You have only to look at North Queenslander Chris Bolton’s social media to gain an immediate understanding of his passion for fishing, with his adventures shared for all to see in captivating photos. Dedicated to getting the freshest, local fish into the kitchens of the high profile chefs in the country who in turn give him the utmost respect and appreciation, he is equally enthusiastic about passing on his knowledge and love of the industry to the younger generations, as the many images of his adorable daughter posing with her dad and their catch of the day can attest.
“Fishing is all that i wanted to do, since i was about 5 years old, like my family. I started just before i was 15 years as a prawn trawler working for my uncle in the Torres Strait,” Chris said.
Operating his own business for many years, and wholesaling to Cairns, Chris could see a lot of his catch was ending up in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. “That’s when i had the thought – maybe i was better off cutting out the middle man.”
He started his award winning Chris Bolton Fishing a couple of years ago and finds it rewarding in many ways, from knowing what chefs are wanting him to supply, to the creations they make with the fish.
Operating from a 7.5m boat with a crew of two, Chris’s focus on quality extends to his unique line-fishing and use of the ancient Japanese killing method, which he says gives the fish a superior taste. His fish ends up in some of the country’s best restaurants within 24 hours of being caught at sea.
“It’s definitely rewarding. Now i really know where my fish goes. I talk directly to the chefs, which allows me to know what they want, what size they want, and i get to see what they’re doing with the fish,” Chris said.
“They send me photos, including ones of the menu with my name on it, so diners know exactly where their fish has come from. You see how much it is appreciated, because otherwise neither the chefs or the people eating it would have any idea where the fish had come from.”
Chris recently won the coveted Trophy in the ‘From the Sea’ category at the Harvey Norman .delicious Awards, which he wasn’t expecting. “That was unreal,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting to win it, and when my name was called out i was in shock, but it was great.”
As with most industries there are challenges as much as there are highlights.
“The most challenging part would have to be trying to stop management decisions being made for political reasons. They need to listen to the industry as much as they listen to the researchers or scientists because we are the ones that know exactly what is happening on the ground and that is very important.
“My favourite aspect of my work is probably just seeing how appreciated the fish is by some of the best chefs in the country, and seeing what they do with it, not just our fish but the whole fishing industry.”