Monday, July 23, 2012

The one that got away

Phillip had most of last week off work. It's been slow the past few months, moving people, since the economy isn't fantastic and now, we're at the end of the tax year.

But for the most part, we enjoy his days off and use them to our advantage; either staying at home getting things done with each other, "shopping", or visiting people. The weather was so wonderful this last week though, that we talked ourselves into some fishing.

See, you can buy a fishing licence here for freshwater fishing and fish for a whole year (August to August) with that licence. Or you can go sea fishing for free. I'm not clear on the benefits of one over the other other than price and that you really can't catch trout as they only live in fresh water (and Tasmanian trout are apparently quite wonderful). 

But I digress. We went fishing at Port Sorell. The Jetty, to be precise. (Last time we went, we were at Squeaking Point at Port Sorell).

So when we got there, there was a kid standing around, looking to be between 12 and 14. And it's a school day, mind you, so my husband tried to make conversation with him (we found out he only goes to school Tuesdays and Thursdays, and was asking for a light for his cigarette), before he wandered off. We began fishing and caught a few very small flat heads (which, I found out the hard way, are 90% spines. Even when you grab them flat on the head, they're just full of spines) and the kid showed up again, this time with a rod and reel, and a small lure he began to randomly cast into the water, wandering all about the pontoon. 
I may have problems myself...

Then, as I reeled in to check my bait (we'd been getting lots of small nibbles and loosing our bait this way) I get a NICE bite, and reel in a decent sized Cocky Salmon! Phillip scoops the fighting thing into his net and the kid appears out of nowhere to reach into the net saying "I'll get it for you!" and GRABS my fish! TAKES the hook out, and runs to our bucket HOLDING MY FISH to get water into the bucket and put my fish in. 

He then starts poking at the fish, absolutely obsessed with it, and saying he wished he had something to catch fish with because his lure just won't work. So Phillip offers him a hook, sinker, and some of the chicken we've been using because, really, we've got plenty. This amuses the child for a good half hour or so, until his sinker slips because he tied it on wrong. So he gave up and, instead, started picking and biting at his finger. To bleed himself. "To attract the sharks" he said. 


And he was OBSESSED with my fish. He even grabbed it out of the bucket again to get it fresh water. And sat over the bucket watching it and playing with it. Which... you just don't do. You just don't mess with someone elses fishing things or fish unless they give you explicit permission. And here in Australia, they seem to really have a thing about "this is MINE" and you just don't touch other people's things. For example, in the States, it might be a compliment, something desirable, to have a stranger come up to you and ask to pet your dog while you're taking it for a walk. Here, you just don't. Don't do it. That's someone elses dog. Do not touch. So, if it's someone elses fish, and possibly expensive fishing equipment, you REALLY don't touch.

Phillip also caught a few crabs
So I convinced Phillip to just bleed it already so we could pack it up. Because by this time, I was afraid he would throw my fish back in. So he does, and the kid wants the head to fish with, to try and catch a skate. And at this point, we just want the kid to leave. It's one thing to hang around, talk, fish with each other, but he's getting far too hands-on with our things and we're not quite sure how to nicely tell him he needs to back off. But we give him the head and toss the bloody water from my fish into the water. 

10 minutes later, I'm reeling in again to check my bait and something SLAMS into my hook. I start reeling whatever it is in quickly, letting it run JUST a little, so I don't snap my line and I can tire it out a bit. Phillip grabs the net and runs to the side, looks in, reaches, and the kid steps in front of him. They're both yelling that it's a barracuda. Barracuda! Over a foot long! As Phillip reaches to get it in the net, and I continue to reel it in, the child GRABS MY LINE AND PULLS. If you don't know, this releases all the tension that is keeping the fish on the hook. I stop reeling because I'm afraid I'll cut this kids hands with the line with all the tension on it, and he lets go, stands in front of Phillip again (Phillip was trying to figure out how to scoop up the fish without knocking the kid into the water), and grabs the line AGAIN. 


We were.... upset. To put it mildly. 

And really, when you go fishing, how often do you really expect to catch something? Much less something you can keep? Much less something so COOL as a barracuda?

Olive oil, salt, dill, slice of fresh lemon
We went back to the same spot the next day, but ended up not staying because four people there had eight rods. Jerks. There was no room on there and I've never gotten such icy glares from old guys before as when we walked up to check things out. And the kid came back, too. He told us he couldn't fish there either because one of the guys had pushed him in before.

But, we got to eat at least one fish. And that's cool, right?
Random stir-fry of whatever veggies are in the fridge?
Left-over mashed potatoes?
Delicious rice and fresh fish?

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