Meet the writers: Andrew Clark
  |  First Published: March 2008

1. Name, age and where’s home?

Andrew Clark, 37 years old, Mount Eliza, Victoria

2. How long have you been fishing – can you remember your very first fish?

I started fishing when I was 5 or 6 and the first fish I ever caught was a toadfish off the Glenelg Pier in Adelaide. Ah those were the days…

3. How many days a year do you fish, on average?

Probably 120-150 days a year.

4. What’s your favourite lure or bait?

Well I’m a bait fisherman first and foremost and on my home turf of Port Phillip Bay I’ve never seen a bait more effective on snapper than scad. It is the most underrated bait on the market, but it accounts for more than 90% of the reds we catch.

5. Who are your three most influential people in your addiction to angling, and why.

Neil Tedesco – I’ve been fishing with Neil for a few years now and he’s probably forgotten more about fishing than I’ll ever know. Without a doubt he’s the most ‘complete’ angler I’ve ever met.

My father – My old man originally got me into fishing.

Geoff Wilson – Great fishing writer, always learn something from Geoff Wilson articles and most of the knots I use have come from his books.

6. If you had three wishes, what would change about today's fishing world?

1. Discontinue stainless steel and galvanised hooks.

2. Make it a federal offence to anchor within 100m of another boat in Port Phillip Bay.

3. Increase funding to the DPI and in particular Fisheries to really crack down on illegal fishing activities (not just the ab divers!)

7. List some of your PB’s - any species you like.

Spanish mackerel, 27.5kg; snapper, 9.2kg; King George whiting, 815g (caught that at Mornington of all places!); queenfish, 8.2kg; gummy shark, 18.1kg.

8. You’ve got one month left to live - where and how do you now fish your last days?

Straight on a plane to Western Australia, then up to Exmouth to have a go at catching a 40kg+ GT, land-based. Actually we’re going to try to get to Exmouth this year so I hope that isn’t a bad omen about my mortality!

9. When you are six foot under, what will other anglers best remember you for?

Probably for doing more fishing and less ‘real’ work than just about anybody.

10. What was your worst fishing experience?

When I was learning how to land big gummies I lost a thumper, probably over 25kg, right next to the boat after messing around with a noose for about 20 minutes. When it eventually broke me off I reckon residents of Flinders heard the profanities. I went got a new noose later that day, fished the same spot the following morning and proceeded to lose a similar size gummy in exactly the same manner. Since then I haven’t hooked a gummy anywhere near as big. It isn’t exactly the most mind-blowing story, but it was the closest I came to giving fishing away after those two fishing sessions. It taught me a lot, too!

11. What are some of your hottest sessions or greatest memories on the water?

In Victoria, among the most memorable was when fishing for snapper with a mate and we had five rods go off at once. It’s an amazing sound to hear five reels screaming at the same time, trying to guess which one has the biggest red on it. Another time I was on my own in Western Port and caught three gummies over 15kg in just under 15 minutes from anchoring up (the third one I cut off at the boat).

The most incredible thing I’ve seen was when land-based gamefishing in northern NSW, a young bloke near us fell off the ledge and into the drink. He took off his jacket to make it easier to swim in. A few minutes later we hooked a Mack tuna and when it came in close we could see it was tangled up in this bloke’s jacket. It turned out that his keys and sunnies were in the jacket, so after the tuna was landed, he just put his sunnies on, grabbed his car keys out of the pocket, walked back to the car and drove home!

12. What are you reading at the moment and what is your favourite music?

Reading ‘The Broker’ by John Grisham.

The six CD’s in the CD player in my car at the moment are: The White Stripes (Move Over Satan), The Foofighters (In Your Honor), AC/DC (Powerage), Live (Throwing Copper), Johnny Cash (The Best Of), Wolfmother (Self Titled).

13. It’s easy to criticise, moan or complain, but over the last few years, what are three big positive outcomes or developments in our sport of angling?

The recent availability of some of the top quality Japanese fishing gear has changed how I fish. Everything from Hayabusa squid jigs through to some of the top end Saltiga stuff from Diawa – I can’t get enough of that gear!

The discontinuation of scallop dredging in Port Phillip Bay has reignited accessible snapper fishing for Victorian anglers. Port Phillip Bay in mid November would have to be one of the best snapper fisheries in the country.

The progressive change in the mindset of anglers towards catch and release and preserving our fish stocks.

14. So you’re a fishing tragic and totally obsessed – how have you stayed in a relationship? What are your secrets, and what do you have to do to please the better half?

Well my partner Lisa responds to a number of different tactics. Reverse psychology is always a favourite, with lines like, ‘OK, fine I won’t go fishing, I’ll stay at home!’ and ‘You never want to spend time with me...out fishing’.

Another attack I use is the old “I need to go fishing to get a picture for an article I’m doing” (man, that one never fails – BAM! Gets her every time).

Seriously, Lisa loves fishing (although perhaps not as much as me) and knows that I get a heap of enjoyment out of it – so I guess she’s ‘very understanding’. – Compiled by Brett Geddes

Port Phillip Bay is one of the best snapper fisheries in the country.

Reads: 1852

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