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

Gomoku Slow Rocker

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I have had a lot of fun fishing with the new Gomoku Slow Rocker. I have used it off the boat as a jig, and also thrown it off the beach and retrieve it like a spoon.

The slow rocker is available in sizes ranging from the small 40g jig, through to the 70g, 90g and 120g.

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The Gomoku also comes in 8 different dual faced, glow and metallic finishes. This giving you a wide rage to choose from, depending on the time of the day you are fishing and water colour.

I have caught some lovely fish while jigging off the boat. They include Shad, Bonnies, Sada Sada and many more.

This jig has a very erratic action as you retrieve it off the bottom with a very fast jigging motion. You can also do big long and slow sweeps to give the jig a different action. You can retrieve this jig fast or slow without it loosing its rolling action.

The 40g jig is also ideal for throwing off the rocks or beach. I have caught Pick handle Barracuda, and shad off the bricks with this jig.

I would recommend this lure to anyone who is looking for some fun and lots of rod bending and Shimano music.

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Written by Craig Bashford

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.

Storm Arashi Flat 7

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This has become one of my favourite cranks lately. It offers everything I look for in a crank. But the most important thing, it is exactly what the fish want. My favourite colour is Tilapia. It resembles our baitfish accurately and looks so life like in the water. I also like the way it casts and doesn’t spiral into the wind. So overall I’m super chuffed with this bait and I look forward to catching many more fish on it. These are just some of the key features this bait offers:

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  • MULTI-BALL RATTLE SYSTEM tuned for mid-depth cranking delivers a variable pitch of both high and low frequency sounds
  • ROTATED HOOK HANGERS nests the hooks close to the body for improved action, preventing hang-ups and allowing larger hooks
  • SELF-TUNING LINE TIE is a free-moving design that keeps the lure tracking true, ensuring non-stop fishing action
  • CIRCUIT BOARD LIP starts right away at slow speeds and quickly reaches maximum diving depth. Extremely thin with superior strength and durability

 

My choice of tackle is a G.Loomis Cranking rod CBR 843C rod paired with a Curado 200I PG. I use 10lb Monofilament line or 10Lb Flourocarbon in most situations. The rod is a moderate action and allows forgiveness and this maximises hook-ups. This setup along with the Storm Arashi Flat 7 is really an all-round fish catching solution.

Written by Darryl Quinton.

 

Gearing up for Summer – Ski Boat

Summer is here time to gear up for the strong summer game fish species with my reliable Shimano equipment.I have all the respect for my Shimano Trevala 6,6″medium fast it has to be the ultimate ski boat rod being, reliable, strong with all the back bone and very light making fishing so comfortable. What makes the Trevala the perfect rod for me it’s  totally universal for my type of fishing allowing me to do most spinning, slow pitch jigging and high speed vertical jigging.
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With my Shimano Trevala I have my old favourite Shimano Symetre FJ 4000 which has has been one of the toughest little spinning reels i have owned, it has proven it’s quality on my fishing sessions. I’ve loaded my 4000 with 30lb sufix 832 advanced superline braid which just finishes my setup perfect.
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The Storm Koika jigs have been a new lure for me in which I have been using in the past few months with a bit more patience and technique using the 60gram in our shallow water reefs and having a blast on all types of fish species from rockcod, false englishman, yellowtail and small tuna. The Koika jigs can not only be used for slow pitch jigging but spinning off the rocks and the ski boat,the beauty of using the koika jigs for slow pitch jigging is effortless in which getting the technique right it’s very rewarding.
Changing fishing plans is always a important factor if the fish have lock jaw as I call it, trolling with the Rapala X-Rap Magnum is a big plus for me the beauty of the X-Rap Magnums there is no wasting time trying to tune the Rapala as they swim so perfect straight out the box. I tend on putting a spread of different size Rapala’s to work out what depths and colours the game fish are feeding on, Rapala X-Rap Magnum have got such an awesome colour range which plays an important part in ski boat fishing.
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Written by Justin Alborough.

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

 

Storm Koika Jigs

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Although us as anglers always head out to sea looking for game fish on the surface lure they are not always around and once you have spent all the money on fuel hunting fish like yellowtail in our waters they might not always around or feeding on that day.On days like this its always handy to drop some jigs and have some fun with the lighter tackle.

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On this particular day the water temp had dropped and the colour was not favourable so we decided to head to some marks that were in the depth range of 15m to 30m and the little Storm Gomoku Koika jigs came into their own. Its a slow pitch jig which means one does not have work the jig as fast as other jigs which make light work of what can be very exhausting fishing.

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They are available in a range of colours and sizes and on this particular day the 60 gram to 80 gram were perfect for the job.

Just sent the jig down and jig it up and down a fewmeters and then return it to the bottom again. Once the jigs angle from the boat becomes too extreme retrieve it all the way up and drop it down and start the process over again. If one finds you battle to get down vertically then try a heavier jig as the current might be too strong or the drift might not be correct either depending on the wind and current direction.

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Written by Chris Schoultz.