From Territory tales to trout
  |  First Published: October 2003

It’s so interesting to get different opinions from all of the anglers and hunters I meet. Anyone who knows me will know that I don’t mind throwing in an opposing view too, even if it’s just to get something started. We get all sorts of topics from the typical “your favourite beer” to deep and meaningful discussions on philosophy and the meaning of life, although thankfully not too often.

One subject that regularly crops up is ethics and while the hunting side of my job attracts the most lively debate, fishing gets its share too. Some anglers just don’t get the whole ‘catch and release’ thing at all. Some even go so far as to side with the animal libbers and claim that sportfishing shouldn’t be allowed because we shouldn’t be seen to enjoy fishing just for fishing’s sake. I think some of these people (and well known anglers too) use this to justify their catch-and-kill approach.

It’s weird going to the Northern Territory and camping out for three months, because we have to kill a fish or two each week for camp tucker. Back home in NSW, 99 percent of the freshwater fish we catch go back in the water, so to come to another state and change our rules might seem hypocritical but hey – we need to eat fish sometimes too! There’s no shortage of fish where we are and the few we eat are completely insignificant compared to the thousands the crocs dine on regularly. The way I see it, it’s all about balance – keeping a fish or two where it’s viable, releasing the others in good shape and having a heap of fun at the same time. What could be simpler than that?

Softies are go!

I just can’t believe how popular soft plastics are becoming! Even the smallest tackle shop in the NT has row upon row of rubbery little fish treats, and the craze is probably the same in most states. I think many anglers are now realising just how devastating softies, in their amazing array of shapes, sizes, colours, textures and tastes, can be with predatory fish. Up in the Territory we’ve had success with them on the barra and others although to be honest the fishing has been a little quiet but I am keen to do even more with them on bass and cod this summer.

October in NSW

Trout fishing in the New England area in October is far from my mind right now. I suspect, however, that by the time the growing heat in the Territory starts to fry my brain a little more, in a few weeks I might start dreaming of a cool afternoon fishing the morning rise on the Guy Fawkes. Who knows, I might even get excited about it!

If you think you might get excited about going there this Spring, I can say that by all accounts there has been a big improvement in the state of the high country. The trout may take another season to get back on track but there will be some fish to be had in headwaters and the cooler higher streams around Ebor. That will be my best bet for the opening of the trout season and I’ll keep you posted on developments. I guess I don’t have a choice – I have to go back sometime!

1 & 2) It’s back to reality for me with trout and cod on the agenda rather than barra and jacks.

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