by Justin Alborough.

Shimano Ultegra Ci 14000 Reel

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I was very fortunate to get my hands on the new Shimano Ultegra CI 14000 XT-B reels.   These big pits are considerably more expensive then the XTC and XTD models but are worth every cent once you have had the privilege of fishing with them. They are the truly in a league of their own.

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I do not want to bore you with the technical specs that you can get that from the web and would like to simplify it so we can all relate to it.

Let us start by the weight of the reel which has been reduced by 100g.  This has made the reel extremely well balanced and suitable for almost any make of rod on the carp market currently.  They have by no means sacrificed any strength as the CI4+ is 2,5 times stiffer  than the original CI4 material.

As I am not one for ratios but it is simple to relate to the line retrieved.  For every complete turn of the handle the line retrieved is 103cm (1.03m).  So it is very simple to work out how far every cast is when retrieving the rig to re-bait if you are clipping up or when you fill the spools with line.  Talking about spooling the line, for all the tackle tarts out there they also come with 3 line reduces spools ( sizes 3500, 6000 and 10000).  These reduces eliminates the use of backing line as a filler and seats perfectly around the spool without any slipping.  So you have the option to only fish with +/- 200, 300, 400 or 550m (without reducer) of 0.35mm mono depending on the size of water and what range you fishing.  I use the 0.30 14lb Double  X Extreme abrasion and it fits 600m on comfortably without any spaces and has plenty of space left for a leader.  These spaces are best suited to those using braid and do not like filling up the entire spool with braid when only 250-400m is more than sufficient.

These reels each have an impressive 2 Spare Cold forged Aluminium spools that are all identical and are designed with a patented angled lip which enables the line to leave the spool with a lot less friction that will increase the distance of the cast.  The spools are also tapered to aid with the casting for increased distance and less drag.

When it comes to the line lay it has to be the best I have ever seen in any reel that I have ever used.  Line lay is imperative when it comes to casting as a lot of energy is lost due to this during a cast.  Shimano has achieved this by the super slow Oscillation of the spool compared to the speed that the handle turns per cycle.  They achieved this with an Aero Wrap II worm gear which is considered to be one of the best line lay systems in the world.

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One of the most impressive features of the reel is that the front drag that has a bait runner feature incorporated into it.  It allows the drag setting to be switched from a pre-set free spool to a pre-set drag by a simple ¼ turn of the front drag.  It is this function that convinced me to change as I have been fishing with a bait runner since day one and have always shied away from the Ultegra range due to the continuous cranking and loosening before and after every cast to get the tensions right.

Lastly, we have all opened a reel before to try service it and been surprised by the spare parts after ‘fixing it’ and it never being the same again or the complexity of the internal components.   The XT-B has an easy maintenance port that enables direct lubrication to the inner workings of the reel that is really user friendly without any spares lying around.

Please go and have a look at the impressive list of features I have not mentioned in this article on the web as I tried to simplify the very basics for easy reading and have not mentioned MANY other important characteristics that sets this reel apart from the others.

Please note that the above mention views and opinions are based on my own personal experience of using the reels.

Good luck and tight lines to all fishing.

Remember to practice catch and a safe release.

Peter Niemand.

Shimano Crucial Rod

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No other standard, off the shelf blank has proved it self more than the Crucial brand that we have become so accustomed with. The class of these rods are known all around the world and any angler who enters this sport of fishing will have have the goal to own 1 or the entire range in the angling career. With an amazing range to choose from with it either being 6.6ft to 7.6ft or spinning or pistol grip features the rod is designed to land any fish hooked on it. Fitted with fuji guides and optional A grade cork or high density foam grips theres a crucial rod to suite any light tackle anglers need.

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These rods come with an C4S-HM Blank, Fuji Alconite Guides, and new Custom Shimano reel seats. Total performance and comfort is what is to be expected with Crucial.

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Watch Chris in Action with the Crucial 6,8Ft MH Rod catching grunter.

Written By Chris Schoultz

Plano 758 Four Draw Tackle System

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Plano has variety of useful products to select from catering for the wellbeing of our fishing tackle. Products range from storage boxes designed to accommodate various Rapala lures, Reel storage containers that will protect your reels in any conditions to multipurpose storage boxes.

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Most of the Plano tackle boxes are both rugged and spacious with many been 100% water proof. From past and present experience I have been use the Plano 758 tackle box that has four drawers and a spacious upper compartment that can be used for a multitude of applications. In my case I have use the upper compartments to house over 200 readymade traces whilst participating in competitive angling. The four trays below house a selection of hooks, and spare tackle I might need for a good outing. The Plano 758 is spacious as mentioned already causing one to take a bit too much in the lines of spare tackle.

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We have transported the Plano 758 tackle box to a number of international tournaments in harsh environments over many years and it’s only battle scars are scratches. The hinges are strong with stainless inserts that don’t rust. The clips that secure both the top cover and protect the draws from opening are of such a nature that they don’t open whilst carrying them like some of the cheaper oppositions option that are available.

Plano has proved its worth as it is rugged and designed with an angler in mind catering for an armature to the professional.

Here is tried and tested friend on the garage floor been checked before our next outing?

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Written by Kyle Schmidt.

The Storm Z-Stick

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Typical “walk the dog” hard plastic topwater crankbaits are popular for many freshwater, estuarine and marine predatory species. I have a range of these surface lipless lures in my tackle box and over the past year have been using the STORM Z-Stick with great success. This lure equipped with strong, corrosion resistant VMC Perma Steel treble hooks comes in two sizes (9.5 and 11.5 cm) and a range of colours. The Z-Stick can be worked in several different ways to achieve the desired result. When left floating on the surface, it lies horizontally, which I have found to be very important when targeting certain species. This orientation aided by its buoyancy keeps the hooks proud and pointing downwards at all times, which also improves the hook-up rate. On a slow retrieve the Z-Stick glides off in wide arcs from side to side covering more surface area, while with a fast action retrieve it produces the typical “walk the dog” quick turning surface commotion. Depending on the strength of surface currents (e.g. in estuaries) and wind speed a little experimenting is required to maximise a variety of actions with this lure. The Z-Stick is also equipped with internal rattles which produce a low resonating “cluck, cluck” noise that is different to most other topwater lures. The frequency of this noise is irresistible to certain species.

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I have used the Z-Stick in local estuaries and caught dusky kob, leervis and spotted grunter. I am also confident this lures will be outstanding for the tropical estuarine predators such as river bream, snapper and kingfish. On a recent trip to Seychelles the Z-Stick proved its versatility, durability and strength. I caught a host of species, including snappers, rock cods, kingfish and barracuda. The STORM Z-Stick now has a permanent place in my lure box, irrespective of my fishing destination!

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Written by Paul Cowley

 

Rapala Sunblock

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SPF 50 Spray

Advantages

Portability – Cap Small Odourless.

Ease of use. Spray

Why should you use it.

There are many must haves in a fishermen’s list, but unless you are immune to skin cancer or don’t mind looking a 100 when you are only 35 years young, sunblock is a definite must have! Today I will go through some of the considerations when selecting a good sunblock and explain why I think the Rapala SPF 50+ spray is a must have.

Firstly to me it’s about how you go about applying the sunblock. I have seen a few anglers with “white” faces arriving at comps already protected for the day. This is probably because they want to wash their hands before leaving home to make sure the fish don’t “detect” the scent. Whether or not sunblock on hands effect the fish may be up for discussion. Despite the final say on this, a spray application might be the better option either way.  The dispensing medium of this product needs no hand / finger contact other than pressing the button to release a spray of protection on intended area of skin.

As many of us may not be aware, sunblock needs to be applied more than once a day. The frequency may depend on the SPF level but even SPF 50 needs to be applied at least 2 to 3 times a day.  Again the spray is handy to apply where needed without needing to use hands.

In most cases the container is also a key factor. As the Rapala sunblock comes in a can it cannot lose its contents if placed at the bottom of a heavy bag while travelling. The cap it comes with is small and fits tightly. This prevents the cap from dislodging and accidentally dispensing the contents while travelling.

The last key consideration is the effect a sunblock has when seeping into one’s eyes at the end of the day. This dreaded “end of the day eye burn” is caused when perspiration and sunblock seeps into one’s eyes and causes significant discomfort.  I found that this product is far less likely to cause this as it is non greasy and is also water resistant. I have sprayed it on my face area and had far less eye burn at the end of the day.

In summary, this is an awesome product at a very reasonable price.

Written by Gert Duvenage.

Dames SA Kampioenskappe 2016

Deur Monique Venter

Voorbereiding:damessa1

Die opgewondenheid begin in my binneste borrel soveel om te doen wa begin ek?

Sekerlik by die belangrikste, so ek maak ‘n lys van alles wat benodig gaan word. Stroppe is natuurlik heel bo aan my lys. Ek maak gly rietvlei stroppe met #0 en #1½ sinkers wat my gunsteling is. Ek maak my stroppe se skag lyne met extreme abrasion lyn van Double X en die hoeklyne met Hi Abrasion Double X lyn. Die mushroom, P3 en P4 gewigte word verskaf aan my verskaf deur Mojo mutis. Die hoeke op my stroppe is #1 VMC Carp hoek en vir baber stroppe #3 VMC karp hoeke. My katrolle moet ingestuur word vir hulle diens by Shimano. My 10 en 12 voet visstokke word moet deur gegaan word om seker te maak daar is nie gekraakte ogies nie. Skepnette en hounette word geskrop en seker gemaak dis heel. My hengelkas, die staander, hounet staanders asook emmers word alles netjies skoon gemaak.

Daar word genoeg drinkwater aangekoop asook vars voer, dips, floats en vleis ase word bestel. Hoe varser dit is, hoe beter werk dit.

Daar is een dag oor voor ons vertrek na Bloemhof toe. Die vlinders begin pla van opgewondenheid! Die oggend van 5 Februarie 2016, om 4 uur verlaat ek en 3 ander vriendinne Vanderbijlpark. Die opgewondenheid maak almal mal en al wat ons op die brein het is om groot vis te vang en te wen.damessa2

Ons kom omstreeks half agt veilig by Sandveldt in Bloemhof aan.
Sjoe die dam is leeg, is die opmerkings wat gemaak word. Maar tog sis die vriendelike gesigte wat vir ons wag daai gewete. Klaar gegroet en ons begin voer aanmaak en ons hengelgoed word afpak. Son room word gesmeer en die hoede en son-buffs word opgesit. ‘n paar lekker vet karpe word geland tydens die eerste dag wat ‘n groot sukses was.

Gedurende Oefendag 2 word daar ‘n verskeidenheid van aas en dip kombinasies en afstande getoets. Die dag lewer baie kleiner vis en my hart weet sommer klaar wat die regte kombinasies en afstande gaan wees. Maar soos wat daar van ons verwag word hou ons by die span bestuur se reëls. Dit gaan mos oor die span en nie oor my as individu nie. Die dag damessa3word afgesluit en ons vertrek terug kamp toe.

Oefendag 3 breek aan. Daar word besluit om die afstande en aas kombinasies te hengel sooswat saam besluit was in vergadering van die vorige aand. Ons mag eers terug gaan kamp toe sodra ons bestuur tevrede is met ons vangste vir die dag. Die afstande en dip kombinasies is ‘n absolute wenner voor 10 uur die oggend het ek 16 vis in my net kon plaas.Ek en my penmaat mag dus oppak en terug keer kamp toe.

8 Februarie 2016 Dames se eerste dag van die SA’s
Vier uur die oggend is almal uit die vere. Emosies en span gees loop hoog. Vroeg kom ons span bymekaar en begin in die gepaste manier. Ek voel hoe God se rustigheid oor my spoel en ek raak kalm en almal van ons is vol selfvertroue. Die ses dames provinsies kom almal 5h45 by Sandveldt bymekaar. Die SA’s word amptelik geopen deur tannie Elsa. Die loting vind plaas en almal skree hulle spesiale krete. Die dames se gees is fantasties, ‘n absolute belewenis. Almal vertrek van daar na hulle penne vir die dag se hengel.

Eerste word daar voer aangemaak vir my en my penmaat en dan al ons gerei afpak en opslaan. Voerballe word gedruk en voor die toeter blaas is ons reg. Stroppe is vooruit gelaai so die visse kan laat waai. Ek sê vir die hengelaars van die ander spanne aan beide kante van my hulle moet lekker hengel. Die toeter gaan af stiptelik om 7h00. Jy sien net voerballe trek. Ek hengel met my een stok op 90m. Hoek ase: ‘n vampire float onder met ‘n deeg agter en ‘n deeg op die boonste hoek. Albei hoeke het ek in die damessa4
bal gedruk. My kombinasie: Black Magic en Tjop Tjop. Ek land so elke 20 min ‘n karp. My binne stok is op 75men die hoekase: vampire float onder en die steel van hoek in die voerbal gedruk. Bo lekker groot soet wit deeg. Die dip kombinasie: Sweetcorn en BASS+. Die binne stok lewer kleiner vis op. Ek dip so nou en dan my voerbal in SA poeier of vla net om die vis daar te hou. Ek en my penmaat eindig die dag met ‘n tweede plek in ons zone.


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Die dag het minder goed gegaan, ons kon groot vis kry maar te damessa5min. Die dames in ons sone teiken die vis op ‘n kort afstand en kry dus die oorhand. Die hoogtepunt vir die dag was vyf minute voor die toeter blaas toe ek my 5.1kg karp geland het. Ek
het daai groot meneer gevang op 90m met Black Magic en Tjop Tjop. Ons kry ‘n derde plek in ons zone vir die dag.

Dag 3: Daar word besluit deur die bestuur om die vis nader te probeer kry met ons binne stokke. Dis vet pret en daar word hard gewerk. Die gras karpies laat ons omtrent hardloop. Die 90m afstand lewer weer die mooier vis. Laat middag steek daar ‘n weer op wat skrik vir niks. Dis ‘n verskriklike stof storm, reën en wind almal hardloop vir hulle hounette en skepnette. Daar is behoorlik chaos op die oewer. Die toeter blaas om 3 uur en so is dit dan ook die einde van ons dag. Ek en mydamessa6 penmaat vat weer n tweede plek in ons sone.

Alles word vinnig na die inweeg weg gepak want daar moet mooi gemaak word vir vanaand se prysuitdeling funksie.

 

Prysuitdeling Funksie

Almal se senuwees is klaar en almal wonder watter provinsie het gewen en natuurlik wonder elke vrou of sy goed genoeg was om uitnodiging te kry na die nasionale proewe.

Die wenners word aangekondig: 1ste plek Mpumalanga. 2de plek Vrystaat en 3de plek Gauteng.

Die dames wat uitgenooi word na die Nasionale Proewe word aangekondig en my naam word gelees. Trane rol oor my wang en ek se dankie aan my Abba Vader dat ek dit gemaak het. Daar word 6 dames van ons span uitgenooi.

Die volgende dag vind registrasie plaas en alles word uitgepak en weer skoon gemaak. Die aand met die loting word ons ingelig dat die proewe sal plaas vind in die Sloep en nie by Sandveldt nie. Ek dink dit gee elke dame ‘n regverdige kans. Dadelik verander die hele plan van aksie en nuwe kombinasies word uitgedink asook watter afstande om op te hengel.

Dag een van die proewe: Vroeg is die keurders by my en alles word na gekyk. Kaste word deurgegaan en werp aksie word dop gehou so ook jou tempo asook die skep en plaas van vis in die hounet. Moet sê die vier keurders was baie aangenaam gewees en het baie geleer. Vis is baie stadig en almal sukkel. Ek hengel met my een stok weer op 90m met my staatmaker aas kombinasies. Die ander afstand is 65m en ek dip Tokkelosie en Lodewyk. Ek vang toe 15 vis vir die dag.

Dag twee: Ek besluit om met een 12 voet stok te hengel so ver ek kan. Vir die hoekase is ‘n heuning float en in voerbal gedruk en ‘n soet wit deeg op boonste hoek. My dip Kombinasies is Spitfire, Caramel Plus en Krismis.

My ander stok is ‘n 10 voeter en ek werp hom ook so ver soos ek kan. Die hoekase is dieselfde soos bo en die dip kombinasie is Tokkelossie en Lodewyk. Ek vang toe 22 vis en hulle weeg 28kg. Dit is dan ook die einde van ons Nasionale Proewe. Almal is moeg en is sommer vroeg aand in die bed. Die volgende dag is daar opgepak, telefoon nommers uitgeruil en gegroet. Almal vertrek toe in hulle verskillende rigtings terug na hulle wonings.

Ek wil regtig ‘n beroep doen op die dames om te kom hengel. Dis die lekkerste plek om nuwe vriende te maak. Dis een groot hengel familie. Almal help mekaar en ondersteun mekaar. Dankie Abba Vader vir my talent en dankie Conoflex vir julle fantastiese reeks dips. Ek was verkies tot die SASACC die jaar en beoog om volgende jaar te gaan vir my Groen en Goud.