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Australian Fishing Secrets with Out of the Blue

15 Dec 2017

WATCH: Discover the joys of fishing from some local News South Wales experts. Watch video below:

You don’t have to be a pro to get a kick out of casting a line. Michael Keelan from Out of The Blue TV series talks fishing with G’DAY.

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 Michael and Michael - Out of the Blue

‘Tis the season to fish…

As occupations go, Michael Keelan and Michael Angelakis have a serious case of job satisfaction. The Out Of The Blue duo cast a line in some of the best fishing locations across the globe, explore local marine life and maritime history, cook their catch and talk about it. As the rest of us watch their Sunday night Channel Seven television show, we live vicariously through their adventures. 

“I love fishing because I really just totally switch off,” Michael Keelan says.

“I find a nice corner of the boat and whether I catch a fish or not I am in seventh heaven. What a way to de-stress.”

As any seasoned angler would know, it’s not all about catching the big one. One of fishing’s benefits is the simple act of relaxation and spending time in nature. Keelan says the first nibble is an adrenaline rush, too.

“The anticipation of that first enquiry by the fish. That little tap… and trying to land a big blue swimmer without going for a dip!”

Keelan is the first to admit you don’t have to know it all to get a kick out of fishing. A novice can have plenty of fun without all the gadgets. The two Michaels met during the early 1980s on television show Adelaide Today. Third generation Greek-Australian Angelakis, from Angelakis Brothers seafood company knew a lot about fish. Keelen, a broadcaster for over 36 years, specialised in the horticultural world.

“He cooked his fish and I supplied and talked about fruit, veggies, and the garden. It has been a long and enduring friendship and I am blessed to have him as a partner and friend.” 

Back then, fishing was more of a hobby for Keelan.

“My first fishing memory was fishing with my father and brother Peter at The Mullet Hole [in South Australia’s Port Willunga] when I was five or six.”

He doesn’t own a boat, nor is he mechanically inclined, but since Out Of The Blue premiered in July 2003 he’s learnt a few tricks of the fishing trade. Over two hundred episodes later, they’ve clocked up some serious miles. From scallop harvesting and abalone preparation in Western Australia, to trout fishing in north Tasmania’s Tamar River (check out Low Head Lighthouse while you’re there), searching for Murray cod in South Australia’s Riverland, fly fishing in Care Valley rivers, crabbing and prawning on the Spencer Gulf, and sinking a line (and a few good drops) in Italy, the guys have done it all. How did Keelan, a horticulturalist, end up on a seafood cooking program? He doesn’t have the foggiest, but he’s sure glad he did. He’s learnt a lot along the way.

“I hadn’t been overseas until my late thirties and from then on, the travel bug certainly bit. I still pinch myself when I travel for Out Of The Blue and [Channel Seven’s] SA Weekender within our state, country and overseas.”

He lives in Burnside, South Australia, so has a particular affinity for local fishing. 

“I love fishing for King George whiting, drifting for squid and raking for blueys. It doesn’t get much better – and all here in SA.” 

His favourite spot to cast a line in Australia? 

“If I told you, you will all come over and leave me without any fish at all and my neighbours will lynch me.”

He will, however, hint it’s on Yorke Peninsula.

“We catch an amazing mixed bag: King George whiting, snapper, squid, crabs etc. I am happy with a modest catch (not the limit) - just a nice meal.”

The local community adopts a firm policy of ‘only take what you need and leave some for the next person’.

“I get very annoyed when people have the ‘catch all and run’ fishing mentality,” he says. “We have to nurse our amazing resources, not destroy them by over fishing and taking undersized fish and crabs – that, sadly is the case in many instances.”

‘Yorkes’ as locals affectionately call it, is also his favourite holiday destination. “

I spend a few days here and there over on Yorkes, I love it - it’s like a quick battery charge.”

King George whiting and snapper are his favourite fish to hook and eat. In the glass, he’s no purist.

“When it comes to the custom of white wine with fish I love fish with a nice tempranillo or sangiovese from The Pawn Wine Co, a great South Australian wine that stands up to the best, especially with grilled whiting or calamari.”

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Credit: Tourism and Events Queensland.

Think before you sink (a line)

Each state has systems (including size and bag limits) that prevent people from taking more than their fair share of fish and marine life and damaging ecosystems. Depending on your destination you may be required to obtain a recreational fishing licence. These are available from local fishing authorities or online. Application forms for all Australian Government Fisheries licences can be found on the AFMA website. >>

Want to know about bait? Read our article here.


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