Cape York fishing icon hands over the reins

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A WELL-KNOWN Cape York guide has pulled anchor on his long-standing career.

Alan “Fish” Philliskirk is one of the reasons why Weipa is now one of the most desirable fishing destinations in Australia, if not the world.

Late last year, he sold Fish’s Fly and Sportsfishing after more than two decades of success in Weipa.

Ansett was still flying to the mining town when Fish started up, firstly in partnership with legendary fly fisherman Peter Morse, before going solo.

“There was barely a fishing guide industry in Weipa at the time – at least compared to what it’s like now,” he recalled.

“There was Dave Newman, who is still running, and Dave Donald, who is also still in town.”

If you look at the new fishing charter operators in Weipa over the last decade, most of them can be tied back to Fish or Dave Donald.

They taught a new generation of fishing guides and now those people are now teaching.

As for the future of his business, which he sold to his guide and friend Mark Bargenquast, Fish believes it will continue to thrive.

“Bargy knows what he’s doing and he’s a good operator,” he said.

The future of the fishing industry in Weipa must be examined, though, he says.

“The fishing is as good as it has ever been but the sharks are a big problem,” he said.

“Every time you start catching fish the sharks arrive and you just can’t reel them in quick enough.

“Back in the old days, you would never see bull sharks.

“If you hooked a tuna and something ate it, it was probably going to be a marlin.”

Source: Cape York Weekly

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