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Fades and Fishing: Barber Tips

Fades and Fishing: Barber Tips

What conversations do you catch when you visit the barber? We tend to tell our doctor only what they need to hear; we might struggle to be open with a counsellor. But almost nothing is off limits in the barbershop. Trust is freely given. Well, considering we give them control over one of our prized assets – our hair – and let them shave our necks with sharp blades, we obviously consider them trustworthy!

“As [the barber and the client] become more friendly [with each other], they would talk between themselves about problems,” according to Sam Makhoul, owner of four-store chain No 1 Barber on the Northern Gold Coast. “The relationship between the customer and the barber would sometimes become too close. They would talk about the people in the local area, about the family, about the kids, about school, about everything. So, they would become like part of the family sometimes.”

Given the Gold Coast’s water-oriented lifestyle, it is not a surprise to find out that the city’s barbershops are rife with discussions about fishing. As it turns out, barbershops are a pretty good place to learn – for barber and client.

Sam, for example, has been a barber for more than 20 years and is now an amateur fisherman. He has his customers to thank. “When I was cutting some customers’ hair, I asked what their plan was for the day and they said they were going fishing. I said I want to do this. I bought a small boat, and we’re enjoying it now!”

However, despite the encouragement of his customers, the first few times he went fishing, he did not catch anything, and actually ended up stuck in the sand. Determined not to let his new hobby beat him, Sam saw it all as a good experience and turned to his most reliable source of information: his customers, who knew all the secrets. “I talked to my customers in my barbershop. They showed me the spots on their mobile phones, and they told me where to go. I think when you talk one-to- one you get better advice for fishing, and you enjoy it.”

In just the space of a year, the advice from his customers have him and his family catching bream, flathead, whiting, and yabbies. They make weekend trips out to their

favourite spots on Coomera River, Jumpinpin Bar, and The Spit – all suggestions from his customers.

Every time he goes out, he checks the weather first – ensuring he fishes at high tide – fills up his petrol tank, checks the GPS, and gathers some local intelligence about the area where he is travelling…just like a pro.

Other barbers, like Shaun Hayes from Backbone Barber in Currumbin, are seasoned enough to give fishing advice to clients, particularly for barramundi. Shaun hails from the Northern Territory, with plenty of experience fishing for barramundi. “That’s what we used to do up north. People enjoy hearing about fishing for barra because it’s obviously not down here so much.” Nevertheless, he’s happy to share his tips with many interested customers.

Even though Shaun has his own stories, he makes a point of listening to others. He also recommends to those looking for “local intel” to do the same. “Local knowledge is passed down from older generations. I’ve learned that if you listen to the older blokes, you can hit some really good spots. There’s still a lot of word-of-mouth [information]. Clients who come in here don’t really mind telling exactly where to go.”

Just like Sam, it was the barber game that attracted Shaun to fishing in the first place, after he moved to Australia. “Fishing life was really big over here and I didn’t really get it. Then my boss had a fishing boat and we were out a few times in it and…I fell in love with it.” Now, he has his own knowledge to share with his customers.

Meanwhile, Sam has gathered enough experience to share some tips. “I started to teach some of my customers,” he said. “They don’t have boats, but they want to do fishing off the sand or the rocks. I know the spots where there are more fish, and [spots for] easy fishing, and I give them some advice, telling them to fish in certain spots.”

Even the best fishers need their haircut! Barbers on the Gold Coast, known for their ability to ask good questions, are soaking up tips from the pros, and using them to encourage amateurs, generating even greater interest in the noble pursuit of a good catch.


By Chris Logan