The Captain couldn’t pass up the chance to spend a day on the water with a bloke who loves boats, loves fishing — and who happens to answer to the nickname of “Legend”. Garry “Legend” Harmon is a friendly, knockabout bloke. He’s a part-time concreter, a stay-at-home dad and a greyhound wrangler — his wife’s family breeds and races greyhounds. He’s partial to a beer and a BBQ. He also loves boats and fishing — which makes him zero different from most of The Captain’s scurvy crew. But this fisho has made the journey from freshwater to salt, from being a boss on the bass fishing circuit to tracking tuna in the offshore deep — and from tinnies to glass. This is a man with a tale to tell and The Captain wanted to hear it.
Garry took a day off work, left his home in Gatton, Queensland at 2am and towed his Wellcraft across the NSW border to the Fingal Head boat ramp for a 5.30am start. The 222 looks awesome at the ramp with two-tone black-and-white hull with Scarab graphic, fitted with a powder-coated alloy T-top. It is a good-sized boat, easy to tow with room for lads, swags and kids — in that order. Lads stowed, pretty soon we’re heading out into what Garry accurately describes as “some pretty shitty weather”. It gets worse.
“Pretty shitty” also describes the day’s fishing. We have a bit of a look around, scoring a couple of strikes on the trolling gear. Then… nothing. So Garry breaks out some of his bass gear and we go hard on the micro-jigging, getting stuck into the small tuna. Garry hauls one over the side without much of a fight, but is totally unimpressed. “That is probably the worst mack tuna I’ve ever caught,” he grumbles.
The weather gets worse. We keep hunting, but the fish aren’t biting. We decide to cut our losses and head back. The Wellcraft delivers a smooth and stable ride down sea, with big chines set forward and 20-degree deadrise. However, it also proves a bit of a banger into a head sea. As the canopy sits too far forward, everyone gets wet. Eventually, we make it back and find a spot to drop anchor and debrief. It’s at that moment the clouds break, the sun comes out and it starts to get hot. “I reckon we stuffed up our timing today,” says Garry, cracking the top on a frosty beverage.
Extracting a thirst-quencher from the esky, The Captain reckons it’s time for Garry to salvage the day with his story, starting with how he discovered his passion for fishing. As Garry recalls, it started in the fresh. “All my family are fishermen and I was introduced to the water at a young age, but we came from the bush so we fished the rivers. We moved to South East Queensland and I discovered yellowbelly and Australian bass.” Garry says. “My bass career was pretty short-lived, but I had a good time and met a lot of good people. As a co-angler, I won the freshwater championship in my first year, even though I didn’t really know what this bass stuff was all about. I just picked it up and ran with it.”
Garry chased bass in the US and fished the Bass Nation circuit and a few comps in between. He reckons it was really about “getting away with the boys and having an excuse to go fishing”, but that bass journey left him with a nickname that’s stuck: Legend.
“It’s a bit of a no-brainer,” Garry says. “It’s because I was into the Legend boats for a few years before they closed the doors and were bought out.” Turns out, Garry was way more than “into” Legend boats — he helped bring them to Australia.
“I love boats and I’ve always owned one — as a kid, I claimed my dad’s tinnie as mine. I kept on upgrading, but once I got into the bass scene, seeing these boats do 60–70mph was very cool and I wanted one. I was introduced to a few people and went to the US, met all the guys and went through the factory. I thought they were the Bentley or Rolls-Royce of the bass boat world. They’re one of the best-finished boats around, so I took on a Legend distributorship in Australia.”
THE CALL OF THE SALT
All good things come to an end, and Garry and bass fishing eventually parted ways as he discovered the joys of saltwater — and fibreglass boats. In fact, he’s a member of an elite crew that goes by the name of FTB posse. “FTB means ‘fuck the bass’. It’s a personal joke between me and a few mates,” Garry says. “Don’t get me wrong, it was fun, but you can only catch so many 1kg fish and keep enjoying it. The way it’s been with the drought in Queensland and NSW, with the dams dropping out, it just makes things tougher. The fish just school and lie on the edges.”
Garry says the challenge of the saltwater appealed, as did the practicality of fibreglass. “I like just getting away, being out on the water, not knowing what’s going to happen on the day. The thrill of the chase, the family time, the mateship, getting away camping or going to a motel, travelling — there’s so much in it that it keeps your mind ticking. That’s why I don’t want to chase the same fish all the time. There’s so much to learn, you could spend three lifetimes. My wife said we should buy an offshore boat to do some salt stuff and enjoy it with the kids. That, plus a lot of arm-twisting from my mates, eventually led me to a fibreglass boats.”
The Wellcraft obviously rocks his, er, boat. It’s full of cool features and striking aesthetics including a dual-width black-faced centre console, transom door and wide gunwales. Nice fishing touches include the rod holder protruding through the canopy.
“I shopped around quite a lot and the Wellcraft 222 ticked all the boxes for my fishing styles, for the family and kids, my mates — everything I wanted to do with it. It’s got a big fuel tank, 390- plus litres, a big kill tank, an 87L live well and, of course, the JL Audio sound system.”
BEATS THE SYSTEM
Garry loves his tunes and he really, really loves his JL set-up. “It’s my favourite thing on the boat,” he laughs. “I can enjoy it no matter where I am, even in the shed, tinkering with the trailer. If you’ve never heard one of these systems you’re missing out. I’ve got six of the 66 MX series speakers, two 10” subs powered by a 700W, five-channel amp. Mate, it booms. You pull up at any boat ramp and turn on the tunes and you always get the heads turning and a big cheer and thumbs-up from the boys.
His playlist philosophy is fairly straightforward. “Tunes keep the boredom away when you’re not catching fish. If you’re out there on a choppy day, punching the boat and having a good time then turn the beats on, let’s have a few beers and enjoy ourselves.”
Garry’s musical tastes are pretty broad— country, alt rock, pop, anything that suits the mood on the day. On this particular day, he’s got the JL pumping out the electronica. When the Captain’s crew questions this choice of soundtrack, he responds, “It’s because you boys are from down south and I didn’t want to bore you with Kenny Rogers.” The Captain assures Garry that he always knows when to hold ’em — and when to fold ’em — noting that on the subject of electronica, it was pretty obvious Garry had a trouser-stretching thing for Simrad.
“I’ve got two NSS12 Evo3 screens, B175HW and B175 Low transducers and the S5100 module to power everything,” he says. “I’ve got the new radar on top to check the weather and birds — or see what other boats are out poking about — and the autopilot makes things easy.” Formerly a Lowrance fan, Garry got the Simrad bug when he caught on how functional and easy to operate they were. “When I bought the Legend I saw a few of the boys had Simrads and I liked the look of them. It’s easy, if you can use your iPhone, you can use one of these.”
He’s also pretty stoked with the Simrad service. “The tech support is awesome. You call their customer service and they’ll speak to you personally about your boat. If I’ve got a question, I ring them up and they sort me out.” Garry reckons the day’s fishing, although ultimately a washout, illustrated the Simrad’s functionality perfectly. “We used the high-wide looking for pelagics at the start of the day when we were trolling for mackerel and wahoo. We split the screens, zoomed in to check it all out and found some at the reef, the bait holding high, them holding low. It’s so easy to search. You’ve got the two different transducers doing two different things on the one screen.”
Another thing Garry’s pretty wrapped with is the big Mercury strapped to the transom of his 222. “The new V8 Verado — mate, I love ’em! As soon as they did the upgrade, I really couldn’t have anything else. You start that big V8 up and it gets people’s heads turning, for sure.”
Garry reckons he can do pretty much anything he wants to, fishing-wise, on his Wellcraft. “I was pulling mud crabs and sand crabs last week, fishing for whiting, bream and flathead with the kids, then chasing squid and moving offshore to chase tuna. Those deeper reef species are pretty fun. I really want to get into chasing marlin, the billfish, along with geets. That’s why I went with the centre console.”
From personal experience, The Captain reckons the Wellcraft is let down by the clumsy layout at helm seat — the rod racks sit at testicle height behind seats so the third passenger can only hang on to the seats (unless they can wrap their manhood around a rod holder). The seats are pretty useless because they fold down forward, so you’re constantly flopping onto the seated crew.
Garry’s Top 5 Beats From His Pumpin’ JL Audio System
01 Hermitude / The Buzz
02 Yungblood and Halsey / 11 minutes
03 Timmy Trumpet / Freaks
04 Lee Brice / Drinking Class
05 Allan Jackson / Drive
ANOTHER DAY. ANOTHER MISSION
After spending all day on the water — OK, some of it sipping cold ones and telling stories — Garry headed back home to Gatton to kiss his wife before packing and heading up to 1770 for a trip with the boys from the Gatton fishing club the next day. “This trip is going to consist of everything from topwater pelagics to deep reef to shallow reef, for trout and the like,” Garry says.
The Captain’s crew wish Garry good luck, ears still thrumming for the bass on the JL Audio.
• Ripper skipper — top attitude made up for lack of saltwater experience
• Great-looking boat, with sweet console
• Big shoulders run nicely down sea
• JL Audio Sound system
• Strut on console opening
• Rod storage on console— rods extend through console roof
• Torque of the V8 Merc, although…
• That motor was fumy
• Super touchy throttle — and neutral light is hidden underneath throttle control
• Bit of a banger in head sea
• Fittings rattled in the big seas
• Clumsy helm seat configuration
• Hardtop doesn’t extend far enough backwards to keep crew dry in downpour
• 83L live bait tank on port side (that ain’t gonna help the ride)