A high end consumer of hooks and trinkets who hungers for “BIG” fish from his kayak, Grant Ashwell takes our Lucky 7 interview this week.
1.What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Grant Ashwell and I live near Taree on the Mid North Coast. I came over from New Zealand in 1982 and became an Australian citizen.
2.What part do you play in the fishing community today?
I am a high end consumer of hooks and trinkets that might help me catch a large pelagic fish so I guess I help keep people employed. I do much of my fishing alone but do participate in a couple of internet kayak fishing forums.
3. What was it that really got you into fishing and how old were you?
I was 6 yrs old and hand-lining from my uncles boat when I hooked an absolute monster that threatened to pull me overboard. My uncle refused to help me and I eventually boated a modest Kahawai. From that point on I hungered for “big” fish. My father was a recreational fisherman and I spent many of my school holidays set-netting, cray -potting and fishing.
4. What is your greatest fishing memory?
When I started chasing “big fish” from a kayak, I thought that I would remember each and every one. Not so unfortunately but some “stick”.
The first Marlin I hooked years ago when casting a metal slug left me shaking with excitement and awe.
My first captured Marlin that towed me 12 kilometers but which I had alongside much earlier. I had mentally rehearsed the fighting bit but then did not have much idea what to do when it was boat-side. I looked at it for so long that it revived and continued fighting for much longer.
5. Where do you see yourself in 5 yrs?
I’m 64 this year. How long do off-shore kayak fisher people last? Well, I have plenty of easier fishing options but I plan on leaving them until I get old. Perhaps around age 75 I might do more river fishing but for now I focus on staying healthy and fit so that in 5 yrs time I will still be going off-shore and living my dream.
6. What’s at the top of the bucket list?
Until this year it was a decent Wahoo. I would like to get greater consistency with these critters as much for their exotica as fighting ability.
The one fish that I long for is a Cobia in the 40kg plus range. I love the tension around gaffing these fellows and the relief I get when the fish is subdued. Pure adrenaline for me. I often dream about and rehearse how it will happen.
7. Who do you look up to in the fishing community?
I have minimal physical contact with identities in the fishing community.
Print wise, I admire David Greens writings for his willingness to share his knowledge on many of the species I pursue.
On a personal level, my friends and sometimes fishing partners Louis and Graeme are valued for their wide experience, creativity and focus.
I also admire all those I have met and supported who have dreamt of catching a big fish(usually a Marlin) from a kayak and who have put in the hard yards in an attempt to make it happen. From these people I get inspiration, lessons in patience and an appreciation of my own good fortune.