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A Day in the Life of a Fishing Guide: Dan Selby
  |  First Published: April 2015



How many Fishing Monthly readers would love to go fishing everyday on their home waters and get paid to do it? Sure it would have its perks, but might not always be as simple as it sounds. In fact when you think about it, it could be quite frustrating at times - Bad weather conditions, sea sick clients and the worst possible outcome - the fish wont bite!

I thought I’d get it from the horse’s mouth and have a chat with Dan Selby. Dan is the owner/guide of Sydney Sportfishing Adventures and a member of the Professional Fishing Instructor and Guides Association (PFIGA). Dan writes our Hawkesbury page in NSW Fishing Monthly and has penned many features and graced several front covers over the years. Dan has been running Sydney Sportfishing Adventures for nearly 5 years and specialises in fishing the waters around Sydney Harbour, Broken Bay and the Hawkesbury River. His wealth of knowledge of these systems - as well as being a specialist lure fisherman, means he has many happy clients hitting their PB’s, seeing first hand successful techniques, and returning time after time to learn more.

I caught up with Dan to ask him a few questions about what his average day guiding was like, what the average person could expect from a day fishing with a guide, and what he wished his clients would gain from a day out on the water.

RL: When and why did you decide you wanted to become a fishing guide?

DS: It was 2009 I made the decision that guiding was the path for me, I immediately took the necessary steps to get my Coxswains ticket. Before I became a full time guide I may job was primarily shift work which allowed me to fish often and get to know the waterways and their inhabitants around Sydney intimately.

I regularly put my inexperienced friends and now wife Angela onto quality fish, so after putting this all together and fine tuning my guiding skills I was eventually able to turn my passion for this career path.

RL: What does your average day consist of from start to finish?

DS: Early starts! In summer I’m up at 3am and straight on the road. I have an hour’s drive with boat in tow. I stop for fuel/ice and an iced coffee (to keep me awake). Once I’m at the chosen boat ramp I launch the boat, make sure all the tackle is rigged up, and make sure the boat is ready for day’s adventures.

Once I meet with my clients, we have a safely debrief going over all the important and necessary procedures and plans and then we head off to the fishing grounds.

Once we get to where we fish I gain knowledge of clients previous experience and what they would like to achieve from their time with me - going through techniques in a practical hands on manner and discuss which ever technique we are using (cast/retrieve, trolling, down rigging, live baiting), hopefully catching our target species along the way.

Back at the ramp, I retrieve boat onto trailer any kept fish need to be cleaned/filleted and clients thanked and on their way home.

I then take a deep breath….. pack the inside of boat up, dispose of any rubbish and strap boat to trailer.

Heading home is usually a bit longer drive in Sydney’s traffic.

Once home, a full wash down of tackle, boat, trailer, esky and motor is on the agenda. Return any missed calls, emails and Facebook PMs, fill in DPI catch log, have dinner and a shower, bed.

Geez, I’m exhausted just writing about it!

RL: Do you get to fish as well while you’re doing a charter, or is it all about your client and getting them onto the fish?

DS: The majority of the time it’s all about getting my clients onto fish and honing their techniques/skills. Some clients benefit from seeing the techniques demonstrated at the start of the day and others insist you fish with them as they learn better that way. Everyone’s different so a flexible approach is best I have found.

RL: What does your average client want from a day out with you?

DS: Anything from improved casting, learning new techniques and styles, catching a new species to landing a bigger PB fish. But most just want to have fun.

RL: As a guide - what do you want your clients to walk away with after a day on the water with you?

DS: A memorable experience that was fun, action packed, informative and exceeding their expectations.

RL: I’m sure you have had many memorable days out on the water putting people onto fish. What would be your most memorable day?

DS: That’s a hard one, as there has been so many, but the tag and release of two mulloway over the metre mark in one day for clients Trenden and Nathan last June was super special.

It started on the fifth cast of the morning when regular client Trenden came tight to a 122.5 cm Mulloway on light spin tackle and a big paddle tail soft plastic. I can recall saying after releasing the fish, “we should go home now, as it doesn’t get much better than that!”

The day was young (first half an hr of a 9hr trip)so we continued but no more luck. I’d had a couple of big live pike hit but failed to hook up in the two trips prior to this one so we went casting the washes for tailor and pike.

They got a few good tailor to 41cm but no pike! One of Trenden’s tailor got smashed mid fight by a big hoodlum kingfish that won it’s freedom on the 20lb tackle!

After that pandemonium and a tank full of good baits we headed back up river for the tide change and another shot at a monster mulloway.

We had literally just set the spread of live baits and had got our out lunch when the rod with the 41cm live tailor went off. Nathan was on the rod and did a wonderful job as Trenden and I cleared the decks and dropped the anchor to begin the chase. 10-15 minutes later we all shared the disbelief as 144cm of mulloway came into view with a perfect hook up in the corner of the jaw.

A quick and highly respected (by me and many others) decision was made by Nathan that we should tag and release this fish. We prepped the deck and got her on board for the tagging and a few quick pics, swam it for 10-15 min and off she went!

Still remains the largest tagged mulloway in NSW and on my vessel ‘ME & JEW’.

RL: Thanks for your time Dan. If one of our readers is interested in spending a day on your charter how should they get in contact with you?

DS: Not a problem. Thank you for the opportunity.

You can Call or text me on 0405 196 253, E: --e-mail address hidden-- or look me up online at www.sydneysportfishing.com.au

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