The Iris Interview: Talking fishing with Andrew Hart and Nick Duigan, hosts of Hook, Line and Sinker

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Andrew Hart and Nick Duigan have a day job that many Aussies would be incredibly jealous of. They are the hosts of Hook, Line and Sinker, a fishing show that screens on Saturday afternoons on 7mate. Hook, Line and Sinker began in 2001 and this year marks the 10th season of the show. Formally a half-hour series, this years episodes have been extended to one hour in length. The show follows Andrew and Nick on their fishing trips around Australia and across the globe. It’s a fun and educational series that caters to anyone, from die hard fishing enthusiasts to anyone with just a passing interest in fishing. We had a chat with Andrew and Nick in the lead-up to this Saturday’s 10th season premiere of Hook, Line and Sinker. 

First of all, congratulations on reaching the Season 10 milestone! Without giving too much away, what are you most excited about showing viewers this year?

Nick: One of the most exciting things this season is the change to a 1 hour format. In the past with ½ hour, we’ve found that some of the good stuff ends up on the cutting room floor but this season we’ll be delivering the full ‘director’s cut’. We’ve also spread our wings a little and visited more international destinations and it’s always interesting to see how fishing differs in other countries.

Andrew: Really excited about the program being an hour in length this year. That means double the fishing fun, and it’s allowed us to spend more time at destinations and make more of an adventure style of a show. Look out for our international trips to UK, NZ and Solomon Islands.

Can either of you remember the moment when you first discovered your passion for fishing?

Nick: My view of fishing shifted from an interest to a passion when I was in my late teens and managed to catch my first decent snapper. I’d been reading all the magazines and trying out all the latest techniques and when it paid off I was hooked.

Andrew: I had a slightly older cousin who would take me fishing all the time in our school holidays. Not sure how old I was, maybe 10 or 11. It’s fair to say I was hooked at an early age!

Can you both name your own personal favourite spot to fish?

Nick: For me if would have to be Flinders Island in the middle of Bass Strait. It’s where I grew up and we still go on family holidays there every summer. Close to the best flathead fishing anywhere in Australia, plus there are more glamorous species like kingfish, snapper and whiting if you work a bit harder. I’d also have to give a special mention to the Kimberley in WA – sensational fishing, unbelievable scenery, perfect weather.

Andrew: I love my home state of Tasmania – there’s heaps of options from trout to tuna. If I had to pick one location, it would be anywhere along the East Coast of Tassie and catching stripy trumpeter. They taste great and put up a terrific fight.

You both seem to be having a ball when you’re out fishing. What’s your favourite way to keep fishing fresh and fun?

Nick: Fishing is good fun, that’s the point. We’ve never really managed to take it too seriously and that helps keep the mood pretty light. We’re also skilled at keeping each other’s feet on the ground. Anyone who’s ever been on a fishing trip with their mates will recognise the value of the time honoured Australian ‘piss take’.

Andrew: Going to different locations helps keep fishing fresh. You can pretty much chase fish anywhere in the world and the buzz is always the same when you catch one – no matter the size.

What is one of the biggest difficulties you’ve had to overcome while filming the show?

Nick: Seasickness. It only happens rarely to us but as you can imagine, if the cameraman goes down in a vomitous heap, then filming anything worthwhile becomes very difficult. It is for this reason that we introduced a 2 bottle red wine limit for our cameraman Mike before any offshore filming duties. It’s very strict but seems to work.

Andrew: The weather is the biggest challenge. You can plan everything really well, visit locations at the best time of the year, have all the best gear. But if the weather cracks up, it makes for some very challenging filming conditions.

You also include cooking segments on Hook, Line and Sinker. Do you have a favourite seafood dish?

Nick: I love pretty much all seafood, particularly crustaceans but I just had lunch of some fresh caught Tassie scallops in a tasty curry and can tell you that they are hard to beat. Would have to say that of the fin fish species, coral trout lightly dusted in salted flour, fried in a bit of lemon butter is getting close to perfection. 

Andrew: Crumbed Stripy Trumpeter.

What is it about fishing that keeps you coming back?

Nick: The beauty of fishing is that you can never learn it all. Just when you think you’ve got a particular species figured out, a new technique will emerge that forces you to change your thinking. Fishing is constantly changing and always evolving. That doesn’t mean the angler has to change but the option is always available.

Andrew: It’s the anticipation of getting a bite. Whether you are standing on a beach waiting for a bite, or trolling way out to sea trying to catch a huge marlin – you never know when it’s going to happen! And when it does it certainly gets the heart pumping!

And finally, what advice would you give to any viewers who want to get out there and try their hand at fishing?

Nick: Keep it simple! It’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the advice and information available out there but the key for people starting out is to learn the basics and evolve from there. I’d always recommend hooking up with someone who knows what they’re doing, whether it’s a friend or even local guide – they can teach you more in a day than you’ll figure out in a year on your own.

Andrew: Grab a good quality fishing rod and reel and some fresh bait. But the key is to fish with as lighter line as possible. Tiny hooks and a tiny sinker. The lighter you fish the more bites you will get! And make sure the bait is as fresh as it can be.

Have a look at the trailer for the new season of Hook, Line and Sinker here:

Season 10 of Hook, Line and Sinker starts this Saturday July 26th at 2pm on 7mate. Check out the show’s official website at www.hooklinesinker.tv