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Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Jack Erskine

Jack Erskine was possibly the most influential Australian ever involved in the tackle industry. For his life time of dedication to the sport he loved so dearly , he is held in high esteem by his peers, not only for his undisputed angling talents but for many contributions to the development and ever improving fishing tackle
He was one of the only Australians to be presented with the Ron Dempster Award for the contributions to the future of Sportfishing, one of the first inductees to the Cairns Black Marlin Hall of Fishing Fame in 2006 and in 2009 was inducted into the International Game Fishing Association Hall of Fame.

Born in Bourke, in western NSW, Jack grew up in Sydney. Apprenticed as a motor mechanic, he worked for BHP, before moving into the tackle trade in 1967, when he was 22 years old. His first job was with Arthur Chapman's Sport Store in Rockdale, Sydney.
Jack's first visit to Cairns was in 1968. Two years later he packed up his family and moved there, opening a tackle store with George Bransford, the legendary Cairns game boat skipper responsible for finding and catching the huge black marlin that put Cairns on the world's game fishing map.
Known for his expertise with fishing tackle, he was equally highly regarded for his extraordinary angling skills and is the only angler on record to capture eight black marlin on IGFA 2 kg (4.4 pounds) line class in one day, setting four consecutive world records at the time.

Jack was well known overseas having spent many years working and fishing in the United States. It was there that Jack met with Johnny Morris, owner of Bass Pro Shops, who invited Jack to assist him in establishing Offshore Angler in Florida. Their friendship continued to this sad day, as it didwith any person fortunate enough to have met this gentleman of the sport and industry.

In 2006 the Cairns Black Marlin 40th Anniversary celebrations announced the names of five recipients of the inaugural Cairns Black Marlin Hall of Fame awards. Among them was Jack, who was credited with revolutionising big game fishing in respect to the equipment and techniques required to subdue giant billfish. Much of what went on in the 1960's, 1970's, and 1980's at Cairns in relation to tackle development can be directly attributed to Jack.
But the gongs got bigger in 2009 when Jack was inducted into the International Game Fishing Association Hall of Fame. This was a rare honour given that despite several decades of existence, just 69 anglers have been presented with this prestigious award.
And why not? After all, for more than 30 years, the name Jack Erskine had been synonymous with the cutting edge of tackle innovation and development. Few Australian anglers command the degree of respect and authority, as did this Cairns-based tackle guru.
Jack's technical savvy was not lost to the tackle industry. When he talks - and the words come out at a hundred kilometres an hour - industry captains listen.
But for all his technical wizardry, Jack was primarily an angler: one of our finest light tackle specialists. A founder member of the Australian National Sportfishing Association, he has participated in all forms of fresh and salt-water fishing, nationally and internationally, for more than 40 years. Whether it's billfish on fly off Cairns, barramundi at Tinaroo or tarpon in Costa Rica, he's done most of it.

If tournament credits mean anything, then he has a record of fishing in teams that have either placed first or in the first three places in over 45 tournaments; as well, he was one of only three Australian light tackle anglers ever invited to fish the prestigious Masters Tournament conducted by the Sailfish Club of South Florida.
In the early 1970s Jack pioneered the successful introduction of heavy duty spinning tackle for casting live baits (pitch baiting) to sailfish and small marlin, and he now has over 300 captures of billfish to his credit. Not a bad effort for a method of fishing that some doubting Thomas's said couldn't be done, going so far as to unkindly label it 'stunt fishing'. These days the use of spinning tackle for both live baiting and trolling for the smaller species of billfish is popular around the globe.

This is only a very small part of Jacks life, he was a family man who like many of us lived for fishing, his dedication to the sport and education of anglers around the world will be Jacks mark on this earth for many many years to come, a true legend (legend is a word not used lightly) of the sport and a hero to the tackle industry world wide.
He may be lost to us all, but his name will remain synonymous with all anglers and will never be forgotten.
Rest in peace Jack
Us the fishermen.

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