This week’s NextGen Guest Writer is: Brody Ogle
I first caught the fishing bug at 10 years of age when I landed my first Australian salmon and since that day have I never looked back. Coming from a family that does very little fishing, I have learnt largely off other fisherman, most of whom are now my best mates. My favourite form of fishing is casting big poppers and stickbaits for yellow tail kings and sambos. There’s nothing like seeing a hungry YTK launch completely out of the water after your lure! I do however enjoy I nice relaxing afternoon catching squid off the local jetties in town. When I was 14 years old I saved and bought a tinny which over the years I have pimped out and is now the ultimate offshore weapon (for a 16 year old)! The waters from Hopetoun to the Great Australian Bight are what I call my playground, although on school holidays you’ll often find me fishing in and around Albany and Denmark. Some people would say I’m a bit crazy about fishing (which is partly true), but to put it in the simplest words possible… I’m addicted!
Over the 2016/2017 school holidays, I have learned a very valuable lesson that I will now take into account when trying to achieve a new goal, fishing or not.
Before the end of the school year, I set myself a goal to catch a samson fish on jig during the school holidays. I had only ever caught one samson fish at the time and was hanging to catch another.
On my first attempt at targeting sambos, I tagged along with two local brothers who have a reputation in town for consistently catching monster sambos. I’m right into my light tackle sports fishing so on this day, expecting to have numerous hook-ups and chances to land that one fish, I decided to only use my light gear.
A few hours into the fishing trip, it became clear to me that this was definitely the wrong approach. My first hook-up lasted for about 10 seconds. I hooked the fish about 5m off the bottom and as soon as I began to pull it up from the depths, it raced back down to the bottom and cut off my 20lb braid on the reef. Unfortunately for that trip that was all the action I had.
The next trip, after losing the last fish, I jigged with my heavy gear all day long. After just a few hours, I could feel my arms cramping up and my technique getting lazy. By the end of the day I was absolutely knackered. Aching shoulders, burning arms and still no sambo!
This didn’t deter me much, as I knew the fish were down there; it was just a matter of finding out what works. I jigged all day, non-stop, for another four fishing trips following this, with the same disappointing result. Putting in so much effort with no reward takes a toll on even the keenest of fisherman and I was beginning to feel like I had been beaten.
This was until my fifth jigging trip.
It was about 1 pm and we had been on the water since 6 o’clock that morning. I had been jigging constantly all day without even a sniff. Suddenly, out of the blue, I had a hit! Then another, and on the third hit, the hook set and I was on! The fish swam strait back down towards the reef, however on my heavy gear I was able to stop it in time. I muscled the fish upwards and could feel it beginning to tire. As I began to see colour through the sapphire blue water, the fish changed direction and began to swim towards the back of the boat. To stop the line from touching the engines and snapping me off, I attempted to lift my rod over the twin 150hp Mercury 4 strokes.
When the rod was right over the top of the two outboards, the fish decided that it didn’t like the look of the boat and powered back down to the deep. At the precise moment that the fish took off, I had only one hand, right at the end of the butt (to give me extra clearance over the outboards), holding onto the rod. Having no leverage at all, my rod was ripped down, smashing hard into the outboards. I was caught off balance and found myself pulled half over the back of the boat. The fish was still on and with every kick my rod was smashing against the outboards even more. Instinctively, I flicked the bail arm over and free spooled the fish, allowing me to regain my footing. When I re-engaged the reel I was absolutely devastated to find the fish had dropped the hook and had swam away. This made me hungrier than ever for my sambo and from then on I vowed to never make such a rookie mistake again.
The following week I was offered a trip with a good mate of mine, Josh Butterworth. Most people would probably know of him as a passionate shark fisherman, however, aside from that, he loves getting amongst the action from a boat.
We headed out at first light, travelled for about 45minutes and upon arrival were greeted with a sounder image like nothing I had ever seen before. Arches of fish 35m deep and mixes of big and small. I couldn’t believe my eyes!
Josh stopped the boat and his exact words were,
“If you want to catch a sambo, drop right…….. Now!”
I rushed to get my jig in the water. As it neared the bottom my excitement was through the roof. I had a feeling that this was the day.
Line stopped pouring from my reel, so I flicked the bail arm over and began to jig. I must have dropped the jig strait down the throat of a sambo, as on about the fifth wind of the handle I was on!
I let out a yell of excitement when line started peeling off my reel, as I knew it was what I was after. About 10 minutes into a man vs fish tug of war, the sambo was getting closer and closer to the surface. This time, I didn’t make the same mistake as before. When the fish swam around the back of the boat, I held the rod firmly with both hands and lifted the rod over the outboard without any hiccups. The moment I could see colour deep down in the crystal clear water my adrenaline sky rocketed! A few more pumps and my first samson fish on jig burst out of the water. Once the fish was safely on deck, a wave of relief rushed over me. I was absolutely stoked!
I couldn’t get caught up in celebrations though as this fish was not destined for the fry pan. After a few quick snaps, I speared the sambo back into the ocean and watched it swim off to live another day.
We didn’t get to weigh the fish in the short time it was on board, however I estimate the length to be just over 1 m long, so I’ll let you work that one out. Definitely not a monster by any means, but a good place to start and leaving plenty of room for improvement.
Catching this fish was certainly an experience I will never forget and the lesson I have learned is that no matter how long it takes or how unlikely something seems, with enough determination and persistence, you will always succeed.