Take 10 – Fisho Q&A

1 Name and birthplace?
Dave Rae, born in Sydney, NSW.

2 When did you first start fishing?

As a little tacker. My first memory is a little hazy, but it involved standing in a tub of water in front of the fire crying as Mum washed mud out of my eyes, ears and mouth. I was 4 or 5 and I’d been fishing with my Dad in Patonga Creek . I’d asked to tie the old clinker to the jetty, but the current dragged both the boat and me away. When he turned back, Dad found me stuck, head-first in the mud, luckily between two oyster cover rocks … they continued to laugh about that day for the rest of their lives.

3 When did you start writing for Fisho?
I’m a new boy; moving to Fisho early 2012.

4 What’s your favourite form of fishing?
I don’t have one single favorite style of fishing, I like variety and I love casting lures. I also enjoy the challenge of something new, and having my wife and kids catching fish: snapper, coral trout, mackerel, mangrove jacks, mulloway and bass.

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  Dave and a nice blue salmon caught on a recent Fisho trip to Melville Island in the NT.

5 What do you enjoy about writing for a fishing magazine?
I think my enjoyment stems from two places. First off, is the impact fishing magazines had on me as a young guy. I’d read everything I could and dream of days with Vic McCristal and Jack Erskine. Then Ron Calcutt and Ossie Emery produced timeless television with their episode titled Wolves of the Sea, in which they caught mackerel off the Hat Head rocks.

Secondly, I enjoy the challenge of using words well; at least as well as I can. It’s enjoyable, as is the camera work.

I love it when people stop me and say they enjoyed something that I’ve written.

6 Who do you most admire in the fishing media and why?
I’ve already mentioned some guys I admire. There are more: Bushy’s quirkyness and his sense of not taking himself too seriously. David Green impresses me because he not only holds down a massive medical career, but manages to remain “down to earth” and he writes meticulously. I admire Glenn Booth, who as an Editor, gave me my first gig and taught me a great deal. Then there’s the impact that Starlo has made in the fishing media. I like his “cut to the chase” way with words. Finally, I am appreciating Fisho’s Jim Harnwell the more I work with him. Under his leadership Fishing World keeps getting better and better!

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  A brace of stonker reds from Dave’s home waters on the NSW North Coast. 

7 What do you reckon is the best or most satisfying article you’ve written for Fisho?
My input is still in its infancy, so I don’t know that I can say anything is amazing just yet. My favourite would be the destination piece I did on Cresent Head. Cresent is a beautiful spot and it’s a Rae family favorite, so it was a positive thing to be able to share it. I found it very amusing that there’s a pic of yours truly surfing included … who’d have thought I would be a published surfer!

8 What camera gear do you use?
I use Canon 5D Mk2 with three different lenses – a 100mm macro, 24-105 mm zoom and a 50mm prime.

9 What advice can you give anyone wanting to get into the fishing media?
First off, realise that the media is full of people trying to big-note themselves and so, don’t be another person like that. Keep it fun, keep it simple and keep your head small. If you do get published, don’t expect huge cheques, lots of free gear and recognition wherever you go. If your plan is make a career of it, go off to Uni and get a piece of paper that will give you a leg in ie Media studies, Journalism etc.
I think the big thing is to find your own writing style and in that, use words well. As a teacher, my advice is to read, read and read some more, paying attention to structure and vocabulary. I would love to be able to flow like JR Tolkien, keep it short like Stienbeck and emulate Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea … fat chance, but I keep trying!
Realise that your goal is to inform and entertain others. Write like you would speak and avoid trying to impress the reader with large words, if anything have some fun at your own expense. But, and I think this is a huge one, don’t ever exaggerate or plain lie. If a fish is 45 cm, call it that. If you catch five fish, don’t stretch it to six … it’s called having integrity.
Have the guts to write something and submit it. I wrote a piece about potholing for drummer when I was about 20; my first submission occurred when I was 39. So get cracking!
Finally, writing is not about you the author, it’s about the reader.

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  Mmm … tasty coral trout.

10 What’s your favourite fishing destination?
I’ve got a few: Island camping on the GBR, remote stretches of northcoast bass rivers, the Tiwi Islands and the open ocean at dawn.

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Fishing is a family affair for the Raes.

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