Was going through my bookmarks and thought I’d share some with you folks. Bit of a mixed bag, but all fishing related and loosely translated to tropical Australian fishing, nice JDM gear and different techniques.

http://www.facebook.com/ABCTalesfromtheTinny – Nothing makes me laugh harder in the fishing realm. Check these podcasts out every Saturday if you haven’t already.

Barramundi Information
http://www.johnnymitchellsfishingcharters.com.au/blog/ – Not many share the good oil like Johhny Mitchell and anything written by him is usually has some ‘gold nuggets’ scattered in there. Few guys know barramundi like this man and you need to read his articles several times, then several times again and you’ll still be learning things. If you haven’t signed up to his blog and are interested in barra, strongly suggest you do. Also Googling his name and barramundi also pulls up some other great articles.

Australian + International Fishing Blogs

http://micksgonefishing.com – Not only does Mick Hassett love fishing, but he’s also good at it and dedicated. Often hunting a new species, or testing out new gear, this is a blog you should check out on the regular.

http://secretbarramundi.blogspot.com.au – Hiroaki Nakamura’s blog secret barramundi is filled with land based barra goodness. Hiro loves his fishing and it shows through in his posts. With regular catch reports, some good tips and general goodwill all round for other anglers it’s one of the best blogs out there. One of the first bloggers out there as well!

http://landangler.net – Another of the original blogs in Oz, Landangler is a catch report style blog with huge detail in a dairy format based in Southeast QLD. If you love flathead, mulloway & other southern species, you’ll love this blog. Landangler is a dedicated guy and puts the time in to get the rewards.

http://anglingworld.blogspot.com.au – Wai Loong from Kuala Lumpur Malaysia is a naturalist that goes the extra mile when it comes to fishing in search of un-spoilt wilderness, with hard to find sought after fish species. This is one blog that will inspire you and get your brain tingling. One of the best blogs ever I reckon!

http://tacklesource.blogspot.com – Darren from Tackle Source loves the good stuff. As a fishing tackle distributer, this blog is jam packed with great Asian trip reports, stunning fish and some serious high end gear. See life from a Singapore/Malaysian view and check it out.

http://www.henry-gilbey.com/blog/ – An amazing photographer, Henry also loves fishing for seabass. His blog is good and has some interesting reviews on tackle used for seabass from a UK perspective. The photos are amazing, naturally.

http://thenervousmullet.blogspot.com.au – great blog with some serious fishing going on. Based out of Townsville.

http://starlofishing.me – Steve Starlo needs no introduction. Read his blog for some good info on writing, Aussie fish and the top end.

http://fishingterritory.com/blogs/tragic/ – Some good Billfish information in this blog!

http://www.lurelovers.com – Tony Mayfield runs a tight ship over at Lure Lovers and it’s a great site. Get some history on the lure makers from Oz and see why timber lures are still held in such high regard.

Australian & International Forums
http://www.fishingterritory.com – Top end site with loads of information on barramundi from a NT perspective.

http://www.australianfishing.com.au – What used to be a Brisbane site, has grown and contains good info on SEQ fishing.

http://www.breammaster.com – Bit of a strange one to have in the list but it’s a good site with lots of nice gear being used and not just bream. I like to think of large bream as small mangrove jack and the information is pertinent, they do grow over 50cm which people forget and some of the mangrove jack by-catch is interesting.

http://forums.tackletour.com – Tackle porn from a US perspective. US centric gets a bit old at times but is worth it.

http://www.swimbaitnation.com/nationtalk/ – If you like larger lures or swim baits, best you check this one out.

http://www.fishingkaki.com – Singaporean & South East Asian fishing forum. Amazing fish and some nice tackle being used.

http://www.youtube.com/user/weflickfishing – Good youtube channel with real life tips

http://www.youtube.com/user/tacticalbassin – Great swim bait information!

JDM Fishing Gear
http://www.japanprofishing.com – Huge range if great gear at decent prices, seem to stock harder to get items more often
http://www.digitaka.com – Quite possibly the cheapest reels with postage included
http://www.bass.jp – Good tackle and postage included on reels
http://www.plat.co.jp – Massive range, can be more expensive, good specials from time to time
http://www.japantackle.com – Similar to plat.
http://www.ichibantackle.com – Secondhand and new tackle at sometimes amazing prices. Super rare reel parts sell fast here.
http://marunouchishop.com/index2.html – Hard to get items.
http://global.rakuten.com/en/ – Large storefront for Japanese sellers, good for price comparison, cumbersome to use but worth it to save money and get rare items
http://auctions.yahoo.co.jp – Best to use a broker or japanese friend here. Yahoo auctions are bigger than eBay and Yahoo is bigger than Google in Japan. Lots of good gear here. Lots.
http://www.7seasproshop.com – Thai store with huge range of JDM gear. Prices can be more expensive but impressive range of gear.

eBay Fishing Gear
Shimreels – My favourite eBay fishing gear seller, stock most things JDM and decent pricing, often very cheap
Kaisei0121 – new & secondhand lures, trebles & braid
Sayaka603 – big lures
ILoveHardBait – Cheap luckycraft lures. Free shipping on 3+

If you check out (+ hit the like button!!) http://www.facebook.com/AustralianFishingBlog check the fishing pages I like and add them as well. Lot’s in there. I found it good to split my fishing info over to a new page and just hit home to get all my facebook fishing content in one place!


There isn’t a lot of information available about Graphiteleader rods online. Guys/gals that have used them, rave about them. Most people have never seen one, let alone fished with one. I had to search lots of forums and websites to make a decision, everything from Thai fishing sites, to Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, UK, US, and Australia!

Graphiteleader manufacture blanks in-house in Japan, they were the first company to ever produce a graphite rod and they also supply Evergreen Fishing their blanks (a company that needs no introduction). There are only a few references online to the fact that both Evergreen and Graphiteleader share almost exactly the same rods, both in blank and components – though I’m sure many have noticed. The only main difference is availability and price.

For the price it’s hard to beat Graphiteleader, also their range is enormous. They are a true JDM company, (unlike Megabass or Daiko that make their blanks in China). I like made in Japan, true JDM. Buying the exact Graphiteleader model you want can be slightly difficult. Most of the main sellers online have sold out and you have to search far and wide to find them in stock. I took this as a good sign as most of the good gear sells faster than you’d think in Japan.

Every single review I have ever found or read about Graphiteleader online has been very positive. The deeper you dig, the more styles of fishing and glowing reviews you find. I felt confident that I was on the right track after reading positive reviews from both the Australian bream community and the sea bass fishermen overseas. These two techniques very loosely correlate to our mangrove jack and barramundi fisheries.

I considered many different manufacturers and didn’t really have a set budget in mind. I would much rather have ended up with two rods than one of the high-end Megabass or Evergreen rod. That was the challenge! After traveling through Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Japan recently, I have picked up every rod I could and got a good feel for what I liked or disliked about each brand and model in the ranges. The big problem was the only rods I liked from Megabass were all the most expensive, like $800 AUD+ and the Evergreen spinning rods were all far too finesse for our fishery in FNQ (Far North Queensland – where the Bream are Mangrove Jacks). I looked at Major Craft, Smith, Megabass, Evergreen and many others. If I liked the feel of a rod it was usually too light rating wise, or too expensive. Sad face. To be honest I was left disappointed. There was only about 3-4 rods that really stood out as having ‘it’. Very hard to get a light rod with ‘balls’ down low that would suit our tropical estuaries and be balanced.


After searching high and low, I stumbled onto Graphiteleader and specifically the Vigore range. A slight step down in components for top of the range rods, still elegant and simple, with great blanks. I decided after much consideration that this was the way to go. (I would love to choose Vittoria rods and can only imagine how sweet they are!)

I was after two specific rods and they had to meet the following criteria.

Rod 1
A rod for smaller swimbaits and large lures capable to handling a large barramundi. For use in tight country snag hunting, and casting lures at headlands during barramundi ‘run off’ & wet season. I intend to throw some huge lures around this barra season and I’m also very keen to get up to Lake Tinaroo and spend some time catching a true monster. I need a rod that is not only lightweight, but also capable of comfortably throwing lures to 3oz. Line class up to 50lb braid (mainly for abrasion resistance, not breaking strength).

  • casting
  • between 7′ & 7’2
  • extremely lightweight for a beast, under 150grams
  • big lure range to 2.5-3oz
  • minimal bling
  • around $400

Rod 2
This rod had to be shorter for mangrove work and accurate casting. A light tip to throw weightless plastics and tiny prawn presentations at larger fish with the power to extract them from tight cover. Able to fit two roles as the seasons change, lightweight 12lb outfit in closed barra season and 16lb in barra season. Also has to be an all rounder.

  • spinning
  • between 6’6 & 7′
  • light tip, medium heavy power
  • ability to throw small lures, tiny poppers & plastics
  • extremely lightweight, under 100grams
  • minimal bling
  • around $400

I decided on a GVIC-70XH & GVIS-67ML-PE models. Both very different rods.



After being majorly messed around for nearly a week by a large name Japanese store to be told they didn’t have the rods in stock, I looked for alternatives. Finding both rods I wanted in Thailand at 7 seas pro shop, I placed an order. Great service, easy transaction and both rods arrived in perfect condition within 4 business days of placing the order. 2 thumbs up to Joe from 7seasproshop.com – you can tell this guy is serious by the spinning rods they have in stock, not to mention the other gear!

Upon unpacking the rods from the well packed tube, I was impressed. Perfect finish, actually perfect. Both rods felt amazing in the hand, balanced and light. Even the beast GVIC-70XH was well balanced. It’s great when a plan comes off and buying two rods unseen from overseas turns out better than expected.

GVIC-70XH is one of the rare rods that has the power to weight ratio, lightweight, is balanced and comes in at a shorter length. Due to being used in the mangroves and snags I can’t have a huge 8′ swimbait rod and I don’t need the ability to cast a 5oz bait into the horizon. There are very few, if any options available for true JDM sticks in this segment. The GVIC-70XH is just so balanced for such a beast, it can throw 3/8oz lures better than 3oz lures. I wouldn’t quite give it a rating to 3oz, as it’s more comfortable at a max of 2.5oz-2.75oz before feeling slightly overwhelmed. It could also be me, I’ve never really thrown large baits in anger and I’m sure the rod can handle it, it might just be me and time will tell. Maybe when the ‘shine’ wears off I will fish it in anger?

GVIS-67ML-PE is a new model in the range and satisfies the sweet spot I wanted to fill. This has become my lightweight Mangrove Jack outfit and those that know Mangrove Jack, know how hard they pull and how important it is to stop them getting home on that first almighty power-drive run they give. Not many rods have a light tip and medium heavy butt with balance. This stick does and is my favourite rod to use. So sweetly balanced and very surprising power wise. Very sensitive and you can feel the difference between mud, sand, rocks and wood on the retrieve. Lure range maxes out at around 1/2oz and it will throw smaller lures ok, but it’s not really a true light, but definitely a medium light. I’d not really rate this rod down to 1/16oz as I reckon that is a bit too light, it really shines at the upper end of it’s suggested ratings, which is good for what I’m using it for. Great for hardbodies and plastics, while I do prefer a stiffer rod the thin tip allows a more moderate taper that suits jerk baits really well. It’s great using lures in this rods sweet spot of 5-10 grams! It will cast 12-14grams ok if you are careful not to overload the tip, however it’s really a bit too heavy for the rod on the retrieve and you loose feel.

So there, as longwinded as that was, that’s my review of two Graphiteleader Vigore rods. I’ll do an update somewhere in the next year with progress on durability and my thoughts on these rods. I can’t wait to see what GL come out with in Osaka next month!

Tight lines and thanks for reading!