I subscribe to Starlo and he sends out an interesting news letter. I thought I would pop it up here.
It has an interesting opening piece.
Personally I love to take fish home for dinner and would be very disappointed if I was unable to do this.
How do you all feel about this?
Early summer trout heaven: A slice of magical “twig water” high in the Snowy Mountains.
From Starlo’s Desk…
For better or worse, we need to accept that most of the quality, wild-caught seafood harvested in this country today falls into the “luxury food” category, which is why so much of it ends up heading overseas.
It might surprise some people to discover just how much Jo and I enjoy a meal of fresh fish, and how often we bring one home. Yes, we release a lot of the fish we catch. But we also kill and eat a reasonable proportion of them. For us, it’s one of the great pleasures and rewards of our pastime.
A couple of weeks ago we took advantage of a weather window we’d identified via our favourite weather app, Fish Ranger, to nip offshore for the morning and chase a few southern reef fish on lures and baits. We ended up with a lovely mixed bag consisting of five “pan-sized” snapper, a couple of sand flathead, a pigfish, a mowie, a nannygai and some leatherjackets. I’d gone to the trouble of creating a slurry of ice and seawater in an insulated cooler and each fish was quickly brain spiked or “pithed” using a Japanese method known as iki jime before being slipped into the slurry.
The resulting bag of fish looked so damn good that I just had to capture an image on my phone and share it to Instagram and Facebook! The caption I wrote to accompany that post read as follows:
“It’s so good to bring home a couple of meals of fresh, self-caught fish: Handled well, iki jime spiked, straight into an ice slurry and promptly processed. Recreational anglers are privileged to be able to harvest sustainably, and to feed ourselves and our immediate families some of the healthiest (and tastiest) protein available. We should never take that privilege for granted, never abuse it... and never give it up.”
Our morning’s mixed bag of southern reef fish fed the family in style for a week. Look after your catch.
I was delighted and a little surprised by the breadth and warmth of the response that post generated. It seems I’d touched a chord with a great many fellow anglers, lots of whom spared a moment to agree, or to provide their own take on the often-overlooked appeal of fishing’s important “hunter/gatherer” aspects.
However, as is usually the case with social media, my post also rattled the cages of a few critics, especially from the commercial sector. Several took me to task. One wrote (in part, and edited here to fit): “What about everyone else that don't catch their own? The 90%. NSW only has 750 remaining active professional fishermen left to feed the growing population of 7.5 million… That's one pro fisher to feed 10,000 people a day… One thing’s for sure, none of the 10,000 who don't fish will ever be as privileged as you… Bet that 90% who don't catch their own wish to be as privileged as you, Steve, given most now cannot access nor afford local seafood, only cheap imported [product].”
Several others joined in with a chorus of similar arguments, while a few resorted to abuse, name calling and foul language. Their underlying message seemed to be that recreational anglers were a selfish and indulgent mob, and that — by catching our own — we were somehow denying our fellow Australians the “right” to access fresh, local seafood.
It’s an interesting argument, although heavily flawed in my opinion. Yes, there’s no getting away from the fact that a large proportion of Australia’s commercial seafood harvest is exported, nor that much of the fish purchased and eaten by consumers in this country is imported. It seems obvious to me that this unbalanced situation is driven by what economists would call “market forces”. Put simply, many Australian consumers can’t afford to eat quality, locally-sourced seafood on a regular basis. But I’m unconvinced that further limiting the activities of recreational anglers — or allowing more commercial netters to ply their trade in our already over-fished waters — would redress that imbalance in any way.
It’s a fact of life that quality “wild caught” seafood in this country is relatively expensive compared to other common sources of protein. Perhaps that’s how it should be: reflecting its scarcity and cost of extraction? I’m pretty sure none of the commercial operators who waded in to have a shot at me over my post would be willing to take a hefty cut to their own bottom lines in order to make their catch more affordable for average Aussie consumers. Nor should they be expected to, any more than our dairy farmers deserve to be screwed down on the price of their milk by the big supermarket chains. It’s simply unfair.
Jo’s rendition of Thai-style crispy whole fish and salad with an amazingly zesty orange sauce… Yum!
For better or worse, we need to accept that most of the quality, wild-caught seafood harvested in this country today falls into the “luxury food” category, which is why so much of it ends up heading overseas. If Australians wish to consume it, they need to pay those premium prices… or catch their own.
As an analogy, while it’s true that we all have the “right” to buy meat, that doesn’t mean we can all afford to eat fillet steak four or five times a week! And let’s face it, good quality Aussie whiting, flathead or snapper is at least as expensive as prime cuts of beef.
To look at it from another angle, I really enjoy eating venison, and would also like to tuck into the occasional wild rabbit or duck (I loved both as a kid). But unless I’m willing to obtain my gun licence and gain access to properties to pursue these critters myself, I must either rely on the generosity of friends who hunt, or buy expensive, farmed product that really doesn’t taste the same. I accept that reality. It’s a fact of life.
“Wild caught” protein is, by definition, a premium item with limited supply and a high price tag. The only way around that unpalatable truth is to harvest it yourself, as Jo and I do with fish… although we’d be kidding ourselves to claim that this is the “cheaper” option. Let’s face it, with the amounts most of us spend on boats, tackle, fuel and so on, the fish we end up eating has probably cost a lot more than its shop-bought equivalent. I’d also confidently bet that every kilo of wild-caught seafood we catch injects more dollars into the Australian economy and supports more jobs than a kilo of fish harvested by a commercial operator… But that’s another argument for another time!
Meanwhile, I make no apologies and feel absolutely no guilt about bringing home an occasional feed of self-caught fish…. Every other Australian is free to do exactly the same, at least at this point in time.
Remember the old saying: “Give (or sell!) a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Or, as one bloke who posted on that social media string so aptly put it: “When there are fish to catch, teach people to get off there arses and learn how to catch their own! More access to the water from councils and governments would help, too, instead of closing everything.”
Yep, I’ll drink to that!
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Catch My Drift? Thoughts, reflections, insights and epiphanies that occurred to Jo this month...
I’m NOT a Gun.
“I am a Learner. It’s the learning that inspires me to fish... and fish and fish.
The windscreen of my world is filled with the most remarkable fishing talent. Yours probably is too. We’re very lucky to have the extraordinary vision that social media provides, allowing us to see well beyond the horizon of our local fishing club and pub.
This transcending scope allows awe-inspiring feats to fill our imaginations. We get to vicariously visit fishing destinations and scenarios that we would otherwise be ignorant of and, if you’re like me, these mind-trips become the building blocks of bucket lists and holiday plans.
Boy Oh Boy, there are some bloody LEGENDS out there — I think they’re respectfully called “Guns”. I truly admire the discipline and the years upon years of dedication that’s required to reach true gun status. Species specialists who seem to be able to anticipate a fin flick from their quarry simply astound me… but the anglers I admire most are the great all-rounders.
The author rates Chris Cleaver (pictured) as the consummate All-Rounder.
I get excited to see folks I know (or follow… on social media, not in a stalking way) holding a wide variety of species, from varying waterways and caught using an equally diverse set of methods. That’s when my admiration truly flows over.
Versatility has virtues equal to (or even greater than) specialisation. A versatile angler can assess the waters they find on their travels and turn their skills to the task of pulling a fish… perhaps several different species, using whatever tackle and style of fishing is required for the job. They may never attain a world record, but they’re never limited either.
Catching new species in new waters is so exciting. This tripletail from the waters off Sumba put a smile on Jo's face.
It’s a different kind of challenge, isn’t it — that of confronting the “new” and taming personal frontiers? I absolutely love it. It drives my recreational fishing passion. I am not a gun… I am a Learner. It’s the learning that inspires me to fish... and fish and fish.
Jo’s steepest (and most rewarding) learning curve to date has been taking up the fly rod.
So to all the fishing “Jacks (and Jills) Of All Trades” out there, I salute you! Thank you for your inspiration and your exuberant love of fishing. Please keep seeking out your “new” and challenging yourself to grow. It makes me happy.
By the way, you may be very interested in our new online tournament, Fishotopia’s Great Aussie Fishing Dash... it rewards versatility!
Read on to learn more about this exciting and unique new competition in the Aussie fishing calendar…
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PIT YOURSELF AGAINST THE BEST IN THE GREAT AUSSIE FISHING DASH!
On Sunday, 1st December, 2019, Fishotopia is staging its first-ever, one-day, on-line, national fishing tournament! We have well over $2,000 worth of fantastic prizes to give away (you can see a couple of examples of the regional prize packs here) and the event is open to absolutely anyone in the country… as long as they’re a member of Fishotopia’s Inner Circle! Joining for a month so you can compete in this event costs just $5.50, which has to be the cheapest entry fee in history for a tournament of this calibre! Of course, we’re hoping you’ll like what you discover inside the Inner Circle so much that you might choose to stay on, but if you don’t, that’s fine too.
To find out more about this fabulous event and learn all about the rules and prize structure, simply click here!
Have You Checked In On Your Aussie Anglers Almanac Today?
Starlo visits the home of our favourite brew, BentSpoke, and interviews founder, Richard Watkins.
The Australian Recreational Fishing Foundation (ARFF) is calling for nominations for the 2019 Recreational Fishing Awards, which will be presented on 11 December, 2019 at the National Recreational Fishing Awards Gala Dinner.
The Awards are open to Australian citizens and projects, with the nominated work or activity occurring during 2017—2019 (except for the Mal Ramsay Lifetime Achievement Award) and have a vision to improve recreational fishing in Australia.
There are no entry fees and self-nomination is allowed.
Nominations close at COB Monday 18 November, 2019.
For further information, please visit www.arff.net.au/nrfc/2019-recreational-fishing-awards/
The National Social and Economic Survey of Recreational Fishing is designed to develop an understanding of who is participating in recreational fishing, where they're participating and what the social and economic impacts are in Australia. To participate in this important survey, register first by clicking the link above to go to the official website.
Are you getting your Fishotopian direct? If you’ve stumbled upon this newsletter through a friend or a social platform, you might like to jump on the mailing list. It's easy, free and you can unsubscribe at any time. Interested? Click here and fill in the details.
All Fishotopian newsletters are archived shortly after being e-mailed out, and you can find them all here.
Diary Dates & Events
FISHOTOPIA’S GREAT AUSSIE FISHING DASH Sunday 1 December, 2019
WHERE: Your favourite waterway
COST: Free to Inner Circle Members
PRIZES: One for each designated region (as outlined in the Aussie Anglers Almanac map). Prize pool includes Pair of Nikon Monarch 5 Binoculars, Mako Pack including Apex polarised sunglasses with glass lenses and scratch proof mirrors, Lowrance Hook2–5 Splitshot HDI sounder, Mako Oil 12pack of pistol oils, Shimano Rod and Reel combo, Gangster Lures Mega Pack and full set of The Fishing DVD.
NATIONAL RECREATIONAL FISHING CONFERENCE Hobart — and streaming live — 10–11 December, 2019
This years conference promises to celebrate, inform and expand Australia’s vibrant recreational fishing citizen science programs. The conference will be live-streamed, allowing all interested fishers to engage and discover ways that they can contribute positively to the future of our sport.
Tight Lines Magazine
SEARCHING FOR GOLD THIS YEAR? A brand new edition of Tight Lines Magazine, entitled “On Golden Ponds”, can now be found in the Fisho’s Libraryt just in time for the peak of the yellowbelly season. With 111 pages of insights and intelligence, it’s without doubt the most comprehensive exposé written on this species to date. Tight Lines is an immersive flip magazine, enriched with live links and video content. Inner Circle members can find the magazine here.
Want to read one of the Tight Lines titles, but don’t want to become a member of Starlo’s Inner Circle? Good news! All three issues of Tight Lines Magazine — Mulloway Mania, Chasing Unicorns and On Golden Ponds — are now available for sale.
Follow this link to buy your ebook now
Fly On The Wall
The Clubhouse Wall is our Inner Circle Members’ private forum. This Fly On the Wall section of our monthly newsletter highlights some of the topics discussed in our virtual “Clubhouse” over the past month. The above collection of pics has been collated from some of our favourite posts of late. Topics of interest have included:
• Redfin perch and zander on fly in Rotterdam
• Googong Dam firing up
• Pre-purchase brainstorm on sounders
• Bass, bass, bass! 'Tis the Season!
• Snapper on the chew from Victoria to Queensland
• Golden perch galore, from Windamere, Googong, Copeton... you name it!
• Tackle choices for the Rote trip!
• The Great Aussie Fishing Dash
When I first heard of Mako Oil, I was very sceptical. I had a cupboard full of the very best lubricants and corrosion preservatives. Why would I need another?
We maintain a fleet of 9 aircraft including floatplanes. We also maintain an island resort on the Great Barrier Reef with a fleet of glass bottom boats, tractors, generators, desalination plant and assorted fixtures. We initially purchased our first container of Mako Oil around 3 years ago. This product has now replaced a large number of the more expensive products in that cupboard and we have not yet found the limit of its uses.
Not only is it environmentally friendly, this product really works! ~ David Porter
HONEY HOLES & HOT SPOTS
Beautiful Kangaroo Island, off the South Australian coast, is a fishing paradise. In this detailed area guide, Starlo and Jo focus specifically on the Island’s land-based and kayak fishing opportunities. Inner Circle members can go straight to the article by clicking on this link. MEMBERS HOT LINK
In The Bar...
This month’s “Beer With Starlo” interview features Glen “Boothy” Booth. Glen was Editor of “Modern Fishing” magazine for many years and is well-known in game fishing circles, with several record catches to his credit.
These days he lives near Coffs Harbour on the NSW north coast, chasing snapper, trag’, tuskies and pearlies through the cooler months before turning to marlin, tuna and mackerel in the peak season. His insights and reflections on fishing make for fascinating viewing. Everyone can watch a short version of the interview by clicking on the video link below while Inner Circle members can watch the full interview or listen to the podcast HERE
Readers who are not yet members of the Inner Circle can view the abridged interview with Glen Booth right now!
HOOK TO COOK
Zesty Spiced Trevally
We don’t always catch our target species... and our by-catch doesn't always survive. In such a situation, Jo once had to work out what to do with a large golden trevally. The delicious recipe that resulted is perfect for any firm fleshed fish and is a great way to honour your by-catch. Members can find the recipe HERE
Tips like this can be found throughout the public area of Fishotopia.com
“ It was really cool to fish with someone I met through Fishotopia!
~ Ryan Keith.
STARLO GETS REEL
Have you subscribed to our Starlo Gets Reel channel on YouTube? If not, you wouldn't have seen the new unboxing videos... here’s the latest, the one when Starlo first gets his hands on Shimano’s SLX DC Baitcaster.
We still have a small number of copies of two of Starlo’s most popular book titles available. As a bonus, Steve will sign each book, at no extra charge! These would be perfect to squirrel away until Christmas! (Please note that these special offers are only available to Australian residents.)
“Finesse Lure Fishing” by Steve Starling
Australian Fishing Network, 2015
This is the definitive, 240-page how-to guide to dramatically improving your lure fishing results — in all scenarios and on every species. Join the “10 percent club” by better understanding the senses of fish and correctly applying the detailed “finesse” principles Starlo has developed across half a century of intensive fishing with lures and flies. If this one doesn’t make you a better angler, consider taking up golf! ONLY 4 SIGNED COPIES LEFT AT THE TIME THIS EZINE WAS FIRST SENT!
$39 each, including postage & handling to anywhere in Australia
CLICK THE PIC ABOVE TO GET YOURS.
“Fishing Hot Spots” by Steve Starling
Random House, 1998
This 21-year old fishing guidebook is a classic, and has become a collector’s item! A few of the places may have changed a little over the intervening years, but so much of the valuable information in this book is as useful today as when it was first written. “Fishing Hot Spots” is 290 pages of maps, photos, species identification guides and priceless intel’ on most of the country’s best fishing spots… A must-have for any serious angler! ONLY 12 SIGNED COPIES LEFT AT THE TIME OF HITTING SEND!
$29 each, including postage & handling to anywhere in Australia
CLICK THE PIC ABOVE TO GET YOURS.
Login to the Inner Circle to receive your members discount on everything and anything in our shop (except memberships).
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Until we see you in Fishotopia...