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Turning a non-event into a funny family trip


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An eternity has passed since I have penned a report.

I hadn't wet a line in over a month and I found myself pacing the back yard.

I respooled some reels and done some boat maintenance to keep me occupied.

But I wanted to bend a rod.


The weather prediction for Saturday looked, well...


The fishing in the bay lately had been...


I was starting to sound like George Thoroughgood...

"B.B.B.B.B. B. B. Ba-aad...

Baaaad to the Bone...

I had also promised my daughter to take her on the boat. She is my deckie-in-the-making...At 4 years old, she mirrors my childhood excitement, whereas my son mirrors my mum's indifference.

And yet another promise I made was to take some photos of her with her first fish and submit it to a boating magazine, along with an article I wrote for them.

So I decided I was gonna go and just hope the weather was OK for my daughter to come along, later in the day.

There was one trailer at the ramp at 6:45am.

The wind was blowing the trees around, reminding me that it was not pretty out there.

Sheer stubborn-ness pushed me through the logic barrier.

I decided to stay in the Georges River and fish the edge of the main channel.

The wind was blowing 12 knots southerly and the current about 5 knots rising.

The burley went in and the rods were deployed - pilchard pieces were the only bait I had on board.

The wait was about 5 minutes and the 2kg carbon rod bowed to a big run - the braid making that distinctive sound through the guides, that only braid can make.

I jumped at the rod and took the weight - man it has been a long time and I was grinning like a kid.

I was hoping for a jewie, but 30 seconds later, the line angled to the surface and a fish half-jumped and thrashed its head wildly.

A salmon....

Now being the eternal optimist, fishcakes appeared in my mind, surrounded by steamed rice and some stir-fry vegies.....

Oh yeah, I can appreciate this fish alright, so I got to work.

This was the first salmon I have hooked in the river and it took full advantage of the raging current.

It came to the surface 3 times and thrashed around, but spent the majority of the 25 minutes about 2 metres down.

It was powerful and refused to come to the net.

My patience was tested nicely, until it finally succumbed.

It hit the deck with a thud, and on the lie detector, it stretched out to 70cm.

I was happy with that. A quick photo and into the killbox.

While I was fighting the fish straight down, I hadn't noticed, but another rod was peeling line and the wind had picked up a notch.

The wind whistling through the rods in the rocket laucher had drowned out the sound of the drag on the other hooked up rod.

Also, other boats had anchored about 30m downcurrent from me.

Over the next 90 minutes, another 4 salmon decided to give me some sparring practice.

The sight of a bent rod attracted a couple of other boats as well.

It was kind of comforting in a way because it reminded me that I'm not a total nutcase fishing in those conditions.

Had I been there alone, I would have doubted my sanity the whole time and I would not have enjoyed it as much.

It wasn't dangerous but it was a very cold and windy day, threatening to rain at any moment.

The tide turned and the fishing got quiet for a half hour, before a couple of trevally and bream got in on the act.

They were such a pushover after those leviathan salmon but very well received nonetheless.

At 11:30, the good wife rings me and asks if it is OK for her to bing the kids to fish.

She was trying to discourage me from dragging them out on such a bleak day, but my daughter turned on the waterworks.

My wife just cannot bear to see my 4 year old daughter cry so she said they would come.

My 11 year old son equally cannot bear to have his sister doing something that he is not doing - jealousy is a powerful foe.

I used my daughter's emotion and my son's jealousy to good effect and promptly picked them up from the wharf.

They all squeezed into the centre cabin as we slowly idled through the Oatley Bay channel.

The look of excitement on all faces was something I had not seen before....

This is because they have NEVER been on the boat while the boat is IN the water.

I slowly idled to a sheltered spot near Caravan head and deployed my daughter's pink rod, along with the others.

The burley went in and not 5 minutes later, the pink rod tip takes a dive.

Everyone started screaming like girls, even me, as I handed the rod to Trinity.

Her eyes as wide as saucers, she cranked that little pink reel handle.

Every time that fish dived, she would let out a little high-pitched "ooh".

The net scoops up her prize and the party streamers fall from the sky....

Well maybe not ACTUAL party streamers but we all felt like they were there.

Photos, hugs, kisses and all attention is on her.

Then my son muscles in for HIS turn on the pink rod.

"Get you OWN rod" says Trinity....

Well it was on for young-an-old so I had to diffuse world war 3 by offering my son access to the "superior" tackle.

That seemed to calm them down.

I had just turned this into a competition..

I had no idea what I just gotten myself into.

She had caught her first fish, a bream of 28cm and a keeper.

But my son was hellbent to outdo her - the jealously had taken hold bigtime.

Fortunately the next rod to go off was my son's, else they would surely use the rods in a swordfight !

A decent bend in the rod had him surprised at this thing called fishing.

He pumped and wound the fish like a total novice - which he was - aint no pros on MY boat, not even me !

We fumbled around and eventually got the fish into the net.

A nice trevally of about 36cm and he was stoked.

"My fish is BIGGER than yours - B - I - G -G - E - R !!!!" World war 3 resumed.

My daughter was having none o' that and started to lay the punches in !

For crying out loud - first no-one wanted to be here, now EVERYONE wants a piece of the action.

Right - girls to port, boys to starbird and I'm in the middle between the warring factions.

My daughter was next up with another nice trevally.

This thing thing dragged her state-of-the-art, $2 reject shop gear, right to the gunwale.

"Help me daddy" was the call from her, so I used one finger to support the rod a little.

My son looked on with envious eyes...

I could hear him muttering under his breath "Lose it, lose it...Lose it..."

I netted her fish and she was more interested in bragging than anything else.

"In your face" she says to her brother.

..and they were at it again - fists clenched and pulling no punches.

This was out of control. I felt as though we were in parliament house but with much smaller MP's.

...or at a beauty salon on the movie set of Dallas.....

I tried to ellicit the help of my lesser, er, I mean, my better half, but I noticed some shades of green around the gills and some blue on her nose.

She was a little seasick and freezing.

"They're YOUR kids" she says, as she so often does when they're mis-behaving.

But they are HER kids when they a purring....yes...we know that story well....

My son started to make puking motions to his mum, as an act of sympathy for her condition - only kids would do that kind of stuff.......

Gotta love them...

About 15 minutes passed and no more hits, neither from the fish, nor from the kids on eachother.

The expected "I'm bored" comments came from both camps.

I decided that it was time we headed back before things deteriorated any further, both in terms of weather, the kids relationship and the wife's physical condition.

I pulled the anchor to a chorus of laughter.

What were they laughing about ?

"Daddy, you look like Mr Bean doing his dance".

When I pull in the anchor, against wind and current with a boatload of people, I have to put my back into it.

So much so, I resembled Mr Bean doing his silly "pelvic motions" dance....

Except that I'm twice his weight and not as pretty.

With smiles all round I put the hammer down and raised the boat onto the plane.

It was the first time I had done that during this trip and that certainly got the adrenalin going.

The kids decided they wanted to go fast for the rest of the day.

Then my wife game them the Clint Eastwood look as we drove into Oatley Bay.

I dropped them off on the beach and they went home as I retrieved the boat.

A cold, dull, windy winters day had been transformed into an amazing family adventure, less than 1 km from the boat ramp.

We all look forward to doing it again.

I'll just try and pick a nicer day....


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Edited by Keflapod
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This was a better read than my morning telegraph news paper Tony :beersmile:

Most of the time the benefit of going "F"ing is to get away from the domestic dramas!

But when the planets align there are rewards to be had!

Well done in getting the "lower house" into the sport, sounds like they'll be up for future ventures.

And BTW, is it just me or are these salmon we're hooking inside the bays at the moment all so black on the topsides?

One I caught in Middle Harbour last week showed the same grey/black markings on top, as opposed to the brown/greens I usually find on the beach...

Anyway, great post, a good read on yet another wet winters day!!

Cheers, motohead.

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Very very well written, Tony, you hit the nail on the head with every detail - family life can be just as funny as it is frustrating at times, but we wouldn't be without it.


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What a great read. It brought back many memories of fishing with my own three kids as littlies and teenagers back in the late 80's and 90's. I enjoyed every minute of the trips I had with them, usually one or two at a time due to space and safety limitations in a 3.8 metre boat. My eldest daughter was christened The First Mate due to her enthusiasm to accompany me as often as possible. Most of our fishing was in school holidays - trolling for trout in Lake Wyanagala (there were some very nice rainbows in there in the 90's), fishing with live poddies for lizards or nippers for whiting in the Macleay River at Christmas time (when the Macleay actually had plenty of good fish to be caught). The kids didn't realise how good some of the fish that they, and some of their friends, caught in those days.

Now that they have grown into adults with their own interests and moved away from where I live, two being interstate and the other a three hour drive away, I rarely get the opportunity to fish with them now. When I do, its just like the old times. I hope to be able to do it all again, albeit not very often unfortunately, with my grandkids.

Enjoy this special time with your kids as it doesn't last forever. Teach them to tie knots, collect bait, cast for themselves, clean the catch - whatever you do let them have a go too. It draws you closer to them and they will love you for it.

Here are couple of snaps of my then teenage daughter to illustrate the nature of fishing with your kids.

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I trust I have not hijacked your excellent post. My intention is to encourage Raiders to fish with their kids as often as possible and to show how rewarding it can be.

Tight lines


Edited by kel
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Thankyou all for your kind words.

I have read many times, the posts of others who have taken their kids fishing and had a ball.

I was waiting for 'something' to tell me it was time for me to take mine.

I can't understand now why I took so long to do it.

I'm glad I have done so and will try to squeeze in an hour or so at the end of most of MY fishing trips to include an hour with the wife and kids.

I hope it will grow from there.


I appreciate your feedback. It comes from someone who is perhaps 10 years ahead of me in my evolution of fishing in the family.

I will take your advice on board, but I hope my kids don't move interstate. I would be devastated !:1prop:

Thanks for your pics and no you have not hijacked the post.

Someone looks bored though !

Chris (pongrass), I'm sure you will get your kids on the boat pretty soon. You need some competition and an anchor man !

Chris (Cdol9), mate your post is at 1:45am. What are you doing up so late ! Waiting for me to post my report at 12:30am ? I'm flattered !

McGoo, I haven't written a book bcos I reckon fishos are not that interested to pick up a book. Or maybe I'm generalizing based on ME not picking up a book...Dunno, I might one day.

Tuffy - I agree 100%

Motohead - I reckon the salmon ARE a darker colour - the river water is siltier and fish do take on colouration of their environment.

I also noticed the leaps were quite lethargic as compared to ocean caught salmon so definately some differences there.

Groper (Basil) LOL - love your work...


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Ah Tony,

As others have said, you are a wordsmith. Or a wordsmithopolous maybe !.

Your writing is as evocative as 50 shades of grey :biggrin2: . Salmon grey in this case.

Next time I see you I'll say G'day.

If I see a boatfull of kids ready to stab each other over a trevally flippin about on the deck, I'll know I'm on the right track.

Cheers . . .


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That's a post worthy of an Olympic Gold Medal...... for wordsmithing, if it ever becomes a sport.

It's nice to get home after a hard day at the nursery and enjoy a good read.

Wished my two girls had been as enthusiastic when they were little, but land based fishing has it's limitations sometimes.

Nonetheless, you've picked up my spirits so I think I'll get up early tomorrow and cast a few hardbodies around a particular feeder creek of Narrabeen Lake. I'll keep my eye out for your future posts. Thanks Tony.



Edited by GreyNurse
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That photo of my daughter catching a few zzzs must have bee on one of our less successful days! We all have them don't we? Fortunately we had plenty of good days to make up for those less fishy ones, as the other photo of the same subject shows. I remember catching 10 very good rainbow trout at Lake Wyangala in about and hour with her when she was just four years old. A memorable trip indeed.

Yes Tony, having your kids all living so far away sucks big time.


Edited by kel
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that was absolute GOLD !! tony, easily the best post I have read in a long time. I laughed so hard I had tears, and the whole time I pictured my own kids at that age - some things never change, so typical of young brother and sister antics. Mind you my kids are 28 and 25 and at times the rivalry is still there!

great report mate and thank you so much for sharing.


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Tremendous post and thanks for sharing your adventure :thumbup:

I'm sure all parent Raiders can relate to your poetry in one way or another. I take my youngsters fishing with me (land based only) and as you say there are always eruptions over who uses the 'good' rod or who's fish is bigger or who caught the most.... great stuff though and wouldn't have it any other way.

Some great words of advice from Kel also.... thanks Kel.

Keep that poetry flowing :thumbup:


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Pete, Ian and Nursie,

Thankyou for your kind words.

I have to admit, I like the attention and I like to tell it how it is, especially if we can have a good laugh about it.

On a more serious note though, the message is clear that for those of us who have families.

Taking them out fishing can create some great memories that can last a lifetime.

...and I hope the ones I have created do just that...


Edited by Keflapod
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