This fishing column I’m writing about the benefits of fishing and outdoors and what it means to me.

Our regular set up at the Oaks Camp Ground at Facing Island, Gladstone Harbour

I was lucky enough to grow up on the water, living in the coastal town of Gladstone in Central Queensland where we have the best of everything. With the Southern Great Barrier Reef on our doorstep and surrounded by massive mangrove estuary systems it’s simply a fisherman’s paradise.  A place that has so many options for the outdoors type person.  The fishing options are endless.  If you’re not into fishing, there’s the option of crabbing one of the largest estuary systems in Queensland. There are also many areas to camp whether it be the Great barrier reef islands, coastal islands or inland national parks, there’s always an option even if you don’t own a boat.  As an avid camper the fact you can swim without fear of Crocodiles and stingers in most local areas appeals to me.

Camping is in my blood having done it with my parents since I was a baby, so I was addicted from a young age and still to this day camp with my parents who are approaching their mid-80s. A tradition I hope continues.

 I was lucky to have four children, two girls who are now in their 20s and twin boys who are now 16.  It’s hard to know who likes fishing and camping more, the boys or the girls, but I can guarantee that as soon as the girls arrive on my doorstep the question is popped…“when can we go fishing?”

Toasting marshmallows around the campfire
The girls crumbing the fish and oysters for dinner
The young twin son’s learning to spearfish off the beach

I must admit, my kids were force fed fishing and camping, but I can’t recall a time where they weren’t enjoying it.  There’s something about getting away from the rat race and surviving in a basic manner for a week or two.  Fresh caught seafood cooked on an open fire cannot be beaten.   Turning off the kid’s brains from modern technology i.e., gaming and phones and switching on the bush television and playing board games brings on a mandatory reset that I believe all kids require.  You get their undivided attention without distractions; conversation has to be shared and they have to make their own fun.  The big days outdoors make for early mornings and early nights to sleep.

This brought me to some of my fondest memories for each of the kids growing up and soon realised how important it is to capture these special moments.  I scrolled through my phone photos of the kids catches and reflected these monumental moments and then brought out the photo albums from pre iPhone years when we actually had to use a camera.  Lucky for me my wife has always kept photo albums for every year of our near 30-year marriage.  What an unreal experience, going back in time reminiscing.  You realise how time flies and soon as our first grandchild will be born, so we will continue this boating, camping, fishing and crabbing tradition as our family expands.  For this reason, each of our daughter’s partners are very capable around camp and the boat and I think that’s one of the reasons they were each attracted to each other… a shared common value of getting back to basics and enjoying nature.

 Starting from when the girls were little tackers, we shared some great moments of all the kids catching Whiting, Salmon, Reds, Trout, Mackerel to mention a few.  Other fond memories are catching giant Sharks off the beach, catching Crabs, picking Oysters, rescuing Turtles and spearfishing with the lads.  It’s not until you look back that you realise how capable the kids have become from experiencing the outdoor life.  It’s only a matter of time now and the kids will be teaching me. 

So, if you haven’t experienced the outdoor fishing and camping lifestyle, I would highly recommend you get out of your comfort zone and give it a try.  Walk into any camping shop and you’ll be surprised what’s been invented to make the experience as easy, pleasurable and inexpensive as possible.  It’s a great way to connect or reconnect with your kids.  And of course, don’t forget to capture those special moments.

Afternoon Siesta time in a hammock
Even teenage girls enjoy some relaxation time on the beach
Make your own fun by sitting on a dead tree with a hand made spear waiting for a fish to swim past

ALLSTARS has months of competition still to occur and stories to share. I have decades of fishing tips and will interview many successful commercial and recreational anglers to share their suggestions too.

As much as I like to write about fishing, I’d also like to hear from you.  So please email me at info@allstarsinsalt.com.au to share your fishing trips, fishing tips, fishing stories and photos.

A day on the water is better than a day at work.

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