Rex is known in Australia and around the world for his entertaining fishing television program- but how did that come about?
Rex's love of fishing started at an early age. This continued throughout his teen years and even though his focus shifted to his football career his heart stayed with fishing.
By 1981 Rex's profile in fishing was growing significantly. He was giving radio reports on 3aw every Saturday and he has released 2 fishing videos. He was also writing a fishing column for the Melbourne Newspaper the Sunday Press.
In the Winter of 1981, TV producer Bob Loxton came into the fishing tackle shop at Black Rock with a suggestion that there might be a chance to get a fishing show up and running on Channel 10. He asked Rex if he was interested and of course he was.
In the next few weeks the go- ahead was given to make a pilot for the show. It was decide that the show would be called “Angling Action” and it would most likely screen early morning on Saturdays. After the pilot was viewed the show was accepted for a 13 weeks series.
**Click here for a preview Of Angling Action (2.8Mb Windows Media Video Download)
The first Angling Action program aired on October 3 1981. The response was overwhelming, not just from the fishing community but from the general public as well.
In 1982 Angling Action again screened for 13 weeks. Unfortunately the show was axed after 2 seasons.
After this Rex's television career was put on hold. Rex kept his profile with his new fishing radio program on 3DB, which had started in 1982 and continued writing columns for papers and various magazines.
Move forward to 1990 when Rex was approached by a man call Colin Christmas and his partner Steve Edwards. They talked about making another pilot for a show and taking it to the TV stations.
The show was made and was taken to Channel 7 first and was given the go ahead. The first of the 13-week series was scheduled to air on 27 th September 1991 at 11.30pm. The new show was named “Rex Hunt's Fishing World”. The show was broadcast into Victoria only.
**Click here for a preview of Rex Hunt's Fishing World (2.1Mb Windows Media File Download)
It didn't matter that the show was on so late at night- at least it was on!
The show screened the next year and changed its name again and became Rex Hunt's Fishing Australia and would be 30 episodes long. The show would be going national which was a huge break.
**Click here for a preview of Rex Hunt's Fishing Australia (2.5Mb Windows Media FIle)
In 1993 the name changed for the final time and for the next 11 years the show would be called “Rex Hunt Fishing Adventures”.
This would also be the year that Rex, his wife Lynne and the crew would head to amazing Africa to make some unbelievable television.
**Click here for a preview of Rex Hunt's Fishing Adventures (1) (2Mb Windows Media Video file)
In 1994 Rex's profile as a fisherman on television was growing. Rex had made famous his saying Yibbida Yibbida and became famous for kissing fish. He had his own segment on Channel 7's The Great Outdoors as well as other football commitments. Rex had to be very careful that he was not overexposed. Somehow Channel 7 had been nicknamed Channel Rex.
Rex and the crew travelled to locations such as Japan , Vanuatu , Papua New Guinea , The Solomon Islands, Thailand and England in the following years. Rex still kept the main focus of the show on Australia . Rex has been a great ambassador for Australia with many people from the UK and Europe travelling here having seen Rex's shows.
**Click here for a preview of Rex Hunt's Fishing Adventures (2) (2.4Mb Windows Media Video file)
Over the next few years Rex's show developed a huge audience with tonnes of fan mail coming in each year from not only Australia, but all over the world. The show was aired in over 158 countries around the world. Rex even had his own fan club in London . Rex show was also snapped up by pay television company Foxtel in Australia where it still airs today.
In 2004 with the show being in its 13 th year Rex decided it was time to hang up his rod. He had seen many people fail in an industry that he had succeeded beyond belief in and wanted to finish on a high note. In late 2004 Rex took what was supposed to be his last trip to Proserpine in Northern Queensland . His last wish for the show was to catch his favourite fish- the barramundi.
Rex and the crew travelled the long journey and arrived at the same time as a bad patch of weather. You wouldn't read about it the fishing was terrible- there were no fish caught for the 4 days!
Time was running out to get the last show to Channel 7 on time and the options were limited. They had to head back to Proserpine and catch a fish or the last show would be a disaster.
Rex fished for 2 days and…… nothing. It was if the gods were trying to tell him something and wouldn't let him end the show! Looking back it was quite fitting but at the time it was very frustrating. The pressure was huge to catch that big one. Finally at the last hour Rex got a bite. It was the big Barramundi he had been working so hard for.
Rex was so gentle with the fish so as not to lose it. He got it to the boat, lifted it in his arms turned to the camera and for one last time said Yibbida Yibbida Folks. Rex kissed his last fish for the show and wiped tears from his eyes. What an unbelievable journey.
Rex is Australia 's best-known fisherman and he has single handedly made fishing an enjoyable and acceptable sport to watch on television. Rex has taught people to respect fish and the environment and the importance of catch and release.
Rex's shows have become a collector's item with his new release of “The Best Of” Rex Hunt Fishing Adventures Volumes 1,2 and 3.