For me, fishing is a way of life. You fish for the future and care about your waters. You fish so that things replenish and grow.

Neil Schmucker

My grandfather was a Dutton Bay fisher in the 1940’s and Dad grew up there.  He was a fisher and on the land farming as well.  In the 1960’s, Dad moved to Streaky Bay because he loved fishing.  He used to go shark fishing single-handedly.  My brother, my brother-in-law and I are all fishers and I’ve been fishing in Streaky Bay all my life.

For a while I worked part-time on the tugs but fishing is for me, and now I fish for myself full-time.  Fishing is seasonal and the south-easterlies can make it hard to get out.  I fish for garfish, King George Whiting, tommy ruff, leather jackets, and for shark when I can.  During the day, I look for the fish in the water and at night use a spotlight to see.  If I’m net fishing, sometimes the fish are spread out so I have to gather them up before I can bring them onboard.  I prefer the older ways of net fishing, using my physical strength rather than hydraulics.

When I am net fishing I get up at 3:00am for an early morning trip and if I go hooking for King George Whiting I get up around 4:00am.  Sometimes I take a deckhand, depending on if they are available.  I fish for razor fish at low tide and use them for berley; the whiting love it.

I have been processing fish since 2003 and if I have a few boxes to fillet I get up early.  I process some product as fillets in 1-2 kg packs and freeze them for when they are in demand.  Locally I sell to take-away’s and pubs and then send some of the catch to market whole.  I may fish in the morning and then in the afternoon put the catch on the freight to SAFCOL.

My boys love fishing and even my girls like it too.  I come from a large family and we’re all big into sport.  My children play competitive tennis and footy and my wife and I are involved with the local school.  I’m a keen surfer and have been surfing here for nearly 40 years.

I love the freedom of the ocean but it’s hard work and you’ve got to have a strong work ethic to do it.  When you fish for a living, you’re on the ocean all the time and get to know it.  You fish for the future and care about your waters.  You fish so that things replenish and grow.

I’ve had lots of experiences on the water, including a bronze whaler nearly sinking my boat.  The wildest sight I ever saw was at sunset outside of Westall, near Streaky Bay.  A baby whale and its mother were swimming in the waters off of the cliffs when the baby jumped clean out of the water, beautifully illuminated by the red cliffs behind.  It has stayed in my mind as probably the most spectacular sight I’ve ever seen.

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