Make Nature Your Gym

I was reading an online blog the other day that sparked some hot debate on the dreaded facebook.  The topic of the blog was fitness and how it relates to an angler’s fishing prowess.  It really got me thinking about the demands different forms of fishing place on your body as well as the potential health and fitness benefits of regular fishing.  In my mind, fishing is the “Cross Fit” of hobbies, because each trip presents its own set of stresses your body must overcome.  Each style of fishing has its own demands.  Have a think about our diverse roster of scribes and the forms of fishing they regularly write about.  Think about the sweetwater trekkers and kayakers – they are fit blokes.  You want a killer leg work out that’ll leave you gasping?  Try “boulder hopping” your way up a rainforest stream for miles on end.  If the unstable and awkward footholds don’t exhaust you, the constantly increasing elevation will!  And shoulders, you want to work shoulders?  Try paddling and casting for a few hours against a running freshwater stream! 

Arm day? Try a bit of deepwater jigging!  Nothing burns the biceps like working a heavy knife jig in deep water and then trying to stop a rampaging predator from finding the razor-sharp reef!  Back and abs?  Get yourself a PE 8-10 popping rod and 20000-30000 size reel and a popper that looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s forearm and work it hard for a day or three.  If your back muscles don’t feel like they have been beaten with a hammer then you’re a shoe in if Marvel ever needs to recast the Hulk.  As for abs, look up an exercise called the “wood chopper”.  It involves twisting your midsection to pull a heavy weight suspended from a cable.  It looks like working a popper to me, except without the chance of the weight increasing suddenly to Volkswagen-like proportions!  Heck, even just casting a small timber lure in a creek for a day is enough to make your triceps sore.  All that is without even mentioning the more laborious tasks like throwing a cast net, dragging a bait net or cranking up an 18 ounce snapper lead! 

As a side note, I’ll always remember a story a mate told about fishing off the shelf in Fiji.  After hearing the depth they’d be fishing, my mate asked the charter boat’s skipper if they used electric reels.  The skipper just nodded and pointed to a couple of hugely muscled local Fijians who had just wandered up.  “Electric reels,” he said with a grin.  It turns out that the punters each fished with a deck winch and once they’d hooked their fish, the hired muscle would step in and crank them in for them!   

So, I guess the point that needs to be made is that no, you don’t have to have any level of fitness to be a good angler.  Anyone can sit and catch fish with a bait or on the troll, however, there are certain facets of our sport that have excellent fitness related benefits.  If your kids are sitting at home eating cheeseburgers and playing video games then stick a rod in their hands and some hiking shoes on their feet, drop them off at the nearest freshwater stream and arrange a time to pick them up again.  The same applies if you need to lose some weight or want to get fit – forget buying a treadmill; just start canoeing or walking your local creek and go a little further each week!  Not only will you enjoy it, but you’ll push your limits without realising it.  Nothing makes you forget how tired you are like the prospect of a hot bite around “just one more bend”!

Getting down to business now; this issue has a motley collection of topics.  We’ve got everything from Central Queensland fingermark to Noosa River bass and everything in between.  That being said, we’ve also decided that it’s time we asked you, out there in readerland, as Mondora would say, just what you would like to see in your publication.  So, we’ve come up with a few surveys.  The first one is live now and can be found at

It’s completely anonymous and we won’t use your details to bug you, or sell them to a call centre in New Delhi, however, we have some prizes to say thank you, including ten Reidy’s Big Ass B52 lures and a stack of online Fish & Boat Subscriptions that give you access to issues back to 2012 as well as the current month (often before it’s available in the shops).  So, if you want to put your email in, then we can at least contact you to arrange your prize.

Lastly, many of our scribes are embracing the digital revolution, so check out their videos on Fish and Boat Tube ( There’s more info on many of the subjects covered in this issue.  For example, there’s a great video tour of the TABS Territory 5600 reviewed in this issue.  Also, feel free to upload your own videos, as currently there’s a fibreglass icebox up for grabs for the most viewed video each month. 

Well, that’s it for me.  I’m off to work off a pub lunch by pulling some crab pots.  Fingers crossed I’ll have some crab sangers to work off after that!  Wish me luck.

Fish hard and stay safe folks!

Lee Brake (the Ed’)