Darwin may well be the guided fishing capital of Australia, but in terms of a home-based fishing tackle sector, the only serious product is the well-known Reidy’s lures.
Most anglers would have visited its old Stuart Highway premises which also offered factory tours. Recently, Reidy’s Lures moved to a flash new premises in Berrimah… and it’s expanding.
Owned by ever-affable Colin and Karen Burdon, just this week the company purchased a major Australian fishing brand: Schneider Fishing Lines.
There wouldn’t be an angler in Darwin who is not aware of the Schneider brand.
According to Fishing and Outdoor World’s George Voukolos, Schneider monofilament leader line is the biggest-selling leader by far.
“Schneider 55 pounds is the main barra leader and the 70 and 80 pound leaders are what people mainly use on the reefs,” George said.
Colin said that he expected the acquisition of Schneider Fishing Lines would open up so many doors for the company.
“I believe this is a big thing for Darwin because there are now two great products coming out of here,” Colin said.
“It’s not a distributorship; it’s solely an Australian product, and now its home is Darwin.
“It’ll be 70 years this year that Schneider was formed in Australia.
“We settled this week, and everything will be coming to Darwin to the Berrimah premises,” Col explained.
Schneider monofilament was made in Germany but then moved to Portugal, and the braid line is manufactured in the USA.
“A lot of professional fishermen use it on the east coast as well,” Colin said.
“The feedback we’ve received and the previous owners received as far as us I buying it have been great.
“We’re not a great big tackle company where the brand will just get swallowed up.
“It’s basically gone from one family business to another.
“The company was started in 1960 by John Ungar, and in later years was passed on to his two daughters: Kim Beslich and Jackie Dempster.
“We put the purchase on hold with Covid but in the end decided to just do it.
“It’s ironic that their dad passed away 12 months ago on Tuesday and that’s the day the sale went through.
“The braid is very slow, so there’s a lot of opportunity to lift that… they’re the sort of things we’ll be looking at.
“With us bringing Schneider to the Territory, there should be a bit of Territory loyalty factor kicking in… that’s what we’re hoping,” Colin said.
Here’s a bit of weird history, but my association with Schneider goes back to when I was a young teenager fishing the rocks at Bondi for blackfish, bream, tailor and mulloway.
We all used Schneider then, and I used to catch two buses to the Weiss Perlon store in Artarmon Sydney to buy Schneider line from John Ungar as he was the sole distributor.
When I arrived in Darwin in 1978, everyone was using tie-on wire traces for barra, which I couldn’t understand because barra don’t have teeth.
So I used Schneider – 50 pound then – as leader, tying it straight to the 6kg monofilament line I used.
More people started using mono leaders and I remember in those early days suggesting to George Voukolos and Greg Chan at Fishing and Outdoor World that they should look at getting some Schneider leader material in as it was great stuff.
I gave them the contact and they followed through.
Before you knew it, Schneider was a big seller in Darwin, and stores right through north Queensland also started stocking it.
You can expect more breezy conditions this weekend, so venturing offshore may not be a comfortable proposition.
The tides are good though as they’ll be coming off the neaps and will be half way to the springs.
This is the sort of scenario when fish are most likely to feed: currents are speeding up but there is still good water clarity, and the foodchain is on the move.
It’s a pattern that works both offshore with reef fish and pelagic speedsters, and also in the tidal creeks and estuaries for barra.
Don’t say you heard it from me but I understand there are some big barra patrolling the Adelaide River.
I also heard that both Yellow Water and Home Billabongs in Kakadu are fishing extremely well for both barra and saratoga.
Those two spots are always great fun to fish.
Micky Qaiser of Spring Tide Safaris with his 99cm Shady Camp barra caught on a Reidy’s Fish Snakz.
The new Reidy’s factory will now also be home to the iconic Schneider Fishing Lines brand.