By Jennifer Adams, founder of TV travel series Places We Go, mother of 7 year-old daughter Charli, and lover of the adventurous life.
Anaconda Stores Blake Dillion
Jennifer Adams sits down with Anaconda’s very own passionate fisherman Blake Dillion.
With such a strong passion for fishing and all things adventure, you must be like a little boy in a lolly shop working in the fishing department of Anaconda! Can you remember when your passion for fishing started?
Blake: I do say to the customers quite regularly that I needed to take the job at Anaconda just to support my fishing habit, so saying I am like a kid in a lolly shop really isn't a joke!
Once a year, usually around September, Shimano fishing do a special deal for Anaconda employees and that is pretty much like Christmas for me, I can never have enough fishing gear.
|"Blake Dillon fishing from a kayak"||"Childhood memories of fishing on holidays"|
As for the love? It started when I was a little tacker, around 7 or 8. Every Christmas holidays my family (mum, dad, sis and myself) along with my auntie and uncle and two cousins would hire a Tarago van or a 4WD, all squeeze in and head over to Point Lincoln. We would either hire a boat or drive to some secluded areas and fish, eat and laugh, it was great fun.
I remember always being the lucky one either catching the biggest fish or the most fish for the day (that's the way I remember it anyway!). Ever since those trips, I have loved fishing or just simply being near the water thinking of fishing.
"A love of fishing!"
I know when I walk into an Anaconda store, just the smell of the tents makes me want to get away…. Surely, when you are surrounded by fishing rods and lures, it must be hard to resist not just packing up the tackle box and and put up the “gone fishing” sign for the day?
If only it was that simple! I do love it when new lures and things come in. Just this week an order arrived full of new lures we have not had in store before, I couldn't wait to get them out and pick a couple for myself. The other boys think I am a little nuts with what I spend, but all worth it in my opinion.
Speaking of which, where are your favourite places to fish? Do you have a secret place you don’t normally share?!?!
I wouldn't say I have a favorite spot, it just depends what fish I want to go for and who I am going with. I just love being out doing it. But I think every ‘fisho’ (fisherman) has a spot they don't like to share! I do love the Yorke Peninsula though.
Most memorable catch?
My most memorable catch... all of them? If I had to pick just one I would have to say a Flounder I caught over in Point Lincoln as a kid. It would have been around 35cm and gave me an awesome fight. I remember needing a quick rest once it was in the boat.
Also the first time I caught Whiting on a surface popper was pretty amazing. Out in waist deep water, watching all these fish jump around having a go at my lure was a pretty special thing for me.
How do you find chatting all things fishing with customers? What are the most commonly asked questions?
The most common question would be 'can you do it any cheaper?'!
I do love passing on the knowledge I have. It's a great feeling when someone takes the advice you give them, then comes back in to tell you all about their catch and and how much fun they had. Just knowing that in some way you helped them create such a great memory is awesome. Although I do get a bit jealous at times, with people stocking up and telling me about their fishing plans for the weekend!
The most common questions are from the people just starting out, so getting a rod and reel that will suit their needs and explaining the differences or the specific things they need to look for to get the right gear for them. Explaining different rig setups and how certain lures work differently to others, what knots to use and how to tie them.
It is a lot to take in and some people want to know it all right away, others we can set up with the basics that will do the job and we can teach them the other things when they want to know more.
Everyone needs to start somewhere.
"Just head out there!"
What advice do you have for someone starting out fishing? Is there an easier fish to catch?
I wouldn't say there is an easier fish to catch. It just depends what’s on the bite at the time. If I know there is a specific fish in a certain area, I suggest that to them. But others just want to sit on a jetty and have a bit of a laugh. If you can ask the right questions and get them to paint a bit of a mental image of what they are getting up to, then I can guide them in the right direction. My advice is usually just have fun with it, if something isn't working, switch it up a little bit.
I am usually over-prepared when I head out fishing, but I honestly believe spending some money on a few little extras can make it so much more fun. Having a burley pot in or just throwing some burley into the water to keep the fish near your hooks; having a crab net in just for something extra to do; take a squid jag and give that a go if the fish aren't biting… I could go on and on!
I always wonder why some fisherman seem “luckier” that others, can you give us some inside secrets? Perhaps best lures? Or live bait?
I wouldn't say it is just luck. I'd say it's persistence with a little bit of knowledge, or the right place at the right time!
A lot of people say its the colour of the lure, I say it's the size. I explain it as if I've just had dinner, if someone offers me another full plate I am most likely not going to touch it, but if someone puts out a bowl of chips I most likely will have a couple. It's the same with the fish and squid - maybe they are a bit shy and don't want to seem greedy that day or they are on a date and trying not to pig out… So try a smaller lure. Most people seem to think big lure = big fish, that is not always the case. Variety is the key for me.
"Persistence pays off!"
Have you travelled much around Australia or the world fishing?
I have not travelled much at all for fishing. Just South Australia and Queensland. Sad I know, but I am planning a few big trips in the near future. Lots of places and species to cross of my fishing bucket list.
What would be your dream holiday?
As of right now I am planning a trip to the Kimberly and some fishing along the Berkley River, that would be absolutely amazing.
It is hard as I am also saving for a house and a big boat, so hopefully I can build a career around my love for fishing which would make it so much easier. Gotta dream big!
And finally, I understand you have a dream of starting your own fishing show! What is it that you are wanting to share with people?
Yes, I would LOVE to start my own show. I would like to share my love of fishing and any knowledge I have with viewers. I do not want it to be another "Watch Me Catch A Fish" show… I'd like it to be educational as well as fun and entertaining. I’d want people to get excited about getting out and doing it for themselves as well as taking something useful away from each episode.
I really love cooking also, so incorporating that in a segment would be great fun. I thought about having a bit of a survival / Bear Grylls thing going as well to make it stand out even more than the other fishing and camping shows that are already out there.
So many possibilities and ideas at this stage, I am very excited to see where it all leads.
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