by Peter Gardiner
WHEN it comes to helping ensure a kid can throw in a line along Noosa River and catch and release a "snodger" of a fish, Grant Pawson pretty well has it covered.
Grant is the outboard-powered driving force behind Noosa Fish Headz and his growing community of Future Genz recruits who all live and learn through getting out on the water to catch and release.
Noosa Fish Headz is in part a line of fishing apparel that promotes sun-smart, long-sleeve UV proof shirts, but is more a Noosa movement about producing the next line of responsible anglers.
And the most remarkable thing is that the 50s-something Grant until a few years back was more passionate about catching a wave than hooking a Noosa River special mangrove jack or a thumper of a red emperor off the reefs.
"I only started (seriously) fishing back in 2014. Phippsy (local chef and fishing guru Andy Phipps) got me hooked.
"It's just the stoke. Phippsy introduced me to lure fishing and that absolutely got me hooked on fishing with soft plastics.
"From there I started fishing and it took over my life pretty much."
Grant started photographing the heads of the fish he caught for Instagram posts and then he "woke up one morning and told my wife to register Noosa Fish Headz".
Grant had the idea to "get a bit of a community going with families".
"I thought I'd get behind it. Future Genz is teaching people about conservation and catch and release. You're fishing for the future by not taking too many, so the kids learn to catch and release.
"I started doing fish tours with Wally Boor from Fish Noosa."
Last Friday to kick off summer, he held a get-together in Noosaville to announce his latest six young inductees to Noosa Fish Headz.
"We're going to have bass days out at Lake Macdonald and trips like that, family picnics and barbies and comps among ourselves.
"This extends our fishing community. The kids just love their fishing and the parents are right behind them.
"They're down at the boat ramps at 4.30 in the morning dropping them off for the day. They (the kids) used to be called the River Rats, but now they're seriously good fishermen and they're just dedicated to it.
"I've got good friends out of it from their parents."
Grant says Fish Headz is also about instilling character in his fishing team and he monitors the posts of the applicants before he selects his six annual new members.
He expects his Fish Headz to be ethical with their social media posts and won't accept any who use foul or abusive language on the internet.
"The parents reckon that's awesome," he said.
Local respected businesses like Fishing Noosa and Davo's Tackle World are right behind Grant's push towards sustainable fishing.
"We've got a great fishing community in Noosa and the kids are just so passionate."
He said making money from his online fishing wear sales is the least of his concerns.
"I'm more into banding Noosa businesses together and working as a team rather than having an individual who's bigger than somebody else. In general this is what it's all about ... families and kids and having a good time."