To be a good fisherman you need patience, good local knowledge, and some luck. I possess none of those qualities, so it’s a bit of a mystery why I enjoy fishing so much; or used to.
Last year, when the stories emerged about lesions appearing on our local Barramundi, rumours spread faster and further than a jellyfish going through a propeller, and being a cautious sort of bloke, I decided to rest ‘Collapso’ my faithful tinnie, until the foam settled. I lasted two weeks.
Dad and I hit our favourite fishing spot and, apart from the sound of low flying aircraft, several passing coal trains, the rumble of distant trucks, and continuous hum from the overhead power lines, it was fairly peaceful. You could just feel the serenity.
For once I caught the first fish; a good sized rock cod, and while it looked quite normal and healthy, a niggling doubt started needling me. Finally, as casually as I could, I said, “You know Dad, I don’t really feel like fish tonight, so I’ll let you take it home.”
He shook his head, “You caught it, you eat it.” At that point things degenerated fairly quickly until we were tossing a now very distressed rock cod between each other like it was a live hand grenade.
In the end I flung it overboard and yelled, “Well what’s the flamin’ point of fishing if we’re not going to eat the fish?!” We haven’t wet a line since. Much later I took Collapso for a run to blow the dust and cobwebs off her, and discovered what happens when old fuel gums up your carburettor. Fortunately, the owner of Gladstone’s smallest, and slowest, dinghy towed me back to the ramp; eventually.
Now for some strange reason, my family are extremely reluctant to board a boat that has been overhauled by me, and the wait for a real outboard mechanic has entered week fourteen, which is why we won’t be at the Hook Up this weekend.
So while the fish population of Gladstone cops its’ annual hammering, I’ll probably be towing my boat down to Bundaberg where it has a slightly better chance of being serviced before next years’ Hook Up arrives. And I sincerely hope that this is the last time Collapso, and our local Barramundi, end up dead in the water.