Not drowning our sorrows
  |  First Published: March 2012

It’s hard to believe that all this wet weather that’s drowned most areas of Queensland didn’t hit during our annual Dudds trip. It’s also hard to believe that I wish it did.

For years, our Dudds trips have been marked by 30 knot winds, or freezing cold weather, or boiling hot weather, or massive amounts of rain, or as in the case of Turkey Beach last year, all of the above. But this year, for some mysterious reason, we had almost normal weather for our 1770 trip in early January. I don’t think it rained the whole five days we were there. The wind didn’t get much over 20 knots, and even slowed down enough to let us get out the front on a couple of days. It wasn’t stinking hot, and it there was no snap of mid winter Hobart temperatures, which have been known to drop in on us when we don’t have a pair of socks or a jumper between the lot of us, or when there’s only one coat between me, Skipper and Manboobs [Not that I haven’t got over you pinching my coat that day at Awoonga, Skipper. I’ve forgotten all about it actually. That green coat. That really warm green coat. The one with the hood. That was rain resistant. You remember the one? That bitterly cold day at Awoonga? October 2008? Thursday afternoon? Anyway, I’m over it. Completely].

But this year, it was pretty bloody good. The tides were within reason and it was leading up to the full moon, which is the time they say you should be fishing. Mind you, I don’t know who ‘they’ are; but they do say lots of smart things about how, when and where to go fishing. They also said we might get some reefies, even though we could only go about 300m over the bar at Round Hill Creek. Well it might have been a bit more, but Skipper has a new boat: Ethel. And he didn’t want to risk Ethel out in the wide blue briny. So we tended to stay close in.

Credit where credit’s due though. When Skipper put Ethel through the beach break to get to Eurimbula via a short cut, I reckon he went through about 4” of water for a 100 yards. He had a rooster tail about the length, shape and height of the Harbour Bridge. Maybe because Pommers was jabbing him in the ribs telling him not to get left behind as he’d left his esky with Stuffer and Doughers and they were heading out of sight. Pommers has made that mistake before.

Anyway, basically everything was ideal. There were days we managed to get a little way out. There were days we managed to be at the jack hole with little wind just on dark on the run-out tide. We had good bait and good tides for muddies. We even managed to score heaps of livebait, once we worked out the herring were hiding under the jetty. Some Kiwi kept telling us we weren’t allowed to throw cast nets around the jetty. Like that stopped us.

Disappointing thing is that we caught nothing. Barely a scale. Couple of stripeys. Couple of bream. Couple of small jack. Small cod. Boobs got a grassie. That was about it. No muddies. No prawns. Zilch.

What am I whining about you might ask? As a Dudd, you might suggest that I should be used to dudd trips where no one catches anything. What’s the big deal all of a sudden you may ask?

I’ll tell you the big deal. We have no excuse. Usually there’s something to hang the blame on. Too cold. Too wet. Too hot. Too many mozzies. Too few mozzies. Not enough bait. Wrong type of bait. Wrong time of the moon. Wrong tides.

So I came back from this trip pretty cranky. Lots of time and effort and dreams cast upon the rocks of disappointment like so many storm wrecked boats on the Inchcape Rock.

My wife, bless her cotton socks, was puzzled. “You’re crankier than Bob Katter at a gay whale rally. You’ve just been fishing for a week, you’re supposed to be relaxed. When the girls and I go away scrapbooking we come back relaxed. What’s the point of going on a fishing trip if you don’t come back all chilled?”

How do you explain something as complicated as this? Do you even try to explain? Or do you take the easy way out. Maybe I should have spent ten minutes explaining the problem.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” I replied. “I’ve got a headache.”

Well, what’s good for the goose…

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