Avoiding whales and big waves – we talk to a Margaret River angler

We interrogated avid angler, Steele Hawken, about his lifelong addiction to fishing. The 29-year-old Margaret River local owns 2 boats, works at a tackle store and was introduced to fishing by an unlikely mentor.

Here’s what he said.

Trident Marine: What are your earliest memories of fishing?

Steele: My father first took me fishing when I was six. Hilariously enough he had never been fishing in his life and was a vegetarian. After explaining to me about patience and managing expectations, I promptly hooked a bream.


He had no idea how to deal with the flapping fish so a thong was used to restrain it. We then managed to catch several more and I was hooked. Not literally. (Luckily.)


Trident Marine: Tell us about your day job?

Steele: Naturally enough I work in a tackle shop. I get paid to talk about fishing and play with tackle all day. The discounts don’t hurt either.


Trident Marine: Do you have a boat?

Steele: I actually have 2 boats. One is a 12-foot tinny, which I have owned for nearly half my life. I have caught some great fish from it over the years and I can’t bear to part with it. I also recently acquired a 5-metre Quintrex as I needed a more capable oceangoing vessel.


The old tinny has been relegated to creek and river duty. I’ve barely had a chance to use the bigger boat yet but it’s sure to get a flogging this summer.


Trident Marine: What’s the last thing you caught?

Steele: A Yellowtail Kingfish, it was my personal best for that species. Estimated to weigh about 20kg.


Trident Marine: What reel do you use or like the most? Why?

Steele: It would have to be my pair of 2008 model Shimano Stellas. They are first class reels with a hefty price tag to match. Despite years of heavy use, they still feel like new and have certainly been the most reliable reels I’ve ever owned.


Trident Marine: What do you love most about fishing?

Steele: For me it’s all about the strike and the subsequent fight. That’s why I primarily target hard fighting fish as they are certainly the most exciting to catch.


I especially enjoy fishing with surface lures, as in my opinion a top water strike is the most exhilarating thing in fishing. Whether it’s a Whiting or a Giant Trevally, seeing the strike is always awesome. Although the bigger the fish, the better.


Trident Marine: Have you ever had any close calls on the water?

Steele: I’ve certainly had a few close calls over the years. I’ve had to dodge whales many times, which is always disconcerting, especially when they’re breaching.


The closest calls I’ve ever had have involved rogue waves and some frantic maneuvering to get to safety. Luckily, I’ve never experienced anything too serious.


Trident Marine: Phew! We’re glad!