This week we were lucky enough to do an interview with Stephen Duff. Most people on the bream and bass circuits know him as Duffy or Duffman. A true ambassador for the tournament scene, a great friend to most who have had the pleasure to meet him, winner of the 2006 ABT Grandfinal, appearing in the AFC and an australian rod builder operating his own specialised business.
1. What’s your name and where are you from?
My name is Stephen Duff. I was born and raised in Newcastle NSW. I then moved to Melbourne 17 years ago and then to Paynesville located on the Gippsland Lakes 2 years ago.
2. What part do you play in the fishing community today?
I work as a professional Rod Builder in my small business DUFFRODS. We supply sportsfishing and Fly Rods to private clients and shops here in Australia and overseas in Countries like USA, Japan and Europe.
I have also been involved in Tournament Fishing here since it got under way and still compete when I can on the bream, bass and occasional yellowbelly scene.
3. What was it that really got you into fishing and how old were you?
I have got the usual story that when I was 4 years old we were at Bolton point on Lake Macquarie and I caught a small flathead and I have been hooked ever since.
Fishing with my father was a weekly event either on the lake or up the Hunter river as a kid.
4. What is your greatest fishing memory?
I have got two greatest memories I would like to share, one personal and the other competitive.
Personal – As kids I used to spend all of my holidays and then some with relatives at South West Rocks in northern NSW.
This time we had all of mums side of the family there, of which fishing is a religion not a hobby or pastime.
It was decided to go to the platform at Greencape just under Smokey Cape and chase some of the monster tailor that had been around. There was a gentle swell of about 3 feet running and the tailor were well and truly on. We were casting slices and hooking fish after fish from 6 through to 14lb.
My uncle who is known as the gun fisho of the family decided to inform me that I would catch more with the red tag on the slice cut off as I was kicking his butt, needless to say after that I struggled to hook anything.
I had been learning to fly cast for about 12 months and proceeded to pick up the 7 weight and and kick his rear again.
Since that day the fly has been my favorite fishing tool.
Competitive – Back in 2006 I was lucky enough to win the ABT grand final at Balina. I had never fished there before which made it even better. This has opened so many doors that I owe a lot to this but also have to remember the amount of work that went into it in the years leading up.
5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In the next 5 years my main aim is to progress my business to where ever and as far as I can. To develop new products to chase new species and to supply the best possible products to the market that I can.
6. What’s top of the “bucket list”?
I have been lucky enough to fill the bucket list over the years and to catch fish like permit, bonefish and tuna on fly.
My bucket list these days includes searching for species that really shouldn’t be where you find them and using the fly is still my main method.
7. Who do you look up to in the fishing community?
This is a great question!
Firstly I would like to mention Steve Morgan, without Steve’s vision of the ABT and AFC myself and quite a few others wouldn’t be able to get to where we have in the fishing industry.
Secondly, a pioneer from Hervey Bay Sid Boshammer. Sid was the original fly guide in Hervey Bay on the flats chasing Golden Trevally. Sid helped myself gain a position as a fly guide across the top end which I enjoyed for 4 years hopping from resort to resort.
Apart from these guys I look up to the pioneers of the industry. People like Peter Morse, Rod Harrison and Bushy.
Finally my long departed grandfather Bill Tastle, he was never involved in the industry but will always be one of my hero’s for the times we had and the trouble we got into.