This week we take a look at what it’s like to be the head honcho of Trade-A-Boat Magazine. Editor at large, Jeff Strang talks about his career, the view out of his window and the ones that got away. Buckle up for 11 questions with Jeff. 



Jeff, bottom left: "First World Record as a crewman. The guy kneeling next to me is Martin Bates, who is now one of the world’s best Atlantic blue marlin captains."



Describe your work in 5 words: Big beautiful boats and spellcheck.


Tell us a little about what you do on Trade-A-Boat: Professional cat-herder. My job is to make the Australian boating industry look as glamorous as possible. This involves leading teams of talented people on detailed shoots of some of Australia’s most expensive and desirable floating assets. I am also charged with the responsibility of delivering an honest product to our audience. It is a task which demands stoic resolve in the face of relentless deadlines. Fortunately we have a great team at Trade-a-Boat and plenty of at least passably drinkable coffee.


What's the view out your window: It varies from an endless stream of perfect panoramas to the beige plastic walls of a Qantas plane. Actually when I do finally make it to the office, which is in Melbourne by the way, there’s this lonely magpie that sits on my windowsill talking to his reflection in the mirrored glass all day.


Describe a typical day: It honestly could not be more varied. Some days it’s about as glamorous as you can imagine, on fabulous boats with creative and interesting people. There’s usually champagne, often helicopters and occasionally fast cars. Of course the business end of media production involves long days in the office tidying copy and tweaking design in an effort to present the best product possible before deadline.


Who or what inspires you: I have always been inspired by those that possess the qualities of great leadership. Peter Blake, a New Zealand sailor who died tragically a few years ago is one of my all-time heroes. Famous for his passion for the environment and personal humility, Sir Peter Blake won the Whitbread Round-The-World Yacht Race and the America’s Cup. He could also win the hearts and minds of a nation with a single charismatic grin.


What did you do before you got into magazines: I captained dirty old fishing boats. Actually I drove big fancy fishing boats for rich people at some of the hottest big-game destinations on the planet. Earlier in my career there were plenty of dirty old ones as well, including commercial long-line vessels targeting swords and tuna, and barges harvesting urchins and other exportable goodies from the seafloor with teams of divers.


A moment in your fishing career you'll never forget: Losing the big one. No one ever forgets those one-that-got-away moments. For me there are two that stand out: The first was in Hawaii chasing grander blue marlin on 15kg test. The client had talked a big game (excuse the pun) all week and he seemed to have the goods – catching a few smaller fish to around 400 pounds earlier in the trip. On the last day while livebaiting “A” buoy big bad Julie turned up and swallowed our 30 pound tuna offering without even blinking. She came to the surface thrashing around prime for the taking so we pull the gaffs out and charged back after her. Unfortunately our gung-ho angler, who clearly hadn’t seen anything that big before, froze solid with his jaw hanging around his navel at the moment of truth and we backed clean over the now slack line. A giant blue head and bill sinking back beneath the waves was the last we saw of his grander on 15kg test. I couldn’t even speak to the guy for the rest of the trip. He only had one job to do – turn the bloody handle! – and he couldn’t even do that. Must have been awful lonely being Nigel No-Mates at the bar that night. For the other? Well you’ll just have to buy me a beer sometime.


Best catch: This is a hard one. There has been grander blacks in Cairns and world record stripeys in NZ. The first time I caught a swordfish on a lure was pretty special but the most memorable fish is probably a 700 pound northern bluefin tuna - the only one we kept. It is an honour to fish for these rare beasts and it’s a species we will probably have to put on the no-take list in the near future.


Favourite boat and why: The first boat I ever captained was an old timber single-screw fishing boat called the Margaret Anne. She was damn slow – 7.5 knots surfing down a swell – but I loved her. And we sure caught some fish on her. My mates called her the “magpie of the ocean” because she never went too far with finding a feed. The Margaret Anne was just one of those boats with a good soul. The fanciest gameboat I have ever worked on was 57 foot Assegai called the Amokura. There is no doubt Assegai builds one helluva good fishing boat and I would like to have done more fishing on this one.


Dreams still to fulfil: Actually I would like to do more sailing with my family. I have a five-year-old daughter and another on the way; I cannot wait to introduce them both to the beauty that exists beyond the horizon. Our family boat is a beautiful old school 36-foot sailing boat called the Gilt Cutlass.


Your personal motto: “Apologise early and often” - it goes hand-in-hand with “happy wife, happy life”.



"More pleasant company than the crew above."



Is there a fish you want me to attempt to catch? A location I should fish? A photographic challenge? You tell me. Either email or leave a comment below.


Until next week.


Jack Murphy



© JackMurphy Fishing and Photography



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