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Duddly happenings
  |  First Published: March 2016



So our annual trip left us with an annual number of stuff-ups and duddly happenings. I’m sure these sorts of happenings happen to other fishers, but I’m not so sure they happen with the frequency that our happenings happen.

So why do these things occur to us? And I use the ‘us’ a little loosely, because mostly it’s not ‘us’ but rather just ‘me’ that gets into situations that create carnage, be it to my fishing gear, my boat or my person. Sometimes the only damage that occurs is to my ego. On our last trip I was in my boat, and Skipper and Boobies were in BargeArse (Skipper’s boat). We were all fishing the same hole. As happens with Dudd trips, the wind was blowing at a gentle fifty knots across a gentle tide running at twenty knots. We all know what happens in this situation – snag city. Your live bait gets dragged across the rocks as your boat does some circle work around the anchor rope, leaving skid marks on the mud coloured water. The chemically sharpened hook you especially prepared in the weeks leading up to your trip sticks 1mm into Australia and won’t come loose, no matter how hard you try. When it eventually busts-off and you wind in, you know there’s just a fraction of damage to your 50lb fluorocarbon leader. It’s just enough to make you wonder whether you have to replace the whole bloody thing with whatever the latest leader to braid knot you’re trying to tie.

Shirley or Starlo or Starvo – whatever his name is – would tie on a new leader every time there’s even a change in the light refraction of his leader as it brushes past a jellyfish. And so, like a well prepared fisho you spend that fifteen minutes retying your knot while getting smashed by a couple of thousand sandies and one very persistent and nasty horse fly. You’re still tying good knots after the second, third, and fourth snag, but from number five to number ten you start tying a granny knot, and after that you tie the braid to the swivel and tell it to get frayed if you know what I’m talking about – I’m a frayed knot.

Of course, by this time that $5 chemically sharpened hook has been stuck into so many rocks and roots and logs that you wouldn’t know which was the sharp end if one end didn’t have a circle to tie on to. You get the idea; this wandering about by the blunt end of the boat drives bait fishers nuts, so on this particular day I wanted to tie a little rope from the blunt end of the boat to the bank to stop drifting. Only trouble was that when I got out of the boat to tie the rope onto the bank, I forgot I hadn’t tied the other end to the boat and the result was a swinging back end into the middle of the creek. At that point, for some reason, the boat decided to stay in the middle of the creek, while I stood on the bank, with a rope in one hand and something else in the other. This seemed to cause much mirth in the other boat. Didn’t seem funny to me. But, they could only laugh for so long, as after fifteen minutes or so the boat drifted back to me, and I didn’t have to go much over chest deep to get it back. And who was laughing then? Me, because they’d been stuck on about twenty snags while I’d been chilling out in the mangroves – always thinking.

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