CATCH OF THE DAY: Ballina fishers John and Julie Joblin at their stall at the Mullumbimby Farmers Market.
CATCH OF THE DAY: Ballina fishers John and Julie Joblin at their stall at the Mullumbimby Farmers Market. Kate O'Neill

The allure of fresh fish at local farmers markets

IF there's one thing you can count on as a professional fisherman, it's that no day is ever the same.

The tides, the weather, the currents are constantly changing, and so too is the best spot to catch fish.

John Joblin, who has been fishing off Ballina for more than 20 years, says it's the challenge of finding the fish that he enjoys most about his job.

"You can go to the same spot where you caught 50 mackerel last week and there won't be any there this week,” he said

The tide might be the same, and the conditions, but some other little thing might have changed. It's what keeps the job interesting, and what makes it so rewarding when you get a good day's catch.

John, whose father was also a professional fisherman, is a familiar face at the local farmers markets, where he and wife Julie sell their locally caught seafood.

Being so dependent on the weather and the seasons, they can't always make it every week, but John says their customers have come to understand that it's simply the nature of fishing.

The recent floods and bad weather, for example, made it too dangerous to cross the Ballina bar for several days, while at other times, the fish just aren't there.

Fishing is seasonal, and certain times of the year will be quieter than others. Different seasons also bring different species.

The busiest time of year for John is from July to October, when the snapper are around, while this time of year is generally good for prawns and mackerel.

Spanners crabs are something else John has been catching plenty of late, and he says they make excellent eating.

Julie and I put them on the BBQ with some garlic butter,” he said.

"They're good with a nice bottle of white wine too.”

Find JJ Seafood at the Mullumbimby and New Brighton Farmers Markets.


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