I love fishing, and I’m not just throwing you a line
You use different muscles when you’re fishing, You find that out the hard way on serious fishing trips. Recently I was taken out on the water after the Super 14 season with the fishing gurus from Modern Fishing magazine. I was little nervous as I was out with guys who drop a line, day in, day out and really know their stuff.
By the end of the day I was casting lures, my arms stiff as a board and struggling to match the distance the other guys were getting. I had to pretend that I wasn’t hurting. I couldn’t let them know I was struggling.
Fishing is my way of switching off. I love it. It’s just good to get in the boat and do battle with nature. I am lucky to live in Western Australia where the fishing is great and the scenery perfect. My ideal day is to head out to Rottnest Island with my family or mates and just fish and swim. Throw in a couple of beers and it’s a great couple of days.
I’ve changed tacks with my fishing over the last few years, my sports fishing has been coming along quite well. I like it because the fight is so visual – you can watch as the lure gets smashed, see the fish dive for rocky ground and get all the sensations as it battles against you.
The trip north from Perth was an opportunity to get a break before the international season. The season with the Western Force has been an intense campaign. My body has held up really well, and mentally I’m excellent too, but it was good to get a couple of weeks away with the family.
We caught plenty on this trip. I got one giant trevally that was close on 25 kilos, and there was some long-nosed snapper and mackerel too. The days of getting home with 20kg of fish in a bag are over of course – it’s all catch and release. You get to have your fun, but you do need to be conscious of the impact of the sport on the environment.
Generally there’s plenty of good fishing around Perth. It’s good in the winter when the prevailing winds die down, and you can get out more. I don’t get out that often during the season. It’s maybe once a month if I can. The thing is I have two little boys who I miss when I’m at camp or on the road and when I get back into to town I like to spend time with them and my wife.
I started to fish with my dad and a few of his friends. They weren’t huge keen fishermen but just loved being out there. That’s what I get from it now – enjoying just being out on the water. Usually the trips are with just a couple of guys from the team or a few friends. A highlight this year was when we were on the road, in South Africa. We were in Capetown, home of the Stormers, for 10 days and I managed to get out a couple of times. The scenery is just amazing because when you get out and look back at the city, the mountains just come straight out of the sea.
Every time I go out on the water, I make a tuna bake before I go. It’s just something I do so I know I’ll get the taste in my mouth when I get back regardless of what I do or don’t catch. I used to make it myself, but Jessica, my wife, actually does a better job of it than me. I’ve conned her in to it a bit by telling her how much better hers are over mine.
If it’s a cruisy day and there’s not much happening your mind can start to drift back to the game, the training and the planning. But I don’t do it often enough for it to be a game planning session – I just like to get out and enjoy the day, take a bit of a break from reality.
Fishing is a huge passion of mine. Unlike rugby, I’ll do it for the rest of my life. I’m still working out which direction I’ll take after rugby, but I do know you will always be able to find me somewhere along the Western Australian coast with a rod and reel.
Nathan Sharpe was a guest of WA Tourism on the trip to Exmouth.
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