REEL DEAL: Fishing at the Ballina RSL boardwalk are Karl Thomas, of Alstonville, and Jimmy Andrew, of Sydney. Send in pictures of fish you, your family or friends have caught to win great prizes. Email photos (1–6MB), with details of when, where and what was used to catch the fish, to Fishing.Comp@northernstar.com.au.
REEL DEAL: Fishing at the Ballina RSL boardwalk are Karl Thomas, of Alstonville, and Jimmy Andrew, of Sydney. Send in pictures of fish you, your family or friends have caught to win great prizes. Email photos (1–6MB), with details of when, where and what was used to catch the fish, to Fishing.Comp@northernstar.com.au. Alf Boston

How to always hook a winner

ANYONE who fishes much will tell you it's important to have the right gear and, for non-fishing people, choosing useful angling gifts can be tough.

It's important to get the right advice when faced with such a bewildering selection.

That's where your local tackle store really shines.

The staff sell nothing but fishing gear all year and they know what works and doesn't, what is junk, what colour, type and size of lures catch local fish and a whole lot more.

Many locals are parts of buying groups and their products are often as cheap as, or cheaper than, the big stores.

So head down to your local for gifts and be confident you're buying the right thing.

Christ Doust at Suffolks Sports in Keen St, Lismore, says Megabass lures have been very popular since the prices dropped about 25%.

The Griffon 6CC deep diver has done well on local bass and is retailing now for $29.95.

Suffolks also have the popular Gulp soft lures at three packs for $25, plenty of crab dillies and some great rod and reel combos from Shimano for estuary, beach or offshore.

At Ballina Bait and Tackle at the Key West Shopping Centre, Brett Hyde says Watersnake manual inflatable lifejackets are going out the door for $75, as are three-tray hard tackle boxes, half price for $25.

He also has the Jarvis Walker stainless fish smoker for $49, Fin Nor Biscayne lever drag combos, with a tackle box, for $169 and 3m x 3m gazebos at a shady $89.

Other stocking-fillers include a 6'6" soft plastics-style rod with Rovex reel and a tackle box for $49.95, landing nets from $18 and timber rod stands for $49.

Closed Christmas Day.

Dave's Bait Shop, in River St, Ballina, has more tackle and sells more bait than any shop between Tweed Heads and Coffs Harbour, according to owners Ian and Sheryl Hush

Leaders among the many popular Shimano and Rapala rod and reel combos this season is the 2-4kg Shimano 7' Hyper Loop rod and reel, with line, for only $59.95.

It's hard to go past four hardbody bass and bream lures for $8.50, with a pack of bigger flathead/jack lures at the same price.

There's plenty of dive gear, including kits for all budgets. This week there's 20% off the large Mirage mask, fin and snorkel kit.

Dave's always has a huge variety of fresh and frozen bait and brings in live beach worms three times a week. Call 6686 2481 to order.

Closed Christmas Day.

Craig and Joy Urquhart, of Casino Outdoor and Disposals in Centre St, have plenty of camping and fishing specials.

They stock the latest Penn reels, including the new Spinfisher with the sealed gearbox, starting at $190.

The Pflueger Purist threadline has been a popular reel, especially for bass and bream/flathead fishers, with four sizes up to medium snapper for $119.

Craig and Joy also have some great Penn combos, with the tough 950SSM threadline on a Penn boat rod for just $119.

They stock many of the huge range of the new Wilson Blue Steel rods, from the 10' two piece all the way back down to the 6' lightweights.

Few stores stock such a range of soft plastics, with the best from Berkley, Gulp, Atomic, Zerek, and the top japanese brands.

Evans Head Sports and Marine has a whole range of Penn Spinfisher SSM reels to 950 size and the new Pursuit reels up to 8000 size, and plenty of cool and comfy Shimano Evair shoes in assorted sizes from $60.

Narelle Scrimshaw says the snapper fishos should try the Berkley's new Slomo gomoku-style slow jigs from 40-100g.

They're $10.80 and one of the locals slayed the snapper on them on a recent trip to New Zealand.

With their flash graphics, UPF 50 Bigfish shirts are popular at $73, especially the Aussie sailfish designs.



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