Some years ago, Big Mate and I were enjoying a few social drinks and recalling the various fish we’d caught over the years. As the port flowed, the fish got bigger, the lines lighter, and the struggles to land them more heroic. Unfortunately, the two little girls listening on believed every word.
Early next morning I surfaced feeling crook as a dog, possibly due to something dodgy I’d eaten the night before. The last thing I wanted to hear was my children begging me to take them fishing. Resolving that I shouldn’t have to suffer alone I called Big Mate, but he wasn’t answering, and Long Suffering Wife had decided it was her turn for a sleep in. Good for them.
Popping a couple of headache tablets, I collected the fishing gear and headed off to Pat’s Bait and Tackle. I bought the bait, while Pat gave the girls some good fishing advice, then quietly slipped me a hot tip on the best place to take them so they wouldn’t get too bored. To this day I don’t know if he actually felt sorry for me, or if he was trying to hook a couple more young customers.
Anyway, we pulled up near a small wharf, whose location will remain a closely guarded secret, and within seconds long streams of fishing line were tangled all the way from the car to the jetty.
I needed the many arms of Vishnu in order to keep up with the continuous re-baiting and de-tangling process, but then the tide, and our luck turned; The Littlest Princess caught a decent sized whiting, and while I was grappling with it, the Middle Princesses’ rod bent over like it had snagged a passing submarine.
She stubbornly hung on, and my mouth fell open as a large parrot fish surfaced. Grunting from the effort, the little tacker hauled it in, and, when the fish hit the wharf, I pounced and wrestled it into the esky. Clapping them both on the back, I uttered every fisherman’s favourite words, “They’re keepers!”
Parrot fish dinners have been a bit thin on the ground since, but years from now, I’m sure that two tipsy ladies will be telling their children about the time they each landed their first big fish in Auckland Creek while their hung-over father slept in the car.
Well, fishermen will stretch the truth a little…