This week Dale Baxter takes our Lucky 7. Click through to find out more about this Victorian angler with a passion for fishing and photography.
1. What’s your name and where are you from?
Dale Baxter, I was born and raised in Melbourne until I was 9 and then was lucky enough to live in Papua New Guinea until I was about 15. I then returned to Melbourne. I now live in Point Cook a suburb 22km west of the Melbourne CBD.
2. What part do you play in the fishing community today?
I am relatively new to the fishing industry and wouldn’t say I play a big part in the fishing community, however I like to contribute where I can.
I am active on a number of fishing forums and regularly post reports and pictures, I really enjoy taking pics of both fish and tackle. I have recently been lucky enough to share to a greater audience through lureandfly.com.
I have started competing this year in the Daiwa Hobie ABT tournaments and have been a competitor as a non boater in previous years. I love the challenge that these competitions give you as an angler and challenge you in whatever conditions are presented, not just the good days!
3. What was it that really got you into fishing and how old were you?
There are 2 phases to my fishing journey but the 1st was one of my dads best friends.
We would quite often go camping to places like Nariel creek and he was always going out chasing trout in the local streams, I would be perched at his tent door at some ridiculous hour of the morning when i was about 5 saying C’mon Rick time to go fishing, which he always did and would put me onto spinning up some good trout. After I came back from PNG I was more interested in motorsport particularly Rallying which consumed the next 12 years of my life.
I then went on family holiday to Fiji with my wife and daughter and was re-inspired for my passion of fishing(one of my greatest fishing memories) after that trip and I remember watching early episode’s of AFC and that is what got me into chasing bream.
4. What is your greatest fishing memory?
Again I have plenty but 2 stand out that I really look back on and think how lucky I was to be part of it.
1st was whilst I lived in PNG my dad took me barra fishing to a place I’m sure many would know called Bensbach fishing lodge. We had a 3 day trip there chasing some of PNG’s great Barra, I caught 3 big Barra, can’t recall how big but when you are 13 they seemed huge, i fished all 3 days with my dad and had not done that very often so quite special to me. I specifically remember cruising along in the boat while a massive sea Eagle with a wing span over 2m was flying with us only 5m above the boat.
2nd was on a family holiday to Fiji. We stay at the Shangri-La resort on a tiny island just off the main Island and was our 1st holiday as a young family. I had booked myself for a 1/2 day reef trolling with 3 other people from the resort, we were on a fairly small boat and would take it in turns with a rod each trolling for mahi mahi, barracoota and hopefully a Marlin.
We only had a hook up to a mahi mahi which went for a small run and then spat the hooks. We had about a 1/2 hour of fishing to go when one of the main rods started peeling out line, soon the fish jumped out of the water and the deck hand and the captain both yelled at the same time, Marlin, Marlin, Marlin!! We were on.
The boat and the gear were quite old and basic and it nearly pulled 3 of them in putting the rod into the chair the reel would move sideways in the reel seat too. We knew we were onto a big fish, after about an hour the handle on the reel broke, we had to improvise and put a bare bolt back through the reel and wrapped a towel around it so we could reel without cutting ourselves – but it was still quite difficult.
After 3 hours another boat had come out from the island with some tools and I managed to swap a handle from one of the other game reels. Within that hour we landed the fish, it was as spent as we were. It ended up taking 4 of us 4 hours to reel this fish in. It was a blue Marlin and weighed in at 210kg and was a new record for the Shangri-La island, it was caught on 37kg line class as well. The fish was donated to the local villages – it was too tired to be released.
5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully more involved in the fishing industry and being able to do more tournaments. I would love to be able to get involved with product testing and help in design possibly? I will still be contributing articles and photo’s and trying to get more people involved with catch and release fishing. I hope to have purchased a tournament boat by then also and have more time to enter more events.
6. What’s top of the “bucket list”?
Tassie again for sure, would really like to get to Port Sorrell, Anson Bay and a heap of the rarely touched areas on the west coast to see and catch some thumper bream in some crazy country with thick timber and have some great fights. I would also like to get on to some bones, redfish and permit.
7. Who do you look up to in the fishing community?
I think the guys that run and drive the tournament scene who put in a lot of effort to see the sport grow, they don’t really want for anything in return except that people get involved and have a go and have a great time whilst they do it. Guys like Steve Morgan, Simon Goldsmith & the ABT crew, Bill Hartshorne/ Vicbream, Steve Fields / Scott Lovig with the way they have pushed the Hobie tournaments and got them to level they are.
There are quite few guys locally here in Melbourne(they know who they are) that have been chasing bream for a long time, they have some great and very different techniques and are always willing to share and teach you more.
Also people like Brad Sissins, his photography is inspiring it makes you want to learn how to create and capture moments like he does. I am gear freak at the best of times and I really enjoy the product images he creates as well, the different use of lighting / effects.