Product testing – a dream job for any angler

PART of my work involves testing the latest fishing gear, and that doesn’t just mean using it in varying conditions around the country for myself, it also means seeing how the gear works in the hands of newcomers. 

And then there is the hardest bit of all, seeing how the gear holds up when a giant once-in-a-lifetime fish comes along. It’s a tough job, I know.

Among others, I’ve been vigorously testing some lighter two to four-kilo spin Fishing Australia tournament rods and reels manufactured by tackle giant Okuma. 

The latest rage in two to four-kilo rated gear is rod and reel packages that come pre-spooled with braid. You see the rod, reel and line components must work together otherwise you will regularly get tangles, as anyone who has tried braid on the wrong rod/reel will well know.

This means having exactly the right line lay on the reel, the right size and spacing of the guides on the rod, the right taper on the rod, and the right braid.  

If any one of these components is slightly out of whack or not married to the other component, you’ll get tangles, and furthermore casting distance/accuracy, and fish-fighting capabilities will be compromised.  

While a two to four-kilo pre-spooled braid spinning outfit is primarily used for bream, whiting, flathead, redfin and trout in this region, I must stress that this is also the ideal-sized outfit for golden perch and small to middle-sized Murray cod.

You see, if you go heavier, like most anglers do, you’ll get far fewer bites and have far less fun fighting the typical Murray cod and golden perch. 

To prove a point I took visitors to the region – Brad Andrews from Great Lakes Fishing and Camping and his mate Peter Whitton – out for their first ever golden perch and Murray cod.

We used 12-pound fluorocarbon leader, which is ideal when targeting larger native fish on this size spin sticks.

Both Brad and Peter caught great fish, mainly casting 5cm-long bibbless minnows into the deeper faster river runs, but also on medium divers in the shallows early and late in the day. 

It was awesome to see the lads get crunched by hard- fighting natives, and the sport offered was delightful rather than just skull dragging the fish in on the usual heavier tackle.  

We caught cod to 90cm, which is a very big fish on light tackle for most anglers. But Brad’s last fish, a 73cm Murray cod hooked in fast, shallow, clear water was extra feisty and gave him the bite and fight of his life.

Then, as a special treat, I hit some honey holes of mine at Burrinjuck on my own.  

This required waiting on a calm, still, hot evening, and then sneaking up on some big fish haunts in my kayak. 

The product being tested was a slightly heavier four to six-kilo spin stick spooled with 15kg braid over some 12kg leader – I was anticipating much bigger cod in that location.

From a sneaky 50m away I cast a red-fin-imitating plastic and worked these spots, on several different nights, until I came up tight on a 1m-plus Murray cod of over 50 pounds.  

In a hot week’s fishing I ended up getting three extra-large specimens over a metre each on three separate nights.  

All hell fights, and I can’t do better than that when it comes to seeing how tackle would work if an average angler hooks such a fish in their travels – and with all the anglers out there having a good honest go it does happen more often than you might think!  

This testing mission is now complete.

See you on the water,

Rob Paxevanos

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