top of page

Good Gear

Shimano Vanford Spin Reel

The Shimano Vanford is the latest addition to Shimano’s spinning reel line-up, with this series being touted as the “ultimate finesse fishing reel”. The Vanford series supersedes the iconic Stradic Ci4+ range of spin reels while still employing many characteristics of its renowned predecessor. The new Vanford is the recipient of significant technology upgrades which have leached down from spin reels that rank higher in the Shimano spectrum.

The familiar Ci4+ corrosion resistant body material is retained which features a matte black body with red and silver highlights. It’s easy to see the benefit gained with the lightweight but strong Ci4+ body as the Vanford 4000 weighs a mere 215 grams versus the standard Stradic 4000 at 280 grams!

The Vanford features a host of improvements, including a lighter and more balanced Magnumlite rotor that Shimano says is 48% lighter to turn when compared to a standard rotor design, and a long stroke spool promotes longer casting. It was impossible to say if the extra distance claim held true, however, more importantly in the field it exhibited no problems with any tangles or fluff ups and the Power Pro braid line packed nice and evenly on the spool.

Shimano has incorporated other upgrades to the Vanford’s internals with cold forged Hagane Gearing, Micromodule Gear II and Silent Drive to ensure the gears align perfectly and perform with nominal resistance and minimal reel noise. Turning the handle was certainly a silky smooth experience thanks also to the inclusion of 7+1 anti-rust ball bearings, as was the direct feel courtesy of the handle being threaded directly into the main drive gear.

The new reel incorporates Shimano’s water-repellent coating and specially designed water channelling construction, which Shimano refers to as X-Protect. This provides high-level water resistance of the Vanford’s roller clutch and line roller to an IPX8* standard – an excellent feature, which means that the line roller should remain trouble free even after extensive saltwater use.

Felt drag washers are installed in the 1000 to 3000 models for smoothness, and Cross Carbon drag washers are fitted to the 4000 and 5000 models for added power.

The test reel was a 4000 model and the drag had plenty of stopping power.

The Shimano Vanford 4000 has a gear ratio of 6.2:1 and specifications denote that 101cm of line is retrieved for every crank of the handle. The 4000 spool packs a very handy 230 yards of 15 pound Power Pro braid line, ideal for chasing inshore pelagics, light jigging or chasing barra and the like in in the north.

RRP: $359 to $399 (depending on size).

*IPX8 rating – protected against immersion beyond 1m to a depth specified by manufacturer.

Shimano Saragosa SWA Spin Reel

Saragosa SWA has built an incredible reputation and the newly-released 2020 model takes it to the next level. Packed with upgrades to deliver great cranking power and unmatched durability, no other reel compares at this price point. The Saragosa SWA series features 8 models with the 14000XG and 18000HG being new additions in 2020. The new range incorporates top-tier Shimano technologies such as X-Protect, X-Ship, Hagane Body and Hagane Gear into the reel body. The newly-designed compact body has been engineered to improve the reels handling and balance. Drawing upon the Stella SWC, Infinity Drive is included and provides improved pinion gear support which translates to greater and smoother cranking power. The X-Protect water resistance system improves the line roller durability to an IPX8 standard. Built for big fish in extreme conditions, the Saragosa SWA will continue to push the boundaries.

Shimano Zodias Rods

For 2020, the Zodias has undergone a significant upgrade and now features Shimano’s exclusive Carbon Monocoque Butt for the ultimate in sensitivity. The Full Carbon Monocoque rod butt is made of a hollow carbon construction, eliminating the use of EVA from the rear grip.

This results in a very lightweight construction that is extremely sensitive and improves vibration transmission through the rod blank to your hand when working a lure. To provide the exact balance between power and finesse, the 2020 Zodias continues to feature Shimano’s Hi-Power X graphite blank and Ci4+ Reel Seat and upgraded Fuji Stainless Alconite K guides with a SiC tip. There are 12 models in the range that have been engineered with specifically-tuned actions for a range of lure fishing styles. The rods are finished with the slick red and black cosmetics that have made the Zodias series a perfect match for many Shimano reels.

Shimano Kairiki 4 Braid Line

Shimano Kairiki 4 utilises the same VT construction method of braiding technology as Kairiki 8 braid. Featuring four carriers rather than 8, the new tight weave construction is created by applying high tension at opposing directions during the braiding process. The fibre is weaved

evenly at all angles, resulting in a smoother finish and a reduced diameter. This low stretch, long casting braid is an excellent choice for finesse fishing, where smoothness, sensitivity and casting ability is fundamental. Kairiki 4 is available from PE 0.6 (6lb) to PE 5 (50lb) in 150m and 300m spools, in the all new Hi-Vis Orange colour.

Plano 370z-Series Tackle Bag

Plano 370z-Series Tackle Bag is the ultimate saltwater tackle storage solution. The Z-Series

Tackle Bag is durably designed with a waterproof base, PVC fabric and easy-access attachment points. There’s not a single zipper in sight, so bring on the salt. Available in two sizes with two matching StowAways included inside.

Features include 500D PVC Fabric, waterproof moulded base with non-slip inserts, quick drain mesh side pockets, additional body structure so that the sides won’t sag when internal trays are removed, moulded attachment hardware for durability and heavy-duty padded straps.

JM GILLIES Brand Name Clothing

Check out the great range of fishing shirts, buff-style headwear and hats emblazoned with your favourite lure or tackle accessory design from the JM Gillies stable at your local tackle store. Colourful designs include popular brands such as: Plano, Bomber, Stump Jumper, Classic Lures, Tassie Devil and Rio to name just a few. Eye-catching Gillies sun wear provides great UV protection whist ensuring you look good too.

Rio Slickcast Fly Lines

Rio introduces eight new fly lines built with its new SlickCast which is a super-slick, incredbly-durable coating: Elite Rio Gold, Elite Rio Grand, Elite Rio Perception, Elite Technical trout, Rio Gold, Rio Grand, Rio Perception, Rio Technical Trout.

What’s most tangible about RIO’s SlickCast lines is just how slick they are. You’ll feel the slickness before you even have a chance to spool it up, you’ll love the slickness on your first cast, and you’ll be stunned by the slickness after countless days on the water. Whether it’s the extra distance that comes with ease, or the extended drag-free drifts, SlickCast lines slip effortlessly through your rod guides. And, as essential slickening agents constantly migrate to

the exterior surface, you can trust your SlickCast line to be as slick next season as the day you bought it.

What isn’t tangible about RIO’s SlickCast is the durability. You certainly won’t appreciate it on day 1…you’ll be too busy drooling over your casts. You’ll start to recognise it on day 25, you’ll appreciate it on day 50, and you’ll be blown away by it on day 80. SlickCast’s proprietary formulation is off the charts when tested for abrasion and cracking resistance—producing the toughest, most durable fly line coating in the world. You can count on your SlickCast line to outlast every other fly line you have ever fished with.

Bluewater Bullet Bait

The new Bullet Bait lure from the Bluewater stable is built tough to take on the most ferocious predators when targeting Bluewater species such as GTs, Tuna and Tarpon etc. The Bullet Bait is hand-made and handcrafted using a super clear-resin and features a heavy-duty, wire-through construction to meet the demands of high-speed spinning and jigging. The Bullet Bait is rigged with a single in-line VMC 7266 5/0 hook and a stainless steel heavy-duty split ring. Bullet baits are 120mm long, weigh 47 grams and are available in 5 colours.


Lowrance® has released a new, high-resolution ActiveTarget™ Live Sonar system, revealing live-action views of fish moving in and around structures as they respond to lure presentations. This new technology delivers top-of-the-line live sonar functionality to the high-resolution HDS® LIVE Ultimate Fishing System, as well as HDS® Carbon and Lowrance’s recently introduced Elite FS™ displays – providing ActiveTarget Live Sonar connectivity with a wider range of displays and pricing options.

Photos: Screen shot of real time imaging of the Lowrance Active Imaging™ 3-in-1 sonar.

The ActiveTarget Live Sonar views show high-resolution images of fish movements in real time and in detail. With this immediate feedback, anglers can adjust the presentation to trigger a strike, and know if more than one predator fish is active in the area.

Offering three viewing options, ActiveTarget can be set to Forward, Down or Scout™ mode. Forward and Down views allow anglers to track fish in front of, or below, the live sonar transducer, and Scout mode delivers an ultra-wide, overhead view of a structure and the fish activity in front of the transducer – perfect for finding bait balls and big schools of fish.

ActiveTarget complements the Lowrance Active Imaging™ 3-in-1 sonar - which includes extreme high-resolution SideScan and DownScan Imaging™ views for finding structure - and the target separation of the Lowrance CHIRP Sonar.

RRP: ActiveTarget Live Sonar, complete with black box module and transducer is priced at $2,299.00.

Pro-Cure – Tinted Bait Sauces

Pro-Cure Scents have become a go-to for many Australian lure and bait anglers looking to attract fish and trigger strikes.

Made from real bait and fish oils, Pro-Cure Tinted Bait Sauce is super sticky and ideal for boosting the attraction of your bait and lure presentations. Bait Sauce is charged with powerful complex amino acids to intensify the natural scent and increase the scent trail, attracting fish and triggering strikes.

Each flavour Bait Sauce is a different colour, which can be used to highlight baits and lures, assisted further by the added bite stimulants, fish oils and UV enhanced formula. A 4oz squeeze bottle means value for money and the applicator nozzle makes scenting up simple and mess free.

Fire up the bite with Pro-Cure Scents. Available in four flavours Tuna (0550), Shrimp (0551), Sardine/Pilchard (0552) and Garlic (0553). RRP: $27.95

Okuma – Cavalla Lever Drag Overhead Reels


Okuma Cavalla lever drag reels contain the key concepts of Okuma’s industry leading lever drag overhead platforms, taking shape in a more compact and accessible package and radically advancing the power and performance that is available to everyday anglers.

Built tough, the Cavalla’s one-piece, fully-machined, rigid 6061-T6 aluminium frame is designed to tolerate more pressure and torque. It also comes equipped with a Carbonite drag system with Cal’s drag grease, for smooth stopping power, 17-4 grade stainless steel main and pinion gears and cold forged anodised machined aluminium spool for strong, reliable performance. The Cavalla lever drag also features an on/off clicker, ergo grip handle knob and 4 corrosion resistant stainless steel ball bearings to ensure durability.

The Cavalla is available in a variety of models in both single and two speed to cover everything from vertical jigging to live bait fishing, and casting to light trolling… for species such as mackerel, kingfish, tuna and billfish.

SRP: From $499.00

Super Schneider Crystal Clear Fluorocarbon Leader

Darwin based lure maker Reidy’s Lures recently acquired the well-respected Schneider fishing line brand. Super Schneider Klear mono has an enviable reputation as an excellent monofilament leader material. However, anglers now have the choice of a stealthy fluorocarbon alternative.

Schneider Crystal Clear 100% Fluorocarbon is a superior line made from the highest grade PVDF Fluoro-Polymer, delivering a near zero visibility below the water. It is smooth to handle and bite sensitive. Schneider Fluorocarbon also boasts ultra-abrasion resistance, excellent knot strength and is fast sinking. Ideal for all fishing applications and like its famous monofilament sibling, performs outstandingly when placed under extreme conditions such as rough structure, rock and bottom fishing.

Available in 10-80 pound breaking strains to suit a wide variety of fishing situations.

Schneider Super Smooth 8 Braid

Schneider New 8 Carrier Pink Braid is 100% Spectra, formulated using the latest technology which enables the line to be finer while maintaining superior knot strength, super smoothness for ease in handling, longer casting distance, no stretch along with increased abrasion resistance and colour retention. The Schneider 8 Carrier has extreme sensitivity while maintaining a durable, round, 8 carrier profile.

These unique braided qualities enable it to match the demands of today’s fishermen, making it an ideal choice for lure fishing, trolling and deep bottom fishing. It has high visibility above the water and low visibility below the water.

Available in 10, 15, 20, 30, 40 and 50 pound breaking strain on 150 and 300 yard spools.

Little Lucifer – 3 Metre Diver

The Little Lucifer body is made from ABS plastic and the bib is made of polycarbonate. Weighing 11g, it is 65mm in length excluding the bib. This lure is the stablemate of the ever popular 2 metre rated Little Lucifer. The deeper 3 metre diver is a great small baitfish profile lure with the ability to target fish that are holding in deeper water than the 2 metre model is able to reach. The lure is fitted with heavy duty VMC (3x strong) #4 treble hooks as well as heavy duty split rings. The Little Lucifer is towed by the eyelet in the bib and is ideal for targeting barramundi, flathead, mangrove jack and aussie native freshwater species.

Zerek Live Mullet - New Colours

The Zerek school of Live Mullets just got larger! Three new colours have been added to the range of Zerek Live Mullets: Dark Ale, a clear black with gold flecks, Flying Bear which is predominantly white and Orange Belly Trout, a spangled perch imitation.

The three colours bring the total colours to 13 for the Live Mullet range, a range of lures that features a tough TPE construction and a unique, Kevlar webbed tail to provide the ultimate in realistic action.

These three colours will be added to the 4.5" and 5.5" Live Mullet range and are available in stores now.

Wilson Pro Cast Nets

Every so often a product arrives that makes use of the years of experience in our team and the

Wilson Pro Cast series of nets does just that. Leaning on the experience of our staff and pro anglers, the Pro Cast features put them at the top of the tree.

All Pro Cast nets feature chain bottoms that are tied into the netting rather than looped through the nets to ensure durability and perfect operation every cast. At the other end of the nets, the rope tie-in is fastened with a super strong swivel that has been over engineered to give years of service and minimise line twist that can lead to poor casting performance. Other critical areas have been looked at too, including the addition of a wrist strap in all models and an extension rope for the dedicated prawn cast nets.

It is this attention to detail and giving casters what they wanted and needed that elevate the Wilson Pro Cast nets to the top level.

There are eight models from 10 to 12 feet in the range, giving users a wide choice of options.

Mustad Mini Ink Vader

The Mini Ink Vaders were developed in response to requests for a smaller and more finesse Ink Vader to target shallow and still water fisheries.

Available in two styles, the Tenya and Double Assist, the Mini Ink Vader delivers a staggeringly real lure that fish cannot resist.


Photo: The single fixed hook Tenya Mini Ink Vader with red eye which denotes 20g zinc weight.

The Tenya variant features both a fixed Tenya hook and an assist hook on a 55lb assist hook braided line. The two eyes on the Tenya hook offer the option to fish vertically or horizontally, improving the chance of landing the big one. This jig is so realistic that the current can give enough action to the tentacles to get a bite.

Lures with the 20g zinc weight have a red eye, while those with the 30g lead weight have a gold eye.


Photo: The double assist Mini Ink Vader with a gold eye which denotes a 30g lead weight.

The Double Assist rigged Mini Ink Vader offers anglers more options for technique and presentation with the same proven lifelike TPE body for which the Ink Vader is known.

Similar to the original, this jig's assist hooks hang side by side amongst the tentacles, hiding in the action. Short, slow jigging presents the Ink Vader with the most realistic action.

Lures with the 20g zinc weight have a red eye, while those with the 30g lead weight have a gold eye.

Gannet Pro

HillTop Imports Group, Australian distributor of the newest fishing drone on the market, says

the Gannet Pro is set for lift-off throughout 2021. Being released late December 2020, the Gannet is now the world’s only dedicated fishing drone which can lift up to 3.5kg of payload.

The Gannet is the first fishing drone capable of displaying camera footage via a phone or I-pad so you can watch dropping your bait live on your phone. The new bladder technology and automatic flip-over function puts this waterproof drone at the forefront of the drone fishing world.

Stone Country Justice by Dick Eussen

NAFA was pleased to review a new bush novel written by our 4WD Editor, long-term NAFA contributor and great friend of Editor AJ: Dick Eussen. Stone Country Justice is available in hard copy or digital on Amazon.

A fictional piece, this book recounts the story of a troubled young man, Ungara, who goes on a killing spree in Arnhem Land, prompting the elders to contract Kangii, a Kurdaitchii man, to hunt the fugitive down. Meanwhile, hot on his tracks are Northern Territory police sergeant Ken Wilson and Indigenous policeman Toby Cahill. In the wilderness of the Stone Country, they join forces with the Kurdaitchii Man, but Ungara proves to be a hard man to catch. He leads them a merry chase through crocodile-infested swamps, across fire-blackened plains and through tall woodlands.

Just as the north-west monsoon arrives, Ungara leads the hunters into the void of the Goyder River swamps, where the chase will reach a terrifying climax.

Dick uses his in-depth experience and knowledge of Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory to capture the reader’s attention and bring the book to life. There’s some exciting reading in Dick’s first fictional work. Fans of Dick Eussen’s seven non-fiction books – such as Australia’s Gulf Country and The Savannah Way – will not be disappointed in his new writing direction.


bottom of page