The Captain goes rock hopping with Adam Cabangh from Morningtide fishing.
The Captain: Fellas, we love your rock-hopping form. But seriously, can’t you even afford a little tinnie – or do you all get seasick?
Adam Cavanagh: Ha ha, nice one. Well, you could hook us up with one of those schmick craft we’ve seen floating around. I guess we are pretty poor and spend way too much coin on fishing gear – so the boat thing would normally stop there. Briggsy ain’t no Jack Sparrow, either. He does go a little bit green around the gills out on the water.
What is your rock-fishing ethos?
Rock fishing is actually superaddictive! What got us into spinning off the rocks was an old DVD called ‘Land Based Addiction’ by Ron Calcutt. It’s probably still the best land-based video around, even though it’s 100 years old! We enjoy the challenges you face when catching and releasing a good fish off the rocks. It’s seriously hard work and takes a lot of persistence, dedication – sometimes a bit of blood, sweat and tears – to land a good one. It’s pretty hard to beat that feeling when it all comes together.
Why did you start Morningtide Fishing?
Morningtide Fishing started almost three years ago. We must have clocked up about a million casts each and eaten countless numbers of muesli bars on the rocks in that time. LOL. We used to film each other surfing and would make funny little videos to show our mates. They all seemed to froth on them, which was cool. Then when the GoPro Hero came out, we decided to take it fishing! Rock fishing wasn’t all that popular, so we had no idea how our friends would react to the videos. The response was mental – even mums and dads were sitting on the edge of their seats getting pumped up. Over the years we’ve watched our fair share of fishing shows and, to be honest, they were pretty reeking. There was definitely a gap to be filled, so we went for it!
Who is in the crew?
The Captains of Morningtide are Briggsy and myself. Jonny is the newest member of the crew. There is an MTF (Morningtide Fishing) team starting to build up, which can be found on the website.
Tell us your favourite destinations – you don’t have to be spot-specific.
That’s not going to happen, Cap’n! Not naming destinations out of pure respect for the locals is one of the things we stand by. It’s almost like asking ‘What’s your favourite sex position with your wife?’
When you venture out to Lord Howe in the 445F with us, you’ll discover all our preferred sex positions and much, much more! So, where are you based – and how far would you travel to feel the peel?
That’s probably our most frequently asked question besides ‘What’s your favourite lure?’ The seasons change for the fish we’re targeting, so it’s necessary to move up and down the coast. This year, our adventures will be extending to offshore destinations so you could say we’re travelling far and wide in search of topwater action!
OK, why Morningtide – is this prime time for fishing?
Spot-on. Fishing early mornings with a tide change is what we aim for. After some word jumbling we came up with Morningtide. The relative meaning was perfect and it sounded catchy, so we locked this gem in.
I hear you guys live for the surface strike? Come on, tell us the truth – you must lob a stinky old pillie off the stones when nobody’s watching?
We don’t miss rigging up those ‘stinky old pillies’! Truthfully, we only ever use lures. Morningtide is about promoting catch-and-release fishing, so lobbing a dead or live bait out is hardly supportive of this. Surface strikes are just one benefit of using lures – having the option to target any species at any depth is pretty hard to pass up. Oh, and we always keep our hands clean, so our partners don’t complain about the smell, either.
Why are you guys so passionate about catch-and-release?
The more we did it the more passionate we became. There’s something catchy about watching a fish swim out of your hands. Over time, we realised how bad the mentality was towards fish and the ocean in general. People were actually bragging about how many fish they killed, bagging out and filling eskies. This was straight-up frustrating to see. There’s so much pressure on the fishing industry from all sectors – recreational, spear, pro, sport and, of course, commercial fishing. This pressure is really taking a huge toll on fish stock numbers. If you haven’t read a current fish stocks report then you probably should. There’s no better time than now to help keep fish and the oceans alive. Promoting catch-andrelease fishing through our films might at least make people think twice. If you love fishing, why not enjoy it for years to come?
What do you say to that bloke who fills his freezer every time he goes fishing?
Bagging out and filling freezers was a popular pastime 30 years ago. It’s an old mentality; posting images of a pile of dead fish then bragging about it isn’t something to be proud of. One of our new tees has the slogan ‘Dead fish don’t count’ – which would be a good response to that bloke.
What’s your favourite species?
That’s a tough one! So many epic species to choose from, some we have never caught off the rocks yet… My first big hook-up off the stones was to a mammoth cobia. It ended badly, running me through several bombies before cutting me off. We have the vid somewhere, but the amount of times I scream “Really big!” and “Holy shit!” is a little unbearable. The history and the fact they fight like a madman makes this fish a fave.
Briggsy’s favourite fish by far is the GT, because they’re common, huge, fight harder than anything else and are extremely strong for release. On top of that, he’s never landed a good one! Jonny changes his mind on favourite fish like he changes his undies. Right now he’d say GT. Purely because they pull so damn hard! He’s currently hunting a 30kg-plus land-based GT.
Rock fishing is one of the most dangerous sports in Australia, but you blokes take it to the next level – jumping in to release your fish! There must be the occasional injury?
So you’re saying you haven’t done a water release? Nah, our fishing might be seen as next-level, but for us it’s like a daily ritual. Having all grown up by the ocean, we’ve been surfing, free diving and jumping off rocks for fun since we were grommets. Sure we’ve had the odd barnacle slice, but nothing compared to Captain Blackbeard’s shin dig! Fwarkin gross! Hats off to the dude for shaking that one off. And water releases are only possible when it’s super-mellow. It would be way too nuts to try that in waves.
You must lose a few GoPros out there – what’s the casualty rate?
We’ve done pretty well for the amount of fishing that goes down. Three have gone in the drink, two of which became ridiculous cases of lost and found. A dive photographer came across one old Hero2 while cruising a reef not far from where I dropped it three years earlier. The other was discovered washed up on a beach 60km away almost one year later. Both were traced back to us using a screen grab of my mug on Facebook and Instagram. There’s one still washing around the ocean floor somewhere. If you find it, we’ll take you on a fishing trip, for sure.
Remember that dude with the drone catching longtails off the beach? He owned you guys – yes or no?
That was pretty sick! Big dead fish at the end, though. It’s not our style to use bait, either, so it can’t really compare. Seems like there are quite a few mobs jumping on this drone fad, all fighting for a slice of the social media cake.
When are you getting a drone?
We literally just got one! Briggsy, who’s a bit of a tech wizard, has been going nuts over the past few days, sussing it out before our next big trip. So far, he’s killing it, but Jonny and I might have to stick to FIFA on the PS4 or someone might lose an eye!
What are some of your top vids?
Three of our most popular YouTube videos are:
The fish of a lifetime- Cobia off the rocks
Rock jump landing: Big Queenfish :
Set them free: Catch and release
We’ve noticed a few Morningtide Fishing hats and tees kicking around the traps. Tell us about some of your apparel and the designs.
We started off making a few tees with slogans that reflect our banter. These caught on well so it was a good icebreaker into the fishing apparel world. Some of the recent prints are an expression of views we have on fishing. So when someone throws one of our tees or caps on, it’s more than just wearing a piece of clothing – it’s a positive statement.
What’s next for Morningtide Fishing?
Probably buy a boat? Nah, this year has some monster trips in the pipeline, but what’s up next is the search for big kingfish off the rocks.
Stick to the rocks, fellas. We love your work. If you need a ride to an offshore outcrop, give us a call.