Author Sam Mossman tackles new challenge

By Linda Hall


Sam Mossman celebrates 50 years of fishing around the world with a book recounting his adventures.


Sam Mossman caught his first fish off the wharf at Port Ahuriri in Napier at the age of 4 and says he's been hooked ever since. He celebrated 50 years of throwing out lines and reeling in fish by writing a book.

The author of eight previous books and numerous articles, his new book, The Reel Life Adventures in Travel Fishing, takes readers on a trip around the world.

Mossman tales are filled with action and humour from his time at points around the Pacific Islands and Australia to North and South America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Photos add to this excellent book that all anglers will thoroughly enjoy.

WHAT WAS YOUR BEST TRIP?


Possibly to Brazil to fish the Amazon River. I had built up this river to near-mythical status in my mind and it still exceeded expectations.

Just to be there was a real buzz, let alone having 3000 species of weird and wonderful fish to catch.

AND THE WORST?


Flying to Tonga on an early flight. A rainstorm meant the plane couldn't land, so we were forced to continue up to Samoa and we were getting short of fuel. The airport there was closed and we sat in the plane on the tarmac for four hours waiting for the fuel tanker, which broke down as soon as it arrived.

Food and water had run out and they wouldn't let us off the plane because there were no customs staff to clear us.

Finally, we got back in the air but as we passed over Tonga we were told there was now no time to land as the plane was needed back in New Zealand and the crew were close to their maximum flying hours.

That night we were back where we started in Auckland, never having got off the plane in 12 hours or wet a line.

WHILE YOU WERE TRAVELLING AND FISHING DID YOU SET A CERTAIN TIME ASIDE FOR WRITING OR TAKING NOTES FOR THE REEL LIFE OR DID YOU WRITE FROM MEMORY?


Human memory is notoriously unreliable and mine is no exception.

I kept extensive journals during my trips and, referring back to them while writing this book, I was amazed at how my mind's current recollections of trips and the actual notes I took at the time differed, and the things I'd forgotten.

WHAT'S THE SCARIEST THING THAT'S HAPPENED TO YOU WHILE OUT AT SEA?


While crewing on a game boat at the Three Kings Islands we chased a marlin hooked on very light line backwards through an incredible lightning storm while holding long, aluminium-handled gaffs. We thought the fish was a potential world record, so we had to be ready.

I also thought there was a fair chance of getting toasted, but you have to die of something after all, and it would have been a great story assuming there was anyone around to tell it.

But we were not struck by lightning and, after all that, the fish was broken off in a heavy rain squall.

TELL US ABOUT THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY.


There are plenty of these, so it is hard to choose one, but I hooked a fish at Cape Runaway on a heavy saltwater fly rod once that ran out about 300m of line before breaking me off. I never saw it, but still wonder what it was.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FISH TO EAT?


Probably mahimahi, but they are a tropical species and not many are caught in New Zealand waters. My next choices would be bluenose, groper, tarakihi or John Dory.

HOW IMPORTANT IS EQUIPMENT - DO YOU HAVE TO HAVE THE MOST EXPENSIVE TACKLE?


No, my budget doesn't often stretch to absolute top-of-the line tackle for each of the many types of fishing I enjoy but I try to buy robust tackle of reliable brands, usually about two-thirds up the price scale.

WHAT BASIC EQUIPMENT WOULD YOU ADVISE A FIRST-TIME FISHER TO PURCHASE?


That depends on what sort of fishing they intend to do. Tackle required for trout fishing, for example, is vastly different to that required for big game fishing. No one ever regretted buying quality however, and they are more likely to enjoy their initial experience if they have decent equipment.

IS THERE A SECRET TO BEING A GOOD FISHERMAN OR IS IT ALL PURE LUCK?


It is said of fishing that you are better to be lucky than good.

But I find that the harder I try, the more I learn, and the more I persevere, the luckier I get.

WHAT'S NEXT FOR YOU?


With Christmas coming up I am looking forward to a break from magazine work (I work at NZ Fishing News) and a holiday down in Hawke's Bay, visiting family and, hopefully, with a few trout, groper, paua and crayfish thrown in.

THREE TOP FISHING TIPS?


Learn to tie good knots; keep your hooks sharp; fish where the fish are.


 


The Reel Life Adventures in Travel Fishing is published by Penguin and sells for $40.

- Hamilton News

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