A Beer with Brett Geddes
  |  First Published: April 2007

1. Name, age and where’s home?

Brett Geddes, 42 and I live in Sale.

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

I first started fishing seriously 17 years ago, and took up fly fishing with a sickening passion. As a 10-year-old kid I caught my first ever fish, a tiny redfin in the Ovens River near Bright, on a little bladed lure.

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

At least 120 days – and looking for more.

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

My favourite soft plastics are Squidgies Wrigglers in 24 carat and killer tomato colours, and 3-inch white single tail curl grubs. When it comes to hard bodies, I like Prince Minnows, Smilin Jacks, Rapala Rattlers and Kakoda shallow runner Sprogs. My favourite flies are my own black foam beetles. I call them ‘oil tankers’ and ‘night stalkers’.

5. Who are your three most influential or admired anglers and why?

Bob Brown for having the zeal, skill, dedication, observational power, resolve and passion of ten men. I will never see a better fly fisherman than this man – he lands five trout to any other angler’s one. He also happens to be my dad!

Steve Starling for sharing with me the very early days of the soft plastic craze, circa 2000. He is an extremely gifted wordsmith who inspired me to write for fishing magazines.

Special mention goes to gun anglers such as Michael Fennessy, Anthony Havers and Chris Burbidge. But no list can ever be compiled like this, without mentioning Bushy. I fished with him once and he had 19 bream on board before I had landed one!

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

Firstly, I would stop anglers treating fish like a commodity – chucking them alive into an empty esky or plastic bag, or even worse flapping around in the dirt or the bottom of a boat. Secondly, I would increase fines tenfold for those ignoring our fishing laws and regulations. Lastly, I would introduce a test to gain a fishing licence.

7. List some of your PBs – any species you like.

Bream – 47cm and 2.0kg; estuary perch – 55cm and 2.7kg; bass – 47cm and 1.8kg; dusky flathead – 88cm and 5.0kg.

I’ve released about 16 bream now around the magical four pounds, and although they were not quite PBs in length and weight, for their size, they were better conditioned, fatter and probably more rewarding prizes.

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

A week in Far East Gippsland chasing big duskies, bream and EP with soft plastics. A week fly fishing the Monaro streams and the higher, smaller impoundments of the Snowy Mountains in NSW. A week using my sinking hard bodies chasing the thumper EP, bass and bream that live on my doorstep in the Gippy Lakes. Another week in East Gippsland chasing all the above fish, this time using surface lures.

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

Fishing hard, long, and often! Bending all the rules on which flies, lures, rods and reels can and can’t catch fish. All those years ago, everyone thought I was nuts adding lead to hard bodies to make them sink like a brick – well, it seems to have caught on!

10. What was your worst fishing experience?

Failing to catch 27 trout in a row over three days fly fishing in the Snowy Mountains – not one fish landed. I was close to death with frustration, exasperation and anger after that trip!

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

• 81 bream to 46cm and 4lb with Anthony Havers, in a mind-blowing session. I got 48 big bream that day all on hard bodies.

• 74 EP to 45cm and five bass to 46cm in a day, fishing tidal water, all on my sinking hard bodies.

• Releasing 123 flathead in a day, and tagging most of them.

• In the middle of summer, dry fly/sight fishing to schooling brown trout in a small Snowy Mountain dam, and landing nearly 30 in a six-hour session, all on my black foam beetle patterns.

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

I read a lot of fishing mags of course, but I also enjoy New Scientist magazine. I listen to Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Frank Zappa, Joe Walsh and Dire Straits.

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?

Firstly, soft plastics and gel-spun polyethylene lines – no explanation needed. Secondly, a whole new generation of young anglers are now growing up and most are practising catch and release, and have more respect for the environment and sustainable fishing. Thirdly, the incredible research into areas such as fish biology, habitat ecology and high-tech acoustic tagging.

14. So you’re a fishing tragic and totally obsessed – how have you stayed in a relationship?

This is the most arduous, challenging and demanding aspect of my life – I’m still working on a successful solution!

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