They may live in different states, but Drs Angus Quinn and Justin Ward meet up once a week to go fishing. It’s a mental health issue.

Dr Angus Quinn, St Lucia Dental, St Lucia, QLD

angus_quinnJustin and I grew up in Brisbane, went through school together, studied dentistry together and both worked in Coffs Harbour for five years. When I moved back to Brisbane, he stayed in Coffs and bought a boat.

“We both own our practices and decided to have a weekly ‘mental health’ day. Every Friday I meet up with Justin in Coffs and go out fishing on his boat all morning. We like to be on the water by 4.30am. I also own a practice in nearby Bellingen so my afternoons are spent working there.

“There are a lot of shallow reefs around Solitary Islands where the fishing is fantastic. Huge snapper, giant crayfish, Spanish mackerel, kingfish—I love coming home with photos of the catch to show my patients.

“Nothing beats eating fresh fish you’ve caught yourself. It always tastes way better than any fish you buy. We caught a couple of five-kilo crayfish that had three kilos of meat on their back. Absolutely beautiful eating.

“When your best mate owns a boat and has unbelievable reef knowledge, it’s like having a private charter on speed dial for free. Then, when we get back to shore, I jump off and go to work while he cleans all the fish. You couldn’t ask for a better friend.”

Dr Justin Ward, Arthur Street Dental, Coffs Harbour, NSW

justin_ward“I own a 5.2m Sea Devil with a 130-horsepower motor. When Angus is down, we go line fishing for snapper. I also like to spearfish and free-dive for crayfish. When you spot one, you just catch it with your hand. You’re not allowed to use cray traps around Coffs and there’s no fun in that anyway.

“I’ve seen plenty of sharks when diving, and bronze whalers often come around when you spear a fish. That’s when I get back in the boat. I don’t want to say he’s scared but Angus won’t go in the water. He just sends me over the side to catch his crayfish for him.

“There’s nothing better than being out on the ocean early in the morning. It’s a great way to de-stress. At certain times of the year, you see whales migrating and they can get very close to the boat.

“The two things I like about fishing is that it’s quiet and you’re not looking in anyone’s mouth. I like cruising along the coastline in wintertime—no-one’s about and everything looks untouched.

“Angus and I have been friends for 25 years. To get out on the water with a good mate and bring home a couple of nice snapper is a pretty good way to spend a Friday morning. Even if he never cleans the fish…

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