Tim Simpson

Tim Simpson: A life at the top of the offshore fishing game..

Tim Simpson fighting 1100lb bluefin tuna in canada with ken fraser guiding chair 2018
In 2018, Tim released an estimated 500kg (1100-pound) Atlantic bluefin tuna off Canada’s Prince Edward Island, with his friend Ken Fraser – the holder of the All-Tackle World Record bluefin - guiding the chair.

Long before his appointment as Editor of BlueWater Boats & Game Fishing magazine in 2005 and his subsequent purchase of the business in 2016, Tim was making a big impact in the fishing tackle industry and game fishing world.

Tim’s current goal is to turn BlueWater Boats & Game Fishing magazine into an online digital portal to be enjoyed by anglers all around the world

Even before his 24th birthday, Tim Simpson had already:

  • achieved five world records from the International Game Fish Association (IGFA),
  • starred in a movie beside Hollywood legends,
  • coaching fishing at national Shows and
  • running two of Australia’s largest specialist fishing tackle stores.

And that was just the beginning…

Tim Simpson with 192lb and 188 5lb yellowfin tuna on 50lb tackle at Bermagui in 1980s
From the late 1970s until the demise of south-eastern Australia’s population of large yellowfin tuna when local longlining began in the early 1990s, Tim made an annual pilgrimage to Bermagui, catching yellowfin like this pair of 87 and 85.5kg (192lb and 188.5lb) tuna.

Tim left school to pursue a university degree in marine biology but took a summer holiday job at the Compleat Angler fishing tackle store in Sydney city – and loved it so much he remained there for the next 23 years.

In 1978 he took a sabbatical for a role in the US/Australian film ‘Shimmering Light’, starring beside Hollywood legends Beau and Lloyd Bridges, surfing world champion Mark Warren and Australian stars including John Meillon and Victoria Shaw. 

By 1979, at the age of 20, Tim was the NSW State Manager for Compleat Angler. Within a few years he was running two of Australia’s largest privately-owned specialist fishing tackle stores, sourcing the world’s best fishing tackle and personally designing unique ranges of rods, lines and accessories for the company.

Tim played an influential role in the development of many of Australia’s trends in fishing and tackle, becoming proficient in all types of angling – from big game to trout on dry fly, and everything in between.

Throughout his years in retail, Tim took great pride in teaching anglers the techniques for success. Since the early 1980s he’s coached other anglers through regular lectures and demonstrations at clubs and boat shows, and in guest spots on several national and international TV fishing shows. Tim has been a regular on Australia’s HiTide radio fishing show for more than 25 years and has presented fishing lectures on stage for the Sydney International Boat Show since 1983.

Tim’s pursuit of the world’s best fishing has taken him throughout Australia and to all corners of the globe, from the wilds of Papua New Guinea to the remote islands of the Maldives. He’s competed in game fishing tournaments from Hawaii and the Bahamas to Indonesia’s Spice Islands, and has won many events in Australia. 

Along the way he’s chased everything from monster black marlin and mako sharks to barramundi, squid, bass and carp. Tim’s biggest catches include black marlin and a white shark estimated at more than 450kg, an Atlantic bluefin tuna of 500kg and a broadbill swordfish of 300kg, which was released with a satellite tracking tag.

By the age of 23, Tim had achieved five International Game Fish Association (IGFA) world records, including the still current All Tackle World Record for longtail tuna.  In 2009 he added another world record for a 31.6kg (69lb 10oz) wahoo on 4kg (8lb) line. 

Tim Simpson with 120lb dogtooth tuna on 20lb line at wreck reef aboard seafari oct 1989
Back in the late 1980s, Tim made several pioneering trips to fish the seamounts and islands several hundred miles off Australia’s Fraser Island. At Wreck Reef he caught this 54.4kg (120lb) dogtooth tuna on 10kg (20lb) tackle.
Tim Simpson with IFGA world record albacore tuna 34lb 11oz on 6lb line off Sydney in 1980
Tim grew up a passionate light-tackle angler, regularly catching smaller gamefish on tackle from 1kg (2lb) and upwards. Fishing off Sydney in 1980, he broke the IGFA world record for albacore with this 15.75kg (34lb 11oz) tuna on 3kg (6lb) baitcasting tackle.
Tim Simpson with his IGFA world record 69lb 10oz wahoo on 8lb line in Fiji 2009
After losing his previously held wahoo world record on 6kg tackle, Tim made several trips to Fiji specifically chasing the IGFA world record wahoo on 4kg (8lb) tackle, succeeding in 2009 with this 31.6kg (69lb 10oz) fish caught on a Halco ‘Laser Pro’ lure. The following day he re-rigged with 3kg (6lb) line and caught another wahoo that almost broke that line class as well.

Tim is also one of Australia’s most successful tag and release anglers, having released more than 580 marlin, swordfish, sailfish, sharks, tuna and other gamefish with scientific research tags, a good number of which have been recaptured. 

In 1988 he was awarded Australia’s National Tag & Release Champion in the nation’s bi-centennial fishing competition.

In 1978, Tim was a founder of one of Australia’s most successful Tag & Release fishing clubs. Since then, he has been President, Secretary, Committee member and advisor to seven prominent Game or Sportfishing clubs. 

He currently serves as Committee member of the Swordfish & Tunny Club of Australia – the world’s second-oldest game fishing club – and is also an IGFA Representative and a member of the IGFA’s angling rules advisory panel. Tim is also on the Board of Trustees for The Billfish Foundation.

In 1997 Tim was appointed an advisor to the NSW Minister for Fisheries, a position he held through several government terms until he moved to Queensland and took up a similar position for the QLD Fisheries Minister. 

Tim has also served in several positions for the Game Fishing Association of Australia, including the Future Directions Committee, Rules Committee and as Chairman of a committee to develop a new pointscore system. Tim has been Chief Judge of the Sydney International Gamefishing Tournament, and a judge for the Indonesian Government’s Widi International Fishing Tournament in 2017.

In 2004, Tim co-authored The Book of Lures, a 320-word treatise describing the use and design of every type of fishing lure in the world, defining the crucial factors that make some lures deadly-effective while others that look almost the same can hardly raise a strike. This led to his subsequent appointment as the Editor of BlueWater Boats & Game Fishing magazine which he then purchased in 2016. 

As a side-interest to his fishing pursuits, for more than three decades Tim has collected vintage and antique fishing tackle and literature. He is now somewhat of an authority on the subject and has a massive collection of rare and historic reels, rods, lures, accessories and books.

Between BlueWater Boats & Game Fishing issues, Tim still travels the world’s big game fishing hotspots with his wife and business partner, Trish Simpson.

Tim Simpson with his 778lb bluefin tuna on Prince Edward island 2011
While visiting Canada in 2011 to record the resurrection of its famed giant bluefin tuna fishery, Tim fished as a guest of Ken Fraser and caught this 353kg (778lb) bluefin off Prince Edward Island.

Now with a devoted following of subscribers throughout Australia, New Zealand and around the world, Tim delights in guiding his readers in the principles and ethics of IGFA angling as well as the benefits of tag-and-release, which is now a way of life for most Aussie and Kiwi game fishermen. 

Between issues, Tim still travels the world’s big game fishing hotspots with his wife and business partner, Trish. Armed with notepad and camera, Tim & Trish are on a mission to capture the expertise of the leaders in the sport, then deliver it into the hands of BlueWater readers.

Tim Simpson speech at Indonesian governments Widi Islands Tournament 2017
Representing the IGFA and The Billfish Foundation, Tim was a guest judge for the Indonesian Government’s inaugural Widi International Fishing Tournament in 2017. At the lavish Opening and Presentation ceremonies, Tim presented several speeches to the heads of Indonesia’s government before a crowd of thousands.
Tim Simpson with his sat tagged 650lb swordfish 2017
Fishing on the bottom in 1500 feet of water off Tasmania in 2017, Tim released this 300kg (650lb) swordfish with a satellite tag after a 5-hour battle on stand-up 60kg (130lb) tackle.

Now with a devoted following of subscribers throughout Australia, New Zealand and around the world, Tim delights in guiding his readers in the principles and ethics of IGFA angling as well as the benefits of tag-and-release, which is now a way of life for most Aussie and Kiwi game fishermen. 

Tim is currently developing a series of online courses to teach the skills of offshore game fishing, fine-tuning a fast-track to success that will save anglers much heartache and many thousands of dollars along the way.

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