My Fishing Life
Recently the owner of the Pigs Arms asked for some fishing stories so here’s mine. Fishing, I hate fishing. If there is something more boring then cricket it has to be fishing. Bait up, throw your line in and wait, boring. Having said all of that there have been times when I have gone fishing. Usually just to keep the other person company. A good friend of mine is an excellent fisherman and will always barbeque some Tommy Ruffs when Tutu and I go to his place for a meal. Tommy Ruffs you ask? They are like a herring or sardine and having there own oil, lightly crumbed and sautéed on a BBQ plate with a nice white wine or beer they are beautiful.
Now I like eating fish but only when someone else has caught it and did all the cleaning etc., so I can then whip up a nice meal of flathead or Atlantic Salmon. I suppose that crustaceans and mollusc’s don’t count in fishing stories but give me a feed of prawns, crab, lobster, oysters and mussels any day.
Probably my main reason for disliking fishing is a general lack of success. I remember one occasion when my boys where very little I went fishing with my brother in law and his father both of whom where very good fishermen. We hopped in a boat and fished off Crescent Head on the north coast of NSW. Flathead and Squire galore, this was heaven even though I met Errol down the back of the boat. Errol? He’s the bloke you meet when you suffer a wave imbalance of the middle ear that forces you to release the contents of your stomach overboard, you know Eeerrrrroooolll!
The only other success I’ve had is when I was down on my luck and was unable to work due to the Black Dog, that plagues me still to this day, a mate of mine and I would fish in the Port River off Torrens Island and I caught the largest Bream ever seen. Truly a local hero and admired for my feat by the gathering crowd to witness this event. When I put the poor creature back in the water well lets say the throng was in quite some disbelief however I couldn’t do the killing and cleaning bit so back it went.
So that’s my fishing life except for this one tale that I must tell. Tutu told me one day that on all of her fishing adventures she had never actually caught a fish. Others in the group had but never her. Tutu went on the say that it was one of her unfilled ambitions in life to catch a fish so we loaded up the car with the lads, Seek and Destroy, and went to Tooperang. Tooperang you say? Yes Tooperang and the Tooperang Trout Farm.
Tooperang is about 1.5 hrs drive from the Adelaide CBD travelling past the McLaren Vale wine region and the lovely town of Mt Compass turning left up the hill to the farm. Now while there are several different fishing methods the only one we wanted was a go in the “Sure Thing” pond. I know there are lots of analogies at this point of the story however lets not go there.
The Sure Thing pond meant literally that. So you pay to get in and you are issued with some bait, a hand reel and a club. “What’s the club for?” I asked stupidly. “It will all become evident” I was told. Anyway Tutu and the boys were already on their way, they knew. So you bait up and cast in and yes, you catch a fish. No one fails and yes you club the trout to death once you land it. Lots of people were catching trout and then barbequing them in park and rest area at the farm. All very tranquil and peaceful except for the farm dog, a collie, that had great pleasure trying to stalk ducks. Now the catch is, pardon the pun, that you have to buy the fish by weight. It cost me $27 for four rainbow trout when I had $30 left in the bank from my enormous earnings that was to last for the rest of the week. Looks like trout sandwiches!
When we got home I did the cleaning thing and cooked up the trout. Well they were bloody awful, muddy and not much texture. I probably didn’t cook it right as I had had no experience in cooking this type of fish. Even our cat wouldn’t eat it. I went and got a pizza on credit for tea and threw the lot out. However Tutu had got her wish and had caught a fish all by herself. We still laugh about that day and we drove past the farm recently on our way to the Murray mouth. It brought back all of those rich memories of family life, raising children and paying mortgages, all the good and the bad and how I would have it all back again tomorrow, if only I could.