I really don’t remember when I started fishing; it was just something our family always did.
By the time I was old enough to ride a pushbike out of Mum’s sight, fishing had become an obsession. Growing up on the fringes of the Snowy Mountains, every spare minute was spent on a riverbank, dam or creek somewhere.
The hot lures of the day were a red No. 2 Celta, Devon and the Floppy. We had no money for a fishing rod, so we used these lures with a handline until one day Dad came home on R&R from Vietnam with a Zebco closed face combo outfit he had picked up at the Army PT store. I think that Zebco started my passion for fishing tackle, which is now way out of control.
A Norwegian family friend introduced me to flyfishing when I was around 14 and Lake Eucumbene became my Mecca. Soon after my tackle box was overtaken with names like Mrs Simpson, black Matuka, Fuzzy Wuzzy and Alexandria.
I passed my driver’s licence test on my 17th birthday and was standing on the Tubes at Jarvis Bay that same afternoon, Policansky reel in hand and a blow up pool ready for livebait at my feet.
Almost every weekend for the next five years was spent livebaiting from rock headlands from Wollongong to Eden in search of kingfish, tuna and marlin.
Somewhere in between fishing trips I found a girl that could put up with me. I think she realised what she had got herself in to when, on our wedding night, I sat sharpening and ganging hooks for the morning bite. We moved to Queensland in the mid 1980s to start a family and settled on the Logan River.
Fishing was difficult at first because of the discoloured water, local flooding and what seemed like only two seasons a year, so I joined a fishing club in an effort to gain local knowledge. I started writing fishing reports on our club trips and sent them to a local fishing newspaper, which led to a regular monthly column.
I started on radio at 101FM, Logan’s community station, giving a fishing roundup every Saturday morning. This was valuable experience and led to a fill-in position on the then half hour show, Talking Fishing at Queensland’s number one talk radio station, 4BC. When regular host of the show Ron Collins passed away in 2003 and I was given the job as host.
Over the next three years, the half hour show was increased to one hour, then to both Saturday and Sunday. In 2005 Talking Fishing was consistently the number one rating show on 4BC and was increased to two hours on both Saturday and Sunday. The main focus of the show is to give anglers the latest fishing news, reports and tips along with a comprehensive marine weather forecast. Interviews with anglers, tournament winners and fishing and boating writers gives listeners an insight into techniques, the latest equipment and what’s hot at the moment. Callers are an important part of the show, both asking questions and giving tips and reports.
In December 2005 I was approached by the Ten Network to do a screen test for a weekly fishing report that would air during the Friday night news. I put on my best T-shirt and stood in front of a Channel Ten camera and stuttered for two minutes.
It definitely wasn’t as easy as Rex or ET made it look.
In order to give anglers a real picture of what’s biting every Friday night on Ten, I spend a lot of time on the weekends and during the week hanging around boat ramps with a video camera and asking the question, catch any? This one-on-one with a large number of anglers from all types of fishing styles gives me a great chance to hear all the gossip, what’s biting and where direct from the horse’s mouth.
I also write weekly fishing reports in the Albert &Logan News, Bayside Bulletin, Redland Times and The Courier Mail. This information is gathered from anglers at boat ramps, which ensures my reports are fact, not fiction.
Recently my website www.nuggetfishing.com.au was launched, which gave me another outlet for all the information gathered as well as something for anglers to do when the weather’s foul.
One of the site’s best features is the angler’s prediction calendar. This unique software was developed for me overseas and allows anglers to click on a location and date to bring up a chart of fishing information. This chart includes sun rise/set times, moon phase and rise/set times, solunar peak, tide heights, times and flow percentage. All this info can then be printed out for later reference.
The site also includes fishing video review of several SE Qld boat ramps, underwater video footage of fish behaviour, photos, articles and lots of information. Weather links and information also play an important role in the website.
The combination of radio, television, print media and my website, along with boat shows and seminars keeps me quite busy, but I still managed to spend 200 days on the water last year. That might seem like a lot, but I wasted 165 days!
When not fishing, I play guitar, love old wooden diesel boats, antique trucks and enjoy a cold beer on a hot day, especially with a few mates. And that’s the beauty of the recreational fishing world for me, the lack of class distinction that allows everyone to get along and have a good time. – Dave DownieReads: 1846