LBG - Life on the Rocks (Part 2)

Bob Russo: Bob's article to be published in full soon....

Times Change

Tackle, techniques, places and people changed over the years and I changed in that time also. Thirty odd years have passed since I first set foot onto the LBG platforms of the south coast which I believe to be the Mecca for LBG fishing. With few exceptions the characters down there were always weird and wonderful or even bizarre, including me. I wore a Davey Crocket coon skin hat and fished in undies more than shorts.

Bob with a Mack Tuna

Without trying to sound like a bighead or know-it-all, it does take a very special and dedicated person to stay in the LBG scene for more than a few years. Boredom, frustration, early starts, crowds, exposure and sleep deprivation were all regular experiences. Did I mention frustration? Especially after you drive down from Sydney to find the spot you were going to fish jammed packed with people by 3.00 am. The sheer cost in fuel was enough to make a saint swear.

As lousy as it might sound, a bloke might not get a run through the whole season. The only thing I could guarantee was at some time or other a lot of tempers got stirred up fishing at such close quarters. Sooner or later it gets to everyone. But after a while you have that too in common.

Bob Hooked up on a “Thumper” shark at The Tubes

Persistence and Passion

Doing this for seven months straight every year for six years made me very 'street wise' as far as my thoughts and my style of LBG fishing was concerned. I fished constantly but not as heavily for the last fourteen years and never really lost my passion for LBG fishing.

I did pay a high price for my favourite pursuit. A typical story, it cost me two jobs, a relationship, two cars, not to mention the fuel costs and virtually no social life other than to head south and fish. The cost of tackle to get that fish with the potential to empty a spool of 1000 metres of 50 lb line in minutes has cost me thousands of dollars. Continually updating my gear trying to get that edge, this was not a pedestrian effort.

Bob at Devils and a small Bronze Whaler

You almost become possessed by something pushing you to your limits. This may seem a bit on the bizarre side, but it is very true, it became an all-consuming obsession with me and I was not alone. I’m not saying every LBG fisho takes it as seriously as I did, but if you want results, the only way you will get them is by putting in the time and effort.

One very important thing that might help the new generation and maybe some of the old diehards is to go out and enjoy your fishing. I used to think I did, but arguing with boaties who come so close that you can see the fillings in their teeth, dive boats who didn’t give two stuffs about running over your line and ripping into the poor innocent bloke who just wants to throw his line in no matter where it lands then goes to sleep as he waits for a bite, was not doing my sanity or my public relations a great deal of good.

When I finally realised that I didn’t own the rocks seven years on I really started to enjoy my fishing. A thing that I taught to my eleven year old step son Luke was just going fishing and getting out is great, if you catch a fish then that's a bonus.

Bill Wall and his gaffman at Mosquito


As people changed so did the gear. Gone are the long fiberglass rods of old. Star drag reels and even the faithful Alvey are virtually a thing of the past. Below is an incredible 9:1 speed spinning reel. Tony Hubbard had to slow the lure down for the stripeys to catch up with it!

Tony Hubbard and his 9:1 “Mega Cranker“

Bob’s 136lb Yellowfin at Devils Gorge

I certainly would not swap my Shimano 50W or my Sabre GF670H for all the tea in China. Flying gaffs are a lot more common these days as people hope to hook that howler of a fish that comes once in a lifetime.

Read more in the final part of our three part series...

I sincerely hope Jervis Bay is heritage listed for the land-based game fishing that happens there and for the people who fish it from the rocks. LBG forever!!