Stinker’s Fishing: Fishing – a lifetime experience

Fishing out of ‘Stinkpot’ is still an exciting experience.

AS we head towards Spring into Summer, now is the time to prepare for the warmer months and now is the time to encourage the kids to get involved in what I consider to be the greatest recreation of all – fishing!

The longer you involve yourself and your family in fishing, the more you will realise that there is far more to fishing than catching fish.

I was fortunate to be born into a fishing family in the tiny far northern town of Tweed Heads, where all the kids I knew went surfing, played rugby league, cricket or went fishing.

Being appointed as the PE teacher at the old Nelson Bay High School back in 1975 gave me the opportunity to get back into it.

Having served my apprenticeship on the Tweed I was well prepared for everything that Port Stephens had to offer to the fishing enthusiast – or so I thought.

I had so much to learn as I had never caught a drummer or a groper.

Those fish were never available on the Tweed.

Squid and abalone didn’t venture that far north and catching snapper inside the estuary system was out of the question.

To explore all the fishing options available in and around Port Stephens I decided to buy a boat.

A new member of the family was introduced some 40 years ago – ‘Stinkpot’, a brave little 11 foot tinny with 9 horsepower to drive it along.

This was when the real fun started, particularly when I purchased a Suzuki 4×4 which enabled me to launch off the corner of Fingal Bay beach.

The professor of mulloway fishing, the late Bill Croft, taught me all his tricks and for years I targeted mulloway, thumpers up to 40kg, were hauled over the side of ‘Stinkpot’.

It got to the stage when I was only catching these whopping big fish because I could, so I decided it was time to quit targeting mulloway and move on.

All my mulloway records were filed away and the gear, rods and reels, were hung up in the garage 20 years ago and that’s where they remain to this day.

Snapper has always been the number one attraction to me, visiting Broughton Island as far back as 1976 to chase these magnificent fish.

Living in Fingal Bay for all those years it didn’t take Einstein to deduce that there should be good snapper spots closer to home than Broughton.

I vividly recall watching the ace of rock fishers Graham Knott drag a monster 9kg up the rocks in front of the lighthouse.

How long has this been going on? I asked myself.

Now, many years later I pretty much spend my boating hours bobbing up and down in ‘Stinkpot’, pretty close to where I witnessed Graham catch that thumper.

It remains a great pleasure for me to sit out among the whales, dolphins, turtles, seals, sea eagles and gooney birds tossing baits into the surging water as it breaks over the shallow reef. Snapper country.

Returning home with a few cracker snapper for the kitchen, after a day on the water, makes it all worthwhile.

As I said, there is more to fishing than catching fish.

I will leave it up to you to prepare the kids in your family to go fishing in the warmer months.

I guarantee, they will be forever thankful.

By John ‘Stinker’ CLARKE

Born into a fishing family, Joey Trinkler has it all ahead of him.

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