Video tribute to Halco’s living legend Neil Patrick
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A video has been released to celebrate the achievements of one of Australia’s best known fishermen and conservationists.
Neil Patrick, who bought Halco Tackle in 1980, has been honoured by inclusion in both the International Game Fishing Association (IGFA) Hall of Fame and the Australian Fishing Trade Association (AFTA) Hall of Fame for his services to the sport.
Watch the video here and read the tribute to the achievements of the fishing living legend below.
IGFA Trustee Neil Patrick started game fishing in 1972. He had a family shipping business on the docks of Fremantle, Australia, but it was his love of fishing that inspired him to purchase Halco Tackle in 1980.
Founded by Hal Cooper in 1950, Halco was mainly known for making metal lures on a small scale in Mosman Park, Western Australia. Under Neil’s guidance, Halco began a programme of innovation and expansion, creating a wide range of hard plastic lures and becoming one of the biggest lure makers in the world.
Neil technically ‘retired’ in 2001, handing the reins of the business over to his son, Ben. However, Neil, Ben and the rest of the Halco team can still be found spending countless hours traveling around Australian waters and beyond testing their newest lures.
In addition to being an industry leader, Neil is also an accomplished angler. A heavy-tackle billfish specialist, he has fished all over the world for giant blue and black marlin, fighting 1000lb fish in the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans.
Following in the steps of renowned angler Sir Garrick Agnew’s pioneering work, Neil helped develop the Rottnest Trench as a world renowned marlin fishing destination – in 1985 he led the way in game fish conservation by being the first angler to tag and release a blue marlin in the Rottnest Trench. It was, however, at the famed Tropic Star Lodge in Panama during a birthday trip where the Australian would experience his most memorable marlin catch. On January 25th, 2005, Neil hooked into something big off the Zane Grey Reef. Fellow IGFA trustees Dr Guy Harvey and Bill Shedd happened to be fishing nearby, shooting an episode of Guy’s ‘Portraits of the Deep’ with plans to deploy pop-up satellite tags on black marlin.
As luck would have it, Neil was indeed hooked up to a giant fish – estimated to be between 1200-1400lb. Knowing that he very likely had a new 50lb class black marlin world record on the line, Neil made the decision to forgo the record opportunity and bring the fish in quickly so that she could be safely tagged and released.
In the two months that she was tagged, Neil’s black marlin swam over 1200 nautical miles. For his impressive release of this huge fish and his many other accomplishments as a heavy tackle angler, Neil was presented with the IGFA’s prestigious Gil Keech Heavy Tackle Award.
Neil is a leader in game fish conservation and has long championed the rights of recreational anglers. He served as President of the Perth Game Fishing Club from 1981 to 1985, and in 1986 he was voted President of the Game Fishing Association of Australia. Neil’s desire to see marlin and other pelagic species remain viable and sustainable earned him the role of Recreational Representative for the West Coast Tuna Management Advisory Committee, where he fought for recognition of the value of the recreational offshore pelagic fishery against the commercial sector.
His concern for the Indian Ocean’s marlin and other pelagic species stocks has led him to attend several Indian Ocean Tuna Commission meetings where he voices the concerns and opinions of recreational fishermen.
Neil has been a member of the IGFA Board of Directors since 2002 and also serves as Co-Chairman of the IGFA’s Fisheries Conservation Committee.
In 2013, he was elected as the founding Chairman of Keep Australia Fishing, with the mission to engage Australia’s recreational fishing community to protect, promote and further develop the opportunities of recreational fishing.
Last year he became only the fifth person to be inducted into the Australian Fishing Trade Association (AFTA) Hall of Fame.