Hervey Bay Guided Fishing Charters with John Haenke

You probably know John Haenke as the producer and occasional presenter of Fishing DownUnder, but did you know John is now guiding fishing charters in the Hervey Bay and Fraser Coast area, and taking specialised trips to the Fitzroy/Capricorn coast region.

John was one of the very first producers to bring recreational fishing to our screens, he has seen a lot of fishing and changes to the fishery in his long career.

John worked in the TV industry from the moment he left school, starting in the film department at Channel 0 (nowadays Channel 10) then moved into production and camera work at various TV stations in Brisbane, before ending up in Darwin in the mid seventies. This was post Tracey Darwin, pretty wild in the NT back then. John grew up fishing with his dad in the Brisbane area, but in Darwin Johns’ passion for fishing really exploded… and his love affair with Barra began.

In the early 80s, John produced his first fishing Video with Rod Harrison, and produced some truly memorable programs with him and many others including Malcolm Florence. Who can forget some of the early stories fishing in remote places few imagined back then: Black Bass in New Guinea, fishing with Lefty Kreh in remote parts of Northern Australia. This was all eye opening adventure few could have dreamed of!

Some of these programmes with Harro made it onto regional TV, but one of the first prime time fishing shows ever to hit Australia’s small screen was Wildfish, which aired on SBS at 7.30 pm Tuesday nights. This was produced, filmed and edited by John Haenke and was presented by Peter Morse. It was the highest rating programme on SBS at that time – no mean feat considering it was up against Seinfeld, one of the most popular programs on TV at that time in the mid 80’s. John was setting the benchmark for fishing shows.

Straight after Wildfish Andrew Ettingshausen head hunted John as Director of Photography for “Escape with ET”. John worked with ET until 2004, when he began The Fishing DVD. By this stage there was plenty of content on TV, but what was lacking for most fishers was information. Most TV shows don’t go into a lot of detail as they are targeted at a pretty broad audience, not dedicated fishos. And in the between time, DVDs had become the way to watch movies – compact and affordable.

With The Fishing DVD, John wanted to bring the best presenters, guides and fishos to produce an informative and entertaining 2 hour DVD, containing lots of individual stories – a fishing magazine you could watch! They were available through tackle shops, newsagents and online, and was a revolution in fishing viewing. The Fishing DVD later became known as Fishing DownUnder to reflect the new age of internet viewing, allowing content to become available as downloads as well as on DVDs.

Fishing DownUnder #42, which was released in February 2016, was the last DVD in the series. Wildfish, Harros DVDs and all Fishing DownUnder DVDS are still available in the shop. Why not have a look and take a trip down memory lane?

John Haenke is undoubtedly one of the finest fishing videographers we’ve ever seen, he makes you feel like you’re there in amongst it all. This stems from the fact he is a fisherman and he knows what fishers want to watch. He also edited most of the stories, so he was able to produce a story that was relevant and interesting to anglers. He knew what they wanted to see and know.

After 12 years of being constantly away filming Fishing DownUnder, it was time for John to slow down and start easing up the production workload. He is still producing fishing stories and promos for the fishing and boating industry, has moved to Hervey bay from the Sunshine Coast to be closer to good fishing, and has gone into a new venture… GUIDING!

John has so much knowledge and passion for fishing, he wants to share it with fishos in person… and to tell a few good yarns too!
There are so many fishing options in the Hervey Bay and Fraser Coast areas, as northern and southern species overlap here. Depending on the time of year you can catch Longtail Tuna, Golden Trevally Snapper tropical reef species, Barra and Threadfin Salmon. There are some great freshwater options nearby too.

John tailors his charters to each individual, and is happy to take someone out for the first time to show them the basics, or take out very experienced anglers. He is a passionate fly angler, so if you want to get some basic instruction on the water, he’s happy to help get you started. He provides all the best quality fishing gear, Daiwa and Sage, but you can bring your own. He offers half day and full day trips.

John has also been spending quite a bit of time in the Capricorn Coast/ Fitzroy river area where the fishing is only going to get better now that they have the nets out. At different times of the year he will be offering fishing trips to this area. The fishery is very diverse, with some great flats fishing for fly anglers (and a fairly consistent Permit spot) river fishing for Threadfin Salmon and Barra (in season) and blue water pelagics. For something special and truly Australian, John also offers Saratoga fishing in the upper reaches of the Fitzroy. The waterways here are truly spectacular, offering a totally different experience.

If you’d like to spend a day (or two or three) fishing with John in Hervey Bay and the Fraser Coast, check out his website: GuidedFishingDownUnder.com, and feel free to contact john anytime: john@GuidedFishingDownUnder.com