This is a story about the one that didn’t get away.
Anthony Cass has been fishing for over 30 years, since he was a child and for as long as he can remember. The childhood memories of walking along the beach with his Dad will be his forever.
This is probably similar to other children who grew up in the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and previous decades - before children were born attached to iPads. Before you start calling me a boomer, I say that tongue firmly in cheek and I sincerely hope that later generations do have such memories.
Anthony continued to fish throughout his life and about 10 years ago he changed the direction of his fishing. He started to focus on giant trevally (GT). Fishing for this type of fish is serious fishing because they put up a serious fight. They are aggressive and powerful, to the point that apparently even sharks are scared of them. They are described as bullies and thugs and a real test for those game enough to chase them. For those readers out there concerned about animal welfare, the GT fishing community are respectful and tag and release the fish, ensuring the fish is healthy prior to releasing. You will note this in the video of Anthony catching this GT.
A full size GT can be 50kg or more, but most commonly around 25-35kg. The big ones are around 70kg and that is what we are talking about today. 170cm long and around 70kg. Bigger than many humans!
For 10 years Anthony has been fishing for GT and actually spent the first 9 months catching nothing, thin air! And we aren’t talking about just throwing a line in the water. GT fishing requires a lot of effort. Heavy rods, heavy reals and constant side to side movement of your arms.
We say fishing for GT because when you fish for GT you fish for GT, it isn’t something you can do half heartedly. The setup required is specific and I think it is fair to say that it takes a unique person to have this interest. It is rugged, physically demanding, lonely and frustrating. But all worth it when you get a big one and this is a story about the big one.
With only himself, a 15ft polycraft boat, a 60hp outboard motor, his fishing gear, safety equipment and his GoPro (so he could have a video just in case he caught a big one!) this is real man vs wild stuff. This is not like a big game fishing setup with poles, a 40ft boat, a fly bridge, twin diesels, a bbq and a crew. This to me is the crux of this story - we are talking about one man, a small boat and his gear (cue the Gilligan’s Island music).
Anthony set off to one of his favourite spots just off Cape Moreton. People had begun to notice his little green boat and with a reputation already of an expert fisherman, other fisherman would follow where he would go in the hope of them getting a big one.
This day he was having no luck and he was probably thinking he should have taken more notice of the weather report and stayed home. Today wasn’t going to be his day but being the type of person he is, Anthony gave it one more shot and moved to a less common location away from the riff-raff of other boats and divers.
Once settled in his location, all of a sudden, he had something big. So big he thought it was a shark. For nearly the next 10 minutes that is what he thought it was, a shark. But then he saw something, something that would change the rest of his life. It was a giant, giant, trevally. One of the ones around 70kg, the big one!
Physically exhausted and with not much left to give (no resting in GT fishing), now Anthony knew it was the GT he had been chasing for 10 years. His stomach was churning and his arms feeling like they were going to fall off. He knew he may not get another chance like this so he had to dig in. After 10 minutes that felt like an eternity the monster was next to the boat. Both man and fish were exhausted with nothing left to give.
Now Anthony had to work out how to get this 170cm giant fish into his boat. He had failed before with other big fish but this was not the time to fail. This was his once in a lifetime fish. So he mustered up his energy and pulled it up and with some divine intervention from a wave coming at the right time he could manage to pull up a fish that nearly weighed what he weighed. Pulling it in took everything he had. He had to leverage every last bit of strength to the point of not worrying about self preservation. The mouth of the fish was literally centimetres from the area on Anthonys body that you don’t want a giant fish to be close to. But he didn’t care or didn’t know.
Now the fish was in and Anthony knew that he didn’t have time to muck around as the fish needed to go back in the water. That is right, tag and release. So Anthony quickly measured it and it came in at a whopping 170cm. WOW. That was big but he was to exhausted to comprehend how big. Now his attention turned to getting the fish back into the water. Gently and slowly. 20 minutes passed until the fish was good to go. With a kick of it’s fin the once in a lifetime GT was off again to live another day, leaving Anthony behind in his boat to ponder what had just happened.
Panic crossed his mind as he checked the GoPro footage. Once your camera doesn’t work once you are forever worried about déjà vu but he could have a huge sigh of relieve. The camera worked and he had the video of the entire catch. This was important to share with the tight GT fishing community and to document what had just happened. So heading home back across the bay Anthony was left to think about what had just happened. He knew it was big, he knew he had the footage, but what did it really mean? How should you feel when you finally get the big one, the life changer?
Once he got home Anthony sent his video to good friend, GT expert, GT Buster. GT Buster put a video up on his YouTube channel for the GT community to see and that they did with 17,000 views in the first 2 weeks and over 200 comments!
While not formally recognised as a world record due to the requirement of official scales and so forth, Anthony has his video and the measurement of 170cm and is leaving the weight guesswork to the experts all over the world that are in awe of his big catch. The armchair experts have had their say as well!
When asked what was next now 2 weeks after he has caught the big one Anthony said that his love for the GT means that he will continue to chase another big one....but with that said he has his eye on another type of fishing, fly-fishing. We will have to keep an eye on Anthony to see where this leads him and what the new holy grail will be.
This is where if you can put the paper down for a few minutes and watch the video of Anthony’s catch. Visit www.islandandsurrounds.com and it will be at the top of the page.
Now you have a feel for what I am talking about. Real man vs animal and mutual respect stuff. Well done Anthony and we are glad the camera worked as well! If you see a little green boat out and about give Anthony and wave and congratulate him on his catch.
To listen to the full interview with Anthony tune into your preferred podcast platform or visit www.islandandsurrounds.com/podcast-listen