The Producer Cometh

Hosting a TV fishing show comes with many perks, and lots of new toys. Andrew Hart and Nick Duigan christen their brand new boat, but rue the one that got away.

Words: Andrew Hart

It was toward the end of April by the time our new boat was ready to pick up, and the anticipation was killing us. One of our good Hook, Line and Sinker sponsors, Bar Crusher boats, had been busy constructing us a new 7.3m hard top—one very serious trailer boat!

We arrived at the Bar Crusher factory just out of Melbourne early in the morning with our D‑MAX ready to tow her off in search of adventure. We’d named the new boat ‘The Producer’ and her black hull was glistening in the morning sun. What a sight!

With big outriggers standing proud and an impressive Yamaha f250 on the back, our girl looked like she was ready for battle. We’d hatched a plan and before we knew it we were in the D‑MAX on a long tow across the border into southern NSW and the gorgeous fishing town of Bermagui.

We were hoping for some warm currents to still be pushing past the coast, with dreams of The Producer’s first catch being a marlin or big tuna. But it wasn’t to be. The water wide of the town was green and cold. We needed a Plan B.

Luckily, the Yellowtail Kingfish at Montague Island had been biting fairly consistently in the week before we arrived in town. So the next morning we took the tie-downs off our brand new boat and slid her in the water. There are few better feelings.

It was a calm, sunny dawn and we made a quick stop on the way to Montague Island to catch some live bait. Therefore, the very first fish to come over the side of The Producer was … a slimy mackerel, weighing all of about 200 grams. Not a marlin or a huge tuna, but we figured that, like Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody sang, from little things, big things grow.

With a live-bait tank full of slimies, we arrived at the Island just before a morning tide change. Using our brand new sounder and very cool electric motor, which lives on the bow of the Bar Crusher, we were able to position ourselves right over the top of what we figured to be Kingfish.

The action was hot and pretty soon we’d filmed enough for an episode, catching Kings up to about eight kilos. They are a great fish to catch and pretty much tick all the boxes: they fight hard, they look good and they taste great.

The Producer was christened, but we still wanted something bigger so we loaded up the boat and hit the road again.

The D‑MAX pulled The Producer without any trouble, which is what we needed because we towed it all the way back to Melbourne and put it on a ship. We collected her in Burnie, Tasmania, and towed it another few hundred kilometres to Eaglehawk Neck.

We fished the day after one of the biggest storms to ever hit the state. Half of Tassie was flooded, while the other half had been smashed by huge winds and waves. When we launched the next morning the swell was still big but we were pleased that at least the wind had dropped. The sea was uncomfortable and pretty soon a few us of lost our breakfast over the side.

We headed straight for the Hypolyte Rocks, saw some birds and some seals all balled up together and trolled our tuna lures right through the middle. This was The Producer’s chance and sure enough a rod started to scream and it was clear this was the big fish we wanted.

"With big outriggers standing tall and an impressive Yamaha f250 on the back, our girl looked like she was ready for battle.."

Cameras were rolling and the fight was epic. The fish surged through many long, powerful runs and after about an hour it looked like we were going to get a chance to land it. When the Bluefin appeared it was well over 100kg – and was just metres away. But that’s where this story ends. The line broke for no real reason at all and the big tuna just swam away.

I guess that’s fishing.

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