AUSTRALIAN fishing icon Rob Paxevanos has become a familiar face on television screens across the nation, but it was Queanbeyan where the pro fisherman first got his start.
It was back in 1997 when Mr Paxevanos, a local construction worker and keen fisho, started contributing his weekly fishing tips to The Queanbeyan Age.
He continued to build his profile through media appearances, and in 2001 he became the face of WIN Television's Fishing Australia program, the show that would turn him into a household fishing name.
He's now releasing his third fishing instructional DVD, Fishing with Rob Paxevanos: Catching Trout, and said trout fishing in the Queanbeyan region was the best it had been in years.
"Since the drought broke three or four years ago, the lakes are filled and the trout fishing is the best it's been in two decades, so it was a really good time to release this.
"The keener anglers around Queanbeyan will know that trout is fishing well, but it's surprising how easy it is for newcomers to get into this kind of fishing, so I've aimed it [the DVD] at both," he said.
Mr Paxevanos said his DVDs and television shows have always rated well in Queanbeyan, and credited the range of fishing options nearby as the reason.
"Queanbeyan is blessed that it's got good murray cod, redfin, and golden perch fishing, there's some trout fishing not too far away, but then you can also go to your main regions - you can got to the Snowys for your serious trout fishing, or you can go down the coast and go saltwater fishing.
"I'm attached to Queanbeyan because I got my first job there, and I got my first gig in the paper there, and I've got a lot of friends here," he said.
Mr Paxevanos now lives in Canberra with his wife and four daughters, and said fishing had been an enjoyable activity for the family.
"It's a very strong family sport. I think it's popular because it can be done by people of all ages, and there's such a variety of good fishing in this area. You can do anything from catching a carp or redfin with the kids to heading up to the lakes for trout, to learning how to fly fishing in the rivers.
"There's a variety of ways to fish. But certainly the trout's on everyone's lips at the moment, that's for sure," he said.
*To win a copy of Fishing with Rob Paxevanos: Catching Trout, simply tear out this article, write your name, address and contact number on the back, and place it in the box at either Morrison's Newsagency on Monaro Street or the Queanbeyan Paper Shop in Riverside plaza.Morrison's Newsagency and the Queanbeyan Paper Shop also have copies of the DVD for sale, and every copy sold between now and Christmas comes with a free promotional item.