We “hand balled” the Lucky 7 this week to veteran fishing photo journalist, tournament organiser and regular guest contributor to lureandfly.com, David Poulton.
1. What’s your name and where are you from?
My name is David Poulton. My Dad was a bank manager so I moved around a bit while growing up but spent time the majority of my youth in Byron Bay, Albury and then back to Mullumbimby. Before going to study teaching at the University New England Northern Rivers Campus (now Southern Cross University) in Lismore. After moving around in my younger years I’ve now settled in Port Macquarie and am nearly a local, as I’m coming up to living here for 20yrs.
2. What part do you play in the fishing community today?
For the past 10yrs I’ve written fishing articles and contributed monthly columns for NSW Fishing Monthly. Being a teacher this has been a great way to inspire my students to write, and show them that writing can be enjoyable and purpose driven. This opened a door for me, which enabled me to work on a part time basis with ABT assisting Steve Morgan and Simon Goldsmith run BREAM and Bass events. Learning and developing the skill of hosting and running tournaments led me into wanting to start my own tournament in Port Macquarie. I’m very proud of the legacy I started back 9yrs ago by running the first ever BREAM Classic event in 2004, which back then had the nickname of a CAT (Come Along and Try). Steve Morgan and Simon Goldsmith were of great help and encouragement to get things started. Today there are Classic Events running in nearly all states and just about every weekend you can fish a Classic BREAM event. Its quite humbling to think that an idea I had has grown into the fishing phenomenon that the Classic Tournament scene is today.
The Port Macquarie BREAM Classic was the only BREAM Classic for numerous years and when the Classics took off and the Classic Grand Final came into being. It was a great privilege to see my home town to host the first ever BREAM Classic Grand Final in 2007. In 2007 a record field of 87 boats took part in the Port Macquarie BREAM Classic, in the hope of qualifying for the Grand Final and have a chance to fish the tournament arena in a competitive setting.
I have also had the privilege to test and use new lures brought into the country and develop different techniques to catch fish on specific lures. Especially whiting on the Bassday Sugapen, with Lake Cathie being the testing ground for many whiting lure.
I’m passionate about recreational angling and promoting catch and release and making sure we have a sustainable fishery for generations to come. The Hastings River became a recreational fishing area (RFA) back in 2003 and my hope is that by running a successful catch and release tournament, I’m showing people that an RFA is a good thing for our river and the Port Macquarie region as a destination for tournament and regular anglers alike.
3. What was it that really got you into fishing and how old were you?
The thing that got me into fishing was the anticipation of the bite and the initial hook up. I think I was around 7yrs old when I caught my first fish unassisted. But when I was in my early teens I was really keen to fish, but my parents weren’t overly excited about it. But my father had insight and encouraged a friend of his to take me. Robert Kilpatrick was a great mentor and roll model for a young kid and took me fishing in the Brunswick River many times, teaching me many valuable fishing skills. My uncle Rex Thomas also played a large role, as he also has a passion for fishing, and when I was at University I would often work on his Professional Fishing boat out of Ballina mainly targeting snapper, mackerel, mahi mahi and other bottom dwelling species. He taught me very important skills in boat handling and navigation at sea, along with the importance of caring for your catch. I will be forever grateful to these men for taking an interest in my love of fishing at a young age and encouraging me to spend time with them on the water.
4. What is your greatest fishing memory?
I suppose I have two really! After many years of fishing it comes down to two very simple occasions. Don’t get me wrong the 9lb Rainbow trout in Tasmania on fly was amazing, spinning for Brown Trout on the Eucumbine River and getting my first photo on a cover of a magazine was a buzz. And not to mention the 45cm bream on a surface lure which weighed 2.2kg. These next two are my greatest. 1. That first fish that I caught unassisted when I was 7yrs old. My brother and I were fishing the Tea Tree Lakes off Tallows Beach in Byron Bay. I caught a legal size flathead! It was such a rush and I’ve never forgotten that day. No.2 Was deep sea fishing off Ballina when I was 19 with my uncle. We were line fishing for snapper dropping baits to the depths. My Uncle hooked up and then let fly with some expletives as he’d been bitten off! I got weight also and started winding up. With my uncle telling me to wind faster as he thought a shark had taken his fish. When I saw colour two lovely snapper swirled as I wound faster and faster. Then just as I was about to lean over and pull the fish on board an image was burnt into my memory forever. A great white came up underneath the snapper and swallowed them whole! This mighty beast had gotten both our catches and scared the living *%#@ out of me. And I learnt a valuable lesson that day, the sea is the master and when on the ocean you are very small and insignificant and always respect and admire it and never feel complacent.
5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully continuing my piscatorial passion. Through writing articles, developing my fishing photography and getting in video blogging of my fishing exploits and sharing these experiences with my family and friends and the fishing community. Who knows where it will take me, as long as fishing is involved its got to be good.
6. What’s top of the fishing “bucket list”?
Simple really after marrying a Tasmanian and feeling the need to learn how to fly fish as a result of many trips to the Apple Isle. Bone Fish on fly in Belize!
7. Who do you look up to in the fishing community?
After reading many angling books and magazines I could list a bevy of fishing identities. But Steve Starling played a part in encouraging me to write fishing articles and assisted me in promoting the Port Macquarie BREAM Classic in the early years. Steve Morgan for his insight and innovation into the Australian fishing scene and the manner in which he promotes the sport of fishing and encourages others to pursue their dreams. And my good mate Wayne Bale for whom for many years we have bounced ideas of each other, shared experiences and both worked together on developing techniques for our local area. And the support and belief that Chris Blanch has shown me in assisting me to continue with the Port Macquarie BREAM Classic.