What a fantastic Lucky 7 interview from Lee Rayner. For those who don’t know him, Lee has been fishing since a kid. Anything from trout to game fishing. He has even tried his hand at fishing the infamous rock ledges at Jervis Bay, in search of that land based Marlin. What a long way he has come from there! He now presents his own TV Show “Fishing Edge”. Enjoy the interview:-
1. What’s your name and where are you from?
I am 36 years old, I was born in Sydney but moved to the small country town of Cooma at the age of 1, where I lived till I was 18.
From there I moved to Sydney to work for John Dunphy and the crew of Shimano Fishing in Australia.
In 1998 I moved to Melbourne, which is where I still am with my wife Rachel and two young girls Mia and Poppy.
2. What part do you play in the fishing community today?
I feel so lucky to have been to some great places and caught some awesome fish, but most of all I love learning from anglers that are far better at the game than I am. So to be able to pass on what I have learnt is hopefully some small way inspiring people who haven’t done it to try fishing, and for those that have, hopefully I can pass on the information and tips to help them to catch more or even their first fish of a certain species.
3. What was it that really got you into fishing and how old were you?
I wish my first fish story was a cracker with a tale of some monster of the ocean. If the truth be known however it was far from that.
A humble little toadie was the first fish I caught, which happened on a little rock platform next to Merimbula wharf with my dad, mum and sister and while it was what we call a rubbish fish, for a 3yr old kid it was as good as a grander black marlin off Cairns.
From that moment onwards there was no stopping me. I caught my fair share of trout over the next year or two, with dad teaching me about how to fish a river or what to look for in the lake and every moment of every day had me thinking about fishing.
At the age of roughly six, I think it was, dad came home with a Fishing World magazine that had a very young Tim Simpson on the cover holding a wahoo, while in the background there stood the Famous Balls Pyramid. Dad brought this magazine as a bit of a warm up to show me what was on offer at our next family holiday, which was going to be at Lord Howe Island in just a few weeks time.
Needless to say that by the end of the family holiday with sore hands and a bruised body from catching kingfish on handlines, I had discovered that there really were big fish in that ocean and I wanted to catch as many of them as I could. From that point onwards life for this Cooma boy revolved 100% around fishing.
4. What is your greatest fishing memory?
This is a tough one and I definitely can’t pin it down to just one fish but in short I would say it goes something like this.
-Tagging and releasing a line class Broadbill Swordfish off Sydney onboard the Shimano boat Triton.
-Catching 17 trout in a day that ranged between 5-9.75lb on big rapalas on downriggers in Lake Jindabyne
-Tagging an estimated 300kg blue marlin on standup 37kg tackle off Narooma.
-Getting completely spooled on 37kg tackle a month later by a blue marlin estimated at well over 400kg.
-Catching an estimated 75kg dogtooth tuna on jig tackle at the Rowley Shoals in WA.
-Seeing my wife nail a 175kg blue marlin on 24kg tackle.
-Catching my first 100kg Southern bluefin Tuna
Aside from all of this stuff however, I have to say that in the past 5-10 years my real thrills and highlights in fishing have come from taking friends out on the water and seeing them catch their first or biggest of a species.
Especially when they may have helped me catch some other fish earlier in my career (it’s a good feeling to repay a favour).
Finally, over The last two years or so I have been getting an even better kick out of starting my kids off on their fishing careers.
5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully having more time to go fishing just for the fun of it. I love making tv shows but having a business and making fishing programs means there is a lot less time to go fishing without the camera.
Fingers crossed the kids will continue to be as keen in 5 years as they are now – that will open up a whole list of places that I just have to take them.
I mean its only fair that they get to see some of the places and catch some of the fish that their dad has.
6. What’s top of the “bucket list”?
I hope it’s a big bucket coz it’s a big list but up the top it would be:-
A huge blue marlin – I just love these things, they turn up out of nowhere, love eating big lures and then “wig out” like no other billfish.
Cobia – this is my unicorn fish, I swear I have hooked 20 of these things, but I just can’t land one. I swear I have invented ways to lose them.
A 90kg yellowfin tuna – I would be a bit torn on this one though as I would love to weigh it, but I think it would be pretty cool to let one go too because no one really does it.
A trout over 10lb out of Eucumbene or Jindabyne. I have had a few on over the years but they have all got away
7. Who do you look up to in the fishing community?
It’s a fairly long list but as far as anglers and mentors go Kaj Busch “Bushy” taught me so much as a teenager. He really is a master at any form of angling he chooses. If I can be half as good as him one day I can die happy.
Rex Hunt, he’s big and loud and made fishing what it is in this country today, there will never be another Rex and I am grateful for the opportunity he gave me in my start on television.
Tim Dean, Bill Billson, Dean Butler these guys are some of the best in the game and how can you not envy guys who catch marlin for a living.
There are so many others, many of whom are just normal guys who are just bloody great anglers. A lot of them I would never admit it too, as they are mates and I would never hear the end of it.
In reality my heroes are the guys who can teach you stuff just while having a conversation, they are those guys who don’t need to tell you how good they are coz they are too busy catching the hell out of the fish