BEAKED BEASTS FROM THE BIG BLUE

We’ve gone months without a marlin bite, but it seems this year we can’t get a lure in the water without being mauled by a beaked beast from the big blue. Off Sydney, delicious warm water has been pouring down the East Australian Current, bringing bait-fish and marlin with it. Over the past three weeks, we’ve been fishing in cruisers, runabouts ‑ even a tinnie. Firstly, we did battle with a black marlin on an Arvor 675 Sportsfish, then stole the keys to a Whittley SL22 and landed a striped marlin. We were on a roll, so thought to ourselves, “What the heck, let’s give it a crack in a 4.6m Morningstar tinnie”.

 

 

Black marlin lap dance: Travis Godfredson with a Pakula gobbling black marlin from Norah Canyons.

 

Gals and gills: Katie with her first billfish – a striped marlin!

 

MURPHY’S LAW

During a midnight rigging session with my good mate Kirk Branch, I told him about Trav’s two-hour battle with the black marlin, fighting it on a crusty little Daiwa Saltist reel with a seized spool-tensioning knob and three different layers of backing. Kirk laughed and said, “Ah, you put out a Murphy”. I quizzed him further, “What’s a Murphy?” He said, “You know, Murphy’s Law? You always run one under-gunned rod if you’re struggling to get a bite. It’ll always go off.”

 

“Murphy” in all her glory.

 

Not one for superstitions, I laughed off Kirk’s theories and drifted off to sleep, dreaming about a big fish stripping line from a chanting Tiagra. I woke early and stumbled down to the beach where Trav was waiting with a hot chocolate, and a week-old servo pie. We also invited gun videographer Nick Wood, who lives life at 240 frames per second. He also likes well-aged pies.

 

Nick Wood doin' his thang.

 

The trip started out like every other marlin fishing day. Set the spread, change the lures, tell a dirty joke, then long pauses followed by a good tune that perks everyone up. Then boredom. As we glided over the oily sea, my mind went back to Kirk’s theory. His voice came into my head like an Obi-Wan Kenobi recording ... “Show them your Murphy’s Law”. I couldn’t resist the force, so I clipped a Remora Lure onto the little Daiwa Saltist and slid it into the short ’rigger position.

 

Organised chaos, but the conditions made up for it.

 

At about snooze o’clock with Trav and Nick fast asleep (possibly poisoned from the pie), we trolled over some pinnacles off Terrigal. As we passed over the undulating seabed, the water colour changed dramatically. Red algae covered the surface and the temperature dropped half a degree. Trav woke up and while still rubbing sleep from his eyes and pastry crumbs from his lips, screamed out, “Marlin in the spread!”

 

Watch the full video here.

 

Before I could turn around, the Murphy rod and reel was doubled over, peeling line fast. As I grabbed the rod I spotted a large mass heading alongside me. It was a big blue! The fish jumped back towards the boat, it’s back arching like a sprinting greyhound. It moved fast, so fast that I was picking up line in front of me, while watching the fish jump behind me.

 

Eek, down to the backing…

 

The battle continued for two hours before the blue beast finally showed itself again. Trav grabbed the leader and gently lead the fish towards the boat. We had done it; a big blue, about 150kg. The fish topped off an amazing three weeks ‑ three marlin from three different boats. Two of those fish were caught on a tiny Saltist that obeyed Murphy’s Law. Yes, the force was strong in that little Murphy rod-and-reel combo.

 

Beauty of a blue, boat-side.

 

Awesome colours.

 

Anything for a good shot: Nick gets dropped onto a WaveRunner jet ski!

 

Up close and personal.

 

On the topic of marlin, we also recently chased black marlin on the flats of Fraser Island. To read that story make sure you grab issue #2 of The Captain - on-sale now!

 

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email jack@jackmurphyfishing.com.au or leave a comment below.

 

Until next time,

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

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THE FISH I CAN'T FORGET

If you’re looking for a story about ‘the fish of a lifetime’, then look away now. This is not one of those stories. This is a story of heartache and pain. Something many fishos can relate to, but most have been trying to forget.

 

Not so long ago, a run of giant southern bluefin tuna popped up on the west coast of Victoria. It was unheard of. The average fish were between 80kg and 150kg. Fish as big as wine barrels. It was time to pack the Landy, the biggest reels I could carry, and several tubs of soy sauce and wasabi.

 

The plan was simple. Pick up a bright red Stabicraft 2050 Supercab, head to Apollo Bay (where the bite was hot), troll some lures, hook and land a fish of a lifetime, then head home to Sydney the next day. Mmm, if only it was that easy…

 

 

 

This was no doubt the hardest fishing trip of my life. We worked so hard and came so close, only to have glory snatched away from us at the last second. A lot of people see fishing as a physical sport; you do battle with giants and brawn wins the battle. Not this time. This was a mental and emotional challenge like I’d never experienced. Disappointment and regret filled my mind for weeks after this trip. Upon reflection, all that remains is a greater respect for a creature that beat me, fair and square.

 

The experience reminded me a of a great quote by Robert Traver

“Giant tuna do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed, or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility, and endless patience ... and not because I regard fishing as being so terribly important, but because I suspect that so many of the other concerns of men are equally unimportant and not nearly so much fun.”

 

I’ve changed the species Robert was referring to, from trout to tuna, but the essence of his words remains the same. The next time I head south, with tuna on my mind, I’ll go quietly and humbly, studying everything and savoring all. Especially the sushi, should I be so lucky….

 

The stunning Great Ocean Road.

 

Word spreads fast when the barrels are on.

 

 

Apollo Bay at first light.

 

The local commercial fleet were more interested in chasing squid and scallops than tuna.

 

Finding the fish was the easy part.

 

Watching lures became our only form of entertainment.
 
The fish taunted us for days.
 

Searching for a pot of gold.

 

Still fishing after sunset - these blokes must've thought we were mad.

 

I'll be back next year...

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email jack@jackmurphyfishing.com.au or leave a comment below.

 

Until next time,

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

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BIG SYDNEY KINGFISH ON TOPWATER

When fishing buddy, Justin Duggan suggested we hunt big kingfish on topwater, it took all of 10 minutes to scoop up my flies, poppers and stickbaits while simultaneously tying leaders and setting the alarm for 4am – not that I was going to get a wink of sleep anyway. There had been some seriously good fish caught of recent, and after the non-stop downpour in Sydney we were hopefully going to be the first boat to get back into the action.

 

 

With the sun still enjoying its sleep-in, we launched under the cover of darkness and made our way to a few ol’ favourite spots. Justin obviously got the wrong end of the stick, as along with the fly rod, he was casting a tiny 3500-sized Daiwa spinning reel with 20lb main line and leader. I opted for a heavy 80-100lb popping outfit. I hoped for Justin’s sake, I was the only one hooking hoodlums today – but the fish had other ideas…

 

 

Bombs away.
 

There must be some big fish around, our poppers seemed scared to be in the water!

 

 

After landing a few small rat kings on stickbaits we moved further afield to the offshore washes. We worked hard; firing cast after cast into the churning white water. Then, out of nowhere, an explosion behind my lure, then another and another – how the metre-plus pack of kingfish missed the hooks on my lure, I don’t know. As I quickly lined up my next cast back towards the bommie, Justin had already landed his stickbait right into the honey hole. It was instantly engulfed and the little 3500-sized reel let out a high pitch noise that would’ve had any nearby dogs running for the hills.

 

 

Justin holds on for dear life.

 

 

The fact that Justin managed to stay connected after the first run was a miracle in it’s own right. The fish ran him straight through the bommie and out the other side, taking with it over 150 metres of line. Nevertheless, Justin fought on, often performing ballerina-esque manoeuvres to coax the fish from heavy cover. The slog continued for over 30 minutes as we slowly motored the boat towards deeper and less treacherous waters. Eventually, the brute came up boat-side and after a few circles the 110cm, 12kg beast was guided smoothly into the net. Mission accomplished. 

 

 

9kg leader vs a 12kg kingfish - now that's a serious achievement.

 

Mission accomplished. 

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email jack@jackmurphyfishing.com.au or leave a comment below.

 

Until next time,

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT!

It’s an exciting day. I’m officially launching a new magazine called The Captain – Legends of the Sea. It’s going to be one of the coolest magazines on the shelves. It’s got epic stories about crazy adventures, breathtaking locations, interesting people and the coolest products in the marine market. It’s not just going to be a brochure full of advertising and shameless editorial either; instead we’re going to tell stories that haven’t been told before - we’re probably going to bruise some egos…

 

 

It’s going to talk to the new breed boaties out there who want something with a younger voice. I’d be lying if I said it was all my own doing. The other bloke on the tiller at The Captain is Travis Godfredson. He recently exited the board-room of Australia’s biggest publisher, threw away the pin-stripe suit and replaced it with some boardies and Dunlop Volleys. He knows a few tricks about publishing, but just as importantly, he can catch fresh squid when the kingies are fussy.

 

Also on board The Captain is legendary lure maker, Peter Pakula, gun freediver Paul Miller, flyfishing guru Justin Duggan, the crazy Captain Blackbeard and ladies man, Joel Ryan. Quite a motley crew!

 

The other crewman on The Captain is you! Yes, you. The Captain wants your support, to be the best magazine in the land. You can have you name enshrined in the pages (quite literally) forever!

 

Here’s how you can support The Captain:

 

·      Jump on Indiegogo and help crowd fund. There are Pakula lures and discount subscriptions on offer: http://igg.me/at/thecaptainmag/x/12495218

 

·      If you don't want to contribute money, you can still support us with your social network. Check out our Thunderclap: http://thndr.me/V5N9HI

 

·      ‘Like’ us on Facebook here: www.facebook.com/thecaptainmag

 

·      ‘Follow’ us on Instagram here: instagram.com/thecaptainmag

 

·      Check out the website here: www.thecaptain.tv

 

 

The Captain – Legends of the Sea is brought to you by Moby Dick Content and will be on sale December 3rd. It will be distributed across newsagents, airports and hotels throughout the peak boating season.

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email jack@jackmurphyfishing.com.au or leave a comment below.

 

Until next time,

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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IF BOATS WERE CARS...

By Jack Murphy and Travis Godfredson

 

If boats were cars…

Like cars, some boats are built for speed, others functionality. Some are rebuilt classics, while others are untouched vintage beauties. Every boat also has its own personality and individuality. So in this blog, we pondered, if boats were cars, what would they be? Here’s what we came up with.

 

A Formula 233 would be a Phase 3 Falcon GTHO. Driven in the right hands these muscle machines make grown men weak at the knees. Well preserved by fastidious owners, who are prone to bouts of fuel injected fanaticism . Built for a purpose, it’s hard to find an ugly one; the Formula and Phase 3 will forever be kings of their domain. Often found on trailers with more engineering than the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

 

Image: Dave Manwell

 

 

The Stabicraft 2050 would be a Lamborghini Countach. Both fully imported, they share an angular appearance, "cabin-forward" design and are often found in bold colours, especially red. Recognisable by a tough stance, this pair stick to the surface like a squid Sikaflexed to a beach ball. They go just as fast in reverse too. Bonus feature: extra wide windscreen for spotting birds.

 

Image: 98octane

 

 

A Haines Hunter 445F would be a Porsche Boxster - diminutive in stature, but with a big reputation, the Boxster and 445 share a timeless shape. They both have open tops, are loved by old dudes and respected by young punks. Any lack of straight-line speed is saved by superior handling. Always active on weekends, these favourites offer big kicks in little packages.

 

Image: Alessandro

 

 

A CruiseCraft 595 would be a BMW M5. This pair ooze class, and are built for travelling in style. Strong appeal in the older demos, but not sneezed at by the young bucks, who charge hard on the weekend when Dad throws them the keys. Bonus feature: armrests come standard.

 

Image: Thomas Hawk

 

 

The Camcraft would be a Subaru WRX. Both known for evading the fuzz at high speeds, these babies grip like an abalone on a rock. Don't let their sleeper appearance fool you, they love a drag race, and if you're lucky enough to spot one of these horsepower heroes at warp speed, you'll need the tissues.

 

 

 

A Quintrex Fishabout would be an old Series Landrover. Their owners will do anything to keep these things operational, swearing that they're the best thing since Brooke Shields bared all in the Blue Lagoon. The more beat up they get, the better they seem to look. Reliability issues only matched by their owners ability to talk about them. Bonus feature: removable seats come standard.

 

Image: Allen Watkins and Huett Marine Centre

 


A Haines Hunter V19 would be a Holden Kingswood. They've had more owners than Caitlin Jenner's had face-lifts, and just as many modifications. Still a favourite no matter how ugly they look (because we all probably rode in one at some stage). Original ones hard to find - particularly in original colours. Warning: approach owners with caution.

 

Image: John Lloyd

 


A White Pointer Sports Cruiser would be a Toyota Landcruiser Sahara. Not built for speed, but when they get a head of steam up you better get out the way. Beards, jeans and brown leather boots come standard with each, along with copious refrigeration and state of the art electronics that seldom gets used. Found in serious environs, the LandCruiser and White Pointer always get the job done and are home in time for supper. Can be tribal, moving in wolf packs. Easily spotted at distances with more aerials than an Abrams Tank. 

 

Image: ARB

 


An Evolution 552 would be an Chrysler E49 Charger. You don't need big horses the get these things gliding. The design team got these babies right, with sweeping lines and practical detail that makes you feel at home the minute you get in the seat. Not everyone's cup of tea, but much loved by their adoring owners. Rising in value.

 

Image: Jeremy

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email jack@jackmurphyfishing.com.au or leave a comment below.

 

Until next time,

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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DESTINATION: PORTLAND

By Jack Murphy and Travis Godfredson

Portland is hot right now – damn hot. The southern bluefin tuna have stormed the coast by force and fishos have been consistently catching fish of a lifetime. Peter Pakula said it best, “Congratulations to all the guys chasing the big southern bluefin. You are enjoying one of, if not the best run of big fish ever.” So with all the hype, I thought what better a time to blog about Portland - the home of the barrel.

 

Barrel beau.

 

It may not be as glamorous as Cabo San Lucas, but the fishing is world-class.

 

Located four hours southwest of Melbourne, Portland is fast becoming the game-fishing capital of Victoria. Last year, the local ramp had over 400 boats in a single day. That’s why the State Government spent $7-million on revamping the boat ramp and harbour in 2014. They’re chasing tuna, and it’s a big water battleground, popular with blue-collar boaties armed to the teeth with vibes, skirts and deep-diving lures. As well as tuna, Portland has a big reputation as an albacore and dolphinfish (believe it or not) fishery. Bottom bouncing with electric reels for big eye, trumpeter and other googly-eyed bottom feeders is also growing in popularity. Keep your eyes peeled for 200-tonne blue whales, too!

 

 

"The State Government spent $7-million on revamping the boat ramp and harbour in 2014."

 

The locals.

 

What they call a '3 of a kind' in Portland.

Image: Bob McPherson

 

The harbour is home to boats of all shapes and sizes.

 

Eyes in the sky.

 

Portland is more than just a tuna fishery...

 

Sunrise at Portland. 

 

One of the Portland fishing pioneers is Bob McPherson. Bob has lived in the area for 35 years. He’s a plumber by trade, but can be commonly found scouting the boat ramp or spinning a yarn in the tackle shop. If there’s a big fish caught off Portland, rest assured Bob will know about it.

 

Local legend: Bob McPherson.

 

The HUB of barrel gossip: Portland Bait & Tackle.

 

The bluefin fishery off Portland was largely untapped until 2006. Before then, most anglers headed straight to Bermagui to catch the ‘big one’. Bob reckons the tuna fishing alone is worth over $10 million annually in the southwest region, a figure he says is based on official government reporting.

 

  

I'm not sure that classifies as eight items or less... 

Images: Bob McPherson

 

Trav with a 20kg tuna barbell.
 

Bob has seen the standard entourage of celebrity fisherman come to town, but reckons, “most of them are big sooks, spending half a day to reel in a tuna that should take a few hours to bring in”. He tells us the best fishermen that pass through are humble, working class blokes that don’t fish for fame or fortune.

 

Portland is also on the cusp of record-breaking bluefin. On Sunday, Brad Parkinson, Greg Hurst, Luke Meli and Adam Mason landed a 164.3kg behemoth on a Pakula Mouse in an Evil Angel pattern - a fish that was only 3kg shy of the IGFA world record. Bob says a lot of these big fish are being caught on Pakula Lures, a brand he has been fishing with for 35 years. “(Pakula Lures) have always been in the top hitters”, Bob tells me. “His lures have been around longer than most and have the runs of the board with bluefin, yellowfin and marlin.”

 

164.3kg of Portland bluefin.

Image: Bob McPherson

 

Nearby Cape Nelson.

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email jack@jackmurphyfishing.com.au or leave a comment below.

 

Until next time,

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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TOP 10 FISH TO CATCH IN WINTER

Instead of you challenging me this week, I’m challenging you! I’ve put together a hit list of cold-water culprits that you’ve got to try catch before winter is over. Oil up the reels and dust off the tackle boxes, this is one serious top 10.

 

1. Southern bluefin tuna

It’s not hard to see why big southern bluefin tuna are nicknamed barrels – they look like a 44-gallon drum with pectoral fins! More prevalent in our southern states, bluefin grow in excess of 160kg and make damn tasty sashimi.

 

 

Top tip: Make sure your reel has a large line capacity, bluefin take some insane runs.

Favourite bait/lure: JB Lures, Little Dingo.

 

 

2. Mako shark

The mako shark is no doubt one of the coolest (and scariest) fish in the ocean. With a mouth full of jagged teeth that’ll give you Edward Scissorhands flashbacks, and a top speed of 74km/h, this is one adversary you don’t want to underestimate. 

 

Image: Franky Tsang

 

Top tip: If you like your boat (and your feet) don’t even think about bringing a mako aboard green.

Favourite bait/lure: Although you can catch them on lures and even fly, it’s hard to go past a nice big oily strip of tuna.

 

3. Yellowfin tuna

Known for their beautiful electric yellow sickles, yellowfin tuna are world famous for their looks, their fight and their flavour. Although they can be caught year-round in Australia, in Sydney, wintertime is yellowfin time.

 

 

Top tip: Yellowfin will feed on temperature breaks. Troll lures and cube where the warm-water currents and cold-water currents intersect.

Favourite bait/lure: Halco Laser Pro.

 

 

4. Southern calamari squid

Sustainable to catch, awesome as bait and mouth watering to eat, southern calamari squid definitely hold their own at position number four in the top 10. They can be caught all around Australia, with the biggest specimens in Victoria and South Australia.

 

 

Top tip: Fish the high tides on big weed beds. Clean water is preferable and light fluorocarbon leaders are essential.

Favourite bait/lure: Yamashita Egi OH Q Live.

 

 

5. Gemfish and blue-eye trevalla

Gemfish and blue eye trevalla live in extremely deep water, often past the continental shelf. They’ll load up a rod, but you’d catch them for dinner, not sport. Fishing for them is kinda’ like snapper fishing on steroids, as it can be over 400m deep!

 

Image: Franky Tsang

 

Top tip: Circle hooks are essential and electric fishing reels make catching them a lot more enjoyable.

Favourite bait/lure: When fishing with a twin rig, put a frozen California squid on one hook and the front half of a pilchard on the other.

 

 

6. Australian salmon

They say the best way to eat an Aussie salmon is to cook it with a rock. Then, when the flesh cooks through white, throw away the salmon and eat the rock! In all seriousness though, they mightn’t be amazing on the table but they’re probably one of the best inshore sportfish to fight. They’re relatively easy to catch (most of the time), they fight hard and jump in spectacular fashion.

 

 

Top tip: Keep a keen eye out for birds working, they’re always shadowing big schools of salmon.

Favourite bait/lure: Slug-go soft plastics.

 

 

7. Tailor

Another great little winter sportfish is the tailor. They usually hang in big schools and terrorise bait balls. It mightn’t look like it, but they have razor sharp teeth. Keep your fingers out of their mouths when you unhook them!

 

Top tip: When hunting, tailor will often bite the tails off their prey before coming back to finish the job. That being the case, you want to position your hooks towards the back of your lure.

Favourite bait/lure: Halco Twisty.

  

 

8. Luderick

Don’t resent me too much when I say luderick (or blackfish) are one of my favourite fish to catch. Aside from a rod and reel, all you need is a hook, a couple of split shot sinkers and a pencil float – there’s a beautiful simplicity to it.

 

Top tip: If you’re fishing off a wharf, work around the high tide changes and use polarized sunnies to spot them ‘turning’.

Favourite bait/lure: Green stringy weed (found at surf rock pools).

 

 

9. Hairtail

Like something out of the film, Alien vs Predator, the hairtail is a prehistoric monster fish that should never be caught. Alright, alright, some people love chasing them and even eating them! Maybe I’m just jealous because I’ve never managed to catch one.

Image: Toshihito Kobayashi

 

Top tip: The best fishing is often on quiet moonlit nights in deep holes.

Favourite bait/lure: A whole pilchard (I’m told).

 

10. Silver trevally

Silver trevally are awesome little fighters that will eat a variety of baits and lures. On the Australian mainland you’ll be lucky to catch them over a couple of kilos. Over in Lord Howe Island though, they grow in excess of 10kg!

 

 

Top tip: Silver trevally have very soft mouths. Use a light gauge hook and keep your pump and winds smooth, to avoid pulling the hooks.

Favourite bait/lure: Prawns or pilchards.

 

BONUS 11. Brown and rainbow trout

You might think winter is off limits for trout fishing, as the season only opens in September for Victoria and October for New South Wales. However, you are still allowed to fish for them in dams, and they can be quite aggressive in the colder months.

 

 

Top tip: Trout, by nature, are very shy. Channel your inner ninja to get the bite.

Favourite bait/lure: Squidgy Wriggler

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email jack@jackmurphyfishing.com.au or leave a comment below.

 

Until next time,

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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TASMANIAN TUNA ADVENTURE [VIDEO]

Earlier this year, I blogged about an amazing face-off with two huge southern bluefin tuna off the wild coast of Eaglehawk Neck. You can read it here: Double Barrels. This week though, you’re in for a special treat. We’ve pulled together some of the video footage to produce a tight little edit of our Tasmanian tuna adventures.

 

 

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email jack@jackmurphyfishing.com.au or leave a comment below.

 

Until next time,

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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SUSHI TRAIN ROLLS INTO SYDNEY

Last week saw a hot yellowfin tuna bite off Sydney. Social media went in to meltdown. Reports of ‘fin clogged Facebook news feeds and #tuna trended across Instagram. So with a cracking weather forecast predicted, Travis Godfredson and I shut the laptops and headed wide for a slice of the action, or more appropriately, a slice of sashimi. Here’s the real hook to this yarn. We decided to do it in a 4.6m tinnie…

 

When you’re heading off shore in a small boat there’s always a nagging doubt. The boat in question was a Morningstar 460 Angler. Would she keep us dry and safe? How much fuel would she burn? Did Trav bring enough beer and chicken? However, as we hit the first patch of swell, the boat landed smoothly, and the doubts washed away. “This thing really does ride like a glass boat”, we furiously agreed. After an hour and half of motoring we arrived at Browns Mountain, the scene of our saltwater stanza.

 

With temperature breaks galore at Browns we slipped the lures into the sapphire blue water. Shortly after, a rod went off with an albacore tuna, then another and another – it was going to be a good day.

 

Now that’s a temperature break. Browns Mountain please, Jeeves.

Image: ww.seasurface.com

 

Christening the 460 Angler.

 

Albacore inbound.

 

They call them the chicken of the sea, but those pectoral fins could almost put an eagle to shame!

 

 

We trolled until lunchtime, our attention turning to cold chicken and fresh bread rolls with cherry tomatoes that sweetly exploded in my mouth. The sea flattened off, so I found a cosy nook up the bow of the Morningstar for a midday siesta - belly full. As I was dreaming of yellowfin hookups, off went the Omoto 30 wide - singing a sweet note that hinted at a big, powerful fish. Trav grabbed the rod while I wiped my eyes and switched to deckie mode. The rod bent like the Sydney Harbour bridge span, and the fish took line at will. Trav played it out perfectly; delicate yet assertively - just like training a cat. Except he hates cats. Fortunately he loves yellowfin.

 

 

It’s always the little rod that catches the biggest fish.

 

 

After 30 minutes the fish tired and we got our first look at it. A beautiful yellowfin tuna with electric yellow sickles and finlets circled the boat. After a quick squabble, the fish was landed and brought aboard - cheers and high-fives echoed for miles downwind.

 

 

Finlets in the sun.

 

Flat seas, sunny day’s and 50kg yellowfin – gotta love winter!

 

Adam from Modern Fishing and Aaron also got into the fin.

 

60kg of yellowfin, at least.

 

Trav also had to be deployed onto this custom Bertram centre console for some shark wrangling!

 

 

SUBLIME RIDE

Trav reflects on a sublime ride to the continental shelf

By Travis Godfredson

 

There's a rumour doing the rounds. It's about an aluminium hull that has the big boys looking over their shoulder. They say it rides like a glass boat, looks like a glass boat, but can take punishment like a tinnie. "Interesting", thought Jack who likes punishing things. It doesn't have a name like Outlaw, Bandit or Renegade, which suggests you're about to battle 1000 wart-faced Orcs with a wooden crossbow. It's called Morningstar and it's built in Taiwan. But don't let the name or origin mislead you. This thing is a highly stealthy weapon.

 

Jack and I had heard the rumours. So we marched down to the local dealer and demanded a test run. Where would you take a 4.6m centre console tinnie powered with a 60HP outboard? To the continental shelf, naturally. So we packed the 30 and 50 wides, some waterproof gear, a whole cooked chicken, some deep diving lures, gaffs, and some more waterproof gear. And a mask and snorkel to stay dry - above the waterline. That's the done thing when you go the shelf in a little console tinnie, isn't it?

 

"Where would you take a 4.6m centre console tinnie powered with a 60HP outboard? To the continental shelf, naturally."

 

There were surprised looking faces at the shelf, peering over their wave-breakers. “What’s a tinnie doing out here?” They weren't as surprised as Jack, who declared all the rumours true. The ride was special. Every bit the performance of a glass boat - a good glass boat. Soft as a duck feather pillow, clang-free and dry. I wore Ugg boots all day and they didn’t soak in a drop of salt-water. No mask and snorkel required…

 

Organised chaos aboard the Morningstar.

 

The math was impressive. We used 15 litres of fuel to get the shelf and a total of about 60 litres for the entire 13 hour day. The hull leaves the water clean and green. It wants to plane at 9 knots - that’s a seriously efficient hull. Below the waterline is where the magic happens. There’s no exposed keel (typically an H-section of alloy) creating drag. It’s sharp at the pointy end, with impressive features on the sides. The hull gets lift from reverse chines, planning strakes and a variable dead-rise that fits the description of a glass boat. If you didn’t know better, you’d think it was a Haines Hunter 445 hull (which we happen to own). It’s impressive innovation that might change a few opinions among the brand loyalists and blind fatalists.

 

Yeeha!

 
 
 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email jack@jackmurphyfishing.com.au or leave a comment below.

 

Until next time,

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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WINTER WONDERLAND

Winter fishing is a strange beast. Your hands are so cold they can hardly string a knot together, a rogue splash of icy water feels like acid as it burns through your 14 layers of clothing and half the time the fish are so dozy they won’t even touch a lure. It doesn’t stop us though, our addiction is too strong. So with the masses flocking wide to the continental shelf in the search of southern bluefin tuna, Justin Duggan, Millie “Vanilli” Middis and I decided to hit an abandoned Pittwater. Abandoned of fisherman, not fish.

 

It started at Bayview boat ramp. We launched Justin’s Edgewater 188CC and within 15 minutes we were cruising down the guts of Pittwater looking for the subtle splashes of schooling kingfish. It didn’t take long. Trying to get them to eat a lure though, that was another story.

 

 

Millie’s knees suffered from frostbite shortly after this photo was taken.

 

Spinning my little heart out.

 

We worked the school for a solid hour with every lure ever made; Sluggos, Slapsticks, stick baits and poppers danced temptingly within millimetres of the fish for no avail. Eventually Justin broke out the fly rod and floated in the perfect cast. Strip, strip, bang! Finally.

 

Bring in the big guns.

 

Justin looks pretty cool on a fly rod – shame about those blue and red shoes though…

 

“Now, tell us what we have to do to catch your mates and no one gets hurt.”

 

The interrogation worked. Micro jigs their vice.

 

And flies. They definitely loved the flies…

 

 

After a frustrating morning on the kings we moved our attention to the Hawkesbury River – mulloway the target. With little to show for our efforts after an hour, we switched to small soft plastics on the tide change and found ourselves in the midst of estuary perch feeding frenzy!

 

  

I finally got in on the action!

 

Justin quickly followed it up with another.

 

Awesome little fish.

 

Back to its hidey hole.

 

Millie snagged fish of the day.

 

Now that’s a perch…

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email jack@jackmurphyfishing.com.au or leave a comment below.

 

Until next time,

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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THE NEW BOAT

If there are fish on the chew, there’s usually a Haines Hunter 445F prowling nearby. These classic consoles might look like a bathtub, but their reputation as a giant killer is legendary. They’re as stable as an old gum tree, ride the waves like a Malibu surfboard, turn on a dime and are notorious fish catchers – or maybe that’s just their owners…

 

So we bought one. Moby Dick Content, my content agency, has just acquired one of these beauties. Introducing, Moby Duck. Although she’s 33 years old, there’s no doubt she still outperforms plenty of new hulls that I’ve been in. The plan? Fix her up, kit her out with some cool gear and use her as a camera boat. Oh, we’ll probably go fishing too, but you knew that.  We’ll transform this tired hull into its former glory and put our unique stamp on her. Stay tuned to watch us build up the coolest 445F in Australia.

 

Check out our new rig in action!

 

 

Trav seals the deal.

 

Time to test her out! 

 

Putting our new baby through its paces.

 

Testing out the 445F's fishability... 

 

  

...Yep, it still catches fish.

 

.
I think I'm in love!

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email jack@jackmurphyfishing.com.au or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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40CM BREAM MISSION

The first task on my ‘40cm Bream Mission’ was to pick the perfect destination. I hunted out a little coastal town in East Gippsland; a place whispered in fishing folklore. The old local fishermen hinted at purple-lipped bream and metre-long dusky flathead. The area is noted for tannin-stained water running down from the Great Dividing Range, finding its way to the Tasman Sea. But first, I had to collect the camping gear and pick up breamin' buddy Stephen. Then, a quick detour to Inverloch to pump a handful of nippers and a visit to the bottle shop for half-a-dozen ciders, of course. Oh, wait, what about the boat?

 

The second task was to pick a boat. I reckon the perfect estuary weapon had to tick these boxes…

It had to be as stable as a mini aircraft carrier

It had to offer more tackle storage than a Motackle warehouse

It had to have less draft than a Carlton long-neck standing upright

It had to handle like Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes

Finally, it had to look cooler than the Black Pearl!

 

We chose the Robalo 206 Cayman . There are no 'Mr Versatile' or ‘genuine all-rounder' claims with this boat. The Cayman screams out ‘big-bream-buster’. The truth is, you could replace ‘bream’ with ‘kingfish’, but then my tale wouldn’t flow as well…

 

 Anyway, we’ve documented the whole trip in a cool video. Check it out.

 

 

 

FROM THE PHOTO ALBUM

Mission accomplished: 40cm bream in the boat.

 

Stealthy assault: we snuck up to them with only 25cm of draft.

 

Mini aircraft carrier: this boat is a platform for launching laser-guided lures and heat-seeking Halco's.

 

Storage sensation: 10% of our gear is stored on the deck. 90% below. Maybe. Maths was never a strong point.

 

Armour plating: the Cayman sitting pretty on its kevlar-reinforced hull.

 

Handling like Hamilton’s Mercedes: extended v-plane offers sure-footed performance.

 

Room to move: double trouble on the Cayman's casting platform.

 

 

To see more Robalo Boats in action, head to their Facebook page here: Robalo Boats Australia

For more information on Robalo Boats click here: Aussie Boat Sales

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email jack@jackmurphyfishing.com.au or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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FISH PREDICT THE WINNER OF STATE OF ORIGIN

For all you footy fans out there, today you’re in for a treat. Recently, I armed myself with two special edition Rapala X-Rap State of Origin diving lures, one in NSW Blues colours and the other in Qld Maroons colours. The plan was to troll them side-by-side and let the fish predict the winner of the 2015 State of Origin. The lure that successfully hooked and landed the most fish, would take the title.

 

Who would have it, NSW or Qld?

 

When I first decided to commence this experiment, I had to take two very important variables into consideration. What species wouldn’t be biased towards a particular state/team and was also easy to catch in great numbers, as to get a larger sample size. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that the Aussie salmon would be the ideal target. A cinch to catch and with a name that takes the whole country into consideration, the unbiased Australian salmon was hopefully going to predict the winner of the 2015 State of Origin…

 

Is this fish capable of predicting the 2015 State of Origin? Maybe.

 

We launched the boat with only two rods and two lures. Kirk Branch and Andrew Bibby also volunteered to be apart of the fishy experiment; manning the rods and reeling in the salmon. Andrew, an Australian salmon virgin was very excited by the prospect. Kirk, a fish snob, wasn’t as enthusiastic.

 

  
Kirk wanted to catch marlin (left). Andrew was loving life (right). 

 

After a few hours on the water the scores couldn’t be split – it was four all. With five minutes still on the clock, one team had to make a serious push to get over the line before the buzzer. All of a sudden, the Qld Rapala got hit, sending Kirk and Andrew into a frenzy – had we found our winner? The lures went back out and, bang! NSW had tied up the scores. After releasing the fish, we reset the spread and trolled in the direction of home. Almost instantly, NSW got hit again, right in the last few seconds of play. The Hail Mary fish was landed and the crowd (a couple of nearby seagulls) went wild.

 

Andrew and Kirk think they've found the winning fish...
 

Qld with the late tiebreaker.

 

  

Released to predict State of Origin another day.

 

The Hail Mary fish.

 

NSW for the win!

 

The final score was, drumroll please… NSW with seven salmon and Qld with five salmon - the fish have spoken! NSW will (unofficially) beat Qld in this year’s State of Origin!

 

Predicting the winner of State of Origin with salmon. Has this blog lost it? Comment below.

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email jack@jackmurphyfishing.com.au or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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DOUBLE BARRELS

As the plane flew low over Hobart I glanced out the window at the shimmering water beyond that southern city and wondered, is there such thing as game-fishing heaven? In the fantasy world inside my head, huge birds work the surface all day long and the sea showers schools of baitfish in blue, green and silver. The surrounding landscape is ancient and jagged, and the boats are lovingly handcrafted by silver-haired men with piercing blue eyes and hands of leather. The crew is battle-hardened, dry of wit and rich in spirit. The fish are as big as barrels and when hooked in the jaw, charge to dark blue depths to which no man has ever been. Could such a place exist? Suddenly, I awoke from my daydream as a rainbow emerged from the clouds and kissed the Tasmanian mainland. Maybe, just maybe.

 

Searching for a barrel of gold.

 

Nestled in the southeastern corner of the Apple Isle lies a remote stretch of coast guarded by an army of vertical cliffs standing proud in the face of the Tasman Sea. And those stoic rocks are showing their age, with limestone cracks animating the cliffs like the lines on an old man’s face. The tallest of their kind in Australia, those ancient sea cliffs decorate the brochures that sit quietly in magazine racks at the quaint hotels and cafes dotted along the winding road in.

 

Sheer cliffs guard the coastline from the Tasman Sea.

 

That road meanders between bays fringed by huon pine trees and bookended by rocky headlands. Timber boats gently rise and fall in the swell at anchor, their gunnels scarred and their ironwork rusted. Their paint is chipped away, telling tales of a long, hard life at sea. This is the doorway to our game-fishing wonderland.

 

I would've thought the doorway to our game-fishing wonderland would look more glamorous...

 

The rugged commercial fleet sits nose to the wind in the quiet anchorage.
 

Bluefin grow to 170kg, but it’s not size they're renowned for, rather a reputation as a world-class table fish, with sashimi the dish of choice. The biggest tuna I’d ever seen in the flesh was about 30kg, but I’d seen photos of 100kg-plus fish – something my imagination couldn’t reconcile. We’d heard fish that size had recently been caught in the area, but it appeared the weather gods cared not for our optimism. Five-metre seas, 35-knot winds and snow above 300m greeted us. Not exactly the stuff of idyllic days on the high seas.

 

But nonetheless our steeds awaited us at the ramp; two spectacular White Pointer boats – shrouded in armour of silver and grey – lances at the ready. One was a 730 Sports Hardtop named Cray Nomad, while its older brother, a big, beautiful 800 Sports Cruiser, was affectionately dubbed Lie-ability. Aboard the 730, a gentle and wise old salt called Barry murmured softly through cold, thin lips. “Big tuna love this sordid weather”, he assured us. Our spirits were filled.

 

Our trusty steeds, the White Pointer 730 and 800.

 

As we motored out of our limestone fortress, a stormy orange sunrise filled our squinting eyes. The ocean was alive with large, yellow-toothed seals and spraying baitfish. Massive sea birds worked the surface, vertically dive-bombing their quarry. This was the fishiest water I had ever seen. After 20 minutes of trolling we had a quadruple hookup on 15kg southern bluefin tuna. Seals caught and mauled our fish, reminding us this fishing paradise had other revelers.

 

Burnt orange skies silhouette the avian squadron .

 

Bruce anticipates a bluefin strike.

 

Barry, the 'barrel buster’.

 

After losing two more fish to lustful seals, Barry suggested we push south. “We’ll catch a big one near The Rock”, he offered, with gentile confidence. And sure enough, it wasn’t long before the skirted lure on the short corner screamed off. The TLD 50 offered little resistance to the blue-water beast. Seals agitated on the surface. If we got the big fish to the boat, they would be our next foe. After a 45-minute battle that brought a man to his knees, a goliath eventually came to the surface. Seals pounced. The big White Pointer heaved too, giving the crew a chance to fight the seals with fist and fury. The flipper gang were subdued and four men hauled a behemoth bluefin over the gunwale. Grown men embraced. Stories would be told for years to come. Reputations of boat and men were forged.

 

'The Rock', scene of many bluefin hookups. 

 

The epic battle ensues.

 

The seals, our other foe
 

"Reputations of boat and men were forged."

 

On the second day we mounted the 800 Sports Cruiser; a true stallion of the sea, finished in charcoal metallic paint. The boat was perfection; like a beautiful woman, everywhere we looked we saw gorgeous curves and handles.

 

The 800 Sports Cruiser in full battle dress.

 

We only trolled for 20 minutes before the first hook up. Our driver, David, kept the White Pointer in gear. Another reel screamed off, then another. Three rods were buckled over, blue-fin charging for freedom en masse. We manned the rods as the White Pointer slipped into low gear, bow to the sea.

 

The birds gave away the fishes whereabouts. 

 

After 15 minutes, I was the only one with a fish still connected. One had pulled the hooks; the other was ‘sealed’. I battled on for another 45 minutes, dropping to my knees in submission several times. The fish neared the boat, a big southern bluefin. A single seal then appeared, quickly diving down to inspect my trophy. The tuna ran hard with his (and our) adversary in hot pursuit. Although no one saw the deep-water battle between tuna and beast, the imagination paints pictures of a mythical kraken versus sperm whale tussle.

 

Settling into my groove for the long haul.

 

In an attempt to salvage my prize, I cranked the last 100m of line back onto the tired TLD 50. The last few slithers of adrenaline fueled my shaking arms and throbbing lower back. When the barrel bobbed up boat side the seal attacked again, ambitiously snapping at its tail and belly with almost canine barks between breaths. The crew jumped to action like a SWAT team, grabbing the leader and sinking the gaffs before hauling the oversized tuna onboard. I collapsed, exhausted and ecstatic.

 

The bluefin comes broadside.

 

  

Fists of fury (left). Blue gold (right).

 

Storytelling by Travis Godfredson and Jack Murphy from Moby Dick Content. Look for the full tale in the 2015 Melbourne Boat Show Yearbook. You can also follow the social feeds on White Pointer Boats Facebook, located here: www.facebook.com/WhitePointerBoats

 

Agony and ecstasy all at once.

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email jack@jackmurphyfishing.com.au or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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PICKING YOUR NEXT CAMERA

One of the most common questions I get asked is, “Wow, how did you grow such a lovely beard?” But the second most commonly asked question I get is, “What camera should I buy?” So to save myself jabbering on to deaf ears about apertures and shutter speeds, I thought I’d put together this here camera guide for you to mull over. From the point-and-shoot, set it and forget it camera user, all the way to the DSLR Jedi Master there’s something here for everyone.

 

The EOS 5D Mark III tucked into the Aquatech housing.

 

PowerShot G16 – THE SET IT AND FORGET IT

The little camera with lots of big features, the Canon PowerShot G16 is the perfect addition to any boaties kit. It’s light, versatile, awesome in low light with the f/1.8 – 2.8 28mm lens and crazy fast, snapping 12.2 frames per second – that’s quicker than a Thompson machine gun!  Just like a machine gun, you can also accessorise it too. There’s waterproof cases rated to 40m and a Speedlite flash kit to boot.

 

Perfect for: the photographer who wants an easy to use camera with great bang for your buck.

Goes well with: WP-DC52 Waterproof Case

 

  

 

 

EOS 1200D - THE HAPPY SNAPPER

Designed for DSLR virgins, the Canon EOS 1200D is intuitive, yet powerful and a great stepping-stone for budding photographers. It has 18 megapixels, an inbuilt pop-up flash, full HD video features and the capability to hit 6400 ISO, which means it still shoots in low light.

 

Perfect for: the photographer who wants to take amazing images and learn how to properly use a DSLR.

Goes well with: EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 III Lens

 

 

 

EOS 1200D in action.

 

EOS M3 – THE RUNNER AND GUNNER

With full manual controls, the mirrorless Canon M3 is a point and shoot on steroids. Interchangeable lenses, high-speed auto focus, 24.2 megapixels and HD video capabilities mean this little machine has DSLR performance whilst still being able to fit in your cars glove box.

 

Perfect for: the photographer who wants a little more creative control in their camera, but doesn’t want to lug around a bulky DSLR.

Goes well with: EF-M 18-55mm Lens

 
 

 

EOS 7D Mark II – THE SPEED MACHINE

If you like to photograph marlin jumping out of the water, birds swooping down on baitfish or maybe just your kids soccer game, then the EOS 7D Mark II is your baby. This new release from Canon has a 65-point all cross-type auto focus system – meaning, it focuses damn fast. It also shoots quick too, with the ability to capture 31 RAW frames at ten frames per second. 

 

Perfect for: the photographer who’s always snapping fast moving subjects.

Goes well with: EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM

 

 

 

Speedy and sexy. The camera looks good too.

 

EOS 5D Mark III – THE PRO

Nearing the top of the range, you’ve got the Canon EOS 5D Mark III. This camera is the standard issue for any Canon shooting pro photographer, have a peek in their camera bag and I bet you’ll find one of these bad boys tucked away. The 5D is also my personal favourite body as it has a big 22.3 megapixel full frame sensor (for crisp images), 61-point high-density reticular AF (for pin sharp focus) and weather and dust resistances (for shooting on boats and in the bush).

 

Perfect for: the photographer who wants to take their images and skills to the next level.

Goes well with: EF 11-24 f/4 USM

 

 

 

 

Full frame goodness.

 

EOS 1DX – THE JEDI MASTER

For the Jedi Master of photography that demands the best of the best, the Canon 1DX is top of the ladder when it comes to cameras. Worth more than most second-hand hatchbacks this behemoth of a camera is for serious pros only. A crazy 14 frames per second in super high-speed mode means you’ll be able to take 112 photos before your girlfriend has finished yawning.

 

Perfect for: the photographer who can recite their f-stops faster than they can reel off the alphabet.

Goes well with: EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

 

 

 

Yep, you got me, it's not a 1DX - just a 7D with a battery grip!

 

So why Canon? Having used just about every make of camera, I personally think Canon does it the best. They’re intuitive, packed with great technology and have seen me through hundreds and hundreds of photo-shoots. They’ve been with me 30 feet under sea level in an underwater housing and even 300 feet above it, strapped to me in an R44 helicopter.

More info: canon.com.au

 

Selfie time in an R44 chopper.

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email jack@jackmurphyfishing.com.au or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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PIRATES OF PITTWATER

After a long working week of constant subjection to bait ball photo, after bait ball photo flooding my Facebook news feed, I finally cracked it. While Justin Duggan of Sydney Fly Fishing Tours was snoring away on his weekend sleep in, I pinched his mint Edgewater 188CC and ducked out onto Pittwater to get my slice of the action.

 

Launching well before sunrise at Bayview boat ramp, a dark storm cloud that looked like an over inflated balloon rolled over Pittwater. Fishing buddy, Danny and I anxiously tried our hands at a few favourite squid haunts as the first couple of raindrops trickled down our foreheads. Squid-less and a little soggy, we cut our losses after 45 minutes. When the sun finally cracked the horizon, the cloud cover burnt up and fish came on the chew.

 

Searching for squid...

 

Glassy Pittwater in perfect form.

 

A couple of chunky tailor to open the account.

 

Ironically, after struggling to find live bait in the early hours of the morning, when we found the birds, the bait found us, literally. We had balls of anchovies schooling all around the Edgewater in attempt to evade the predators. So many in fact, that we were scooping them out of the water in a net!

 

With predators looming close by, the anchovies made a B-line for the transom of the Edgewater.

 

A quick scoop of the net resulted in anchovies everywhere.

 

  

Anchovy pizza anyone?

 

The anchovies' floating safe haven didn’t last long though. After a couple of minutes the kingies and tuna had found the swimming ball of protein under the boat and proceeded to decimate the terrified school. One by one they were picked off as the efficient hunters zipped from the depths and plowed through the centre of them with a bubble trail following closely behind  – it was like a David Attenborough doco unfolding right in front of our eyes.

 

Mac attack!

 

Where's Wally? Can you spot the sneaky tuna?

 

Like a Kelpie herding livestock.

 

I wouldn't want to be at the bottom of this stacks on.

 

After capturing some cool photos, Danny and I decided that we couldn’t let these ruthless tuna and kingfish have all the fun. As they were in such a frenzy, anything that moved in front of them got eaten. As a result, we rigged up our soft plastics, cast them next to the bait ball and held on for life and limb. All it took were a couple of twitches before we were bent over the gunwales with reels screaming.

 

Hooked up. Yeeha!

 

Let's just say Danny was loving the kingy action...

 

A cracking few hours on the water and a couple of fish for dinner, we thought it was probably time to drop back ol’ man Duggan’s Edgewater before he awoke from his beauty sleep. With the boat back in position and all the evidence removed, I’m calling this one a successful mission. Oh, except forgetting to clean out the esky, that was a dead giveaway…

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email jack@jackmurphyfishing.com.au or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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SPOT X

Everyone has a secret fishing spot. The fish never stop biting there. The sun always sets on glassy waters while tailor feverishly compete for the evening hatch. The beer esky is always full and cold, and sleep is only broken by the smell of fresh butcher-cut bacon. John 'Bear' Willis has a secret spot. Many in fact. And this one didn't disappoint.

 

It's on the far south coast of New South Wales, east of the old splintery saw mill and north of the limestone lighthouse. These locations are not real locations. They've been disguised to protect the real location of 'the secret spot'. It had everything I was hoping for (and yes, these are real things). Oyster-fringed rivers and lakes, native savannah bush-land cascading from the Great Dividing Range. Indiana Jones would not be out of place here. His mode of transport. Two Bar Crusher boats. Our quest. A boat test for Trade-a-Boat Magazine and to catch a 40cm bream.

 

A secret worth keeping.

 

The old Land Rover bounced down the corrugated dirt road. My nostrils filled with chalky dust rising from the old vinyl dash.  I quietly contemplated how many times Bear had made this journey. I thought about his rickety old trailers and weathered hulls and it all made sense. I arrived just before sunset. Just in time to catch the lads, slinking off into the sunset with a hand full of Coronas and rods. We caught a couple of flatties and found our home for the next two nights. 

 

If heaven had a jetty.

 

Danny developed a twitch as the sun went down.

 

Three beers later Peter Cleeland from Bar Crusher arrived. His steed was a 490C to compliment our 490WR. Double barrels of Barcrusher goodness.  

 

The 490C breaks cover.

 

Team Young Gun in full mount.

Image: John Willis

 

Bear has several good qualities. One is he can test a boat. The other is he can cook. We were lucky enough to get breaky in bed. An omlette fit for the king of Spain. We hit the glassy waters as a couple of pelicans prepared for take-off. We found a nice drop-off near the river mouth. Bear and Pete in the 490C snagged a nice flathead before team Young Guns in the 490WR could even thread a plastic onto a jig head. It pays to make the old fellas look good. They buy the beer.

 

Bear with the first legal fish of the trip.

 

Danny admires the clean lines and open spaces in the 490WR.

 

The fishing was a little slow. Somebody questioned the credentials of 'the secret spot'. Nobody told Bear. We called a halt to the plastic assault and started pumping nippers. Three blisters and 20 nippers later we again straddled our Barcrushers into battle. The tide filled the shallow lake and team Young Guns found a nice little patch of structure to deploy our livies on.

 

Some people took nipper pumping more seriously than others...

 

“Tap, tap, tap”, and the braid was tight before the nipper had even touched the bottom. The line peeled off as Danny and I grinned at each other in a way that straight men are only allowed to while fishing. The next 60 minutes was a flurry of fast paced hooking, fighting, netting, re-baiting and dainty man-elbowing. We caught tailor, blackfish, trevally, flathead and some King-Kong black bream – all in the one session. We had smiles from light-house to sawmill.

 

This old  bream couldn't resist crunching down on a nipper!
 
Beautiful colours. On the flatty and the Raymarine.
 
It doesn't matter if it's as big as a marlin or as small as a bream, when you work hard for a bite it’s always rich rewards. That’s what I love about fishing.
 

Secret spot ... I'll never tell.

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email jack@jackmurphyfishing.com.au or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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KILLERS OF EDEN

One of my favourite nautical stories of all time has to be The Killers of Eden. It’s an absolutely incredible tale of man and killer whale working together for a common goal. I recently visited the Eden Killer Whale Museum to learn more.

 

  

The Killer Whale Museum in Eden, NSW.

 

The Stabicraft's of the late 1800's, maybe?

 

The story goes that every winter for more than a century, killer whales would travel from the icy waters of Antarctica to Eden on the south coast of NSW. There they’d work together with the local whalers to hunt and kill the migrating baleen whales. Once the killer whales had found a victim, they’d round it up in Twofold Bay whilst others would head to shore and alert the whalers with tail slaps and body slams. The whalers would then rush out to sea in their dinghies in an attempt to harpoon the struggling baleen whale. Often in impatience, a killer called Old Tom would even grab the boats painter and attempt to tow them out to the action faster.

 

Whaling dinghy. The harpooner seemed a little stiff though... 
 

Once the whalers had killed the baleen whale they’d set it on anchor and leave it for the night – this was the law of the tongue. As payment for their help, the whalers would give the killers first dig at the carcass, of which they’d only eat the tongue. Old Tom and his gang became like family members to the whalers and when he eventually died his skeleton was cleaned and erected at the Eden Killer Whale Museum. On the left hand side of his mouth there’s distinct damage and wear to his teeth, apparently from towing the whaling dinghies to the baleen whales.

 

Old Tom.

 

A closer look at Old Tom's teeth.

 

A short doco about The Killers of Eden.

 

 

The Eden Killer Whale Museum isn’t just all about whales; there are heaps of other displays to keep fishos drooling for hours.

 

Mmm, schnapper.

 

Awsome old sonar units - I want one for my room!
 

Back away from the mine slowly...

 

  

There's even a lighthouse!

 

Flying sharks? I knew Sharknado was real!

 

For more information on The Eden Killer Whale Museum head to: www.killerwhalemuseum.com.au

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email fishfingers18@yahoo.com or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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FISHING LEGEND – BILL HEATON

All Sydney based anglers know the renowned Heaton’s Hill fishing spot, but very few actually know the man who modestly lends his name to it: Bill Heaton. Last year I was lucky enough to go fishing with Bill aboard Lockout, a Caribbean 40. When we got back to port I interviewed Bill about his past fishing accomplishments, that little known spot called Heaton’s Hill and his best tips for catching blue marlin – you’ve gotta watch this…  

 

Bill Heaton.

 

 

For those wanting to fish Heaton’s Hill, it’s definitely not for the faint-hearted. Located 47 nautical miles east of Sydney, the spot can be great for marlin and big bad tuna.

GPS mark: 34.02.000 S -152 06 000 E

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email fishfingers18@yahoo.com or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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6 WAYS TO LOSE A MARLIN

by Jack Murphy and Les Fox

 

I know a fisherman who hooked – and lost – nine marlin before he landed one. Such is the fighting prowess of this sought-after game fishing species that drives fishermen to despair.

 

When a marlin is pierced by a chemically-sharpened hook, they will fight like a wild brumby on ice, using a raspy sabre to slash fishing lines and smack boats and engines. Their broad sweeping tail fins feature super-car speed, stretching gear and nerves with powerful runs and 'tail walks' (see photo below). They will use your boat like a Swiss army knife, swimming under, around and over your boat to cut their way to freedom.

 

“They will use your boat like a Swiss army knife”.

 

Catching a marlin can become an obsession; costing thousands of dollars in gear, charters and fuel. Plus, countless hours at sea (or en route to sea) and the time spent surfing web sites for the optimum destination, weather conditions and sea surface temperature (yes there's websites for that, too). All this for a chance to glimpse those iridescent pectoral fins and big beautiful eyes? Yep.

 

To help you hook and land your first marlin, we've assembled the top six marlin fishing fails for you to avoid.

 

FAIL 1. SHARPEN UP An old fishing pro once told me, “we haven’t come this far to fish with blunt hooks”. It seems basic, but there’s no doubt it’s the number one fail when it comes to gamefishing. So get yourself a sharpening stone and sharpen up. When the point of the hook can comfortably scratch the top of your fingernail, you’re there.

 

Hooks blunt? Big fail.

 

FAIL 2: BIGGER NOT BETTER Boys, time to park the ego because using oversized lures doesn’t always work. When fishing for smaller black marlin in the southern climates go small. Throw a few ‘Tim-Tam sized lures’ into the spread next time. You can always catch big game fish on small lures, but the opposite is rarely true.  

 

Oh, Tim-Tam "sized" - I've made a huge mistake...

 

FAIL 3. DON’T BE THICK I’ve spent some time with the media pros (like Al McGlashan) and was amazed at how light they fish. Their rationale is simple. Lighter leader = more hook-ups and more photo opportunities. Heavy leaders will impede the action of your ‘livie’ or lure – and is more likely to be spotted by a predator. So fish light and get the bite!

 

You'll get more bites on light leader - just go easy on the drag!

 

FAIL 4. SNAP, CRACKLE & POP I admit it. I’ve snapped a rod or two. Thankfully not when hooked up to a marlin. But plenty of people have. To avoid it, buy good gear and know your breaking strains by setting your drag with scales – and regularly test your knots by tying off on a cleat and testing. Also, don’t bend your back when the fish is bending theirs. Wait till the momentum is in your favour before pumping hard and winding. This one is a practised art.

 

Fishing fail bonanza!

 

FAIL 5. TURNED & BURNED A favourite marlin trick is to change direction and put the boat between you and it. To avoid getting your line cut off on the keel or engine leg drive your trailer boat to one side of the fish and keep it there, in a gameboat keep the fish off the stern. If your marlin does dive under the boat, point your rod tip into the water and lean in as far as you can. If the line fouls on the motor, drop your drag pressure and send in Les Fox (that’s a story for another day).

 

Gameboats are usually more maneuverable in reverse than trailer boats - fight them straight back.

 

FAIL 6. YOU SNOOZE – YOU LOSE Don’t be a snoozer. Keep the line tight at all times! If the fish runs or jumps towards you tell the skipper to drive off it and reel like crazy. Oh, and don’t sleep in and miss the boat, either.

 

Better start winding if your beakie starts jumping towards the boat at full speed.

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email fishfingers18@yahoo.com or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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TWIN BEAKS

It’s the failures in fishing that make the triumphs even better. When it comes to gamefishing, I’ve certainly had my fair share of failures - long fishless days in horrible conditions usually have me come home thinking: I wish I’d just gone bream fishing instead. However, what unfolded yesterday pushed all those failures into a distant memory and made success so, so much sweeter – but I’ll start from the beginning…

 

With my Jack’s Lap Stabicraft in Sydney over Christmas I was keen to see how the little red rocket performed on my home turf. Without outriggers, gamefishing was going to be tricky, but the predicted conditions just looked too damn good to stay inshore. So a quick phone around and I had some awesome intel about where the fish were. I flicked a text to good mate and gamefishing tragic, Les Fox and told him we were chasing marlin. Although most of those before mentioned gamefishing “failures” have been with Les, he still excitably agreed and a day later we were cruising east out of Broken Bay in the Stabi.

 

Eyes on the horizon.

 

As the sun exploded from above the morning cloud cover, the streaky golden rays below sprinkled the horizon. The ocean was flat and the wind non existent – today was definitely the day. Our first stop for the morning was the Broken Bay FAD (fish aggregating device), we set a spread of three Pakula skirted lures and trolled until a little mahi mahi woke us up with a quick squeal of the ratchet. We reset the lures and followed our noses to the next spot.

 

First fish of the day - what a beauty.

 

A few hours down the track and we were seriously struggling to keep the lures in the water without a pack attack of mahi mahi annihilating our spread. So the decision was made to have a break from trolling and pull up on some good jigging grounds we’d found earlier in the day. After catching one kingy, we noticed the whole school had followed him back to the boat and were seriously aggressive. So aggressive in fact, that we couldn’t resist stripping down to our trusty Bonds undies and jumping in to photograph the school. Kinda’ surreal watching these amazing fish chase around our Sebile Stick Shads right in front of our noses.

 

We broke up the day with a spot of jigging...
 

...And found some seriously big schools of kings.

 

Throwing around some surface lures in 100 metres of water.

 

The kingies loved the Sebile Stick Shad!

 

Hooked up!

 

After catching and releasing more kingys than we could handle, we threw the lures back out and kept trolling. Les decided he wanted to add a fourth lure to our spread and picked out a tiny little Pakula Fluzi (a lure which looked more suitable for a big trout or an Aussie salmon than a marlin). He clipped it onto a spinning outfit and set it a couple of hundred metres back behind the spread. To punish him for putting out such a silly looking lure, I decided to drive past all the fish traps I could find, which in turn would result in a little mahi mahi grabbing his tiny lure every time. After reeling in more mahi mahi than one man can bear, he cursed me as I drove past another trap. On cue, the rod buckled, but this time it took a lot more line than usual and Les struggled to actually get it out of the rod holder. A black marlin of around 60kg then appeared 400 metres behind the boat shaking it’s head in anger with that tiny little Fluzi hanging out of its mouth – well I’ll be damned!

 

Small lures catch big fish. Apparently

 

Les' fish goes deep.

 

Then comes back up again.

 

Stoked.

 

Only on light line and tail wrapped for half the fight, Les fought the stubborn black for about 45 minutes until we grabbed the leader and set him free. After the obligatory high fives and a quick team debrief, Les got us back on the troll while I set the lines. First things first, I put the little Fluzi straight back out to the shotgun position. Next, I fed out a Pakula Phantom on the long corner, and a few seconds after I clicked the 30W reel into gear another 60kg black marlin came flying out of the water with the Phantom skirt helicoptering into the air! The amount of celebratory screaming and terrified laughter that came next is something that I think people fishing a few miles away could’ve heard (thank God I had my pants back on). Come to think about it, I must’ve been feeding that lure straight back into the fishes mouth! By far the most actively aerial marlin I’ve ever seen, this fish would’ve jumped over 30 times before he finally came to the boat – without a doubt, it was the best fight I’ve ever had. Actually, the best bloody day I’ve ever had – exhilarating!

 

Fish number two on the Pakula Phantom.

 

Now there's a shot for the pool room - thanks for manning the camera Les.

 

One seriously pretty fish.

 

My marlin spent more time out of the water than in it.

 

Underwater view.

 

One happy chappy.

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email fishfingers18@yahoo.com or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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LIVE BAIT GUIDE

We all know the old fishing saying ‘fresh is the best and live is better’. But in today’s go-go society how much easier is it to just go buy a pack of frozen bait from the tackle shop/servo. Or maybe you’re a lure fisherman and don’t even touch bait? Either way, if this sounds like you then listen up. I reckon if you want to consistently catch big fish, then live bait is the way to go. Now I’m not saying you won’t catch big fish on the before mentioned methods – I’ll often daggle a soft plastic, fly or frozen pillie in my local waterway. But using live bait correctly will have you catching better fish, more often. In this week’s blog I go through my top five favourite live baits for fishing in NSW.

 

"If you want to consistently catch big fish, then live bait is the way to go."

 

 

1. YELLOWTAIL AND SLIMY MACKEREL

Not many large predatory fish can say no to a wiggling yellowtail or a squirming slimy mackerel. From marlin and tuna to kingfish and even flathead, these live baits are easy to catch and deadly on the hook. When fishing inshore, a burley stream is often required to get the yellowtail and slimy mackerel under the boat. If you’re fishing offshore, use your sounder to locate bait balls, then drop a Sabiki rig (a long set of several hooks with flashers) through the middle of them.

 

Find them: in big schools around wrecks, reefs and man-made structure.

 

A slimy mackerel rigged up and ready for action.

 

2. SALTWATER NIPPERS

Casting out a lightly weighted saltwater nipper on fluorocarbon leader is as close to a guaranteed fish as it gets. Perfect for bream, flatties and whiting, these prehistoric looking crustaceans are the delectable delights of the estuary. Hit the flats at low tide and look for small holes in the sand, then using a yabby pump work the areas near the waterline.

 

Find them: clawing under the surface on tidal sand flats.

 

A good little haul of nippers for a bream session.

 

3. SQUID AND CUTTLEFISH

If you can resist the urge to dice them into calamari rings then squid and sometimes cuttlefish, can make the ultimate live bait. Known Australia wide as kingfish candy, the humble cephalopod can often be tricky to catch - but the fish just can’t get enough of them. Ideal squidding conditions consist of a nice high tide and some clear water.

 

Find them: inking their way around weed beds with sand patches throughout.

 

Kingfish candy!

 

4. LONG-FINNED PIKE

Smelly, scaly and scary looking, I certainly wouldn’t want to eat a long-finned pike – but most bigguns with gills usually do. Pike can be found in small schools and can be caught with anything from small soft plastics to hardbodies and even flies too. 

 

Find them: terrorising whitebait on shallow weed beds.

 

This pike got smashed by a cuttlefish before the kingfish even had a chance!

 

5. BEACH WORMS

They take a lot of practice to catch, but once you’ve mastered it you will get more bites. Yep, last but not least are beach worms. The perfect bait for (you guessed it) beach fishing, these slippery suckers will catch almost anything that peruses the surf zone of our coastal beaches. Use old stocking filled with burley to attract them to the surface of the sand at low tide.

 

Find them: poking their heads out of the sand on coastal surf beaches. 

 

A bit of burley around the surf will have beach worms poking up their heads for a look.

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email fishfingers18@yahoo.com or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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JACK’S LAP UPDATE 4

FISHING WITH THE BEAR

 

As most probably already know, a couple of week’s ago Trade-a-Boat Magazine held their annual Australia’s Greatest Boats competition in Victoria. I was one of the five judges who had the fun job of putting 10 awesome fibreglass and aluminum boats through the wringer. As an added bonus though, the dates also “coincidently” coincided with the Port Phillip Bay snapper run! I was definitely going fishing…  

 

Behind the scenes of Australia’s Greatest Boats.

 

With the Jack’s Lap Stabicraft already down in Victoria for camera boat duties. It didn’t take much to talk local Port Phillip Bay fishing veteran, John ‘Bear’ Willis into heading out for an afternoon snapper session. With the Bear looking after my boat at his place, we decided to meet down at the ramp at 2pm to catch the afternoon bite. By the time I got to the ramp though, the Bear was already out fishing – in my boat! He’d caught a whole bunch of snapper and wasn’t budging to come pick me up (a real piece of work, I know). Luckily, I hitched a ride with the boys on the Trade-a-Boat N19 and before I could rig up a rod we’d found the Bear bobbing solo in the bright red Stabicraft. I jumped ship and was immediately regaled with stories about how good the fishing was 10 minutes before I’d arrived – typical!

 

The Bear showing off the haul that he’d caught minutes before I arrived.

 

Still convinced the fish would come back, I rigged up all my light rods and started floating baits down the burley trail. Before I could even get my last rod in the water, Bear had hooked up and pulled in another beauty of a snapper – the bite was on.

 

Back on the bite.

 

The Bear with a stonking snapper.

 

After a few missed hookups, I finally came up tight on a good snapper. Fishing super light on a Penn Regiment rod and Conflict reel, it took me just under 10 minutes to land the 5kg fish in shallow water. John also landed a fish, but eh, we won’t talk about that.

 

Super stoked.

 

I think I win this round…

 

The boy’s in the N19 also into the action with a triple hookup.

 

An hour or so in and the storm clouds were seriously building in the northwest. There was an icy chill in the air that suggested something bad was going to happen real soon. The Bear, content with his catch, suggested we head on in. However, I still had snapper fever and wanted to hook a couple more before throwing in the towel.

 

The bite slowed as the bad weather rolled in.

 

With the heavens about to open at any minute and my stubbornness to stay out for one more fish still strong. The Bear decided to pull out a classic old trick that almost guarantees a bite in any circumstance: eating lunch. Unbeknownst to me, he’d snuck a thermos of boiling hot water onto the boat with two pots of two-minute noodles. Usually the hotter the meal, the better the bite and these noodles were damn hot. As if scripted, I went to take my first bite and as I did, the rod buckled! Between fighting the fish, eating the noodles and pissing myself laughing, Bear was packing up the boat for our speedy departure home. I certainly won’t be forgetting this day’s fishing in a while…

 

  

Always when you’re eating lunch!

 

Running from the storm.

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email fishfingers18@yahoo.com or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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TOP 10 ROAD TRIP MUNCHIES

Day to day we’re governed by a set of “rules” handed down by society. Basically they state, “Don’t eat junk food all the time you fatty”. But the great thing about road tripping, is that all the rules about what you can and can’t eat get thrown out the window. Sausage roll for breakfast? Why not. How about a bag of lollies for lunch? Sounds good to me. So after just driving the entire east coast of Australia for Jack’s Lap, I’d considered myself a bit of a maestro when it comes to eating junk food on the road – here’s my top ten.

 

10. Beef Jerky

A great choice for dads – no one else in the car wants to share their packet of weird salty meats.

 

9. Quarter Pounder

Heart starter or heart stopper? QPs are one serious sponge cake of beefy goodness.

 

8. Snakes

Everyone’s second favourite lolly.

 

7. Sausage roll

You can have them for breakfast, lunch or dinner – there are no rules for sausage rolls when you’re on the road.

 

6. Salt and vinegar chips

The Maltesers of the fried chip world.

 

5. KFC family box

Restore sagging morale on a long road trip, you may need an EPA clean up team if dining in-car.

 

4. Strawberry creams

They go quick in a mixed bag – try grab a few on your first dip.

 

3. Servo pie

You're guaranteed to drop some meat or sauce on your clothes, but that’s a small price to pay for heaven wrapped in pastry.

 

2. Sour Cream Pringles

Addictive but restrictive – man hands may struggle here.

 

1. Fantails

Delicious, long lasting and even include trivia on the wrapper – Fantails for the win.

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email fishfingers18@yahoo.com or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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JACK’S LAP UPDATE 3

The east coast of Australia is more or less, done and dusted! Road-tripping it all the way from Melbourne to Cooktown, I’m now on my way back down the coast. Heading home to Sydney will give me a good chance to ditch some of the extra gear I’m carrying, make a few additions to the boat and oil my bearings – literally and mentally. Oh, and I might pop into my sister's wedding while I’m in town too. Anyways, without further ado, here are another batch of images from my travels so far.

 

 

 Gorge-ous patch of paradise in Mossman.
 
Freshwater locals. 

 

"Hmm, how do I get one of these guns for the Stabi?"

 

Jack’s Lap 2058?

 

We found peacocks - but still no signs of a cassowary. 

 

  
Fingers crossed the full moon makes them come alive at the Daintree Discovery Centre.

 

  

Croc-dogs all round!

 

We drove the Bloomfield Track...

 

...And got seriously dusty.

 

We fired into Cooktown for the Lizard Island Black Marlin Classic.

 

Some seriously nice rigs…

 

  

…And pretty flora and fauna.

 

Not to mention the sunsets!

 

We couldn’t hook a marlin, but caught plenty of tasty Spanish mackerel.

 

I’m not sure if Millie is more scared or excited with her biggest ever fish.

 

A Penn Squall 50 in its natural habitat. 

 

Beware of giant cows wearing top hats?

 

Heading home!

 

Cane season.
 

 

Who says sugar cane fires can't be beautiful!?

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email fishfingers18@yahoo.com or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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JACK'S LAP UPDATE 2

BRAMBLE REEF

 

With 15 knots of breeze tossing around a sloppy sea, it probably wasn’t the best day to be punching out to the Great Barrier Reef. However, it was our last day fishing around the beautiful Orpheus Island area and nothin’ was going to stop me from making the big 25 nautical mile run east.

 

Luckily Orpheus Island offered up some protection. 

 

With all the locals opting to stay home on account of the weather, we launched the Stabicraft 1650 at the empty Taylors Beach boat ramp and slowly negotiated the maze of submerged sand banks. The destination for the day was Bramble Reef but we didn’t make it far before running into some huge schools of mack tuna feeding on micro bait. No matter the fish, if it’s busting up on the surface in big numbers, you’ve just got to have a cast – and we did.  

 
 
  

Danny loving the mac tuna sessions (left). The nosey locals (right).

 

 

After some insane action on the light spinning rods, we grimaced and averted our gaze from the fish frothing all around us. We had to catch the tide change on the reef and the mac tuna distraction had cost us an hour. As we left the lee of Orpheus Island, the sea really picked up. We knew we’d have protection from the elements out at Bramble, but it didn’t change the fact that we still had to slog out the sou’easter for 10 long nautical miles.

 

As the swell dropped and the wind died, it was clear we’d made it out to the reef. Brown from afar but rainbow coloured up close, the protruding coral adjacent to the deep drop off certainly looked fishy. A lone commercial mackerel boat zigzagged past us as we plopped the first lures into the water.

 

With the tide change only an hour out, we trolled, popped, stickbaited and even bottom bounced our little hearts out for an awesome booty consisting of Spanish mackerel, cobia and coral trout – mmm. A couple of hours later we made the call to head on home as we were famished and a tasty dinner was on ice in the esky.

 

The first Spanish of the trip!

 

Trout time.

 

Cool as a cobia.

 

Crazy fun on light tackle.

 

As we cruised back to the ramp I had a good feeling that we might run into our good friend, the mac tuna again. And whadda know, there they were, smashing bait in exactly the same spot. As the sun set we all had a cast and rounded out an awesome days fishing with a couple of screaming runs. 

 

"Last cast".

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email fishfingers18@yahoo.com or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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JACK'S LAP UPDATE 1

From the thick wilderness of the Daintree rainforest, to the deep blue depths of the Great Barrier Reef – boy oh boy, we’ve crammed in a whole lot this week. Although the surface of Far North Queensland has only just been scratched, the amount of awesome things I’ve seen so far is enough to keep me smiling all year round. Here are the latest images from my adventures.

 

Not a bad spot for a beer.

 

  

Cassowary country (left). Where’s Wally? (right).

 

How the locals do it.

 

Hmm, does it count if it’s caught in a Barra farm!? Danny certainly thinks so.

 

The Stabicraft’s maiden voyage.

 

We couldn’t find any mackerel, but we found these guys.

 

Check out the wingspan!

 

Manta charge.

 

  

We left croc country to find red bass city was just as scary.

 

The bullies of the reef.

 

You can’t complain with views like this though…

 

Milln Reef.

 

Preparing for the night dive.

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email fishfingers18@yahoo.com or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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WE’RE OFF!

If you read Trade-a-Boat Magazine or follow my blog, you’d probably know I’m doing a lap around Australia – it’s called Jack’s Lap. And guess what? We’re off! As I write this, my road trip companions and I are cruising up the Bruce highway en route to Cairns with the Stabicraft 1650 in tow. This is the first leg of what has been a long five days, especially considering we’ve bombed it straight up here from Melbourne. Although the trip has barely started, we’ve already exhausted our iTunes libraries, sampled all the local fast food joints and spotted every bloody windmill on the east coast of Australia – here’s a couple of quick pics from the road.

 

It's a long way to the top.

 

Headed north in the Red Dog rig.

 

We take the windmill game seriously!

 

First stop: Ballina.

 

Gotta drop in at the Big Prawn…

 

…And grab a snag from Bunnings.

 

The most eastern point of Australia: Byron Bay.

 

It takes two to mango.

 

Not a bad view.

 

We made some new friends…

 

…And caught up with some old ones.

 

Oh, and I nearly drowned in quick sand (or quick mud).

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email fishfingers18@yahoo.com or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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CREATURES OF THE DEEP – CUTTLEFISH

Cuttlefish have to be some of the most amazing, smart, scary and badass denizens of the deep. Every time I see or catch one, I tend to get more and more intrigued by their almost sociopathic attitude and eerie self-awareness. Earlier this week, I delved into what makes cuttlefish tick, and here is what I found. 

 

Something out of Alien vs Predator? Nope, it's a cuttlefish.

 

-Cuttlefish have a greeny-blue blood.

-Out of all invertebrates, cuttlefish have one of the biggest brains in comparison to their body size.

 

Get a cuttlefish as a pet and they may be able to help with your long division.

 

-Cuttlefish don't mind a good old fisherman's basket; happily chowing down on crabs, prawns and fish.

 

I think I'd pass on the pike in my fisherman's basket...

 

-Cuttlefish aren’t fish – they’re mollusks.

 

"Do I look like a damn fish to you!?" 

 

-Cuttlefish have a beak.

 

You don’t want to get your fingers too close to that mouth.

 

-Although they can change colour and texture to match their surrounding, they are in fact colour blind – go figure.

-Male cuttlefish mate by placing sperm in an opening next to the female’s mouth.

-Female cuttlefish will often mate with a number of males and choose which sperm to fertilise her eggs later on.

-Some cuttlefish pretend to be females in order to sneak past other male cuttlefish. Amazingly, they change colour, hide their additional arm and in some cases, pretend to be holding an egg sack. According to Wikipedia, the females often end up mating with the sneakier cuttlefish because they’re perceived to have greater intelligence – tough guys finish last. 

 

"Cya next week folks"

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email fishfingers18@yahoo.com or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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THE STABICRAFT HAS LANDED

We have touchdown! Yep, the Stabicraft 1650 that I’ll be towing all over Australia for Trade-a-Boat Magazine has just hit our shores. She’s currently hidden away in a secret warehouse in Melbourne awaiting fit out, but it won’t be long before we’re ready for action.

 

The Stabicraft 1650. 

 

In a few weeks the hull will be primed for liftoff with a Mercury 100HP four-stroke outboard and blinged to the gunnels with Lowrance electronics. Railblaza will also be taking care of any additional fittings with their awesome range of rod holders, camera booms and the like. Let’s not forget the single axel Transtyle trailer that she’s already sitting on either – boy oh boy, it looks the goods.

 

Still wrapped up in plastic!
 

Serious rims...

 

 The 1650 sits lound and proud on a Transtyle trailer. 
 

But the best bit? After my trip is all wrapped up, one lucky Trade-a-Boat Magazine reader is actually going to win the entire rig! Stay tuned for updates and to find out the first destination I’ll be heading to. 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email fishfingers18@yahoo.com or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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TASTY TROUT IN 5 STEPS

It may be closed season for trout in our streams and rivers, but in NSW our dams and impoundments are still open for business. So if you were thinking about keeping your next trout for the table, then you’ve got to try out this recipe.

 

 

SIMPLY SWEET SMOKED TROUT

 

 


Equipment:

-Knife

-Large serving platter

-Basting brush

-Smoker

 

Ingredients:

-1 medium to large brown/rainbow trout

-100ml dark spirit (brandy)

-2 tablespoons of salt

-1 tablespoon of brown sugar

 

 

Step 1: Prep the fish. Gut and gill, but leave the scales intact.

 

Step 2: Make the marinade. Mix brandy with two tablespoons of salt and one tablespoon of sugar. Stir until mixture combined.

 

  

 

Step 3: Marinade the fish. Use a basting brush to thoroughly cover the trout in the marinade. Let it sit for six hours in the fridge and reapply the marinade every two hours.

 

Step 4: Cooking. Slide your marinated trout into a smoker (an oven will work too). As the trout was almost 2kg in weight I cooked it for 30 minutes in a Murrika Electric Smoking Oven with Oakwood woodchips.

 

  

 

Step 5: Plate up. Serve with a mixed green leaf salad of your choosing with tomato, avocado and a balsamic/olive oil dressing. A light white, Rosé or Aussie Pale Ale should accompany it perfectly – enjoy!

 

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email fishfingers18@yahoo.com or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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SHARK WEEK

Don’t have pay TV but dying to watch Shark Week? Don’t worry, I’m in the same boat. So as a solution, this week I’ve put together my top 10 favourite shark videos from YouTube, so grab some popcorn and settle on back. Be warned though – you may never want to swim again…

 

 

10. Over enthusiastic American’s get their tarpon eaten by a hammerhead:

Badass rating: 3/5

 

 

9. Great White joins divers in shark cage:

Badass rating: 3/5

 

 

8. Tiger shark bullies a spearo:

Badass rating: 4/5

 

 

7. Great White at jump rock in Sydney Harbour – no points for guessing it’s fake:

Badass rating: 3/5

 

 

6. Spanish mackerel gets creamed boat-side:

Badass rating: 4/5

 

 

5. Mako shark attacks marlin:

Badass rating: 4/5

 

 

4. Hunter becomes the hunted: 

Badass rating: 4/5

 

 

3. No title needed – try not to jump:

Badass rating: 5/5

 

 

2. Mako shark vs dredge cam:

Badass rating: 5/5

 

 

1. Aussie blokes catch White Pointers off the beach:

Badass rating: 5/5

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email fishfingers18@yahoo.com or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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SECRET BURLEY MIX

Family fishing secrets are like gold, usually held under lock and key and only to be passed down to the first-born child of each generation. They can include amazing fishing spots, tricky techniques or even deadly recipes. These types of secrets are rarely revealed in angling circles, so that leaves me in quite the predicament. You see fishing skipped two generations in my family, my fishing guru of a great grandfather passed away before I had even held a rod! So that’s why I’ve stolen someone else’s family fishing secret, but don’t worry they’re ok with it – sort of.

 

This secret comes from my mate Chris Stokes, who shared with me a great burley recipe taught to him by his grandfather. It’s cheap, it doesn’t smell and it’s effective on all your estuary species like bream, whiting and flathead – sounds too good to be true, right?

 

 

Step 1

 

First up you need to grab yourself a couple of kilos of wheat (try Woolies or your local pet shop – it only cost me $4.95 for 2kg) and a loaf of bread – these are your two main ingredients. Next, ensure you’ve got a big pot, a sieve and a nice chunky wooden spoon. 

 

 

Step 2

  

 

Get the kettle cranking and fill your pot halfway up with boiling water. Now add the wheat - ensure it’s no higher than the level of the water. Be careful not to put too much in the pot, as you need to account for the expansion. Put your pot on the stove and let it sit on low heat - it should start smelling nice after a couple of minutes.

 

 

Step 3

 

While your concoction is simmering away, ensure you keep the water level topped up above the wheat. After about 10 minutes you should start to see your wheat absorbing the water, once it has more than doubled in size you can let it cool (2kg of wheat took approximately 30 minutes to swell to size) – I promise you’ll be fishing soon!

 

 

Step 4

 

Sieve out your wheat and shovel it into a bucket, now grab your loaf of bread and mix it with your plumped up wheat - add some cold water to the mixture to help breakdown the bread.

 

 

Step 5

 

Give it a great big stir up and either head straight out fishing or leave in the fridge – don’t worry it doesn’t smell fishy so you won’t be in the ‘dog house’ with your other half. Keep the wooden spoon handy so you can fling the burley into the water without getting your hands sticky.

 

 

Really don’t want to get sticky fingers? Use your wooden spoon to fling burley into the water.

 

So how does it work? Well, the idea behind the bread and wheat is simple; the bread floats off far and wide in the current, while the wheat sinks to the bottom around the spot you’re fishing. The fish follow the breadcrumb trail (literally) and then once they find the wheat, they hang around for an extended period of time. If you need any further proof that the burley works, open up the stomachs of any fish caught while using the bread and wheat – 90% will be chocker-block with little pellets of wheat!

 

The fish might be so fat after eating all the burley that they just float to the surface!

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email fishfingers18@yahoo.com or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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JUMP INTO THE FOG

As we quietly motored into Broken Bay the sun had only just risen from the horizon. With a thick blanket of damp fog ominously creeping out from the tangled valleys of the Hawkesbury River - the conditions were going to be bone chilling. Justin Duggan and I were out on his Edgewater 188CC and armed with an arsenal of flies and soft plastics. The target for the day was mulloway with a side of bream to boot – but we ran into some pretty interesting bycatch along the way.

 

The smothered sun.

 

Firing a cast through the fog.

Image: Justin Duggan

 

The fog laps over Barrenjoey Headland.

 

Eerie Lion Island.

 

When Justin finally convinced me to take off my Antarctic-grade gloves, I grabbed the nearest rod and started casting. Within the first 20 minutes of fishing we both had plenty of solid bumps on the soft plastics. Although to my amusement, I’d laugh off Justin’s bites as “just snags”, which sent him crazy to the point of showing me the microscopic mulloway teeth marks in his lure – I’m still not convinced.

 

Justin’s winter fishing outfit would put most SWAT teams to shame.

 

As it finally started to warm up, we ditched the big lures and grabbed the finesse gear. On the first cast Justin hooked an estuary perch and I quickly followed it up with another – quite a good little sportfish on light gear – and pretty too. But as it’s closed season for these fish we moved onto new pastures. On arrival to the new spot I flicked out a little 3-inch soft plastic that was promptly demolished on its arrival to the seafloor. This time I was connected to a really nice fish and after a spirited fight another estuary perch bobbed boat side. This one was a real beauty and no doubt a big female breeder. After a couple of snaps we slid her back into the drink and she rocketed straight down to her snag.

 

 

Estuary Perch at the boat.

 

Justin goes in for the kiss.

 

Awesome looking fish…

 

  

Back to the snags.

 

What a stonker!

 

Although we didn’t find any mulloway, it was awesome fun catching what would’ve been my personal best estuary perch. So if you can bare the chills, there’s still plenty of good inshore winter fishing around Sydney, including big Aussie salmon schools, plenty of luderick and drummer too. If you want to get amongst it, hit up Justin Duggan from Sydney Flyfishing Tours here: http://sydneyflyfishing.com.au

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email fishfingers18@yahoo.com or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE

There’s a place you can go where the letters G & T have nothing to do with an alcoholic beverage, a place where the water embodies every shade of blue imaginable and the fish turn wooden lures into scraps of kindling. It’s the Outer Barrier Reef, and I was sent on assignment for Trade-A-Boat Magazine.

 

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I’ve always dreamed of heading out on a Nomad Sportfishing trip - it really is the holy grail of liveaboard fishing charters. So when the guys from Simrad offered to have me along for the ride on their upcoming four day trip, I was pretty damn excited. The goal? Field test the latest Simrad gear and dabble in a bit of world-class fishing, oh and I dabbled alright - here’s my photo journal.

 

Departing Mackay at sunset.

 

Packed to the gunnels.

 

Corona’s and poppers – is this heaven?

 

Not a bad spot to wake up…

 

Rigged and ready.

 

Straight into the action.

 

  

First fish of the trip – Kenny Thompson certainly wasn’t complaining (left). I quickly followed it up with one of my own on the Dogtooth stickbait (right).

 

The Cubera does it again.

 

The new Simrad gear does the trick.

 

The McKee Craft’s are little sportfishing weapons.

 
  

Bycatch of all different shapes and sizes. 

 

Nick Hamilton Smith with a mega trout!

 

Our poppers weren’t immune to a few Spanish mack attacks either.

 

After a long day’s fishing what do you feel like doing? More fishing. 

 

Riley Tolmay couldn’t move the local cod…

 

…But landed a monster GT. 

 

  

We were able to perfectly position our poppers with the Simrad gear.

 

I battled for life and limb…

 

…And came up trumps.

 

Even better, every GT we landed went unharmed and released. 

 

  
The locals.

 

It’s easy to see how these brutes can bust you off – check out that coral.

 

The boys at Hamilton Island Air dropped in to say hi.

 

Our ride home.

 

Back to reality.

 

 

Keep your eyes peeled in Trade-A-Boat magazine for the full story.

Fore more information on Nomad Sportfishing trips: http://nomadsportfishing.com.au/

Fore more information on Simrad products: http://www.simrad-yachting.com/en-au/

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email fishfingers18@yahoo.com or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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INTERVIEW WITH NICK AND ANDREW FROM TV'S HOOK, LINE & SINKER

From making tuna lures out of dog’s hair and attempting to catch squid with a remote controlled boat; Nick Duigan and Andrew Hart are the dynamic duo from televisions Hook, Line and Sinker. They’re relatable, and hey kinda’ funny, actually really funny… In this week’s blog I interview the boys and ask about how it all started, their favourite boats, most memorable stunts and much more.

 

So guys, where did you grow up and how did you first get into fishing?

Nick: My family moved from Victoria to Flinders Island when I was about five, on the island everybody went fishing. I graduated from eels, to flathead, to snapper and by the time I moved off the island I was hooked.

Andrew: I grew up in Launceston and have an older cousin who got me into fishing, we used to spend every chance we got either fly-fishing for trout in the Tassie midland streams, or fishing off the various jetties along the Tamar River.

 

Andrew Hart (left) and Nick Duigan (right).

 

 

Is it true that you both met in the newsroom of Southern Cross Television in Tassie? When did it twig that you both loved fishing?

Pretty early on in the piece, we would spend many, many weekends together in the newsroom and given not that much news happens in Tassie – we spent plenty of time talking fishing. It was there we hatched the plan to try and make a fishing TV show.


When and why did you decide to start Hook, Line and Sinker?

It was around the year 2000 and we took holidays for a couple of weeks from the newsroom. We also conned a cameraman into taking leave as well and ‘borrowing’ the TV stations camera equipment. We produced two episodes, just fishing around Tasmania. When we got back from holidays, we took the footage to the program manager, and she was good enough to play it.

 

It’s pretty easy to see that you guys have a lot of fun on the water. Describe a typical day filming for Hook, Line and Sinker:

There isn’t really any one typical day. A lot of time is spent travelling, sitting in a car together… We know each other very well indeed after all this time! Fishing wise, we have learnt to try and be on the water as early as you can – the sunrise makes for good footage and often the fish are more hungry in the morning.

 

Describe your TV work in 5 words:

Nick: Make it look like fun.

Andrew: Travel, Travel, Travel, Fish and Beer.

 

Yummo!

 


Favourite boat and why:

Nick: I’d have to say the Bar Crusher 670 Hard Top. We’ve just finished a massive 1,500-kilometre circumnavigation of Tasmania and it strikes me as just about the perfect boat. It’s easy to tow, brilliantly fitted out and built to a really high standard. This boat has a massive safety margin - you’ll have given up and gone home long before the sea gets too big for the Bar Crusher.

Andrew: I love big game fishing boats with all the bling! The tower, the game poles, the teak deck, the game chair and the big gold reels… I don’t own one – but you can always dream!

 

Favourite outboard and why:

Nick: Yamaha F350 V8, the most powerful outboard on the planet. We fitted one of these monsters to an old Bertram 23 and she’d pull 50 knots! Quiet, refined and fuel efficient but just a hint of that V8 burble.

Andrew: Yamaha! We have used Yami four-strokes for the past decade and never have we had one stop, not start or even cough! They’re unbelievable! We even drove a single f200 around Tasmania without taking an auxiliary engine – that’s how good Yamaha’s are!

 

Most memorable catch:

Nick: A mako shark that would have been close to 200kg, it jumped six metres into the air on a couple of occasions early in the fight and then settled down to give me a work out like no fish has done, before or since. After five hours we managed to tag it and watched it swim away.

Andrew: A near 1000lb marlin I caught while on holiday with my wife in Cairns. It was a beast and one hell of a fight, it would’ve made for an epic Hook, Line and Sinker episode - unfortunately there was no cameraman on board!

 

For those that don’t know about the good ship (or ships), The Cindy Maree, can you explain a little about her previous exploits and accomplishments?

The original Cindy Maree was a true pioneer in the fishing world. A middle range remote control boat, she set out and caught some very impressive captures, the highlight of which was a big trout taken while she was drifting a dry fly. Then one dreadful day a squid sunk her. We then built Cindy Maree 2 – a much bigger, much more powerful remote control boat, which is capable of catching massive fish! She has even got her own remote control reel mounted on the back.

 

What’s next on the horizon for the radical remote controlled craft?

This year we try and catch tuna from her. It didn’t all go as planned, but it’ll still be a very interesting segment. Remote control boat fishing is not for the faint hearted!

 

You come up with some hilariously crazy ideas on the water, what has been your favourite one to date?

Nick: Homemade lures. I made a very effective tuna lure using a 12-volt battery terminal and hair cut from the tail of my dog. Andrew turned up with a yellow stick, which as you might expect, didn’t work so well.

Andrew: Being towed behind the boat with a line tied to my toe as the world’s first live lure…

 

'The Live Lure'

 


Finally, your tenth season is currently airing on 7Mate. Can you give us a quick rundown of a few things we can look forward to?

This year we’ve gone to a one-hour format which means double the fishing action. Adventures include a road trip around NZ’s South Island, a circumnavigation of Tassie in a small trailer boat (our much loved Bar Crusher), a trip to the very remote parts of the Solomon Islands, plus heaps of fishing action from all around the country. Plenty of big fish and great locations.

 

Andrew Hart and Nick Duigan are the hosts of TV’s Hook, Line & Sinker, their 10th season premiering 2:00pm Saturday 26 July on 7Mate. Check local listings. Visit them online at www.hooklinesinker.tv

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email fishfingers18@yahoo.com or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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HEAVEN IS A PLACE ON EARTH

In America everything is bigger, beefier and better – including their tackle shops. That’s why I was ecstatic to hear that there was a Bass Pro Shop en route to Chicago from Milwaukee. These ain’t no ordinary tackle shops either – they’re heaven on earth for the hunter-gatherer spirit in all of us. So clear your diary and top up your credit cards - ‘cause we’re going shoppin’!  

 

  
"Illinois' Great American Outdoor Store" 

 

Bass Pro Shops are like Woolworths supermarkets on steroids; but for fishing, boating camping and hunting. As you walk into the entrance you’re greeted by a herd of taxidermy deer, elk and other miscellaneous game animals. They’ve all been placed in what would look like their natural environment too; so throughout the shop there are bucks hiding underneath artificial trees and cougars ready to pounce from giant fibreglass boulders – it’s so realistic, I’m still convinced everything comes alive at night. One animal that is still alive though, is the fish! Swimming around the big pools are massive bass and catfish. Head on over to the bridge crossing the stream though, and you’ll spy trout cruising the shallows – a fisherman’s wet dream. 

 

  

What an entrance (left). There are entire aisles just dedicated to walleye fishing (right).

 

Yep, these animals definitely come alive at night.

 

Oh yeah, forgot to mention the waterfall. 

 

Below the waterfall, all sorts of fish lurk.

 

Hang out on the bridge and you'll see trout cruising beneath your feet.

 

When it comes to the products, it’s almost excessive. There are entire sections of the shop just dedicated to walleye fishing! But prefer to catch your dinner with gunpowder instead of a rod and reel? Well, just head on over to the armoury where you can purchase an arsenal of automatic weapons, oh and crossbow fishing kits too.

 

  

Guns and hot chilli sauce together at last - it's every mans dream.

 

Need a new boat, outboard, kayak or quad bike? You can pick one up with your weekly fishing groceries too.

 

Anyway, it took me about two hours to have a good look around this mega tackle shop, and I’ve got a feeling I was just scraping the surface. Next time you head to the USA, you’ve got to check out a Bass Pro Shop. 

 

All good things must come to an end.

 

Cya next Wednesday!

 

Want more info on Bass Pro Shops? Click here: http://www.basspro.com

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email fishfingers18@yahoo.com or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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UNITED STATES OF SALMON

There’s no way a fisho can travel halfway around the world and not sample the local waters at the other end. So on my recent trip to the States, myself and a few other chaps from the Aussie media headed out on a local fishing charter. With five keen anglers, two boats at our disposal and a hefty wager of $50 USD up for grabs – things were going to get serious…

 

When I first heard we’d be fishing for salmon out on a lake I was a little disappointed. I assumed we’d be out on a dinky ol’ boat, trolling lures in a paddock-sized waterway for smelly stocked fish – but boy was I wrong. We were actually fishing on the mighty Lake Michigan - one of North America’s five Great Lakes. This thing’s no joke either; it has a surface area of 58,000 square kilometres and is around 300 metres at its deepest point! So it was no surprise that when we rocked up at the marina a fleet of gameboats sitting shoulder to shoulder greeted us. With more outriggers, downriggers and other fishing paraphernalia than I dared to count – I was starting to get a bit excited for this whole salmon fishing thing.

 

Downrigger galore!

 

Need. More. Lures. 

 

Had to take a shot of this sweet ride.

 

Shortly after meeting our skippers for the day and filling out our fishing licenses, we were steaming out to the “100ft grounds” - a patch of bottom that drops steeply from 25m to 35m. Onboard was myself, John Eichelsheim (a freelance journo from NZ), Cody Hoenig (our 17 year old decky for the day) and Jeff Fain (captain at large). We were aboard the good ship Passtime, a petrol powered Silverton 34’.

 

Decky Cody Hoenig mentally preparing himself for a bounty of salmon.

 

Skipper of Passtime, Jeff Fain. 

 

   

Passtime the Silverton 34’ (left). If there's a rod holder - there's a rod in it (right). 

 

Coming over the drop-off.

 

It feels weird fishing in a flybridge - on a lake!

 

After a quick 15-minute run we’d arrived at the spot and Captain Jeff gave Cody the nod to start setting the lines – a momentous task when you’re fishing with 16 rods! First to be deployed were the four downrigger lines, next were the four rods with Dipsy Divers and the last eight were rigged on planning boards (I know, it’s like another language to me too). Basically, what you do is slow troll with your lures covering every inch of the water column – from the surface to the very bottom. When you get a bite, the boat ain’t stopping either and you’ve got to winch in your fish as fast as possible – ok, it’s not that sporting…

 

   

Rods set out wide on the 'yellow bird' planing boards.

 

Why even bother fishing? 

 

After trolling for 30 minutes, the first rod went off. It had been a lure on the downrigger and Cody handed me the rod – still peeling off line. Although the boat was motoring away from the fish I could still tell that this thing had some serious weight behind it. I tried to pump and wind but I was quickly told off for doing so, apparently I’d pull the hook from the fish’s mouth unless I just flat wound. I skeptically acknowledged and continued to wind – until ‘pop’ – the line broke. I asked Cody what the problem was and he answered, “It would’ve just been a bad knot” – not really what you want to hear from your charter boat operator…

 

All re-rigged we continued our search for freshwater denizens and an hour later John was connected to a beautiful coho salmon, which he promptly brought to the boat. I quickly turned our one coho into two and by then it was time to head back to the dock and see how we’d faired in the fishing comp for 50 bucks.

 

John hooked up to a coho.

 

First fish of the day.

 

Another coho on the tally.

 

Our opponents for the day heading back to the unofficial weigh-in.

 

Sadly, we’d been beaten. The boys on the other boat had blitzed us with a massive lake trout! They may have won the money and the glory but apparently coho’s taste better, so we weren't complaining. 

 

Competitive. 

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email fishfingers18@yahoo.com or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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EVINRUDE E-TEC G2

So you’ve seen the pictures, but what’s the story behind the latest Evinrude E-TEC G2? I flew to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the USA on behalf of Trade-a-Boat Magazine and had a play with these new superhero inspired outboards.

 

All set for Evinrude's global launch in Milwaukee. 

 

Chris Dawson (left) and Alain Villemure (right) from BRP with their new baby.

 

Ranging from the 200HP HO to the 300HP R.A.V.E. the innovative new Evinrude E-TEC G2 is far from just a redesigned outboard. Still standing behind their two-stokes are better than four-strokes claim, these outboards boast some seriously impressive numbers. According to BRP, the E-TEC G2 “Produces up to 75% fewer total regulated emissions, with 15% better fuel efficiency and 20% more torque than leading four-stroke engines”. Furthermore, they also come with a five-year engine warranty, five-year corrosion warranty and a whopping 500 hours without any dealer-scheduled maintenance – now that’s insanely impressive.

 

The awesome 35 Scarab Offshore...

 

...With 900HP of pure G2 grunt!
 

Now that was all well and good, but I couldn’t just take their word for it. Luckily, BRP had organised a fleet of over 20 boats – all sporting shiny new G2 E-TEC’s in different power and colour configurations. The first thing I noticed about these outboards was the torque; out of the hole and in the mid range they’re incredibly responsive – so much so, that they push you back in your seat and make your hair stick up like a Japanese comic book hero. Another handy feature was the inbuilt power steering that actually lets you adjust the level of resistance from the ICON touchscreen system on the helm – yep, you can control the feedback settings on the fly!

 

The 250HP HO - sleek and sexy. 

 

Evinrude haven’t just made a few changes to their current outboard, they’ve reengineered this thing from the inside out. So to get the full scoop on the Evinrude E-TEC G2 grab an upcoming issue of Trade-a-Boat Magazine.  

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email fishfingers18@yahoo.com or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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TOP 5 TIPS FOR BEACH FISHING

You don’t need a boat, it’s cheap, it’s simple and hell, we live on an island so the opportunities are endless – yep, this week’s blog is all about beach fishing! Whether it’s the school holidays, a weekend camping trip or an epic journey around Australia – you can pretty much catch a feed on any surf beach. But before you get the sand between your toes, take with you these five tips that’ll have you out-fishing your buddies in no time. 

 

Anything can be turned into a rod holder on the beach!

 

 

1. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

More important than anything else (except maybe your hooks), fishing in the right spot is crucial to success in the surf. In most cases you want to fish the deeper patches of water where the fish travel through searching for food – these areas are called gutters. Finding them isn’t actually that hard, waves break when the water is shallow. If you can find a spot where the waves aren’t breaking or where they break and then reform again closer to shore – you’re onto a winner. That being the case, sometimes you don’t actually need to cast that far to get onto the fish if a gutter has formed close to shore.

 

High vantage points are great for scoping out gutters.

 

 

2. TIME AND TIDE

Beach fishing can be productive throughout the day, and night. And although it’s not a rule of thumb, the best times to lob a bait into the surf are usually around sunset and sunrise. The tides play a big part too; I personally prefer an hour each side of a low tide, as it’s great for casting out to those deep gutters usually out of range at high tide. However, the best of the best is when a sunset or sunrise coincides with a high or low tide. Instead of aimlessly wandering out onto the beach, fish at the right times and research the tides – you’ll catch more.

 

Sunsets and beach fishing go together like hot chips and tomato sauce.

 

Fishing under the moon.

 

 

3. THE GOODS

Having the right gear is essential to beach fishing. However, that doesn’t mean it’s expensive. A couple hundred dollars should see you fully setup and ready for action. The rod is crucial to success, but you may wonder, why do they have to be so long for beach fishing? Two reasons: firstly, a longer rod will allow you to cast further distances. Secondly, it also helps keep your line above the breaking swell. The reel is less important, but it’s still not something you want to skimp on. Your reel will get salty and sandy, that’s a fact, so ensure it’s relatively well sealed. You also need a large line capacity for big casts and withstanding screaming runs from any bigguns you may hook.

 

Most beach fishing rods are two-piece for easy transportation.
 

Ready for a run!

 

 

4. BAIT AND BURLEY

Pilchards are good, squid is great and live beach worms are deadly weapons! Let me elaborate, pilchards are an awesome bait but they’re also very soft, which means they don’t like being cast too vigorously. Squid aren’t as oily as pilchards, but they stay on the hook better and withstand the barrage of smaller picker fish. However, if you can get your hands on some live beach worms, you won’t be disappointed. They stay on the hook well and they’re the staple diet for most fish cruising the gutters – yummo! Burley is also just as important on the beach, as it is on the boat. A scaler bag from your local tackle shop filled with some old pilchards or leftover fish frames is all you need. Place it in the wash zone and use a sand spike to keep it in place.

 

"Pilchards are good, squid is great and live beach worms are deadly weapons!"

 

 

5. SMOOTH LANDING

When it comes to landing a fish, instead of scull dragging them from the surf and onto the sand, use the surging waves to your advantage. During the closing stages of the fight (when the fish is in shore break) time your last big rod pump with an incoming wave and use the momentum to slide the fish onto the beach.

 

The ultimate beach fishing prize – the elusive mulloway. 

 

Use the surging waves to your advantage in the final stages of a fight.

 

Success!

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email fishfingers18@yahoo.com or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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THE 2014 SANCTUARY COVE INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW

If you’re a boatie and you missed the 2014 Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show - all is not lost. I spent three days walking the planks and capturing the action with the Trade-a-Boat Magazine team! From the blinged out boats, to the familiar faces and slick stands, it’s all here this Wednesday. 

 

Open for business – day one at the 2014 Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show.

 

Raymarine launched a bunch of awesome new gear.

 

As did Mercury, with their new 300HP Cold Fusion outboard.

 

  

Eric Sorensen from Grady White US and Graham McCloy from Game and Leisure Boats are pretty

proud of the Canyon 376 (left). The Maritimo race boat stole the show once again (right).

 

The Queensland water cops roll in a pretty badass centre console – watch out crooks.

 

  

None of the Club Marine staff will be drowning in a hurry (left).

 Brian ‘The Colonel’ Sanders and Hoang Tran with a couple of tough Transtyle trailers (right).

 

  

The Boston Whaler with not one, not two, but three 300HP Verado’s (left). 

Looking marvelous on the marina was a cinch with Stefan’s Hair and Makeup stand (right).

 

  

There’s a mutiny on the Trade-a-Boat stand! Captain Jack Sparrow makes John ‘Bear’ Willis

walk the plank (left). Stefan Boating World is now supplying American built

Scout Boats - Rose and Stefan with the Sportfish (right).

 

  

The Retro Bikini Babes are higher than life (left). You couldn't miss the Trade-a-Boat stand (right).

 

Blue Steel!

 

The Boat Boys serenade the Trade-a-Boat chicks.

 

There were some chic rigs out on the marina…

 

…Including Fleming Yachts, Belle Epoque.

 

  

Palm Beach Yachts – still my all time favourite (left). The Horizon girls on the bow of the PC60 (right).

 

Photo time!

 

Mystery man at the Musto stand.

 
  

The VIP lounge was open for business (left). Taco time (right).

 

The Robalo boys size up some stilts for makeshift outriggers.

 

  

I don’t think I want to be a part of these blokes fishing team (left). Team Gill Australia lovin’ life (right).

 

 

If you want to see all the images from the show, head over to the Jack Murphy Fishing and Photography Facebook page to view the full album: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/set=a.703632539700312.1073741829.349175095146060&type=1

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email fishfingers18@yahoo.com or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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DIY FISHING ROD

Bait? Check. Tacklebox? Check. Fishing rod? Damn it! How the hell did I forget the rods and reels? The car was packed better than a parachute and I was so thorough I almost packed up the dog in the esky. Sound familiar? Well it’s my worst nightmare. So this month, I thought I’d show you how to build your own fishing rod (complete with reel) when you’re desperate and rod-less on your next camping adventure.

 

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

Provided you’ve got a few basic tools, anyone can make a fishing rod from scratch in the bush - here’s what you’ll need:

-An old spool of fishing line.

-A few bolts, nuts and washers.

-Gaffer tape.

-Wire and wire cutters (a coat hanger works well too).

-A couple of bottle tops.

-A saw or clippers.

-Superglue.

-If you have access to power – a drill.

 

 

 

MAKING THE ROD

Step 1: Firstly, find yourself a long, straight stick that is strong in the butt and light in the tip – ideally around 7ft. Bamboo is probably the best as it’s strong and has lots of bend.

 

Step 2: Remove any extra branches coming off your stick with a saw or pair of clippers. If you want to get really fancy, once they’re removed you can use sandpaper to make the branch stubs smooth.

 

 

 

Step 3: Using the wire, create no less than 4 eyelets for the line to run through (the more the better). Shape the largest eyelets at the base of the rod and make them progressively smaller as they get to the tip (just like a real fishing rod). Ensure they’re all inline and secure them with gaffer tape.

 

 

  

 

 

MAKING THE REEL

Note: A power drill makes the next set of steps much easier but the same effect can be achieved with nails, a hammer and a pair of pliers.

 

Step 4: Next it’s time to build and attach the reel. But where do I find a reel I hear you ask? Well, look for an old spool of line or leader – that’s your reel. The first thing you need to do is make the handle and this can be done by drilling a hole through the outer rim of the spool. Find a bolt that fits the hole and screw it in – this will be your handle shaft. Then grab bottle cap and drill another hole of the same size through the centre. Add a nut to the bolt, then on top of that slide on the bottle top, a washer and another nut. Now, all you need to do is superglue another bottle top of the same size to the original cap - this is the handle grip.

 

 

 

 

Step 5: With your reel ready for action, you now need to attach it to your stick. So with the eyelets on the rod facing downwards, pick the spot where you want your reel to sit and mark it. Now, grab a bolt that is longer than width of the stick and the spool. Measure up your bolt with a drill bit, find your mark and drill a hole in the side of the stick (90 degrees to the eyelets) - still with me?

 

 


Step 6: Slide/screw your bolt into your stick, then add a washer that’s larger than the size of the hole in the spool. Now, on the spool of line, another washer and a nut – your reel is secured.

 

 

Step 7: Finally, now you can add your own personal touch. A cork butt or maybe even a rope grip – anything is possible!

 

Finished product! 

 

For casting large distances with your DIY rod, strip plenty of line off the spool and onto the ground prior to casting (as if you were casting a fly rod). This will eliminate the friction caused by the spinning spool and will let you fire out some mega casts!

 

  

Andrew and his delicious bass approve of the DIY fishing rod. 

 

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email fishfingers18@yahoo.com or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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FISHING WITH A VEGETARIAN

When my vegetarian friend Millie asked me to take her fishing, I thought an appropriate target species would have to be the blackfish. A herbivore as well (most of the time) it seemed like the perfect species to start out Millie’s fishing career. So with the winter chills on our doorstep, I had a pretty good feeling that the blackfish would be out in force, and grazing on the forest-like estuarine weed beds of Pittwater.

 

Blackfish aren't usually dubbed as being a pretty fish - I beg to differ...

 

It all started at the local tackle shop, Narrabeen Bait and Tackle. We bought the last two thin wooden pencil floats in stock, some green Gamakatsu hooks and a handful of split shots. Millie offered to carry the precious cargo to the car and I said, “Thanks, but whatever you do, don’t snap the floats – they’re very fragile”. It hadn’t been more than five minutes before, crack! She’d snapped one of the floats…  So with only one rig between us, our possible blackfish quota had already been slashed in half.

 

Fishing with 4lb line is dangerous when you only have one float...

 

Still hopeful, we collected some ‘weed’ (blackfish food) and headed to the local wharf – rigged and ready for action. With the fish in big numbers I thought I’d give Millie a quick crash course on how to hook them, “Once your float is under, count three seconds, then strike!” She grasped the idea quickly but got 7 ‘downs’ before successfully pulling one up onto the wharf.

 

  
Millie misses another hookup (left). Success at last (right).
 

Instagram followers got to see some behind the scenes action from today. 

@jackmurphy_photography

 

The view from below.

 

The afternoon continued with some seriously hot action. At some points you couldn’t even keep your float in the water for more than 30 seconds, before it got ripped beneath the surface with a bubble trail following closely behind. 

 

  

Blackfish were being caught faster than we could release them!

 

The yakkas certainly weren't shy.

 

  

They kept biting well past sunset. 

 

Last cast.

 

I don’t know if there’s something wrong with me or not, but I seriously find float fishing for blackfish just as exciting as popping for GTs… Sometimes it’s kinda’ like trying to lasso an elephant with dental floss, which is what makes it so damn exciting….  Thankfully winter hasn’t even started yet – time to bring on the ‘blackies’!

 

"Sometimes it’s kinda’ like trying to lasso an elephant with dental floss"

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email fishfingers18@yahoo.com or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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SURFACE SPORTFISHING

When I think sportfishing I immediately visualise fast fish, light gear, shallow water and surface strikes. This sort of action can be found right around Australia and although we’re in the tail end of autumn, there’s no need to pack away the rods, reels and tackle-boxes - it’s still a prime time to fish the surface. Here’s what you want to look out for…

 

A kingy nails a perfectly matched fly from the surface. 

 

 

SUBTLE SIGNS 

Chasing surface feeding fish in shallow water has to be the most fun a bunch of hairy fishing buddies can have in a boat together. However, a lot of people miss out on the action because they simply don’t pick up on the subtle signs. Bait is the main ingredient for success. Marking bait up high in the water column on the sounder is good, but physically seeing bait around and under your boat is even better. I personally like exploring calm bays and using a pair of Polaroid sunglasses to spot bait balls. If you do find some activity, but the fish aren’t immediately feeding, don’t up and leave, stick with it. Casting poppers and plastics can trigger the fish to bite, but at other times you’ll have to wait until they’re in a frenzy before you even get a look. The golden rule is, find the bait.

 

You find the bait, you find the fish.

 

Cast around some poppers and/or plastics to see if any bigger fish are hanging around the bait.

 

 

NOT SO SUBTLE

Whilst bait is a great indicator that something might happen, birds are the best visual giveaway that something is happening. If you see circling or dive-bombing birds, start casting. As the fish push the bait to the surface the birds will strike from above and try pickup the scraps. They’re the best beacon of surface activity and a fisherman’s best friend. I’ve read that the distance between the birds and the water is relative to the distance between the baitfish and the surface. So for example, if the birds are circling high, the bait is still quite deep. But as the birds get closer to the surface of the water, so do the baitfish. An interesting theory but whether it’s true or not, I can’t make any promises.

 

The odd splash and some scattered birds are always a good sign.

 

Sometimes the fish are feeding on bigger bait - check out the jig this kahawai smashed!

 

 

BLOODY OBVIOUS

So I’ve spoken about the subtle, and not so subtle signs of surface activity but one thing I’m sure every fisho' lives for, is the good ol’ feeding frenzy – these can’t be missed. You’ll see baitfish leaping out of the water, birds attacking from above and big predators slashing at the surface. When the fish are in these feeding frenzies, the most important thing to do is match the hatch. In other words, your lure should replicate the bait that the fish are feeding on. It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people will cast huge lures purely because they’ve seen big fish. Just like a homing missile, the larger predatory fish will lock onto a certain type of baitfish. This tunnel vision will have suspicious lures left completely ignored. But then again, it’s fishing - some days the fish will eat anything that’s thrown in front of them while other days they’ll reject the most perfectly matched fly – it’s all about increasing your odds.

 

It's a good sign when the baitfish think it's safer out of the water, than in it...

 

Big predators on top. 

 

You can't miss in a bust-up like this!

 

Success!

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email fishfingers18@yahoo.com or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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TOP 10 FAMOUS MOVIE BOATS

As boaties, we always seem to pick holes in films that have any sort of waterborne craft in them. “Oh, they’ve done that wrong” or “A boat wouldn’t really do that in real in life” are just a couple of the things that are muttered by salty sea dogs when Hollywood hits the water. So in tribute, I’ve compiled a top 10 of famous movie boats – enjoy!

 

 

10. The raft from Cast Away

 

Jack says: This rustic handmade raft may not look like much, but it’ll keep you safe in a big breaking swell. The same can’t be said for its passenger carrying capabilities though. Wilson? Wilsonnnnnn?!

 

Jack’s rating

Style: 1/5

Effectiveness: 3/5

Build quality: 2/5

Bang for your buck: 5/5

 

 

9. SS Venture from King Kong

 

Jack says: Any boat that is capable of transporting a giant gorilla is pretty cool in my books. What the SS Venture lacks in style, it makes up for in effectiveness and build quality.

 

Jack’s rating

Style: 2/5

Effectiveness: 4/5

Build quality: 4/5

Bang for your buck: 3/5

 

8. The Gilded Lady from Step Brothers

 

Jack says: Although The Gilded Lady eventually ends up as timber for a tree house, during her time in the Step Brothers she stars in the awesome video, ‘Boats and Hoes’.  

 

Jack’s rating:

Style: 5/5

Effectiveness: 3/5

Build quality: 4/5

Bang for your buck: 3/5

 

 

7. Disco Volante from Thunderball

 

Jack says: What’s cooler than a hydrofoil boat, eh a two-piece detachable hydrofoil cruiser that stars in the James Bond film, Thunderball.

 

Jack’s rating

Style: 5/5

Effectiveness: 5/5

Build quality: 3/5

Bang for your buck: 2/5

 

 

6. The Flying Wasp from Caddyshack

 

Jack says: Although The Flying Wasp looks the goods, her build quality could be seen as questionable as a bottle of champagne managed to snap off her bowsprit.  

 

Jack’s rating

Style: 4/5

Effectiveness: 3/5

Build quality: 2/5

Bang for your buck: 3/5

 

 

5. Andrea Gail from The Perfect Storm

 

Jack says: The Andrea Gail puts up a valiant fight in the Perfect Storm. Personally though, I’ve gone to the shelf in worse conditions – toughen up George Clooney.

 

Jack’s rating

Style: 3/5

Effectiveness: 3/5

Build quality: 3/5

Bang for your buck: 4/5

 

 

4. Jenny from Forrest Gump

 

Jack says: Forrest Gump and his crippled crewman sail Jenny with little to no experience. Together they smash through Hurricane Carmen and become one of the most successful shrimping boats in town - that's my kinda' boat!

 

Jack’s rating

Style: 2/5

Effectiveness: 5/5

Build quality: 3/5

Bang for your buck: 5/5

 

3. The Orca from Jaws

 

Jack says: Badass and ballsy, The Orca from Jaws is right up the top of the list when it comes famous movie boats. The only reason it’s not number one is because in the end, they did need a bigger boat…

 

Jack’s rating

Style: 2/5

Effectiveness: 2/5

Build quality: 4/5

Bang for your buck: 5/5

 

 

2. Titanic from Titanic

 

Jack says: A very stylish rig; could’ve had better build quality and a new captain, me thinks.

 

Jack’s rating

Style: 4/5

Effectiveness: 1/5

Build quality: 1/5

Bang for your buck: 2/5

 

 

1. The Black Pearl from Pirates of the Caribbean

 

Jack says: The Black Pearl has to come in at number one; she can sail faster than the Flying Dutchman and she carries 32 12lb cannons, oh yeah, she’s also cursed. 

 

Jack’s rating

Style: 4/5

Effectiveness: 5/5

Build quality: 5/5

Bang for your buck: 5/5

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email fishfingers18@yahoo.com or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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MAHI MAHI IN MINUTES

If you’re anything like me, the last thing you feel like doing at the end of a long fishing session, is cooking. You’re salty, sunburnt and sleepy, but the lure of a warm meal for dinner keeps you semi motivated. You get home, pack away the gear, wash the rods and fillet the fish – but wait, you’ve got no ingredients – damn! This week I want to share a super simple, extra tasty and lightning fast recipe that requires the bare minimum ingredients and knowhow - even the most amateurish chefs can champion this one.

 

Hooked and cooked.

 

A few blog’s back, you may have read my article on ‘Broken Bay Bait Balls’, read more here: http://www.jackmurphyfishing.com.au/apps/blog/broken-bay-bait-balls Anyways, we had a cracking time catching mahi mahi and striped tuna – I even kept a few of those mahi mahi for the table – this is how I cooked them. But before I get into the recipe I’ve got to give you a little tip that goes a long way on the plate. When keeping a mahi mahi for dinner, it’s extremely important that you quickly bleed and ice them - if you don’t, they can be very mushy and will not be able to be pan-fried.

 

One tasty mahi mahi

 

What you need:

-Two deboned mahi mahi fillets

-Knob of butter

-Spash of olive oil

-Pinch of sea salt and pepper

-Squeeze of lemon

 

First things first, flick a cube of butter into a warming pan and splash in some good olive oil. Once it’s all bubbling away on medium heat, slide a couple of boneless mahi mahi fillets into the sizzling pan, skin down. Next, generously cover in chunky sea salt and cracked pepper. Let your fish cook for approximately two minutes* a side and once you’ve flipped it over give it another quick hit with salt and pepper. Finally, before taking it out of the buttery pan, squeeze half a lemon over fish. Now it’s time to plate it up and let it rest for one minute. Serve with chips, salad or rice – whatever floats your boat – told you it was easy, right?

 

*Cooking duration will vary on the size of your fillets. Once you start seeing the flesh turn white up the sides, it’s a good time to flip.

 

Ready for the plate!

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email fishfingers18@yahoo.com or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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BREAMIN' BASICS

Ten years ago the quiet little bream was a fish for everyone, kids would catch them off wharves and old codgers would hook them from tinnies. However, these days you may think this species is reserved for those wacky dudes who fish with tiny lures for tournament trophies, whilst wearing strange costumes covered in company logos. They’re usually not hard to miss blasting across the water in their pancake flat boats that are stickered up in more colourful graphics than a V8 supercar. But I say it’s time to bring them back to the people! Don’t be nervous, we humble civilians are allowed to target bream as well.

 

Light line and small hooks fooled this bream. 

 

There are a few different types of bream in Australia. The most common of which would have to be the eastern yellowfin bream, they can be found throughout Vic, NSW and Qld. If you’re a regular fisho’, you’re also bound to run into some southern black and pikey bream in your travels too. Now I could go on forever about this special species but lets not mess around; where do you find ‘em? And how do you catch ‘em?

 

A beautiful eastern yellowfin bream.

 

 

WHERE TO FIND ‘EM

Head to your local estuary, river, lagoon, harbour or surf beach and you’re sure to come across a bream or two. Within these areas you should look for wharves, marinas, oyster leases, dense moorings, boat hulls, wrecks and natural snags – basically any area that has an abundance of food but still retains an element of protection. As you can see from the image below, bream just love hiding around tight, unforgiving structure – the more barnacles, the better.

 

Quick pop quiz: how many fish do you think are in this photo? Find out at the end of this blog.

 

 

HOW TO CATCH ‘EM

So you know where to find them, but how do you catch them? Well, there are many different ways, all effective, and all great fun. To sum it up, there are three main methods, live baiting, dead baiting and lure fishing. Bream just love live baits like, bloodworms, sand worms, prawns and pink nippers – the only problem – so does every other fish in the ocean. When it comes to dead baits, anything from pilchards, squid and prawns to chicken and bread will do the damage. Bream will also eat a large variety of lures; from soft plastic minnows, grubs and crabs to hardbodied poppers, stick baits, deep divers and metal vibes. They’ll also gobble up flies like baited breaths, crazy charlie’s and shrimp imitations too. I can’t tell you specifically which lures to use (as the fish will feed differently in certain locations) but a really good all-rounder is the Berkley Gulp! 3” Minnow - wherever I go, I’ll always start off fishing with this lure.

 

What’s more impressive: the bream or Kirk’s hair? 

 

When it comes to the gear, light 1-4kg rods, small 2000 sized reels and sensitive 1-4kg braid is a must. Not to mention, the light tackle makes the fight even better. But hold your horses, the most important part of the setup is what you tie onto the end of that braid – this is what the fish is going to see. Light, good quality fluoro-carbo leaders are definitely the name of the game as bream can be particularly spooky. I’ll fish with anything from 2kg to 6kg leader, depending on how dense the structure is and how finicky the fish are.

 

So you’ve got your live bait rigged up, your dead bait on the hook or your lure tied on – what next? Personally, I’ll fish a live bait and a lure in very similar locations. Lightly weighted, or with no weight at all, I’ll cast either the lure or livey in close to structure and let it slowly sink down. Sometimes you’ll even see the fish rise up and nab your offering from the surface. However, when it comes to fishing dead bait, a small floater rig drifted down a burley stream is as close to a guaranteed bream as you’ll get. Finally, how many fish did you count in the image above? There are six bream and two blackfish!

 

Gotcha!

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email fishfingers18@yahoo.com or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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BROKEN BAY BAIT BALLS

Earlier this week I was lucky enough to head out for a blue-water run on the good ship, HMAS YOLO. Although I was initially dubious to whether Her Majesty had approved the custom Bertram 20 centre console for service, her skipper Dave Montague assured me it was true. With all sorts of activity frothing out of the heads, we decided to drag some lures and see what was kicking around.

 

The HMAS YOLO.

 

After hooking a few marlin close in during the previous day’s session, Dave and his sidekick Wonder Beard were keen to get the lures out early, and why not? There were current lines everywhere, the birds were going crazy and the water was 25.4 degrees! So with the outriggers lowered and the Tiagra ratchets clicked to howl, we were fishing - and only a few miles off Barrenjoey Headland too. It hadn’t been more than five minutes of trolling before a mahi mahi (dolphinfish/dolly) nabbed a little blue and white skirt sitting by its lonely self off the long rigger. Although the fish struggled to take any drag off the 50W, we thought it was a good sign of things to come and kept working towards deeper water.

 

The first fish of the day was a greedy little dolly.

 

The Wonder Beard.

 

After another hour of trolling east the birdlife seemed to be increasing. First, there were a couple of mutton-birds on the horizon, then a dozen, then hundreds all around us! As we got closer, a huge bait ball came into view and it was being absolutely decimated! Tuna were everywhere and Wonder Beard even thought he saw a marlin amongst the action, but a later review of the images confirmed it was actually a shark. After having some fun on the striped tuna, the activity subsided after the last few baitfish were devoured from above and below. What once was a foaming mass of whitewater was now just blasé oil slick on the surface of the ocean.

 

Feeding frenzy!
 

Stripey's as fat as footballs were everywhere!

 

Why did I leave the flyrod at home!?

 

Wonder Beard and Dave with a fully lit up stripey.

 

The dollies were in on the action too!

 

Spot the shark fin.

 

We continued out to the Broken Bay and Terrigal FAD’s where we quickly caught plenty of mahi mahi on any lure that donned our line. But with the sun now getting lower in the sky and our fingers red raw from constantly replacing elastic bands on the riggers, we decided to pack it in and head home. Although the marlin eluded us this time, we were chaperoned home to a dolphin fish dinner by a never-ending pink sunset - you just gotta love gamefishing.

 

  

Dollies were a cinch at the FAD.

 

That's some serious air time.

 

Hands down, best looking fish in the ocean.

 

Whack!

 

The last bait ball of the day.
 
Not a bad view for the run home...

 

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email fishfingers18@yahoo.com or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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FLY ON THE WALL

"Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after" - Henry David Thoreau. 

 

For the past few days I've been fishing nonstop, and you know what? I've caught bugger all! But too be honest, it hasn’t bothered me in the slightest. The laughs you have, the sights you see and stories you gather are sometimes the greatest reward when it comes to fishing. So for the blog this week, I invite you to be the fly on the wall of my recent fish-less endeavours. 

 

Prospecting at Thompson Creek Dam.

 

  

A beam of light breaks free of the cloud cover in the Blue Mountains (left). The cloud factory at Lake Wallace chugging away (right).

 

  

Strawberry Ripe sunsets over Narrabeen Lagoon (left). Chopped in half (right).

 

Awkward stances are a prerequisite when pumping live bait…

 

No bucket, no worries.

 

Mmm, nipper smoothie.

 

  

It was slim pickings on the whiting front (left). The solider crabs were on patrol (right).

 

  

Perfect conditions and icy beers - a fat fishy would've just been a bonus.

 

Last cast.

 

The foggy valleys of Cowan Creek.

 

  

From sunset to sunrise we trolled lures without as much as a sniff from a marlin.

 

The sunset behind the Sydney skyline is pretty good when you’re 30km out to sea on the continental shelf… 

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email fishfingers18@yahoo.com or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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GARAGE SALE

Have you been scouting for that perfect rod and reel, but found everything too expensive? Well I’ve got good news, this week I’m selling a chunk of my much loved fishing rod and reel collection (only because I need to make space for new gear). They’ve all been lovingly cared for and looked after, in fact they’ve all had a warm shower with me after every fishing session – but don’t let that put you off!

 

Used but well loved...
 

...Very well loved

 

Alrighty, below is the list of gear for sale. All the reels are used and have some exterior marks and scratches, but all of them are mechanically fine. Also for sale are five rods, two of which are brand new. Get ‘em while they’re hot!

 

Reels

The lot.

 

Daiwa Saltiga 4500 S-Extreme spooled with 80lb jigging braid: $650

 

Daiwa Advantage 3000 spooled with 15lb braid: $130

 

 

Daiwa Advantage 3000 spooled with 20lb braid: $130

 

Shimano Stella 1000FD spooled with 6lb braid: $500

 

Daiwa Luna spooled with 30lb braid: $220

 

Daiwa Alphas spooled with 15lb braid: $200

 

Daiwa HRF spooled with 30lb braid: $180

 

 

Rods

Brand new Daiwa Advantage Spinning 701MFS 8-14lb: $200
Brand new Samurai 201 Spinning 2-6lb: $380
Okuma Trinus Baitcaster 8-12kg: $50
Fishfinder Custom Baitcaster 15kg: $180 (or $330 with the Daiwa HRF)
Daiwa Steez Baitcaster 661 8-20lb: $350

 

Or $3,000 for the lot.

Location: Northern Beaches, NSW

 

If you’re interested in an item or have a question, feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me an email on fishfingers18@yahoo.com – happy shopping.

 

 

Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email fishfingers18@yahoo.com or leave a comment below.

 

Until next week.

 

Jack Murphy

 

 

© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography

 

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