Learning Curves (words by Vicki Lear, images by Vicki Lear and Simon Goldsmith)

The first time you ever went fishing, 90% chance it was probably with your father.  Depending on your fathers skills of being able to catch you a fish you would either been hooked or not liked it at all.

For me it was with my Dad on holidays at the beautiful Stuarts Point on the Macleay River.  What hooked me wasn’t so much the fishing it was actually collecting the bait.  I loved collecting the yabbies that Dad had pumped out of the sand in preparation for the fishing to come.

Unfortunately Dad didn’t have much of an idea, we used hand lines loaded with what now feels like whippy snipper cord and use to sit for hours with not much of a bite and getting stuck on sandbanks coming back through the night hours, it was fun though.

Apart from meeting a boyfriend that knew how to fish and had taught me heaps, I was determined to increase my own fishing skills and knowledge and not just get stuck in the headset of the way he liked to do things.

For me fishing as a Non Boater in ABT Tournaments has increased my skills and versatility as an angler.  It doesn’t matter whether it was the Bream, Bass or Barra you will be amazed at what is out there to learn.

The reason I chose the ABT Tournaments is that each day I would be paired up with somebody I didn’t know and be fishing the way they wanted to fish whether it be in the deep, along the edges or weed beds over flats etc.

A couple of things you need to know before you embark on your first tournament: –

  1. You need to know how to tie your own knots.  Your boater will not stop fishing to help you tie a leader or lure on.
  2. Pack lightly but try and take a bit of everything from plastics, blades, jig heads, hard bodies etc; one tackle bag is ample
  3. In that bag try also to pack your wet weather gear in the case the weather turns nasty.
  4. Bring your own PFD if it is self-inflating make sure it is serviced and complies with current legislation.
  5. When you are paired up with your boater ask how many rods he/she has room for, normally two to three rods is ample and most boats can accommodate that.
  6. Most people won’t each lunch through a tournament so it is a good idea to perhaps bring some lollies or chocolates etc; that can be shared with your boater.
  7. Have some change to offer fuel money at the end of the day.  As the boater has additional expenses such as boat registration, insurance, oil, services to keep his/her boat on the water.
  8. Never divulge the spots they were fishing to fellow competitors

I like to ask questions while fishing, not too many to be painful but to just understand why we are fishing where we are and the technique that we are using.  One person that has influenced me throughout my years fishing the ABT is Glenn Ellis-Helmers.

Paired up with Glenn Ellis-Helmers we fished Taree ABT event.  We were fishing shallow water with cruddy rocks near some broken oyster leases.  I had never in my life fished anything under 3 foot of water.  Glenn explained to me his technique of fishing this spot and it wasn’t long before we were both hooking fish.  When I asked him why this shallow he explained to me “that fish on the flats are there for one reason and that is to feed”.  This has stayed cemented in my mind and something I will never forget.  All I could think about is where I could apply this on my local river system.  I was excited to take Scott out and teach him what I had learnt.

There are many others that I have learnt from such as Martin Richardson will teach you how important accurate casting is, Wayne Reed on how to fish boats, Wayne Friebe black bream on crank baits and blades, Kylie Cornish with bass in the deep on plastics and the list goes on.  There is so much to learn and each person has a different perspective and way to fish it, just adding little bits of information from everyone and then applying can make you a very versatile angler. Everything I learn for one event I will then apply my local waterway to fish and see if it works.

It is also not strictly about fishing.  Fishing these tournaments you get to have rides in different boats and therefore when in the market for one you know what you like or dislike, it also increases your boat skills, reversing skills having to get the trailer, how to handle a boat in different conditions or new equipment such as power poles, sounders etc;

You have to be over the age of 16 years, it doesn’t matter if you are male or female, I found it such a great learning curve and it certainly has increased my versatility on any waterway.

Vicki Lear is a self confessed fish-a-holic and works as a real estate agent to support her habit. Far from being a “one trick pony” she excels at many diverse styles of fishing from land based game fishing to offshore gamefishing. As well, she kicks most guys butts at Bream and Bass fishing.

Read more of Vicki’s stories here

9 responses to “Learning Curves (words by Vicki Lear, images by Vicki Lear and Simon Goldsmith)

  1. So Vicki are you saying that I should consider myself lucky that Hickson ties my knots and puts the right lures on and directs me all day haha.. AND I dont share my lollies. Bad non boater!!

  2. Great article. There should be more like these. As a really new non boater there are some interesting points. When you start out you are definately there for the fun and to learn. In two weekends (events) I have learn’t so much I could probably write my own article on tips for Non boaters (just say the word Greg).

    • Thanks Rob, very true about being so much to learn. I have been doing it for a number of years and can happily say I am still learning new things as techniques and lures evolve. Would love to write an article on your experiences.

  3. Vicki, some very practical tips for new non-boaters! Thank you for being one of those friendly anglers who welcomed me when I entered my first tournament.

    • Pleasure Bec and it was fantastic to see you out there on top at the Basin. Well deserved effort.

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