WHEN you’re a hugely successful retired footballer such as Andrew ‘‘ ET’’ Ettingshausen (right), who played rugby league for the Cronulla Sharks (328 games), NSW and Australia, your career options tend to be commentator or coach. So why not just go fishing?
As well as Escape with ET on Channel 10 (launched 1997) Ettingshausen, 46, now has a small empire going on the Discovery Channel, with the third of his Ultimate Fish series.
This time he’s chasing snapper. Which also means avoiding sharks. And as the Australian presenter of Shark Week, it wouldn’t do to be getting bitten in half on national television.
‘‘ I’mhoping this year I might be involved in hosting one of the documentaries on sharks,’’ Ettingshausen says. ‘‘ We’re looking at something in Western Australia at the moment.’’
And there is of course some very fine snapper off WA.
‘‘ Up around Dirk Hartog Island, wow, I remember one trip I did there, every cast was a snapper, it was just incredible.
‘‘ I guess the thing with this show — the moment where it all became very real with sharks as well — was seeing my first great white. I was fishing down in South Australia, off a place called Arno Bay in the Spencer Gulf and the next minute out of the gloom comes this great white straight up to the back of the boat. And I definitely jumped backwards. It was my first great white I’ve seen in the wild and I’ve been doing this gig for a long time.’’
Maybe he has seen others and didn’t realise. ‘‘ Well, you know what? Maybe I have.
‘‘ We’d forgotten about this camera and the shark disappeared for about five minutes and the next minute the line’s gone taut on the cord that was attached to the camera and the shark actually came through and we’ve got all the footage back, because I’ve somehow managed to get the camera back out of the shark’s mouth.
‘‘ I was gone if I didn’t get that camera back.’’ Ultimate Fish: Snapper, Discovery Channel, Sunday, 7.30pm