I hooked my dream job
THIRTY- THREE years ago Eddie Riddle came to Townsville for a fishing trip and he’s still on it.
The fishing was so good he never left and decided to make his hobby his job.
“My father was in the army and I came up to visit him … and I never went back,” Eddie said.
“The fishing literally brought me to North Queensland, I used to read stories in fishing magazines about Cape Bowling Green and back then it was a world class bill fishery.”
Eddie said he had been fishing for as long as he could remember – the best part of 50 years he reckons.
“I grew up in south west Queensland, near Goondiwindi, that’s where I was born, I spent plenty of time on the riverbanks chasing cod, yellowbelly and yabbies,” he said.
Once he got to Townsville, Eddie started working in a tackle store and then began working as a fishing guide.
“It was a natural progression after starting work in a tackle store in 1988. I was in tackle stores for about 15 years, then I started writing as a fishing columnist for the Bulletin 23 years ago, then went on to news programs and I thought I’d keep going and I became a guide,” he said. Eddie has been a fishing guide for about 10 years in Townsville, running his own charter business, Fish City Charters.
Although most people think it’s a dream job and he gets to throw a line in all the time, Eddie said that was not really the case.
“Being out on the water is the glossy side of it, there’s a lot of behind the scenes work like maintenance and that’s why people pay you, so they can walk onto a boat and walk off it,” he said.
“A lot of people are under the misconception that you fish all the time, where in fact you don’t fish much, you guide people and offer tuition when they need it.”
But Eddie said the best thing about being a guide was putting people onto their dream fish.
“You see big tough men go weak in the knees sometimes, they will hook things they never dreamt possible and sometimes you put people onto their first fish ever and their eyes are as big as saucers and they turn into gibbering wrecks,” he said. “There’s a lot of job satisfaction there that’s for sure.”
Asked about his favourite fish to catch and put people onto, the answer was varied.
Fingermark for the table, the iconic barramundi and the acrobatic queenfish are Eddie’s pick of the lot.