We interviewed Masterclass Barra Addict Blake Fennell about the journey to 1300mm Wild Salty Success
There’s something special about people wanting legitimate success, working hard, achieving results. Maybe the biggest admiration is not success but their willingness to push through tough times, grinding away because they’re true to self.
It’s the unseen creation of success, the personal battle with no prizes aside from inner satisfaction and a radiating glow when the goal is reached.
True people hunt goals for themselves, not crowds and not for fake hugs and attention. They find beauty within the challenge and simply smile hard when successful.
Blake Fennel dug deep, learnt the way of Masterclass then set out to walk the pathway of the wild.
To set the game straight the Masterclass way is deep, very technical, yet incredibly powerful when understood.
Blake found himself deep in the game waking up one day tangled in the web of depth, but after a coffee and a two hour chat headed back out with clarity and new focus. Blake worked hard racking up great numbers of 90-100+cm wild fish and began to take control of his fishing game.
His attention quickly turned to catching a 1200mm+ wild barra.
Read on to hear his powerful story shared in interview format.
What’s your attraction to fishing Blake?
I don’t know any different! For me fishing has been a part of life from day dot, was born into a commercial fishing family in South Aus so the topic of weather and how the fish are biting has been on the table for as long as I can remember. That practice that started as a way to provide for the family has been passed on and although I don’t fish on a commercial leve that way of life has been continued and become an unshakeable passion! There is just something about outsmarting a fish that does it for me- simple as that.
Why did you sign up to Masterclass?
I had done other online courses and initially the classroom setting of Masterclass had me worried. I had started to catch fish on a more regular basis but was still eager to know more and felt like I had only scratched the surface on what there is to know about these fish. It was no brainer for me, learn from the bloke that has fished my hometown waterways and don’t buy more fishing gear!
How would you explain the seminar experience?
Definitely a good experience, FULL ON ! I didn’t know what to expect, the finer details shared were impressive… just remember leaving excited about the future …and mentally exhausted. The content tests your brain.
Briefly explain the experience afterwards …confusion, clarification, then the journey to make it work.
I was keen as hell to get on the water, to really test out these theories. My biggest concern was that some of information conflicted with my own ideas generated over the years, and it took some time to put old habits and theories to rest. Once putting these new ideas into practice I was happy and surprised to see my catch rate and size of fish had picked up.
How or at what point did you begin to see Masterclass come together?
One session sticks out, I was hitting fish where previous success was common but on that particular day conditions were not playing out.
The quote came to mind- “The definition of insanity is to continue to do the same thing over and over and expect a different outcome.”
So spots where changed through solid reasoning to more suitable conditions and there the fish were happy to play the game.
I kept going down this new path and noticed the wheels turning and more things clicking into place, confidence grew and the bigger fish kept coming. Something cool was happening!
Tell us your story, long or short, emotion, feelings surrounding the 1300mm giant?
EPIC! Nothing short of epic, it was everything and more you would expect landing a 1300mm fish. We already had a pretty good day on the water boating good fish beforehand, the energy in the boat was high and the belief of getting a 1300 fish was in the front of my mind. My mate kept saying “Today is your day to get a 1200!” and my reply would be “Nah I want a 1300, today is the day I get a 1300!”
Had to shuffle locations a couple of times to suit because the driving factors weren’t stacking up (and there’s lots of them) and this isn’t a game of near enough is good enough. It’s about accuracy.
I remember being at this spot, in anticipation thinking to myself this is it, this is everything JM speaks of, it is about to happen! And just like that, “BANG!”
In a big flash of silver the fish proceeded to tail dance out into the middle of the creek. Definitely not something I will forget anytime soon! With big screaming runs and a couple of surface breaches it was eventually boatside but the leader was now caught in the gills.
The monster fish took off again and my heart sank, it’s going to cut the leader here for sure. I don’t even remember the rest of the battle but once that fish made it to the net and was in the boat I had a great feeling of relief and disbelief to what had just gone down.
It was a true feeling of accomplishment, my first fish over 1200 and new PB at 1300mm. The time on the water had just paid off. Now I have got to give my mate some credit as he had some terrible luck in the past netting my fish, but he got it done when it counted the most. A days fishing we won’t forget anytime soon, thanks mate!
What sizes have you landed in the quest to crack 1200mm?
Countless fish just cracking the metre or just over, 1160mm and 1170mm were my best for a while. The scorebook was growing……
What’s your next fishing goal since ticking off 1300?
Started the year with the goal of a 1200 and 10 wild fish over the metre, so I got the 1200 beaten and have now cracked 10 fish over the metre. Small achievable goals work well.
Do you feel any connection with the environment, if so what meaning comes to you regarding a connection?
I am becoming a lot more aware of the powers at play and the impact they have on barramundi fishing. When you’re out there on the water, the last thing you want to be seeing is rubbish or anything that can affect the sport that we love. We have to take care of the environment not just so we can keep seeing these big fish in healthy waterways but so we can enjoy nature in all its aspects. Definitely an aspect of fishing I wish more people to be aware of into the future.
It’s clear how critical environmental factors are when talking barra behavior so I’m definitely tuning in a lot more in this area.
What advice would you give other students refining the art of Masterclass?
It’s not a competition, don’t worry about what others are doing . Have faith in the information you have been passed on, as long as you’re learning and growing as an angler that’s what it’s all about. Those big fish will come your way , it’s only a matter of time. Stay on the path, and let old habits go. They’re harmful.
Closed-minded or open-minded learning, and why?
I’m open to it, it excites me to think what will be achieved through another five to 10 years of learning on the water.
Open minded now for sure, so many opportunities can be missed by how narrow/closed minded I was and it hurt the process. This story could have quite easily been the one that got away or the one that never happened.
Don’t be that bloke throwing a 4” plastic all day because it worked last time. You ever caught a fish on a 30cm plastic? Give it a go as it might be your day. We can also be wasting time in a good spot, but you won’t ever know until understanding the WHY!
Does anything blow your mind and excite you surrounding fishing?
Every time another piece of the Masterclass puzzle comes into play during a fishing session it’s so cool, one of those “Did that just happen?” type moments. It excites me what another 5-10 years of doing this stuff will achieve.
What are Blake’s strengths and weaknesses surrounding fishing?
Biggest strength would have to be how keen I am and the passion for barramundi fishing, it shines through when things get tough, some days are a real grind to get it done.
Weakness definitely being closed minded and I was for a long time, old habits die hard aye. Defiantly worked on that and results are showing.
Where are you focusing to refine your game?
I have been focusing big on the whole stealth thing, we are hunting prehistoric giants now. I am not the first boat with a side scan unit to pull up and proceed to throw 500 lures at them.
You need to work differently to make things happen and it takes a different mind to show the way….