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Meet Australia's fishing guides

Andrew Chorley, Hervey Bay Fly and Sportfishing, Queensland

Hervey Bay Fly and Sportfishing, Queensland

Bernie Vale, Mahi Mahi Fishing Charters, Coral Bay, Western Australia

Mahi Mahi Fishing Charters, Coral Coast, Western Australia

Hugh Gange, Cobourg Peninsula, Northern Territory

Cobourg Fishing Safaris, Cobourg Peninsula, Northern Territory

Sandra Watt and Stuart Maconachie

Sandra Watt and Stuart Maconachie, Bay Fish N Trips, Victoria

1. Tell us your name, the title of your operation and where you grew up.

Sandra Watt and Stuart Maconachie, owners and operators of Bay Fish N Trips. Sandra was born in Tassie and has lived in New South Wales and Victoria. Stuart is a Victorian born and bred.

2. How long have you been fishing, and what got you started?

We both started fishing as little kids. It was a regular outing for both of our families and one of our first dating activities.

3. What fish do you most enjoy catching yourself, and why?

Sandra loves catching Australian salmon as they are feisty and fun.

Stuart likes to catch snapper because they are challenging and require patience, skill, plus a little bit of luck.

4. What’s your most memorable catch — taken by you or a client?

A most memorable catch is a guest’s ‘first fish ever’. It doesn’t matter if the person is four or eighty-four years of age, the expression on their faces are all the same, one of pure joy. Such a pleasure to witness.

Another was a client in his senior years who told us that he had been trying to catch a snapper for many years but had no luck. He finally managed to land one on board the Plover. It wasn’t a massive fish, just platter size but perfect for eating. Tears welled up in his eyes as he stood holding his prized snapper. “Finally!” was all he could voice. It was a very special moment for all on board.

5. You must have some great “ones that got away” stories, too?

An eagle ray was hooked by one of our guests on the end of 5-pound line, on a light rod with a very small hook in its mouth. The chances of landing it was slim. Not to be deterred, the guest patiently let it run when it wanted to and wound like crazy when it began to rest. It took 45 minutes of repeating this pattern to reel the eagle ray to the surface. The fish took one look at the boat and took off, snapping the line in its wake. The guest was exhausted but took home a lifelong memory.

6. We bet there are some laughs along the way. Any stand-out funny moments?

Always lots of laughs on board during a trip with plenty of playful, friendly exchanges between all on board, both guests and crew.

7. Do you enjoy eating fish and, if so, what’s your favourite seafood recipe?

We both love eating fish. Sashimi and ceviche are favourites, but we also regularly cook fish whole on the bone at home. Additional flavours are kept to a minimum as the fish itself is the hero. Salt, pepper, lemon and a handful of herbs are added to the fish wrapped in foil for the BBQ or oven baked. Delicious!

8. When you’re not out on the water, how do you relax and unwind?

Catching up with family or eating out. We like to go for a drive around the Mornington Peninsula when we have spare time to take in the sights, find out what is new, eat local delicious food and soak up the atmosphere.

9. What’s your idea of the perfect day’s guiding?

Motoring out into Port Phillip under the escort of several members of our local common dolphin pod. The wind is light and the seas are calm. Just after the anchor drops, the rods begin to sing. Excitement is abundant, and the guests are catching fish. One after the other they come on board to the cheers and laughter from the guests.

10. Lots of people will say you have the best job on earth… are they right?

Yes, we do have the best job on earth. It is not easy but we are sharing what we love. We live and work in a perfect place and get to meet lots of interesting people.

Greg Harman

Greg Harman, Ultimate Adventures, Western Australia

1. Tell us your name, the title of your operation and where you grew up.

Greg (Hairy Dog) Harman - a Brentwood Boy from Perth, Western Australia. Operator of Ultimate Adventures.

2. How long have you been fishing, and what got you started?

It feels like I was born with a rod in hand from my father and have always fished with family and friends.

3. What fish do you most enjoy catching yourself, and why?

Barramundi – it’s a challenge – pulling big fish out of tricky places is exhilarating!

4. What’s your most memorable catch — taken by you or a client?

Catching a 1.22m barramundi where the freshwater meets the salt at the Lawley River. Our mates had been fishing for hours in that spot when I pulled up and caught that big beautiful barramundi.

5. You must have some great “ones that got away” stories, too?

The crab that got away! The biggest monster of a crab loitering over the edge of the pot and the puller just doesn’t get the pot in quick enough so he escapes. When you go back to the same spot the big fella never comes back! Great disappointment!

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