Something that we are seeing in recent years is the growth in the numbers of women taking up recreational fishing which is a great sign for all! I thought in this week I would interview 3 of the keenest anglers that are in the elements every chance they get and find out what interests them about fishing so much and some of their achievements. Everything from landing trophy trout, big estuary perch to even world record bluefin tuna these 3 brilliant anglers have done it all, so let’s get started.
First cab off the rank is Jessica Lane who spends most weekends hitting up the rivers and estuaries with her partner Lewis who is also a gun angler. Although most of her time is spent inshore, she loves nothing better than catching snapper and king fish at Portland over the summer.
The next gun female angler needs no introduction at all with some incredible feats for her fishing resume. State records, club records for the Warrnambool Offshore and Light Game fishing club and even a couple of world records to go with it! Everything that lives in the ocean is in trouble when Anne-Marie Oosthuizen and her family are on the water. Although she is predominately chasing tuna down south and Marlin along the east coast around Bermagui Anne-Marie has got addicted to the bottom fishing in recent months, and is taking that up quite quickly with the help of her skipper and husband Jan.
Our last female angler one of the most determined and keen anglers that I know. From sleeping on the boat chasing the elusive Mulloway over at the Glenelg to fishing kilometres offshore in their little 4.2m Anglapro, Amanda Richards isn’t afraid to get cold and go to the extremes to get her fishing fix. Much of this has to do with her fishing nut of a Fiancé Phil Pirotta, who drags her along to all of his adventures also. I shot off some questions to these gun fisherwomen and asked them a bit about why they love fishing so lets take a look at what makes them tick.
- How did you get involved in fishing? Jess: Through my dad, started off at a young age catching whiting over at Port Fairy with him. Anne-Marie: My husband has always been very passionate about fishing. Having small children who was also keen but not capable at that stage they needed an extra hand to help out, until I grabbed a rod one day and got hooked myself! Seeing their faces had me returning to the water, over and over again. Amanda: Originally my mother took us fishing as kids. But for the most part it would have to be because of my fiancé Phil Pirotta. His passion for fishing is infectious.
- Most memorable capture? Jess: Catching my first King Fish, watching them smash the stick bait in front of the boat. Anne-Marie: Most memorable capture would have to be the 141kg SBT off Portland, it was a great fight and it was an amazing feeling to get that beautiful fish in the boat. Not realising that it was that big until we’ve put it on the scales definitely made it memorable! Amanda: Probably my 20kg Gummy Shark from October 2019.
- What type of fishing do you do predominately? Jess: Mostly inshore and estuary fishing with lures and soft plastics. Anne-Marie: Definitely game fishing…. we’ve got issues with dragging plastics around. Amanda: We fish all year round. So many great places in the South West following the seasons in winter usually fishing rivers for mulloway and lakes for trout. In spring and summer we are usually offshore chasing tuna or shark and love fishing off the beaches in this time for gummies and mulloway.
- Favourite outfit and what do you use it for? Jess: TD Sol 2 702 2-4 kg rod and matching reel TD Sol 2 2500 casting lightly weighted soft plastics for trout and estuary perch. Anne-Marie: I fell in love with our custom made light gear rods from Grail Master fitted with a Avet Jx6 reel, I love light gear game fishing and to test my skills and endurance with fighting fish on light gear. Amanda: Saltist Hyper 72mh matched with a Daiwa Saltist LTD4500 spooled with 55lb Saltiga braid. I usually top that off with Black Magic 80 or 100lb tough trace. I find this great for everything from Snapper through to Tuna.
- Favourite fish species? Jess: Brown Trout. Anne-Marie: Marlin! It’s an absolute joy to see them all lit up and to see their acrobatic jumps after they’ve been hooked! Amanda: I love sharks, they’re beautiful species. Definitely one to be respected.
- What brings you back to fishing each time? Jess: The enjoyment of being outdoors and the places it can take you. Anne-Marie: Something about the sound of that reel screaming. It’s very addictive! Amanda: Aside from the tranquillity it brings and the memories, sunrises and sunsets the experiences I’ve shared with people doesn’t compare to a night out or sitting on the couch in front of the tv.
- What’s your number 1 tip for ladies looking to get into recreational fishing? Jess: Join the WIRFnetwork on Facebook. This is a group for women living in Victoria of all ages and experience levels to connect and share their love of fishing. Anne-Marie: Grab a rod and give it a go! It’s relaxing and a great outdoor sport. Amanda: Don’t be shy! We have great clubs in Warrnambool and surrounds who are always willing to share tips. The team at the Tackle Shack have a great range of knowledge. Join the WIRF network on Facebook too. Lots of great anglers willing to give advice.
- What is your inspiration when it comes to dragging yourself out of bed each morning to go fishing? Jess: The excitement of maybe catching a bigger fish then last time. Anne-Marie: It’s easy, it just happens! The excitement of not knowing what to expect on the water, every day is so different! Family time and a break away from the reality! Amanda: Sunrises are amazing, but nothing beats catching a bigger or better fish than your other half haha.
- Do you have any goals that you want to tick off in fishing that you haven’t done yet? Jess: Catch a 4 pound bream and a metre barramundi. Anne-Marie: My biggest goal was to prove to myself that I can fish and do it well. My next goal is to tick of as many species as possible including Broadbill, Thresher shark and even to catch a Whiting and Flathead. Amanda: Soo many goals! Bucket list is definitely a barrel tuna (100kg+).
- What’s your tip for someone looking to get into fishing in the type of fishing that you do? Jess: Join your local fishing club and talk to some of the locals. Anne-Marie: Get involved with your local fishing club, meet people with the same passion and make more life long friends! Go see the boys and girls at the local fishing shops that can give you all the info of your local waters and most of all give it a go! Amanda: Your fishing gear doesn’t have to be expensive. Every quality can catch a fish. Just learn about the weather and be safe. Never be afraid to ask the questions and just be patient. Put the time in and you’ll get the rewards.
So there you go some words of wisdom from some of the gun female anglers around the South West. If you ever see these women at a boat ramp stop and have a chat to them as they are all great people who will be happy to help out. Until next week tight lines best of luck and stay safe.
Pictured: Jess Lane