Two mates leave the bright lights of Brisvegas to follow a dream of adventure.
The Captain: A’hoy fellas. Tell us a little bit about Back to Basics Adventures. Who’s in the crew and what do you do?
Jack Strickland (Strick): Ahoy Captain, great to ride aboard your barnacle encrusted pages. There are two of us behind B2B, Az (Az Gallagher) and myself.
Az: We’re all about living life to the full. Making the most of where you are, what you have and who you’re with. We’re addicted to the environment around us, above and below the water, the rainforest to the reef, the natural beauty on our doorstep that we are so lucky to call home.
Strick: We’re sure pretty much everyone who reads this mag loves getting back to basics – fishing, camping, escaping the rat race and getting off the grid. So everyone is part of the B2B crew, really. Haha!
You blokes are sure livin’ the life. Where are you based – Lizard Island? Fraser Island?
Strick: Ha! Social media can be misleading. It looks like we’re on a tropical island catching fish every day. Well, we’re based in Tropical North Queensland and we catch fish every second day!
Az: I’ve just spent the past three years working and living in remote parts of South- East Asia, but I’m now back on the family banana farm in North Queensland. Why did you start Back to Basics Adventures?
Strick: We were down in the concrete jungle known as “Brisvegas” having a crack at a uni degree, but spent more time over on Moreton Island and going camping up and down the coast. We’d come back from these epic trips to see our mates nursing hangovers and playing computer games. It wasn’t for us.
Az: We knew how good it made us feel, getting our heads out of technology and the clutter of the city. There are so many adventures to be had right at our doorstep. We wanted to make people aware and show them what’s out there.
What’s in the name? Is it just because you can’t tie a perfection loop?
Az: Haven’t cast a lure and had it go flying towards Fiji for a while, unlike Strick! Actually, Back to Basics is something I’ve always lived by, whether I’m camping, on the reef, beach or anywhere outdoors. It’s more a feeling than a name. It’s something that stuck through the years and we all get around it.
What boats do you patrol around the tropics in?
Strick: We’ve got a pretty proud fleet. The 15ft Salty Dingo tinnie would be my vessel of choice to tackle the seven seas. She’s been swamped, run aground and dragged anchor on pretty much every island up the east coast – but she just keeps on giving.
Az: I’ve got the Salty Banana. She’s a 13ft open tinnie that’ll take me anywhere. We’ve got lots of great mates with solid rigs to do those really wide trips when we can.
Tell us about some of your most epic trips. A little birdy told us about some drunken nights on Dunk Island…?
Strick: As far as epic trips go, I reckon getting back up to the islands of PNG was top of the list for me. I grew up there and hadn’t been back for 10 years, we went rogue for almost three months; into areas where village kids would run and scream at the colour of our skin as they hadn’t seen white people before.
Oh, Dunk Island what a place! We had a night there recently where we must’ve had a couple of overripe coconuts and all went a bit troppo. My last memory was shark fishing at about midnight, I hooked a big bugger and was fighting him from the edge of the wharf giving him hell trying to turn him… and some boofhead pushes me in. So I’m waterskiing face first, middle of the night connected to a big shark and not wanting to let go of the Saragosa! That was pretty funny.
Az: Yeah, the good ol’ “Free State of Dunk Island”, what happens there generally stays there, mate! We did a trip north of Cape Tribulation, stopping off at random bays, swimming holes and islands along the way for a long weekend once. We lived off the land and only saw five people the whole time. How did you end up meeting footy legend, Nick “The Honey Badger” Cummins? What’s he like on the rod?
Strick: I was doing a bit of work for Great Northern and the Badger came on one of the tours. Couple of beers around a fire and we had more or less solved all the world’s problems. He’s a bloody top bloke and very handy on the rod.
Az: Badge is legit as they come. He’s a professional life liver. We have some big trips planned in the coming months to go rogue and off the grid, so stay tuned for big things there.
Top five spots to fish/spearfish in Qld?
Az: Great platform to lead a few people on a wild goose chase here, but I’ll spare ya! We love fishing the reefs off Cairns and Dunk Island – popping, trolling for Spanish and bommie hopping for reefies. The shoals of North West Island are epic (we’re taking groups out here in October, so message us if you’re keen to get involved). Walking the freshwater streams north of Port Douglas for sooties and JPs makes a great day. And the new net-free zones down in Mackay have been producing some solid barra the pastcouple of seasons. Any run-ins with sharks below the surface?
Strick: Too many. As most spearos know, you’re normally met by a few curious sharks. The worst run-ins I’ve had is when diving on shark research trips and tagging sharks. Some of them don’t appreciate the new piercing, turn back and have a real go at you. No lost limbs, though.
Az: The taxman and I know each other very well. I’ve had a couple sneak up behind me, grabbing fish out of my hands and a couple of times they’ve bitten my fins, but their body language will tell you the story in most cases, so just need to respect that.
What’s your favourite species and why?
Strick: Dogtooth tuna for me. They’re found in remote areas with beautiful clear water, wrapped around epic drop-offs. They’re gnarly looking, hard to catch and have the petrol tank of a yellowfin tuna, yet fight dirty like coral trout.
Az: I love visiting dogtown, but give me a cray any day. They don’t move so far, taste great, look epic and give you that great hands-on experience. If you were on a deserted island would you rather speargun or a fishing rod?
Strick: We’re definitely better spearfishermen than line fishermen, so would have to go the speargun.
On this deserted island would you rather be with Paul Worsteling, Al McGlashan or ET? Why?
Strick: We did an episode on Al McGlashan’s series and he’s a top bloke, so he would be my vote for sure.
Az: I know Uncle Al brings enthusiasm and shitty jokes to the table, so I’d be stuck with him. Would be great to meet ET and Paul, though.
What’s next for Back to Basics Adventures? Is TV on the cards?
Strick: We believe everything is shifting from TV towards online platforms, so we are stoked to have just come onboard with FishFlicks. We’ve got heaps of unseen episodes dropping on there over the next couple of months.
Az: We will be running some outdoor adventure trips in the next few months. Get involved if you want to be wild and live! Where can people follow you? Best way is to like our Facebook Page and follow us on Instagram
For more information on Back to Basics Adventures check out:
‘Back to Basics – Adventures’ https://www.facebook.com/ BacktoBasicsAdventures/
Back to Basics https://www.youtube.com/user/xxBack2Basics