1. What’s your name and where are you from?
Jason Wilhelm and I was born in Wollongong NSW. I grew up on the South Coast in the sleepy coastal town of Gerringong.
2.What part do you play in the fishing community today?
a teacher I guess! I am a Barramundi guide and also play my part in print and electronic media in this industry. I really enjoy passing my experience and knowledge onto to other anglers and enjoy learning from others. I also have a product range with TT lures and assist in R and D with a number of fishing related manufacturers, so this is also a big part of what I do.
3. What was it that really got you into fishing and how old were you?
Interestingly enough, no-one else other than my mum enjoys fishing in my family. My parents tell me that from a very early age I showed a lot of interest in the ocean and catching fish and my earliest memories are fishing from the Shellharbour break wall catching Rock cod and Wirra.
I spent a lot of time catching Eels when I was really young also, they pulled hard and were big, so I wanted to catch them. My family also owned a fruit growing property in the Snowfield region and I spent a lot of time catching Trout on worms and yabbies as a young fella.
From then on as I got older and bolder I got heavily into fishing for Yellowfin Tuna and Billfish, LBG, Jewies off the beach, Kingies off the rocks and everything in between. I worked as a deckie over a ten year period out of Wollongong Harbour on the Charter boat “Sandra K”, chasing Yellowfin and Billfish, I gained an incredible amount of experience doing this.
I love all forms of fishing from bait fishing to Fly and I love fishing for every species. In other words if it has fins I want to catch it. Obviously Barramundi play a huge part in my life, they are cunning, tough predators that posses everything you could want in a fish, and they challenge me every day I fish for them. Clearly the fishing fuse was lit very early and it still burns bright today.
4.What is your greatest fishing memory?
That’s a tough one because I have many. Catching my first Marlin in my own trailer boat was a highlight back in the 90’s, it was a 100kg black. Qualifying for the AFC was another big moment, as was my number one ranking in ABT BARRA. I have shared my boat with a lot of great people over the years, from world title winning athletes, Aussie cricketers Rugby League hero’s to complete next door types.
That’s a highlight in itself because you get an opportunity to learn from all walks of life. Amongst them are some totally unassuming characters who have many life stories and experiences to share. This becomes a foundation for long lasting friendships,and regardless of age, sex or experience its these people that help shape the person you become.
5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
reluctant to crystal ball gaze but I have some big things in the pipeline that are tied to the fishing industry. I am also really excited about spending lots of time on the water with my twin four year old sons Reece and Zane, who and the light of my life.
6. What’s top of the “bucket list”?
Big tarpon on fly, Nile Perch, Black Bass and I’m going to go all out soon to land my first Blue Marlin. I’ve caught Blacks and Stripes but the Blue still eludes me. Anyone who has caught one will tell you how animal the things are.
7. Who do you look up to in the fishing community?
There a lot of people I look up to in this game and I am fearful of forgetting someone but from a tournament perspective Steve Morgan and Kaj Busch have been instrumental in me getting my act together in tournament fishing. I got some words of wisdom from both of these guys a number of years ago and it had a profound impact on my approach, preparation and how I executed my game plan.
The mental aspect of tournament angling is often overlooked in favour of just catching fish, but it all plays an important role in your overall results. It was in this area that through the help of Steve and Bushy I vastly improved and the results mirrored that.
From an angling perspective, Zane Grey, Malcolm Douglas, Starlo, Bushy, Rex Hunt, Ian Miller, Alex Julius, Rob and Leeann Payne, Dave Green and the late great Jack Erskine were anglers that I looked up to and hung off every word. Apart from Zane Grey and Mal Douglas, who I never got to meet, I feel privileged to now call these mentors good friends of mine. Each have taught or guided me in different ways and I cant cover it all here but Jack taught me a lot about many different aspects of the fishing game, and I guess about life in general, including some of the pitfalls in the Australian fishing scene. Although he never had a bad word to say about anyone, he steered me away from individuals who he had suspect dealings with in the past and helped me figure out who was good for my future endeavours and who wasn’t. I’ll be forever thankful for the abovementioned people’s input and help in my fishing career, like any sport it has its fair share of bad eggs, traps and pitfalls. I still look up to the same people today.
A big thanks to Jason for taking his time to answer lureandfly.coms Lucky 7