Reeling in the emotion: Catching a cobia in Lake Macquarie

HEARTFELT CATCH: Brad Linnertson felt his father Steve was looking over him last Saturday when he reeled in a very special cobia in Lake Macquarie.
HEARTFELT CATCH: Brad Linnertson felt his father Steve was looking over him last Saturday when he reeled in a very special cobia in Lake Macquarie.

Catching a cobia in the lake is always special, and for angler Bradd Linnertson, it came with heightened emotion last Saturday.

While on his way to the boat ramp early that morning, he received a call informing of his father, Steve’s, passing.

Steve had been battling cancer and was in palliative care at home.  The news, although upsetting, was not a surprise.

Wanting to clear his head as much as possible before facing family, Brad decided to get on the water, even if for only an hour.

Steve had inspired Bradd’s love of fishing as a child.

“He wasn’t a big fisho, but as a kid he  took me fishing a lot,” Bradd recalled. “We’d find a spot around the lake, or get to the breakwall.

“Dad had a four-wheel  drive and we’d head up the beach and that what’s got me addicted to fishing I reckon.”

After about 30 minutes, Bradd decided his head was in a bad place and  he needed to be with family.

“So, I told my mate Les, whose boat I was on, that I wanted to try one more spot and then call it a day,” Bradd said.

Steve always took Bradd to a spot near Wangi caravan park as a child.

“We never caught much but I didn't care, as long as I was fishing; so, given the situation I requested Les take  us there,” Bradd said.

On arrival to this spot Bradd said to Les: "If my dad is watching over me right now then something special is going to happen." 

And it did. The live squid he  caught earlier got smashed.  And, after a 15-minute  fight on 15lb braid and 2500 spin reel Bradd landed a 90cm cobia – his new favourite fish.

Cobia are generally an ocean-going fish considered  a prize species to catch at anytime, but particularly in the lake. They are also renown as tremendous fighters – a quality that Steve epitomised.  

“The energy on the boat was electric, we both had goosebumps,” Bradd said. 

“We released the big fella and watched him swim away gracefully. But the best thing is that I know my dad was there watching! I feel like he made that happen.

“This story has helped to give my family some peace during this tough time. 

“It’s a bit of closure, I suppose you might say and it’s a good story I reckon.”

Steve’s funeral was held yesterday.