Friday, July 29, 2005

Gotta love a fishing story.

Sorry for the lack of posts lately folks. I've been as busy as a one armed wallpaper hanger.

Here is a nice little story from my buddy Sticko for your enjoyment.

This one's about the kinda fishing trip we have ALL experienced at some time or other...

IT was to be the kind of fishing trip you hear the old salts bragging about when they turn to reminiscing.

We were looking forward to perfect weather, convivial company and plenty of bigg'uns in the cooler when we got back ... proof of our prowess in that age-old battle of man against the best nature has to offer (ie man's own innate stupidity).

We got off to a crook start. On Thursday night we gathered at Gibbo's to plan the grand weekend.

Apart from your correspondent, there was Gibbo, Killer, Whoppa, Chook and Howie, all old school buddies, apart from Howie, a gently-spoken physicist who immigrated from Romania 12 years ago.

Howie was decidedly nervous about the whole concept - firstly because we had decided to be "spontaneous''. You know, not plan ahead too much.

He had vivid memories of our past disasters, especially that camping trip to Oberon and the Jenolan Caves when he wandered off in search of bush orchids and a feral pig trapped him up a tree for four freezing hours.

The only thing which eventually discouraged the cranky sow was that it began to snow.

The other thing worrying Howie was that his ample Aussie wife Janine had reminded him several times that they had long ago locked in a promise to have dinner with her elderly widowed father on Monday of the Australia Day long weekend. More specifically,

what had really put the wind up him was that Janine had bought a new wooden rolling pin, just in case he somehow overlooked the appointment.

Anyway, Thursday's plan was flawless, except that nobody woke up at the appointed time of 4am on Saturday morning and we didn't actually get on the road until 9-ish. Just past Waterfall, Gibbo twigged that the fishing gear so carefully inspected and spiffed up on Friday night ready for battle was still neatly stacked in his suburban laundry.

We finally got the show on the road after lunch. Dusk was hovering on the horizon by the time we reached Kiama and every motel was booked solid. (We hadn't brought any blankets with us. That wouldn't have been spontaneous, would it?)

Every van and mucked-out stable in Berry, Nowra, Sussex Inlet and Bendalong was chockers as well. We kept driving south.

By the time we found a pub with six vacant beds, it was almost 10pm and all the jokes and camaraderie had withered with the increasing likeliehood of half a dozen slumbering old fools crammed uncomfortably into a Commodore sedan, just centimetres away from three kilograms of defrosting prawns and mullet gut.

After a hearty country breakfast the next day, we continued south to a picturesque spot just out of Batemans Bay. It was paradise. Crystal clear aquamarine and turquoise shallows, with dark basalt headlands spiking out into the sea on both sides of the inlet.

Whoppa pulled in a whopper - a 40cm spotted cod with gigantic mouth on 'im - before Gibbo and I each hauled in pan-sized bream and Killer came good with a decent leatherjacket. Chook was still empty-handed but full of confidence at this expectant stage of proceedings.

Howie was so excited that his thick accent made him nearly impossible to understand. He wasn't much at fishing, but he offered to help by carrying our catch (the first of many many more, we figured) to the safety and coolness of a rockpool, well clear of the surge and suck of the ocean waves.

"Hey mets,'' he called out to us, with the dumbest grin you ever saw. "Look thees bee-oo-ti-fel fish.''

Howie was squeezing a blue-ringed octopus in his powerful Baltic fist. The staff at Milton Hospital were fantastic ... professional, sympathetic and kind.

Janine wasn't quite so understanding.