Last Friday just before dawn, the wind lashed the tops of trees, rainclouds gathered in the dimly lit sky to discuss their plans for the weekend, and the BOM site crashed under a barrage of hits from the Gladstone region; yes, it was Hook Up time again!
Earlier in the week, great billowing clouds of dust covered the city as boat covers where whipped off and shaken out, and our suburbs echoed with the sounds of anglers eagerly preparing their gear; rattling rods, roaring outboards, and the frantic screams of boaties who had discovered large carpet snakes sleeping amongst their life jackets.
Meanwhile, convoys of trucks carted in extra supplies of bait, booze and 2-stroke oil. Ice making machines came within cooee of burning out as they toiled around the clock, as did harassed tackle shop staff and sleep deprived outboard mechanics.
By Thursday, you could have cut the air with a rusty fishing knife, but you couldn’t slip a wet squid between the 4WD’s and boats crammed into service station forecourts. Over the din of engines and tempers overheating, you could hear the fuel barons chuckling, and rubbing their hands together in glee.
On Friday morning the surface of our harbour was churned to foam as thousands of boats swarmed off to wreak havoc on the regions’ fish population. Below the water line, panicking sea creatures dodged hails of anchors, showers of hooks, and sprinklings of lures.
By Sunday night it was all over, and as flotillas of fishing boats were hauled homeward, the surviving fish wiped their brows, while dolphins, turtles and dugongs lunged to the surface and gratefully sucked in huge lungful’s of air.
And as usual, I spent the weekend wandering around Bray Park exchanging whopping lies about whoppers that had got away, and eating my bodyweight in hotdogs. I love the Hook Up! In fact, I like it so much, that next year I might dust off ‘Collapso’, my faithful tinny, and actually go fishing for a change.