Never a borrower be . . .
  |  First Published: May 2011

I find it very irritating when I have to use other people’s gear, especially their boats. To be fair, I think the people whose boats I borrow find it very irritating too. It seldom makes it back in the condition in which it left. Especially in prawn season, when I tend to get down and dirty throwing the cast net into gutters that have got more mud in them than a giant muddy thing.

More often than not I’ll get back to Boobs or Skipper’s place with a record of all the times I’ve walked up and down the boat written on the false floor. And it’s not muddy footprints that you can see, it’s footprints in the mud.

Anyway, there I was last week with Jack Attack, Boobs’ boat. He was at work so I dropped in to his place to pick up the boat on the way north to see Stuffer, who was having a break at Coolum. I was planning to go up to Coolum and get Stuffer out of the clutches of Finn the Terrible and Jack the Jolly Poo Producer (he even named his second kid after a fish… and come to think of it, his first too!)

Anyway, so I’m heading up and I ring Stuffer to warn him of my arrival. “There’s nowhere to park,” he says. So I decide to drop the boat into the river and Stuffer can find his own way down.

In goes the boat. J-Lo, my little Ssangyong 4WD gets parked, and off I go. It’s only when I’ve spent ten minutes getting bait and dropping the anchor that I remember why I wanted Stuffer to come with me. Not just because I wanted his scathing wit alongside me in the boat. In fact, not at all because I wanted his scathing wit in the boat beside me. It was his tackle I wanted.

Now before you go all half smart on me, let me explain. Boobs has one of those boats with rod lockers, battery boxes, live tanks, storage holes and various other compartments hidden away everywhere in the floor. It often takes me a good 15 minutes to remember which door hides the livies. What this extravagance of lids means is that there is very little room on the floor for people to lodge themselves. Especially when those people are the size of the Dudds. We’re not little in the same way that Shane Warne isn’t monogamous.

Anyway, that’s why I hadn’t brought my tackle box. I was expecting Stuffer and/or Boobs to be with me. But they weren’t there, no matter how many times I closed my eyes and opened them again. So here I was, out in the river, with no tackle box. I remembered I had two rusty old hooks left on the rods I’d brought with me. No leader. One sinker. And the tide was running faster than something that’s very, very fast.

And here’s why I don’t like using other people’s boats. Because they’re bloody ORGANISED! It’s outrageous. All the boats I’ve owned have been organised to take into account the fact that I’m not organised. So there was always a spare tackle box hidden away in the boat somewhere, just waiting for the time I left home without my gear. Not so with Boobs and Skipper. They tend to remember things like fuel, hooks, sinkers and bungs. I bet if they organised to go on a tour of western Queensland they’d remember things like spare tyres, and water bottles. They’re no fun at all. But they do catch more fish than me. Then again, who doesn’t?

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