Victorian Kayak Snapper for beginners

They say there is a reason why the footy finishes in September… and in yards all over Victoria, the frustration of teams getting knocked out of finals is taken out on kayaks and boats as winter tarps are lifted and pressure washers are put to good use. Richmond yaks are usually cleaned in August, but this year the dust gathers a little longer…

As with most things, every yak fisho will have a preferred technique, bait, lure, spot etc for chasing snapper, and there are plenty more seasoned snapper whisperers out there than myself, but this might give kayak fishos chasing reds for the first time a starting point for the upcoming season. The main run of reds occurs when the waster temperature in the bays reaches parity with the water temperature offshore. This generally occurs in October, but can vary depending on the weather conditions. You can get an updated version of the graph below, here. As you can see, currently the bays are still a little cold so the big influx has not yet occurred and fish being caught this time of year will most likely be fish resident to bay that can be caught right through the winter.

Gearing Up:

I have two sets of snapper gear – one for each bay, mainly because in Western Port the tides run harder and snapper use them to their advantage but also because in Port Philip Bay I normally use plastics and hard bodies, whereas in Western Port I usually bait fish due to the water clarity in the top end.

Port Phillip (plastics) – 4-6kg Graphite rod, 12lb braid mainline, 2500 to 4000 size reel

Western Port (bait) – 6-10kg Glass rod, 20lb mono mainline, Penn 460 Slammer

You can run braid on your bait set-up too if you like, especially for deeper water as it will lessen the bow in the line up through the water column, but when using braided lines its really important to back your drag off as the fish nears the kayak. If they go for that last ditch run to the deep you can often pull hooks as the braid has no stretch and loose your fish yakside.

Lures:

Soft Plastics – There are three types of plastics I tend to use on snapper, but I’m sure others will work just as well when there is a hot bite.

  1. Worms – check out Munroe’s caramel eclair or Gulp turtlebacks in camo
  2. Jerk shads – smelt or nuke chicken or motor oil Zman’s are good starting points
  3. Squid types – check out zip- zits if you can find them (hard to get these days), I’ll be checking out the new smash squid this season as a replacement.

In terms of jig heads, go as light as possible to get your plastic to waft down through the bite zone. Snapper are more likely to take it on the drop than dragging along the bottom like a flattie would. Most of the yak spots are not that deep – 15m or less and without much current you can get away with a 1/8 or 1/6 jig head and then match the hook size to the size of the plastic.

Hard Bodies- These range in size and therefore in the size fish they can handle, the Frenzies (after the humble Tassie devil) have to be one of the best bang for buck lures around.  They generally attract pinkies rather than monsters, which is just aw well as a monster would chew through one, but are a handy lure to have in the tackle box for trolling on the way out to a mark. I’ve listed the red head below but the silver with red belly models are good too. Make sure you upgrade your hooks on them a) because trebles on a yak hook everything once you bring a fish on board and b) I think singles do a better job of penetrating the hard snapper mouths.

For a heavier fish  you’ll probably need to run a slightly larger lure, like a Sebille Koolie Minnow or a classic Rapala taildancer.

  1. Frenzy – QANTAS red head (trebles swapped out for better quality singles)
  2. Koolie Minnow – 76mm in BRB
  3. Rapala Taildancer (~10m of water)
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Koolie Minnow

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Berkley Redhead

Rigs:

When the snapper enter the bays at the start of the season, they have quite sharp teeth that get worn back as a result of gorging on the shellfish the bays provide. As a result early in the season I tend to run slightly heavier leaders, dropping down as the season progresses. You can also have finicky biters early on so I start the season with thin gauge 4/0 or 5/0 suicide hooks, switching to circles when the season is in full swing in late October and the snapper tend to hit the bait and run. I run a standard running sinker rig in Western Port with and Ezy-rig with a 20- 30cm dropper to the sinker. If you are chasing the bigger models, a twin hook set-up on 30 or 40lb leader will do the job you can match the spacing of the hooks to the size baits you want to use. For Port Phillip Bay however, I try to use the least amount of lead possible if any at all. I use the same two hook rig but instead of the ezi-rig, I just use a small pea sinker running to the hook with a lumo bead to protect the knot or at the top of the bay just some splitshot. This YouTube video by SpedzaGoFishTv outlines how to make a twin hook rig pretty similar to how I do it.

If you are chasing pinkies, then you can use a simple paternoster rig over the shallow reefs, similar to what you would use chasing whiting just a little heavier (~15lb). If you are snagging up a lot you are probably anchored right on the reef. You can anchor just behind the reef edge and draw the fish to you with the berley or try a lighter line class to attach the sinker,  which will break in the event of a snag. You could also use an enviroweight attached with an elastic band. Also make sure your anchor has a break-away cable tie fitted, to prevent it getting stuck in the reef, more info here.

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Image credit: jazclass

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A pair of pan-size pinkies; perfect size for cooking whole.

Baits:

When it comes to bait, you’ll often hear the saying that fresh is best, but sometimes the snapper are just fussy and will take a three time defrosted old pilchard over a fresh squid head, so it’s probably better to say a range is best. I also try to offer up things that are local to the area on the rods if possible and will have frozen stuff as a backup. If I have time in advance I’ll try to do a bait collecting session prior to my trip to give me un-frozen bait. In WP it can be easy to do some bait collecting in the time leading up to the tide change to have fresh baits out at the right time. You can bait up a small hook rig to nab a small salmon to cut up into strip baits. You can also go crab hunting before you launch in some areas. In Port Phillip I try to squid hunt the day before allowing me to save time on the day and get lines and a berley trail going well before the sun comes up. I’ll normally run two or three bait rods on the yak – a combination of pilchard, squid, salmon, crab, pipi or saurie. I used to use banana prawn too but unfortunately outbreaks of white spot disease have now made this unsuitable for use as bait to prevent contamination of our waterways.

Berley:

My berley making is an all year job, which involves having a small bait freezer in the shed. If you are lucky enough to have this set-up you can keep your fish carcasses, off-cuts and old thawed bait in the freezer until you have built up enough stock to make a batch of berley. This ensures nothing goes to waste while helping your catch rate in snapper season.

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The first thing you’ll need to do is pick yourself up an old-school meat grinder. You can get them at op-shops or on eBay for not much cash – it is probably best to have one dedicated for the job!  To make a berley mix I grind up the carcassases, offcuts and bait that has got freezer burn, or have been thawed and re-frozen too many times. To this I add something that will expand in the water and slow down the berley flow rate. You can use the crushed up Weetbix from the bottom of the box, stale bread, or chook pellets. To finish up add some tuna oil – enough to make the mixture wet enough to mould, but dry enough to stay in a ball once formed. Freeze it down in sandwich bags and you are good to go.

Fishing Spots:

Port Phillip Bay Pinkies – Depending on your level of experience there are plenty of spots in PPB to chase some fish. If you are chasing pinkies, you can get them most of the year at Altona in the West, or Half Moon Bay on the East side. At Altona,  the parking is free at Miller’s Rd launch and you only have to paddle a short distance. You can anchor up behind the shallow reef (line up with the Pier and the rock groyne) and use squid or pipi on the paternoster rig. You’ll feed a lot of hungry piranhas to get the size models, but you’ll have lots of fun. Over at Half Moon Bay there are a number of good spots within 2km of launching at Blackrock ramp. The Anonyma Shoal and the 15m contour are within easy paddling distance for suitable bay craft.

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Chasing Bigger Reds – The snapper or pinkie debate depends on the angler, for me its fish above the half meter mark qualify as snapper. In Port Phillip Bay, catching bigger fish is about timing. You need to be up early. They raid the reefs under cover and once the sun comes up they move out to deeper waters. If you are launching at first light onto a shallow reef like Altona, you have already missed the boat. I prefer the deeper water off Willamstown or out behind the Cardinal at Altona. Get out on the water at 3am and have your berley trail going and baits in the water long before the sun is thinking of coming up.

In terms of conditions, you can put in lots of hours trying to get your first big red, and while they can be caught randomly in all sorts of conditions, researching the weather will see you spend your time more productively. You’ll hear plenty about barometer readings, wind direction and tides making it hard to know when to go. Obviously, spending more hours on the water will result in more fish, you can’t catch them sitting on the couch, but if you are limited on time here’s what I look for: I reckon the bigger snapper prefer bumpy water so chasing them in PPB you’ll need a kayak and experience suitable for these conditions. I like fishing the day after a big southerly blow as it stirs up the food supply and brings the fish in. Ideally I want a high tide change. If you get a tide change at first light, rising barometer and a southerly the day before that’s when you take a sickie at work! Look for combinations of the above when deciding whether or not to use your leave pass.

Western Port is a bit easier in that the murky waters give snapper more confidence and good fish can be caught throughout the day. In Western Port the tide changes still play an important role in both the fish biting and the conditions you will be fishing in. Try to fish around the tide changes and starting out its best to fish in all-tide launches like Coronet Bay to give an extra margin of safety. Lang Lang and the top end can see some great fish too but you need to know how the tide effects the area to avoid the mud. Its best to fish these areas with someone with local knowledge the first time. Down the bottom of Western Port sees great fish come from the Corals but the tide down here runs hard. You need to understand the 50/90 rule and gain experience anchoring in tide flows to fish these areas. It is also recommended to have quick release anchor setups to avoid getting side-on to current and potentially capsizing.

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Spots to try:

Williamstown – Launch from the Angling Club ramp (with permisson) or from the rock circles at the bottom of Coles street and paddle out to the left in front of the footy oval. Sound around for arches before anchoring and setting up your trail.

Altona – Launch from the end of Miller’s Road and paddle out to behind the Cardinal. There will inevitably be boats in the area already so sound around and try to find a spot to yourself. If the fish are on and word is out it will be a carpark but good fish come through the area.

Rickett’s – is probably one of the best known snapper spots in Melbourne and often one of the busiest. Paddle out behind the marine park (marked with buoys or use the Can I fish here? feature of the Vic fishing app if you are not sure)

Lang Lang/Jam Jerrup – Fishing the banks over a high tide is the safest move for beginners, you’ll need at least 1m of water in the tide curve for Jam Jerrup to have enough water to launch and retrieve safely. You can use the tide charts to find out your fishing window, but leave some leeway as they are not always accurate.

Tide Curve

Willyweather Tide Curve

You can also fish the forks in the channels over a low as the fish will retreat into the channels as the water drops. You can easily pickup flake as a by-catch through here which isn’t a bad consolation prize!

Coronet Bay – This area is essentially a large grazing ground that all sorts of fish come through. There are no real set ‘marks’ its more a case of paddling out a bit and setting up your offering and settling in to see what comes by. The friendlier water is closer to the launch, the tide rips over at Elizabeth Island and the area between Pelican Island and Snapper Rock is not recommended for beginners – its known as the washing machine for good reason!

Lighting:

One last thing you’ll need to sort out to chase snapper is a proper light. It is a legal requirement (Under the Colregs) to be able to display a white lantern in sufficient time to prevent an accident when underway in a non-powered vessel. For snapper fishing, it is best to aim for being as visible as possible on the water. A headlight generally won’t cut it. There is a lot more boat traffic on the water this time of year, a portion of which are once-a-year boaters that only fish a couple of trips during snapper season. Another consideration is that kayaks are comparatively, very low to the water and a larger boat up on a plane while moving between spots simply won’t see your kayak but has a chance of seeing a light up higher.

In terms of rigging your light, I’d recommend mounting it behind your seat and high enough to be seen over your head. Keeping the light behind you helps prevent it blinding you and makes it easier to paddle along. You can buy suitable lights lights like the BerleyPro Orb or Railbalza navilight ready made, or if you are handy with a soldering iron, you can make your own using LED strips wrapped around PVC pipe. All will do the job better than none and help stop you becoming a speed bump out on the water!

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BerleyPro Orb

I’m sure there is plenty more that could be added, but that’s probably enough to get you started. I’ll add some more photos of my tied rigs during the week.

Tight lines!

Sea Sherpa

Packing List for NSC

For those new to offshore or just new to our comp, I’ve put together a quick run-though of some of the gear you might want to pack for the trip. It is one of those ‘What is the best soft plastic?’ type of questions, as everyone will have their own ideas on equipment and gear, but here’s a quick run through on what’s legally required and some of the gear I tend to use as well as links to where to find them. It might help you narrow your search a bit. At first glance it may seem like a lot, but not all of the gear will be relevant to each kayaker and the margin of safety needs to be higher offshore as the distances covered are usually much longer and you have the added variable of ocean swells to contend with.

Safety Equipment

First off let’s cover the mandatory safety equipment to meet legal requirements, even if you plan on fishing coastal inshore it is best to be geared up for full offshore as the equipment is smart to have on board anyway and you may find yourself beyond the 2nm  line if you are following the fish!

The following items are not required legally but are highly recommended. Note that a safety flag is a requirement of the comp though, due to feedback we received from boaties in the area last year.

Fishing Gear

Everyone will have their preferred brands when it comes to gear,  again I’ll outline what I use and then you can chase up gear in the weights and capacities outlined in your own brand of choice. With offshore kayak fishing, we can generally run much lighter gear than the boaties use because of the style of fishing. On a boat when fighting a fish a lot of pressure is put on the system – line, knots, rod, drag etc, whereas on a kayak there is a limit to how much pressure we can actually put on a fish before we start getting towed. For this reason, we can run much lighter line classes and there is no need for big-drag reels as you will never be able to use that drag on a kayak in practice. The gear I use is intended for the school fish that I am chasing, you’ll be under-gunned on a barrel tuna, bu then you wouldn’t fit one in the fish hatch anyway!

Trolling

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I also tend to look at my offshore trolling gear as being somewhat disposable, I don’t have to cast with it and if it gets pulled from a rod holder or dunked I don’t want to lose hundreds of dollars’ worth of reels. For this job I tend to favour ‘clunker’ reels that don’t have the refinement of your top end Shimanos and Daiwas but are robust and can take some abuse. I usually carry two Penn stiff tipped glass rods in the 10-15kg weight range paired with Slammers in the 560 class spooled with 30lb braid. They have plenty of usable drag and enough line capacity for school fish at Portland. I’m not casting with them all day so the weight isn’t an issue, they are very easy to strip down and maintain and if a combo should happen to go swimming I’m not out of pocket for very much. A mate of mine that uses the same gear once said “Tell me a reel from Shimano or Daiwa that you can buy for $70 (on Dinga) that you would confidently take offshore to land a tuna on?” You could also go slightly more upmarket and use Uglysticks paired with Spinfisher V’s to give even more water protection and have less frequent strip-downs. In terms of rod length, for trolling I still like a bit of length as it helps to avoid tangled lines out the back, when you have to do darting turns to chase after a bust-up or diving birds. For this reason I don’t run two short trolling rods, usually either two longs (6’6″ – 7′) or a long and a short. If I’m running a long and a short the long rod will be weighted or have a deep diving lure while the short will go straight out the back. Again this helps avoid tangles by letting the lines pass over each other when turning.

Casting

Reels

My casting set-up generally will have a nicer reel and it is usually the only setup I leash on the yak; (I prefer less things to potentially get tangled in). Again, I like a rod with decent length to get better casting distance, personally I don’t see the point of the range of really short ‘kayak rods’ that manufacturers seem to be churning out – they don’t cast very far and you can’t pass your line around the nose of the yak to follow a fish. I like a rod around 7ft usually in the 8-15kg class. This can be matched with a ~5000 size reel with nice smooth drag and decent line capacity for 30lb braid. There are plenty of options in this category of reel depending on how much you want to spend; Stradics, Saragosas, Saltists, Slammer III’s or Conflict, Sorocco SW and Lethal on the cheaper end. It might also be worth having a read of some Alan Hawk reviews to get up to speed with the pros and cons of each offering. Offshore gear will tend to cop plenty of water so serviceability will also be important. Alan Hawk reviews mention difficulty in getting replacement fluids for mag seal units so for my next purchase I’m leaning towards the Sorocco SW.

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At the moment I’m running a Gen Black Nugget, I’ll most likely pair it with a Sorocco SW in 6000 size to edge out my original plan of a Conflict. I plan on dabbling in some jigging too, so when a Gomuku Kaiten comes my way, I figure it could be paired with the same reel as a nice jigging combo. I’ll do a review on the combo once its had a bit of use.

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Electronics

VHF Radios

I’ve owned a couple of radios and found some more robust than others. When you go shopping you can pay a little more for a DSC enabled unit, but as an added safety feature it will communicate your GPS coordinates to all DSC vessels in the area in the event of an emergency.

marine_ic-m23The Icom M series radios are generally considered to be one of the best units around, they are very popular with the offshore yakkers up north. Personally I love my Uniden MH, it hasn’t missed a beat. You can also buy a waterproof sleeve for your radio too which will help protect it in the surf.

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Emergency Position Indication Radio Beacons (Epirbs)

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EPIRBS are one of those items that are expensive as an initial purchase for something that you hopefully never have to use, but when the cost is broken down over their usable life it becomes a more attractive proposition. The average beacon has a 10 year battery life and if they cost $250-$350 to buy really you are looking at $25 a year. I got my first EPIRB a few years back it was a GME MT600 unit, from memory it set me back around $250. I’ve never had to use it in anger so I can’t comment on its reliability, but I will say that newer units can be purchased with GPS in-built which dramatically improves location accuracy and therefore the search radius should you need to deploy it.

This unit is now available as a MT600G GPs version for $330, but when the battery goes on the current model, I will most likely opt for the more compact offering from Kti, the SA1G. It is a little cheaper at $290 and locally made so it will make life easier if there are any warranty issues.

KTI EPIRB

Speaking of Kti, they also make compact Personal Locator Beacons (PLB’s). These are easy to fit in the pocket of most lifejackets and while they  don’t meet the legal requirements for full offshore fishing,  they are a good piece of kit to have on any type of water. The main advantage of a PLB is that if you are separated from your kayak, your PLB will still be with you, in the pocket of your PFD whereas your EPIRB will be floating away from you on your kayak. The trade off is that unlike an EPRIB, which floats and transmits once activated without further input from the user, a PLB must have its antenna facing upwards and be held afloat by the user.

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The Lure Box

Depending on what is on the chew in January you’ll need to decide on a means of targeting the comp species. With the bread and butter species, like in the bay you can opt for soft plastics or baits. If you want advice on plastics and jig heads you can go straight to the source and have a chat with a couple of our comp sponsors. Allan over at Munroe’s Soft Plastics is always happy to provide advice on plastic choices and John over at Jigman can sort you out with terminal tackle that should see you right to get some points on the board on the day. Both are top blokes, happy to talk fishing and it is always good to give back to the local companies that support us.

If you decide to go all-out for glory and tackle the pelagics, you have a few options to consider. For the kings, you can opt to go with livebait, dead bait, lures or soft plastics. In terms of bait, squid is the go, preferably as a livie but as a fresh deadbait it is also a good option. If the kings are really on they can even take californian squid too. In terms of lures and plastics you are looking at sinking stickbaits and big 10 inch soft plastics with white being the colour of choice for most anglers.

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For the tuna, if you are in a quick boat a small skirt might be an option, Kieran managed to nab a tuna the day before the comp last year using this method. Hard bodies seem to be a better option in the winter tuna season out behind Lawrence Rocks rather than summer on North Shore. From last year’s reports plastics are a better bet here, look for 7″ jerk shads with pilchard/blue flecks. There is always the livebait option too if you can find some slimies!   As the comp draws closer I’m sure the boys at Portland Bait & Tackle will be able to give you the low-down on what is working out on the reefs.

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Clothing

During warmer weather, the more you can cover up, the less sunscreen you have to apply! You should also consider moisture-wicking and drying-times when kayak fishing and as a result do not use any cotton clothing or rash vests as they dry slowly and are cold when wet. Wet suits are great in the water, but out of it they act like a Coolgardie fridge with the wind carrying away your body heat in much the same way as an evaporative cooler does in your home.

Head wear:

There are a couple of options for head wear during summer. You can either go with a hat & buff combo or an all in one flap hat. Buff offer a wide range of face scarves that fit the bill, and an official Buff® buff  can be purchased from Technical Headwear. If you go down the road of an all in one unit, you can get the Adapta-cap from Sun Protection Clothing Australia.

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Upper Body:

Up top long sleeves help cover the skin to protect from the elements. This can be in the form of a light thermal such as the 2P Thermo from Adrenalin or a lightweight UPF50 polo. Again it is a case of avoiding the cotton t-shirts and lycra materials!  If a nice lightweight polo is what you are after, for this year’s comp we’ve teamed up with Sun Protection Clothing Australia to produce a UPF 50 branded fishing shirt with all of the sponsor logos from #NSC18 with a sleek Southern Bluefin Tuna on the back. Profits go to Portland Surf Lifesaving, so you’ll be helping to save your skin as well as beach goers down the coast! You can add one to your entry at checkout when you register for the comp or click here if you want to add one later. On colder days you can layer up with a spray top or cag jacket from Lovig’s or Kokotat.

 

Lower Body:

On sit-on-top kayaks and skis we don’t have the luxury of leg protection from the deck of our boats so again coverage is key. A pair of lightweight UPF paddling pants or cargo pants can do the trick on warmer days such as those available from SPCA or if there is a breeze about a pair of  light thermal pants can do the job nicely again the Adrenalin 2P thermos fit the bill.

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Due to sharps on the beach as well as landing on slippery rocks and reefs, some protection for your feet is very important and often overlooked. So pop a pair of old runners on or pick up a pair of dive boots and you are ready to go!

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If you are having trouble finding some of the gear or need to borrow a spare, feel free to add a post on the NSC Facebook page. You can also hit up some of the other guys for advice on the page or try to glean some more useful info after the briefing.

Tight lines!

Sea Sherpa

Product News – Custom parts for your Stealth ski

Your Stealth ski is a pretty sorted fishing platform right out of the crate, but we all fish in different ways, different locations and the tackle rat is stronger in some than others!

We’ve teamed up with some local manufacturers to design and produce a few pieces of kit that will help turn your ski from a weapon to a WMD in no time. Most people don’t have the luxury of keeping two or three kayaks to cover all of the types of fishing they want to do, so ultimately their kayak has to serve a few purposes. We’ve come up with a few products for those that need to use their skis across a few different fishing environments.

Battery Box Upgrade

If you want to run a 5″ sounder or find that your GPS combo is chewing up your battery juice, we have you covered! Upgrade your standard battery box to one of these units and have the option of running a 4ah, 7ah or 9ah battery, while still keeping it tucked into the fish hatch wall and out of the way. You can also slot in a lifpo4 battery and up your a

These battery boxes install into the fish hatch wall directly under the seat on your ski allowing you to tuck tackle boxes, gaffs, or even your catch under your seat without snagging up on the battery or cables. These oversize boxes are also secured in place with a backing plate to prevent damage to the wall of your fish hatch and also feature a handy cable clamp on the reverse to help protect your cables from pulling in the event of a nasty roll in the breakers.

Features:

  • Lightweight thermo-formed ABS construction.
  • Custom backing plate with locating tabs for easy install.
  • Cable clamp to secure your wiring in the surf.
  • Quick release shock cord & hook battery securing system.
  • Cutting template to help you get a perfect fit.

 

Anchor Trolley

A well set-up anchor trolley is a handy piece of kit allowing you to safely and easily set and retrieve anchors especially in high flow areas. A good anchor trolley has multiple uses and can be used to connect any of the following to your ski:

  • Anchor
  • Drogue
  • Live bait tube
  • Stake-out pole

With this in mind, we have designed an aftermarket anchor trolley kit that can be installed on all Stealth fishing skis that have the standard cloth handles. It utilises existing mounting points avoiding the need to drill holes in your ski. There are two versions of the kit depending on whether your front handle runs horizontally across the ski or vertically along the nose. Please select the kit to match your ski handle type.

The kit includes:

  • Ronstan RF20184 stainless, ball bearing blocks (x 2)
  • Bow mounting plate
  • Stern mounting plate
  • Bungee retainer button
  • Marine grade 316 pan head self-tapping screw
  • P-clips (x 3)
  • 15m of 4mm poly cord (black)
  • Marine grade 316 Stainless countersunk mounting bolts (x2)
  • Marine grade 316 Stainless dome mounting nuts (x 2)
  • Anchor ring
  • Marine grade 316 Stainless countersunk self-tapping screws (x 4)

A step by step installation video is available on our website if required.

Anchor Cleat

We have also designed a bracket for a zig-zag cleat that attaches to one the rod holders on your ski without the need to drill any new holes. The cleat attaches to the bracket using pre-drilled and tapped holes with no protrusion behind the bracket. Once fitted these cleats can be used for cleating off your anchor, cleating your anchor trolley line or for attaching a burley bucket or live bait tube as required.

The Kit includes:

  • nylon zig-zag cleat
  • aluminium mounting bracket
  • 2 x 316 grade cleat attachment bolts
  • 2 x 316 grade extra long self tapper screws

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External Transducer Mount

We have created a new external transducer mount for the Stealth range of fishing skis to address a number of issues we hear from customers;

  • Total-scan transducers can’t shoot thru-hull.
  • Inaccurate water temperatures.
  • Poor image due to air gaps under the transducer.
  • Hassles removing epoxy or marine adhesive mounted transducers when upgrading sounders or selling your ski.

We have created a series of droppers compatible with Garmin, Lowrance and Humminbird transducers. These attach to a deck mounted pivot allowing you to fold up the transducer on the rear deck for transport or for sessions playing in the surf.

There are two types of pivot available; the standard unit or the combo which incorporates a rear bracket for our anchor trolley system. The pivots have the same hole spacing as a toestrap plate allowing it to be mounted under the rear handle without the need to drill any holes.

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Epirb Bracket

For those venturing offshore down here in Vic as well as some of the other states, carrying an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) is a mandatory requirement when fishing more than 2 nautical miles (3.7 km) offshore. These need to be easily accessible to be useful as the last thing you will want to do when things get hairy on the water is to open a hatch to go and look for it. With this in mind, we’ve developed these handy attachment plates to fit your EPIRB on the rear deck of your Stealth, within reach but still out of the way for a day’s fishing.

Constructed from lightweight aluminium and pre-drilled for the fitment of both GME and KTI branded EPIRB models, these attachment brackets can be installed at the front of the cargo recess on the rear deck using the existing mounting points for the two shock cord keepers. It is simply a matter of un-doing the shock cord clamp, inserting the bracket underneath and re- attaching the clamps using the extra long self tapping screws provided.

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Front Rod Holder Brackets

Sea Sherpa are now producing some universal front rod holder brackets for Stealth skis. These brackets can be fitted to your ski on the side wall of the fish hatch without impeding the forward and backward operation of your foot pedals.

The brackets are made as a universal fit so the same bracket can be used on any of the models. We have even made a universal hole pattern on the top plate of the bracket with holes pre-drilled for RAM round bases, RAM rectangular bases and round Railblaza starports. This allows you to to fit the range of ram rod mounts or Railblaza fittings up front for bait fishing on the bays when it is too rough out the front to chase pelagics.

A front rod holder can be pretty handy when chasing pelagics too, giving you somewhere close to hand to stash your rod when you go for the gaff shot, or simply a handy spot for your sabiki rod.

On my skis, I use these brackets to mount Berkley Quicksets on RAM extenders. This setup allows me to run two bait rods easily directing both lines away from each other while maintaining the ability to open the fish hatch when required. The use of Quicksets also means I can insert and remove my rods by holding just the end of the butt, allowing me to mount rod holders further forward out of my paddle stroke.

The other handy feature is that rod holders can be easily removed and stored in the fish hatch leaving only the bracket and mount behind. This leaves a nice clear deck for surf zones or for transport.

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For more information, or to blow your tax return and get your hands on any of the gear, hit up our website.

Tight lines!

Sea Sherpa

Japanese style tempura flattie tails

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Decided to go for a change of pace with a batch of flattie tails this time around. They generally get the panko crumb treatment in our house, but if you are up for a trip to Suzuran, the Japanese grocery, here is something a little different…

Ingredients

  • Flathead fillets
  • Japanese pickled cucumber (fridge section of grocery and keep for about a month)
  • Nori flakes
  • Shichimi Togarashi
  • Otafuku branded okonomiyaki sauce
  • 1 cup Medium grain rice
  • Frying oil

Tempura batter (you can buy the batter mixture in the supermarket or make it)

  • 1/2 cup cornflour,
  • 1/2 cup plain flour,
  • 1 egg (beaten),
  • 3/4 cup soda water (cold)

Here’s what you are chasing up at the Japanese grocers:

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Method

  1. Cook rice using ratio 1 cup grains to 1 1/2 cups water,
  2. To prepare the tempura batter,  place flours in a bowl and add beaten egg. Add soda water and stir until batter coats the back of a spoon.
  3. Place batter in the fridge for half an hour to chill (you may need to loosen it up with a little more water before you use it)
  4. Heat up the oil
  5. Dip the flattie fillets in the tempura batter and fry until golden.
  6. While the fish is frying, scoop out the rice into bowls
  7. Sprinkle the Shichimi Togarashi and nori flakes over the rice
  8. Lay the fish on top of the rice
  9. Drizzle with okonomiyaki sauce
  10. Top with more nori flakes and a handful of Japanese pickles
  11. Wash down with a frothy of your choosing!

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Enjoy!

Sea Sherpa

Coffs Harbour Stealth Comp

A few of us Mexicans decided to put our annual South West Rocks trip back a few weeks this year to coincide with the Coffs Harbour round of the Stealth offshore kayak fishing competitions. Thursday around midnight the westie half of the convoy assembled and headed to the servo for last minute checks before heading off for the meeting point at Glenrowan, two and a half hours closer to the NSW border.

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The next stop was Yass where Cheater and Kieran nursed their whiplash injuries from Leejo’s driving over breakfast. It seems Cheater’s car doesn’t have cruise control and Leejo isn’t much of a fan of constant throttle pressure. A good run of traffic through Sydney saw us arrive in Coffs Harbour in time to visit Mo Tackle before closing much to the relief of the aforementioned Leejo, the offshore newbie of the group, who had packed rods and reels but not lures or rigging tackle for the trip. With his wallet suitably lightened, we punched the address of the campsite into the GPS and made the five minute trip down the road to our home for the weekend. Cabins 226 and 227 at Park Beach Holiday park became base camp.

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A very recognisable carbon fibre ProFisha with orange tip on the roof of the car next door, identified Rokkitkit and Ant as our new neighbours, and with quick stroll around, it quickly became apparent that we had chosen the right campground with a number of Stealths to be seen on the roofs of passing vehicles.  There was a great buzz about the place (it may have been residual buzz from Chenski’s snoring during the car trip) and talk moved to tactics for the comp ahead. The forecast was looking pretty good and due to some networking on Cheater’s part, we had some GPS marks in our sounders courtesy of Tommo one of the locals, so even though we hadn’t fished that far up the coast before at least we had an idea where to head once out through the surf.

Rigging

Mozza and I made the decision to target tuna on livies for the comp, we made the call to leave off the wire traces going on the theory that more bites was a better prospect even if we got the occasional bite-off. Mozz went with two 10-15kg  rods with penn 560’s running 30lb braid to 40lb leader with a dusta and 7/0 live bait gammas. My gear was similar with an identical 10-15kg setup and also a 6-10kg snapper stick given the call-up opting to run two spin setups over my other 10-15kg overhead rig. We both also had a lighter 2-4kg setup to run our sabiki rigs.

Comp Day 1

A 5am start saw the trailer loaded and we were off to Digger’s beach for a quick briefing and a run down on the lay of the land from the local crew. Paperwork completed and setup done on the beach, we awaited first light for the launch.

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Small surf and the assistance of a rip made for an easy launch and we were on our way to McAuley’s in search of livebait. My first string of livies was stolen and with the obvious presence of mackerel or hoo I was beginning to second guess my choice of tactics. A re-tied sabiki resulted in two lonely yakkas in the bait tube, not the slimeys I was after but a start so on one went on my 6-10kg setup. With livies bridled, Mozz and I decided to paddle from McAuley’s close out towards the second mark out wide. We hadn’t gone far when a rod on both of our skis screamed off. Mine spat the hook  during the initial run while Jayme came up tight on his and not long after a solid mack tuna was yakside. It had inhaled the rig and couldn’t be released.

Cheater came on the VHF not long after enquiring on the minimum length for the brown ugly thing he had just caught, making things hard for Dennis without a positive ID. It was settled as being a cod of some sort and was sent back after some happy snaps. Kieran made friends with a blacktip reefie, and not to be outdone Cheater did the same soon after, announcing via VHF that Coffs Harbour gummies have a nice set of teeth. One of the locals got spooled by what was assumed to be a wahoo and Mozz and myself made the call to paddle north towards Karora. About a k from the mark we stopped and drifted while I adjusted views on the new sounder. As is usually the case, when you are not ready for it, both of us at this point had a rod scream off. My light rod again was the target and Mozz was clearly onto a nice fish. Yet again my fish skipped the noose while Mozz settled in for a good fight. Ten minutes later a much larger tuna was circling the yak and much to Mozza’s delight, this one had no ‘leopard print’on its side. I paddled along side to identify his first longtail and Jayme’s new kage gaff got its first use soon after.

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Leejo found the fishing tough on day 1 but did manage to catch his rudder (twice). Chenski managed to snag a quality flathead on his sabiki to add to the Vic tally.  Back on the beach the photo evidence identified Cheater’s ‘brown thing’ as a point scoring Maori Cod.

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We began to refill the trailers and were gifted a nice spottie mackerel by Paul Pallett which was gladly accepted. A Coles run and some re-rigging in the afternoon followed by some filleting and some sesame tuna steaks back at the holiday park. Reflection on the days events made me ditch the snapper rod, the theory being that the rod had too much flex, absorbing some of the impact and preventing the thicker livebait hooks from penetrating the tuna despite having a solid drag setting. Mozz was sitting in a competitive 5th spot after day 1 and was in the best position of the Vics heading into day two.

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Comp Day 2

 

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Day 2 saw similar conditions out front, with a little extra wind early on but it died out quickly. Fishing was tougher on the second day with even livies proving hard to find for most on team Vic (expect Cheater who somehow managed to pull a whole string of slimies first up). Chenski and Leejo had hooked some pike and after spending an hour at McAuley’s in search of live bait Mozz and I had only managed two yakkas between us, (along with some more flatties and a few whiting).  We rigged one each we opted to follow a similar track to yesterday to see if any more longtails could be found over at Karora. They couldn’t, it turns out, but I did have a brief run  on the way out to Marsh Shoal that resulted in my livie becoming a deadie with post mortem revealing the cause of death to be a severely compressed head. The only legitimate catch of the day for me was a solid flattie (late 40’s) coming in on the sabiki. Team Vic came third in the state of origin behind both the yanks and the canadians, Mozza was the highest placer of the Vics with 6th spot. After a BBQ and a chat with some of the blokes we hit the road for South West Rocks where we would spend the rest of the week. A big thank you to Australian Kayak Specialists for organising another great event and to the crew of fisho’s for the hospitality.

Tight lines,

Sea Sherpa

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