Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Interlude...

Portrait of Australian Salmon with author, October 2012

In general I aim to focus on the arts in this blog and not turn it into a chronicle of daily life, but I couldn't resist this little interlude, and some might say that there is an art to fishing. And the fish was caught among one of the most extraordinary sights I have ever seen. We had heard that there were lots of salmon hanging around the mouth of the lake, so puttered over in the tinny to take a look. On an incoming tide the water was literally boiling as hundreds and hundreds of these magnificent fish were schooling. (For my international readers the Australian Salmon is not a true salmon species but a migratory pelagic species that moves around beaches, headlands and occasionally estuaries. They are fast, powerful and can be voracious feeders).

Being able to see these fish at close hand in clear water about 2-3 metres depth was a special experience. Why they were there I can't explain. They did not seem to be feeding or on the move. One could only feel sorry for any tasty smaller fish that tried to move through them. I cast out a 4" plastic lure and quickly retrieved it bouncing it along the surface when the first fish struck. For an angler a surface strike is the penultimate experience as the fish breaks the water, it's silver body leaping into the sunlight.

Then that moment of elation is broken as the fish dives, the drag on the reel screams as line disappears, and the rod is bent at a 45 degree angle and just about ripped out of your hand. And the battle begins. No point in trying to skull drag this animal into the boat. She (as it turns out) had other ideas and was clearly not happy at being hooked. All I could do was hang on, occasionally try to reel in a little line and watch as she dived and swept from one direction to another to escape. My biggest problem was trying to keep her from going completely under the boat and tangling the line in the outboard. She finally tired after about five minutes and we manged to get her into the net. To be able to see all this happen at close hand in such clear water was a first for me. A memorable fishing moment: fresh ecologically sustainable catch in perfect condition. Filleted, skinned, blood line cut out, herb crumbed and fried with garden salad and warm homemade bread. It doesn't get much better than this...

...and if you are REALLY into fishing then check out this blog...

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