Annual boat maintenance on our Black Watch 40 game boat

Online fishing courses – Living the Dream

Would you believe it’s almost the end of the decade, (depending which logic you use, year 0 or year 1) and hasn’t 2020 been a doozy!!

If you’re anything like us, realizing that struck a bit of a chord.

Cast your mind back to ten years ago.

What were you doing in 2010? How old were you? What has this past decade taught you? Are you proud of an action you took? And what would you have done differently?

Because at the end of each year I do like to look back at where we have come, what worked and what didn’t.

And how we are going on our journey to build financial freedom and a lifestyle we love.

Who knew back in 2014 when we launched our first online course, that in 2020 through COVID they would still be going strong!

I know I’ve had an incredibly blessed life and I’ve also been lucky. But I’ve also worked damn hard.

And like everybody I’ve had some major setbacks.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that the best way to have an amazing life is to create a PLAN for an Amazing life!

But even the PLAN doesn’t just happen.

Obviously we don’t have a crystal ball.

All I know is that the journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step…

For example, 10 years ago I was living at Mission Beach with my first wife, driving 55 kilometres each way to the boat ramp.


I had no website, no social media, finding myself chasing work the hard way after the global financial crisis and green zones locked up my most productive fishing grounds.

Actual fact I was sun burnt, exhausted and mentally burnt out.

It was a far cry from 1990’s when I was booked solid with international fishos catching multiple meterys a day in the Bohle.

Or taking a reef boat full of anglers chasing massive reds offshore on wonky holes.

Back then I had a new car and new boat motors every three years.


Before online fishing courses I took charters in the Bohle River

Pre-GFC clients were as thick as barra in the Bohle River!

Learning Wonky Holes online fishing course content.

Before green zones made them untouchable off Townsville, I gained all the knowledge in my Wonky Holes online fishing course from catching big reds off them for two decades.


But by 2010 the reef boat was gone and I had a maroon Palmco punt with a rusted trailer, driving a white Ute with a cracked windscreen.

Not long after that, Cyclone Yasi paid us a visit and pretty much wiped out my house, my boat and what was left of my business. To top it off my marriage also ended and I didn’t get to see my kids much.


A decade ago our online fishing course lifestyle was not even a pipe dream.

I was virtually penniless, living back home with my parents, age 42.

Life, it seemed, was out to get me.

But you don’t get to age 42 without realizing that these things do pass.

My brother lent me his boat to do some work around Townsville, and I painted my parents’ house in return for freeboard.

Karen came into my life and we made a decision to move back to Cardwell. To rebuild the business and be closer to my kids.

And after 20 years in the charter industry, I knew I had to do things differently and get with the times.

After all, nothing changes if nothing changes!

We started a website (then called Hooked on Hinchinbrook) to receive all the inquiries instead of having to phone people back for hours every night.

We got a house 5 minutes from the boat ramp cutting 1.5 hours travel off my day. I also got a spot lock electric motor. OMG. Game changer.

And discovered in every cloud there is a silver lining because soon after Yasi, the fishing boomed and I was back catching metre plus barra virtually every day again.


Despite life's setbacks there is always a rainbow in the clouds.

Despite life’s setbacks, there is always a rainbow in the clouds.

Thoroughly inspired, I learned how to edit and started making short movies of the fishing.

It had always been my dream to make fishing movies and here I was beginning to do it. We posted them to Facebook and they were really well received.

But… Pretty soon the inroads I made to simplify my life started getting out of control again.

We started getting inundated with fishing related questions.

Literally hundreds a week taking hours to answer every night.

The charter business exploded and I was burning myself out… again!

So we started a blog to answer the most popular questions, saving me the trouble of replying to the same thing again and again.


Karen did an online course on business management and it was then we got a bright idea.

How good would it be to work from a laptop?

Why don’t we help all these people struggling to catch big fish and make an online course on how to catch barra?

Then we can serve many more people than we possibly could one on one.

So we did.

We learned how to edit and how to build websites. By being uncompromising about quality (with simplicity) we created a world-class course. We knew many people were starved for time like us, so we committed to making our course by step with no frills or fluff.

And in 2014, two weeks after our wedding, Barra Basics was launched.

We have now taught over 1300 students to catch big barramundi using the methods I personally developed. It’s been an amazing ride and we have been absolutely blown away by the success of our students. Plus we get to watch them take on sustainable practices as well.

One of our youngest students, Jack Centofanti, still at high school, has caught over 200 metereys already since doing the course.

But he’s still got a long way to go to catch Yoda here. Haha.

My online fishing course students call me Yoda.

One of my online fishing course students created this taking the piss. Yoda haha


In 2016, I got my 2000th metery and we also launched Threadfin Tactics and Wonky Holes to the world.

We bought our very own big boat Mood Swings to go to exotic places and film our travels.

Soon we needed a new website and Fish Smarter was born.

Just a mere 5 years after our very first website we were building our fourth!

In the second half of the decade, we have helped over 8000 students and literally millions of people have seen our blog and tips videos.

A decade ago I never would have believed I could have my very own game boat.

In fact a decade ago Unleashed (now our Mood Swings) was grounded in the marina after Yasi.

It’s not only our fortunes that have turned in the last decade. Check out Mood Swings then and now!

Port Hinchinbrook after Cyclone Yasi

Mood Swings (then Unleashed) in the marina jumble after Cyclone Yasi. Note the deforestation of the hills.

Black Watch 40 game boat

Mood Swings free as a bird in all her glory during a film shoot with ET in 2017.


So here we are at the end of the year and what some would rightly term their annus horribilis.

Remember my motto: Nothing changes if nothing changes.

This is the time to look back and reflect on how far you’ve come.

If the trajectory is UP, pat yourself on the back.

And if the trajectory is down, don’t lose hope. This too will pass and in the next decade, you CAN turn it all around.

No matter what your troubles, everything is figure-outable.

I once heard a quote and it goes something like this.

A man overestimates what he can do in a day and underestimates what he can do in a decade.

And I can really relate to that.

It’s so easy to beat yourself up if you don’t reach your targets and make silly mistakes.

Sometimes we can be so hard on ourselves about what we didn’t do, we can’t recognize what we DID do.

Which is why it’s a good idea to look back over a longer period.

Like a decade.

And get some real perspective on what you have achieved.

Even if you’re stuck in a bit of a rut and can’t see a way out, know that pain is sometimes the best motivator.

You’ll soon get sick and tired of being sick and tired and take some positive steps to change.

In a free country like Australia, anything is possible.

Even though it may seem like the whole world has gone nuts and theirs no end in sight.

Believe me when I say I HAVE felt that way before and it turned out alright in the end.

Dare to dream.

And walk forward towards that dream, one step at a time.

Right now I’d like to challenge you to take 5 mins and reflect on what you’ve done well this decade.

And what you’d like to achieve in the next decade.

Feel free to reply in the comments below as I’d love to hear your insights.




Want more tips? Try our online fishing courses: Fish Smarter



And for tips I only share with my RMF community, enter your name and email to join. It’s free. You’ll get in the draw for our FISHMAS celebrations where we have 78 prizes up for grabs plus specials on all our fishing courses running 1-12 December.

Until then, get out into the great outdoors and keep fishing smarter!




About The Author

Ryan Moody

Ryan Moody started his fishing career on the reef boats before catching bucket list marlin for the likes of champion heavy tackle angler Johnno Johnson, INXS and the King of Sweden. Branching out in the late 80's to guided barramundi fishing, Ryan has made a name for himself as a Big Barramundi specialist and to date has put clients onto over 2000 metre plus barra. That is over 2 kilometres of metre plus barra! With attitudes changing from 'keep all you can' towards catch and release, Ryan has decided to share his extensive knowledge and hopefully inspire people of all ages to get out from behind the computer screen/TV and into the fishing outdoors lifestyle he has spent his life perfecting.

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1 Comment

  • Darrin Griffith

    Reply Reply November 14, 2019

    G’day Ryan and Karen.

    What a great read. Whenever I start feeling a bit sorry for myself along comes another real life story like yours to snap me out of the big girl pity party… Okay the self pity is not as bad as pathetic as a home and away script, Even-so, I did really enjoy reading your reflections, and to be quite honest I certainly can relate to you when it comes to planning goals, working hard towards them and most importantly not getting to upset if things go pear shaped. Rough seas and rocky roads always come along for a reason. Apart from our own foolishness, many times its a higher power at work and if we are willing to steer the ship accordingly, the slow long and hard road may just have been paved in gold all the time. After all, crossing the finish line of life before the crowd has time to turn up to see you cross can be a huge anti climax. I only wish 2 of my mates who decided to check out of life early understood that…

    Mate at 48 yrs of age, like yourself, I have learnt some valuable lessons in life, and in business. I believe using patience as a major part of my work ethic has taught me strategics, forward thinking, and allowed me to ride the rough seas in a seaworthy vessel until its safe to leave the boat.

    Where was I 10 yrs ago? I was like a canary in a cage, lots of activity coupled with no productivity.

    I was working two jobs, building a massive house (which we didn’t need), and burning out. My fishing life was non existent, and it was something I longed for every day.

    I just hung onto my marriage, and this took a massive effort by my wife to stick with me. Chasing the dollar this way is indeed overrated.

    A move had to take place and without all the negatives that move finally came about 8 yrs ago. I gave up on house and bathroom renos, let my plumbing licence expire and launched an online tour business. It went great guns for a while but soon I was back working for agents commissions more than for myself, and as a result nearly burnt out again.

    Now we are about to rebirth our website to include exclusive tours never offered before at premium prices with specific target groups. Its about a slow road to retirement, and more time to fish along the way. Who knows i may even find myself in a nice boat like “mood Swing” in time to come.

    I have a new 16 ft tinnie that gets used a bit less than I want but now when it does it produces fish. Why? because I met this bloke called Ryan Moody (the Yoda) of fishing strategy.

    While I’m yet to catch a meter Barra, I have enjoyed getting into some nice Fingermark and learnt some valuable proactive lessons in fishing prep and strategy that has fast forwarded my fishing addiction to levels never thought of. Thanks mate, you really do hold the keys to the fishing kingdom, and for this I am forever grateful.

    My big girl problem I was referring to at the top was the fact that on days like today when work calls its frustrating to see blokes and boats pull up beside you ha ha…

    So in the last 10 yrs I have dug myself out of the pit I was in physically and financially.
    Saved my marriage.
    Work at something I love doing.
    Found some new fishing spots.
    Brought a new boat. (Tinnie)
    Brought a new house. (Small house)
    Have time to fish (never enough but do have time now)
    Made new mates.
    and most importantly have Ryans secrets available at my finger tips to now catch fish, and good ones too.

    Thanks mate. Hope to be able to wet a line with you one day.

    Ultimate Goal is to live near Hinchinbrook again. But for now Cairns is home.



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