Henry Roberts was three-years-old when he caught his first fish and he has been hooked on the sport ever since.
Now an enthusiastic 11-year-old, Henry has been on his fair share of fishing adventures.
“There are a lot of crocodiles in the Northern Territory but I was more afraid of the sharks,” says the 11-year-old of his favourite fishing moment.
“We caught some tuna, not big ones, but we kept them for sashimi. You chop the heads off and put them in the ice box, you throw the head back and it would just disappear,” he says.
“You would have to reel the fish in as quick as you can otherwise they would get chomped.”
Eager to share what he has learned, Henry started his own fishing blog, Tightlines with Henry.
“I got my friend into fishing and he never knew how to catch anything. I thought there are probably more people like him that want to start fishing but they don’t know much. So I thought I could start a blog to tell them what I’ve caught and they could tell me what they’ve caught and ask questions,” says Henry.
Henry’s blog is full of great advice but there are two things he thinks every kid will need before they cast a line – patience and persistence.
He says, “You’ve got to be patient. If you don’t catch something one time, try something else ... If you are trying baits and they are not working swap to lures.”
It would be easy to assume that catching a fish is mostly a bit of luck, but according to Henry, the more knowledge and experience you have the more likely you are to get a bite.
“Some of it is luck, but you could go fishing with your dad when you’re six-years-old and catch a ten pound flat head, but you’d be more likely to catch that if you were more prepared and you knew more,” explained Henry.
Regardless of what you do or don’t catch fishing is still a great excuse to get outdoors.
“You see a lot of amazing things, the other day we were fishing and there was a school of tailor jumping over the boat nearly jumping into the kayak,” says Henry.
For days when the fish aren’t leaping into your boat, Henry recommends Lion Island, NSW, and a good, fresh bait to lure them in.
“If you paddle out on a kayak or boat and cast a lure at Lion Island you catch a lot of king fish, and tailor,” he says.
“My preferred bait is little baby squids that have been caught just here, from Umina to out near lion island.”
Always looking for more ways to fit fishing into his schedule, Henry, with the help of his parents, is trying to get fishing recognised at part of the school sporting curriculum.
Henry’s Dad, Heath Roberts, says, “It [fishing] doesn’t involve the same sort of cardio challenge that a lot other sports do, but if you’re going fishing for trout or fishing up in the little creeks you are going hiking and getting out there and exercising so it’s certainly got its benefits.”
“He’s [Henry] started talking to them about it he’s taken that initiative but these things are slow and can take a while sometimes.”
The wait is unlikely to discourage this determined youngster. Sharing tips on his blog is only the beginning, he has big plans for his future and, unsurprisingly, it involves fish.
“I’m going to open a fishing shop and start my own fishing charters at Patonga,” says Henry.
“I’ll launch my boat and take people out fishing.”
Until then, Henry will be content to spend his weekends much like this one – at Pearl Beach, on the New South Wales’ coast, with a bag of prawns and his fishing rod.