Name: Gard Saxon
Location: Launceston, Tasmania
Occupation: Registered nurse
Background: I was born in Victoria, but my family moved to Tassie for dad’s work when I was only a toddler. This meant most of our relatives were still in Victoria, so we visited them every summer holidays, and sometimes other holidays as well. My favourite ones to visit were my mum’s parents who lived at Lake Tyers. Swimming and snorkelling were great fun, but the best part was going fishing with grandad. We’d fish the lake and surrounding areas from the shore or from his old wooden runabout. When the salmon were running we’d join the crowds on the beach. Better still, if the prawns were running I’d get to stay up really late as we’d spend hours wading with our nets and flounder lights to get a feed of these delicious crustaceans.
My dad also took me fishing here in Tassie. He only fished for trout, but seldom caught any. I’m not sure why that was. He certainly put the time and effort in. As a result of this, I much preferred fishing salt water – at least I’d usually catch something! On the upside, when I was old enough to get a license and my own wheels I started fishing the salt water again, but with my trout gear. That started my enjoyment of fishing light tackle.
For a while life got busy, and fishing was forgotten while I did other things, but then I started finding time for it again. I bought a little alloy cuddy cab and used it a fair bit, chasing mostly bream, flathead, flake and crayfish. Flake (gummy shark) are great fun to catch on a 2-5kg outfit! I was still mostly fishing with bait, but starting to have some success with soft plastics too at this stage. Having a boat was great, but being a shift worker meant a lot of solo trips midweek while my mates were all at work, and a 15’ tinny was awkward to get back on the trailer single-handed once the wind came up, as it nearly always did. Once again this meant I started fishing less than I’d like to. The exceptions were when I’d go to visit my mum who was now living in Merimbula. There was plenty of good shore based fishing around there as well as the odd charter to chase kings, or spinning for big salmon and even tuna from the Tathra pier.
Last time I was in Merimbula, I saw people fishing from kayaks. Not like the one I had as a kid that you had to wiggle into and had nowhere to store anything within reach. Sit on top kayaks, with rod holders, pedals, sounders, the whole works. This looks great! I had to have one. Soon after getting home I purchased a Hobie Revo 13, and I haven’t looked back. That was only a year and a half ago, and I’ve just bought another one (outback) for my wife and son to use.
I started off trout fishing – but thanks to the wealth of information on the internet and some help from other anglers I was actually catching trout most trips. In November last year I did something I never expected to and actually caught my bag limit (12) of trout, all in a 3-4 hour session! Soon I gained confidence and was going a little way offshore to catch Australia’s favourite table fish – the flathead. Initially I was bait fishing, then I started fishing one rod with bait and one with soft plastics – and soon found I caught just as many or more on the plastic. It’s been a long time since I took bait on a flathead trip now, last time I just broke it up and used it as berley.
I’d been reading about people catching bream on hard lures. I’d caught lots on bait, and a few on soft plastics, but never had any luck with hard body lures for them. That all changed this year. I made the trip to the East Coast to have a proper go at them, and ended up catching and releasing over 20 legal size fish over a couple of days, and only a few undersize ones. My companions who were using bait were plagued by small fish but struggled to catch any legals. I was hooked! I still “have to” go fishing for trout and flatties sometimes, to satisfy Jen’s love of fresh fish for the table. My next trip I took some Pontoon21 lures with me. Crack-jack medium runners. They smashed the bream! My fishing partner for that trip got home and bought 5 each of the 3 colours I’d been using.
I never get to spend as much time fishing as I’d like. The time I do spend is precious to me. While I love the scenery and the “just being there”, I don’t want to miss opportunities due to poor quality tackle. Nor do I have an urge to flick $30 lures into snags! I believe the Pontoon21 and Damiki range provide an affordable alternative without being inferior to the top dollar stuff.
Currently I’m getting set up to fish some Kayak bream comps here in Tassie, and maybe even the non-kayak comps as a non-boater. I don’t think I’ll beat those guys, but I think it will be a great way to learn more about the elusive black bream. When an opening for a Field Staffer with Searing Tackle came up I jumped at it, as it seems a natural progression in my journey as an angler.
I’m married to a wonderful, patient, understanding wife, Jen, who enjoys a bit of fishing and kayaking too, and we have 2 kids, one still at home and one now living in Qld. I’m hoping that Sam (still at home) will develop a love of fishing too now that we have a 2nd kayak he can use.
Favourite lures: Whatever works on the day. Often Pontoon 21 crackjacks.
Favourite species to target: Black Bream for sport, trout for sport and the table, flathead and squid for the table,
Favourite Fishing Locations: East coast (Tasmania), Highland lakes, Bridport, Four Springs (My “local”) – anywhere there’s water!
Fishing Ambitions: To compete in a kayak fishing bream comp. To catch a kingfish from the kayak. One day, perhaps, to chase tuna (yellowfin or SBT) from a kayak...