27yo 'gone fishing' to Mackay, never came back
ANGLER Ashley Sims moved to Mackay five years ago, to take up a life of fishing.
His dad taught him the tricks of the trade at a young age, and it wasn't long before he was hooked himself.
At 22 he'd heard that Mackay was the place to be for both salt and fresh water fishing in Queensland and decided he couldn't pass up the chance to get in on the action.
So he packed his bags and moved 11 hours north, and he hasn't looked back since.
"Pretty much my whole life revolves around fishing now and I wouldn't have it any other way," he said with a big grin on his face.
"I moved here purely for the fishing, I came did all my tickets and I've now been working in the industry for ten years too."
Mr Sims said his dad was the first person to spark his interest in the sport, sometimes even taking him down to the nearby lake after school instead of doing homework.
"That's where it all started I guess, just as a kid and dad being a fisherman, as well as meeting a few of the tournament guys when I was young," he said.
"I remember looking up to them and being like wow I want to do that, then eventually I started tournament fishing myself and it's just become my life since then."
Mr Sims said he was drawn to Mackay knowing it held two of the best barra lakes in the world, and arguably the worlds best sooty grunter fishing spot at Eungella Dam.
"We also have Prossy just up the road so we are really spoilt here I feel," he said.
"And now that we're getting events like the AFC here, it's just awesome, it will really start putting Mackay on the map and just grow fishing even bigger in the region and the nation.
"Seeing all those guys out here doing what they love and getting on TV doing it, it showcases Mackay, the angling, and doesn't just focus on all the salt water stuff which a lot of people do."
According to Mr Sims, his most memorable fishing moment was while competing in a bass competition in Boondooma.
"It was the first even event that I won as a co-angler and it just felt amazing because the first session I actually doughnutted," he said.
"Got nothing and then the next session I went out and I took it out with a massive Australian bass.
"So I got a really good limit and ended up going out the second day and catching a couple of good ones to go with it, and while I've definitely caught bigger stuff, that would have to be one of the most memorable."
In addition to his day-to-day job in the tackle industry, Mr Sims has also secured a great opportunity with Nomad Sports Fishing based out of Cairns and runs some salt water guided fishing charters too..
He said while he would love to be make a living fishing professionally, he simply wants to see the sport grow in Australia and to see more people get involved.
"I'd love to see more guys attempt to make it overseas and really just get fishing growing in Australia and hopefully tournament fishing can get bigger too," he said.
"It's one of the most popular activities in the world, and while some people don't view it as a sport, more leisure and just for a bit of fun, it is a serious sport for many.
"I hope others can see the great competitive side to it and get into tournaments too, they're awesome and just lots of fun."