Long-time fisherman shares tales of the high sea

Posted: 12am 13 Jun 2019

John Savige thinks he's got the best office in the world, especially when the weather's good.

He’s been a trawler fisherman for 45 years, enjoying some spectacular sunrises and big catches in that time, but also weathering some dangerous storms.

“We’ve been caught up in some serious storms, with 60 knot winds. That’s pretty scary, but they don’t last long,” John says.

He remembers the big waves breaking over the boat, and the occasional sunken vessel, but laughs and he says he was younger then. When the prawns and fish are there — the crew just has to head out

The Bribie-Island based fisherman says, for him, it began with his father who realised it was his calling after a chance meeting.

“My father was working as a logger at Scarborough, back in the day, and met a guy with a net boat who invited him to go fishing and he loved it,” John explains

Three generations of the Savige family have now worked in the industry with John and his three sons following suit.

“I’ve been fishing for a long time … it was a good lifestyle in the day. Just the feeling of being your own boss. It’s getting tougher with government changes, the paperwork is tough,” he says.

The hours are long, they usually head out around 6 pm and return at 7 am, but if the prawns are still there, they will be working later into the day, sometimes straight for 24 hours.

“If you’re doing what you love, it’s nothing,” John says.

His vessel, named KCD after the original owner’s daughters, is used to catch mostly prawns until the beginning of May each year, when the focus turns to tailor and sea mullet.

John says fishing days are more physically demanding than trawling days, as six people race to bring in 20 tonne of mullet as fast as they can so they manage to catch the fish coming in behind them.

He supplies the family seafood business, mullet to Supafin in Brisbane, but also tries to support local outlets as much as possible, providing seafood and bait.

John has seen many changes in his time, including tighter regulations and warmer sea temperatures which have brought king salmon into the bay and more barramundi to the Caboolture River.



It's time to explore the Moreton Bay Region

The beach and the bush, the Moreton Bay region offers both and the best part is, it doesn’t matter if the weather is warm or a little on the cooler side. …

How to Grow Beautiful Roses in South East Queensland

They can be tricky to grow, but the romance of the rose and its perfume keeps growers coming back for more. And now is the perfect time of year to pop one in your garden.…

More you might like:


Local Stories   •   9-2-2018  •   Kylie Knight

Building Concrete House Took Grit, Determination

Brunella Novello says she adopted the "just watch me" mantra to overcome obstacles during building her dream home in Ocean View, northwest of Brisbane…

Local News   •   14-2-2018  •   Kylie Knight

Craft Beer Industry Booms in Moreton Bay Region

Hannah Honnef may have German heritage and grew up on a vineyard, but she says her decision to join the beverage industry was not inevitable.…

Local News   •   18-3-2018  •   Kylie Knight

Rupert McCall - Becoming a poet

Not many people can remember the first poem they read, but Rupert McCall can and he reckons it changed his life.…

Local News   •   31-3-2018  •   Kylie Knight

Change suits Scott and his Bees

Local man, Scott Bevis quits his 21 year long career as a telecommunications design engineer to bee-keeping.…

Local Sport   •   3-4-2018  •   Kylie Knight

League legend Mal Meninga chats league, kids and... Frozen!

We sit down with rugby league legend, Mal Meninga and chat all things league, kids and even Frozen. …

Local Stories   •   1-5-2018  •   Kylie Knight

Former Radio Host Ian Skippen Shares Love of the Place He Calls Home

These days, the kookaburras are Ian Skippen’s alarm clock but the former breakfast radio host doesn’t need much encouragement to get out of bed, particularly if a walk in Bunya Forest is a possibility.…

Your free local community newspaper, home delivered fortnightly.

Read Latest Edition