It doesn’t matter what sport you do, football, soccer, golf, croquet, if you want to be competitive in them, you have to be prepared to travel. Tournament fishing is no exception, countless hours in the car, listening to your best mate trash talk you from the last fishing trip, things running through your head like ‘what’s the next town that has a Subway because I’m starving.’ All these are the joys of taking road trips to your next tournament.
For me, going to the next event is not just about fishing, it’s an opportunity to catch up with mates that I have met over the years of being a tournament angler, and having a great weekend of laughter and fun.
Now I’m not going to get into details, but there is usually a fair share of trash talking that goes on during a roadtrip with mates, along with the genuine questions that make you the person you are. This is the best part of our weekends away.
I’m the first to admit that I sometimes (My wife says all the time) forget the names of guys that say g’day at the briefing or boat ramp, but it is always good to catch up for a chat with everyone you see at tournaments. That’s living.
My Grand Final road trip this year was no exception. I had the luxury of having my parents join me for the journey (I like to call them ‘My entourage’). It was an opportunity for them to see what we do on our road trips and check out some areas in NSW they have never seen.
We were in convoy with my good friends Will Lee and Ryan Dixon as we took our time (With a mandatory stop at Motackle) to head down south. Our first destination was Port Macquarie where I was doing the Daiwa Hobie Bream GF. After arriving into ‘Hobie-land’ it was awesome to catch up with the guys from the south like Scotty Baker, Jason ‘the Leach’ Meech, Kevvy ‘I have the most toys’ Winchester and Scotty Lovechild Lovig, who I have made friends with over the years and fished side by side in many tournaments. Having a laugh with these guys on and off the water is truly the essence of why we do tournaments. The biggest thing I have noticed with the Hobie crew is they are a tight knit bunch, that are really down to earth, caring and passionate!! Kayak fishing all the way for these boys!!
On the fishing front, after the prefish I found some good fish so returned to those destinations to seek out my three fish bags each day. This was not to be the case as for day one I returned with 2/3 and day two I got 1/3 but that’s fishing. I happened to lose a good fish on day two that would have helped my cause (being only 380g off top ten) but it wasn’t meant to be, so it was ‘play on’ for Grayson.
My good mate Tristan Taylor had a cracker comp finishing third after arriving late Friday night, very little sleep and a poor bag on day one, he still pulled out a podium finish. Boy can that dude fish. (I love out fishing him though!!)
After the Hobie event I had a few days spare before the Big GF in Forster, so I took my dad for a fish at Camden Haven. I always love fishing with my dad as he has taught me many a trick over the years. Secretly we always have our own competition but no one ever says anything, it’s only ever for bragging rights!!
At Forster I had the chance to shack up with some of my good mates from Qld. Staying in a huge house, I’m sure the neighbours were happy to see us go!! Seven guys, five boats, countless cartons of beer and a truckload of noise was an awesome recipe for a great weekend. We had many a laugh and had some spectacular cookups that kept the boys much contented.
After mixed results in the GF by all the boys in the house, there was always some story to come back to each day, which makes the whole experience a great one. With all the guys bringing their fair share of sledging with them from home there was never a dull moment in the household for the whole week!!
I believe that having fun is the crux of our fishing road trips away. As good as it is being away, it’s always good to come back home to our families and get some normality (and sanity, and hygiene!!) back in our lives which fuels the want to do it all over again in the future (or the next weekend!!)
I thoroughly enjoyed my Grand Final road trip as I got out of it more than I could ask. I got to fish, catch up with some interstate mates, see new waterways, hit sandbanks in new waterways, meet new people and learn some new tricks from the wise. What more could you ask for?? A new Basscat would have been nice, oh well there is always next year. Well done Russ.
P.s. If I forget your name next time you say hello, please don’t take it personally!!