Forster local, and prolific Kayak Fisho, Roberta Pearce takes our Lucky 7 interview this week. If she’s not out in her little “yak” fishing the oyster leases or topwater lures in Wallis Lake, you’ll find her sharing her knowledge on the fishing forums.
1. What’s your name and where are you from?
Roberta Pearce. As a teen, I lived at Mona Vale, NSW and I fished Pittwater back then with handlines. My husband, Keith & I were married on a ferry in Pittwater!! From the mid 80s, I spent 15 years in NZ where I learned fly fishing and fished Rotorua or the Tongariro for trout and had a caravan at Pauanui/Cormandel and fished for kawahai/Australian Salmon & snapper from shore whenever I could ….. Now I live in Forster and have Wallis Lake as my backyard!
2. What part do you play in the fishing community today?
Being retired, I guess you could say that I am a fairly prolific Kayak Fisho & I actively participate on 2 Fishing Forums – www.fishraider.com.au and www.kfdu.com.au I love getting out on Wallis Lake with people who have never fished in Forster before, teaching them how to catch fish on topwater lures from a yak in particular! Or getting them into the racks & see them hook a monster bluenose!
Early in the ABT Yak series, I competed in the ABT comps & got 3rd biggest bream at Camden Haven, coming 7th overall (& was busted off by bigger!)
3. What was it that really got you into fishing and how old were you?
I would have been 3 or 4 when I started ‘fishing’ – my first ‘catch’ was a mudcrab that grabbed my toe as I was walking in the shallows. It was not to be my last! My Dad always LOVED his fishing, but sadly, he died young – he never DID catch that hairtail at Pittwater!
As a kid in Qld, we had a fishing shack at Maroochydore (before it became the city that it is now) and we went there every weekend. Us kids would fish from the jetties with line wound onto Coca Cola bottles – the boys used a Ned Kelly pole, using shrimp for bait. (In the photo below, I am in the middle & am the youngest.) We’d all upgraded to rods/poles by this stage! Dad caught a terrific Jewfish at the Codhole & boy! Was he proud?!
4. What is your greatest fishing memory?
I have two!
I caught a big Spanish Mackerel when fishing with my brother in Nhulunbuy in 2000. I had a small Shimano Bantam reel on a short 5 piece travel rod & we were trolling a diving lure. I thought I’d snagged & told my brother – who replied – “We CAN’T be snagged, we’re in 30ft of water!!” It seemed a massive Spanish Mackerel to me – that nearly spooled the little Bantam – we had to chase the fish to regain line – shown here with my husband Keith! We had Mackerel Steaks for dinner that night! It is still the biggest fish that I have ever landed, (apart from Barramundi that I caught from a Townsville Barra Farm)
My best bream to date, a 45cm bluenose that was caught from my Hobie yak, was pretty memorable – I was in one of the leases & I cast a small diving lure towards the smallest of shadows that was right next to a fixed oyster rack – and ‘snagged up’ immediately. I jerked the rod to see if the lure would come free and the lure jerked back! I struck hard & just hung on, pulling hard!
Luckily, I’d tied myself to a pole before I cast – so the tide didn’t move me too close – which was just as well, cos that fish would have towed me back to HIS hidey hole & busted me off quick smart, if I wasn’t tied up! I had to skull drag it out from beneath the lease! Luckily I’d only recently upgraded to a Daiwa Certate Reel & had done the drag right up upon entering the lease – my knots held & the fishing Gods smiled on me! I’ve been busted off by so many rack monsters before, far too many times! By the time I got it back to the yak, I was shaking! It was a powerful Blue Nose Bream & I reckon it will be a long time before I get a bigger one.
5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully, so long as the body holds out on me – I’ll still be out on Wallis Lake & rivers in my Hobie Sport Kayak, catching bass, bream, flatties & luderick. I have a lot of yak fishing buddies who often drop in for a few days when traveling & there is nothing I like more than to take them out in a yak & put them onto good flatties or bream, especially on topwater lures! It is SUCH a buzz!
6. What’s top of the “bucket list”?
1) Hairtail (for my Dad.)
2) In May, I am booked in for a week at Wilderness Island (off Exmouth WA) and I look forward to a week of New Species and plenty of PBs. I can’t wait to land a GT and other famous WA species ………..
3) I would also like to get back to Lake Mulwala and hook a decent cod. I fished it for the first time in Dec ’12 when KFDU/AFN took a team of yak fishos down to compete in the Mulwala Cod Classic. We had a blast even tho not many legal cod were landed by our team. I caught 2 with the biggest being near 55cm – so I look forward to catching a whopper one day! We took out the Biggest Team prize tho & we are keen to defend that title later this year!
7. Who do you look up to in the fishing community?
That would have to be Steve Starling – he is one of the standout fishos of our time – I have fished with him a couple of times. When I traveled to Nhulunbuy NT in 2000, he loaned me a fly reel & gave me Barra flies, in the hope of me hooking up on one whilst up there. I finally hooked some with spinning gear at Corroboree.
He is very generous with giving accurate information in his fishing articles. His ‘how to catch’ the different species and blogs are always accompanied by top photos for maximum effect. He is also very innovative in trying new fishing techniques or cutting or altering lures to see if that change will improve his catch rate – and passes that knowledge on if it does.