A Few Beers with Steve Starling
  |  First Published: December 2006

Every few months I am going to spend some time having a few beers with a famous Victorian angler. A list of questions should return some of their best fishing memories, favourite species and locations and much more! So let’s get started.

1. Name, age and where’s home?

Steve ‘Starlo’ Starling. 48 years old. Lives in Gerringong, southern NSW.

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

Been fishing over 40 years. Bagged his first catch- a redfin perch- taken from the Lachlan River, NSW, on a frog pattern Wonder Spoon, at the age of 6.

3. How many days of the year do you fish on average?

Approximately 100-120.

4. What’s your deadliest or favourite lures/bait?

Squidgy Bloodworm Wriggler.

5. Who are the three most influential or admired people that contributed to your angling addiction?

Vic McCristal, the father of outdoor journalism in Australia.

Ron Calcutt, founder of the old Australian Angler magazine and my first boss… a truly gifted writer.

Kaj “Bushy” Busch – by far the best angler I’ve ever met and a great mate.

6. If you were granted three wishes, what changes would you make to today’s fishing world?

I’d get rid of ridiculous marine reserves, sanctuaries and other locked away areas that aren’t contributing to science and return the waterways to the people.

I’d remove all commercial netting, trawling, and hauling inside our rivers, estuaries, harbours, and beaches to the 3km mark.

I wouldn’t need to do anything else. Those two alone would improve fishing tenfold!

7. List some of your PB’s .

Atlantic bluefin tuna – 463kg (no, it’s not a misprint) caught in Nova Scotia, Canada, 1981.)

‘Wild’ saltwater barra – 126 cm at 23kg

Impoundment barra – 122cm at 27kg

Bass (impoundment) – 50cm fork at 2.95kg

Estuary perch – 49cm at 2.1kg

Bream (black) – 45 m (fork) at 1.875kg

Bream (yellowfin) – 1.55kg

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

Wading the flats of Christmas Island, flycasting to bonefish… with an all girl support and massage team (preferably Swedish).

9. What will other anglers best remember you for?

For having a sense of humour, not taking myself too seriously, and for possessing some sort of ability to impart fishing knowledge and know-how in an accessible, enjoyable and digestible manner. I’ve never claimed to be a great angler, just a reasonable communicator.

10. What’s been your worst fishing experience?

Every time I lose a big fish it cuts me up; the scenario plagues me for days. There’s one anguishing memory that I can’t let go of – a trip in the NT where I lost a huge fish and the expensive rod and reel it was connected to. Painful!

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

Too many to list. I’ve had157 bream and estuary perch in a day with Bushy on hard-bodied- that’s right up there. As is the 70-plus bream in 4 hours on plastics in Tasmania (again with Bushy). Catching a marlin off the rocks at 21 was also very special.

12. What are you reading at the moment?

I used to read a broad range of texts but I don’t have the time anymore. Now I’m mostly into fishing magazines.

13. What is your favourite music?

I love all kinds of music. I’m currently listening to Warren Zevon, The Dixie Chicks, Baby Animals, Ry Cooder, Queen, and Kate Bush.

14. It’s easy to criticise, moan or complain, but over the last few years name three positive outcomes or developments in angling?

A: The widespread acceptance of catch and release, especially amongst kids (mostly thanks to Big Rex).

B: The fact that great tackle has never been more accessible and affordable.

C: The advent of gel-spun polyethylene line - the greatest step forward in angling since the fish hook!

15. You’re obsessed with fishing. How have you maintained a relationship with an actual person and what are your secrets? (Less than a thousand words please)

We both value the importance of personal space and allow each other to do our own thing- simple as that.

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