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My introduction to fishing started a little differently to most other people. I grew up in Tasmania on the West Tamar at Blackwall just south of Exeter... I used to spend a lot of time hanging around the Blackwall jetty on the Tamar River with my best friend at the time, David Tillan. We would often hang around and watch the couta boats coming in and observe all the people fishing from the jetty. I was around 8 years old at the time and we quickly become very intrigued by all the fish that we were watching people catch. One day we decided to try and have a go for ourselves. I set out and purchased myself a spool of line and a packet of fish hooks, I then went home and tied a length of line to a piece of timber and wrapped some line around it. I found some old nuts in Dads shed which made for perfect sinkers, and stole some meat from the fridge for bait... off we set by ourselves to try our luck!
The first fish that I caught was a yellow eyed mullet on the very rig mentioned above. David and I would spend hours on the jetty at Blackwall usually catching plenty of yellow eyed mullet, cod and cocky salmon. Around 2 years later I saved up some money and I purchased a plastic spooled handline which I could turn sideways and actually cast with. I fished with this for another 2 years until finally at the age of 12 I had saved up enough money to buy my first fishing rod! My first fishing rod was a Jarvis Walker ‘Little Jim’ with a small brown Jarvis Walker spinning reel. I have many fond memories of this little rod as I caught a hell of a lot of fish on it!
When my younger brother Kevin was old enough he would often to come down to the Jetty with me. We would fill our buckets up with cod and when they were full we would begin the walk back up the hill towards our home… however on the way we would door knock and sell our fish to people usually making enough money to buy more bait and tackle for the coming fishing trips! We normally got rid of all our fish on the way back to the house but we would always try to keep one for Dad as he loved eating cod.
Throughout my teenage years I fished as much as I could. If I was not haunting the jetty at Blackwall, I was off somewhere else, like catching mullet and garfish in Stoney Creek, fishing the jetty at Deviot, catching big wrasse off the rocks at Badgers Head or even trout fishing for small brown trout in the small creeks and streams that were close to home.
At the age of 21 I met my wife Melinda and 2 years later we married… that same year we also gave birth to our first child… a son Andrew William Cox, 2 years later we were blessed with another child, this time a daughter, Kylie Jane Cox and 2 years later again yet another child came along this time another daughter, Tiani Lee Cox.
I remember when Andrew was 4 years old I took him down to the jetty at Blackwall where he caught his first fish… a cod! We fished whenever we could until one day the jetty at Blackwall was condemned due to safety reasons and was knocked down. We then started to fish other areas including Deviot, Paper Beach, Beauty Point, Sidmouth and Bonnie Beach and I honestly cannot remember a fishless trip. Unfortunately Kylie and Tiani never caught the fishing bug… they were always more into Dancing!
I remember going on a trip to Arthurs Lake with Andrew, my brother and brother in law. Andrew was around 11 at the time. It was Andrew’s first time trout fishing and I remember quickly showing him what to do before leaving him to his own devices. I had hardly walked away when I heard Andrew call out and I turned around to see him dragging a solid brown across the surface. I ran back calling out to him to take it easy but by the time I got back to him he had the fish beached on a clump of weed with a smile from ear to ear! From this point on my fishing took a bit of a turn as Andrew developed a strong passion for it and I found myself fishing far more often than I ever used to due to him always wanting to fish somewhere.
Soon after this my brother and I built our own shack at Miena on Great Lake in the Central Highlands of Tasmania which I still own to this date. However these days I do not get to spend as much time up there as I would like to as owning and managing my own Butcher Shop takes up a lot of my time... one day maybe things will slow down for me and I can again start to spend more time at our family shack and also fish more!
For me fishing was always about having fun and spending time with my family and my friends… however as time progressed fishing became far more enjoyable for me through watching Andrew grow as an angler. It was always truly a pleasure to see that smile on his face whenever he caught a good fish! For me it simply does not get any better than that!