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One that didn’t get away

Robert ‘Bluey’ Vaughan created a fisherman’s dream-come-true when he turned his love of angling into a business on the edge of some of the world’s most prolific waters.

Story and photos Kandy Curran

Image For a passionate fisherman, Western Australia’s Kimberley coast is one of the most alluring places on the planet. The wild beauty and incredible diversity of seafood that can be fished from its myriad of waterways and its 4000 kilometres of coastline is fishing heaven. But it takes a particularly keen fisherman to uproot his family and leave a profitable and growing business in Perth to establish a sportfishing camp on an isolated section of Kimberley coastline.

Ambitious plans like this aren’t simply fished out of the ocean, and fishermen aren’t created overnight. A love of coastal fishing is something that is caught ‘hook line and sinker’ in childhood under a guiding paternal influence. Such is the case for Robert ‘Bluey’ Vaughan, the infamous ‘Red Hopper’ in Tim Winton’s latest bestseller Dirt Music. “My childhood was one big fishing and camping trip, going away to the coast one weekend after the other,” he explains. “In my early teens the old man would take me and my mates out during the school holidays to Garden Island where we’d live in a cave overlooking the bay. He’d drop us off with our sleeping bags, diving gear and ten cans of baked beans each.”
So when Bluey found “the best fishing location in the world” and a protected cove with sea caves for his fishing camp, the full circle of his life came together. The fun part was finding the perfect fishing location in the Admiralty Gulf in the north-west Kimberley, then turning his love of fishing into a business. Story end

Full story OUTBACK Issue 37 October/November 2004

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