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Lifestyle : Boat Show 2011
1HERSA1 0014 M304M MEET THE NEW EXTENDED FAMILY The brand you can trust in marine electronics See us at the Sydney International Boat Show, Stand 411 - 413 www.gme.net.au For further information visit our website or contact your nearest GME branch: SYDNEY (02) 9879 8888 MELBOURNE (03) 9798 0988 BRISBANE (07) 3278 6444 PERTH (08) 9455 5744 ADELAIDE (08) 8234 2633 AUCKLAND (09) 274 0955 14 July 23- 24, 2011 smh.com.au SPECIAL REPORT Lissa Christopher investigates why wetting a line has become more obsession than pastime. REELING THEM IN Cast of thousands . . . (clockwise from above) fishing offers a chance to enjoy the outdoors; sun sets over a catch; a clinic at the boat show. Main photo: Dave Tease 'Ithink a big part of it is the mystery,'' Steve Starling says. He's not talking about reading crime novels but fishing and what makes it so popular. ''It's like plunging your hand into a lucky dip,'' says the fishing writer and television personality. ''You don't know what you're going to pull out. It could be a bream or it could be an old boot.'' Tim Simpson -- who edits BlueWater magazine and sits at the adventure end of the fisher's spectrum -- loves the challenges and opportunities to escape that fishing provides. ''It's a chance to remove yourself from day-to-day life and to have a peaceful excursion into nature,'' he says. ''And it's pitting your skills as an angler against the natural wariness of fish.'' Bruce Schumacher reckons it's largely about fresh air and dinner. ''Fishing is so popular because it's a pastime in the outdoors, which also has the possibility of putting something on the table,'' he says. Schumacher is chairman of the NSW Advisory Council on Recreational Fishing and will captain a team of experts, including Starling and Simpson, presenting the fishing clinic at this year's Sydney International Boat Show. Based on sales of fishing licences, he says, the sport continues to grow in popularity in NSW, albeit at a gentle pace. ''There was a suggestion that when the fishing licence came in, it would put a lot of people off but I think what has actually happened is that people figure if they're going to have to pay to do it, they should do it a bit more seriously,'' he says. ''And they spend a bit more on tackle etc.'' There are, however, some notable demographic changes among the generations of the state's fishers. There are more retirees on the end of a rod -- but fewer children. Schumacher reckons children aren't fishing because they've got too much else to do -- ''with their computers and their PlayStations and all the rest of it'' -- and because perceptions of safety have changed. ''Gone are the days when you would let your pre-teenage child go down to the local jetty [alone] and fish at night,'' he says. Starling attributes the decline in young fishers, at least in part, to an adult generation that has missed out on acquiring fishing skills and so can't pass them on. ''Children of my generation grew up being taught to fish by their dad or their grandfather or an aunt or uncle who could fish,'' he says. ''But there are a lot of adults from the time-poor generation that has come through in the past 15 or 20 years who have grown up without any fishing in their lives. ''And I think the other thing we've got to face is that there are a lot of single-parent families around, especially a lot of single mums, whose kids might want to try fishing but who don't have the expertise.'' Starling hopes television fishing shows, books, magazines and the internet will help educate this group ''but it's still nothing like having a mentor there beside you'', he says.
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