When Dudds Go Bush
  |  First Published: October 2011

There he was; close to 100kg of grey kangaroo leaning forward with his big paws resting on the ground in front as he slowly shuffled his way forward. What a magnificent sight.

At least he would have been a magnificent sight if he hadn’t been in the middle of the right hand lane as I came around a sharp corner half an hour west of Dalby doing 110 clicks at 11 on a Sunday night.

It was one of those “Oh f**&$” moments. You know you’re not going to stop in time. You know if you stay in the left lane he’ll lumber straight in front of you. Your only chance is to try and go behind him and hope he doesn’t go into reverse.

He does.

The anchors go out. There’s a sour smell of burning metal as you stand on the discs. You get off the brakes to manoeuvre, and somehow, you manage to get past him. There’s a brief smack and all the lights on one side go off. But then you’re past him, heart hammering. You risk a glance at the mirror and see him bouncing off into the brigalow. You yell at him; screaming all your pent up fright and anger at the windscreen. It doesn’t reply.

It’s pretty standard for a trip out west for me. I was headed out to look in on some cattle for Stuffer. Put the arm up to see if there were calves, and what size and colour they might be. At least, that was the excuse.

In reality, it was more about getting some time away from the big smoke. I like a little bit of isolation, and this place is away from everything. You can hear truck tyres mumbling along the Moonie Highway sometimes late at night, but not much else. There’s a couple of dams someone may have caught yellowbelly from back in the 1970s. But that’s just a rumour. Still, it’s a rumour I’d been trying to prove for some years.

In order to keep things interesting, I’d brought along a couple of bits of kit. One was an expensive Daiwa reel mounted on a two piece graphite rod, and spooled up with 15lb braid with a fluoro leader.

The other was a piece of bamboo from the park next door in Brisbane that I’d cut into two pieces and joined with some old plumbers pipe. It had some old 30lb mono I’d found under the old homestead and a hook rescued from the bottom of the tacklebox. I’d broken off a piece of foam from a broken esky as a float.

I’d also dug up some big fat garden worms for bait. Unfortunately, I’d left them in Brisbane, so I found some under an old peach tree beside the homestead. They weren’t fat, or juicy. They were more like one of those thin bits of snot that hang out kids’ noses when they’ve been crying for thirty or forty minutes cause they can’t have something; a lolly, or a toy or a self propelled grenade, depending on where you live. But anyway, they were bait, (the worms, not the kids) and for the purposes of my test, they would do.

The idea of my test was of course to see which of these two fishing rigs caught fish. Would it be the $500 Daiwa combo with its smooth drag, expensive line and whip like rod? Or would it be the bamboo stick, rescued from the park next door, with no reel and relying on the strength of gaffa tape to keep from collapsing?

I headed down to the dam just before dark. It was too cold for bugs. It was a new moon, and as dark as the inside of a black cow. As dark as the outside of a black cow too, because I walked into one. She scared the cr$% out of me as I set my gear down on the gently sloping bank of the waterhole.

I wanted everything to be equal, so I made sure each had a similar number of booger worms, and that each was cast into very likely spots. I gave it a good amount of time before calling the test over.

Now I know there will be some of you that would be backing the old bamboo bobbing rod, while others would be backing the precision of the expensive combo. And I’d like to say this: haven’t you ever read a Dudds column before? I didn’t catch anything on either rod. Didn’t even get a bloody nibble. Just sat there for about four hours watching the Southern Cross roll over, and trying to keep that half mad black cow from running all over me.

Oh well, at least I got my revenge on her the next day. That’s the last time she’ll be giving me any cheek. Come to think of it, she did give me some check. And I put a glove on, threw on some lube, and …

Reads: 2008

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