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Johnny be good
  |  First Published: October 2013



I have four brothers, all of whom love to fish when they get the chance. None are perhaps as keen, or for that matter as hopeless, as Stuffer and I but given the chance we all look forward to chucking a lure or drowning a worm/yabby/shrimp/whatever can be found under a nearby log.

But one of us makes up for Stuffer and I being absolute Dudds. For the sake of anonymity, let’s call him John. Now where Stuffer and I would spend on average about 12 working days (and that’s normal working days, not public service working days) getting one strike on one lure across roughly 99% of the workable surface area of Lake Awoonga, John will wander in and hook up to a metre-plus silver assassin within 15 minutes. Then lose it. But pick it up when the landing net falls overboard just as he’s trying to balance himself after losing the fish and the net happens to tangle itself in the lure that’s still hanging off the end of the barra he's just lost. And got again.

If it was restricted to barra, that would be almost acceptable. Almost. But the bugger can go anywhere and manage to pick up a trophy. Wanders over to Somerset a couple of weeks ago and manages to hook up to a 3.6kg bass. Yes, 3.6kg – I haven’t pulled up an anchor that heavy!

Stuffer and I, along with Boobies, have spent many long hours chucking shite at various logs, weed beds, other competitors and passing pelicans. Except that one time, at Boondoomba. We put some shrimp traps out early (back in the days when we were keen and still thought we'd catch fish). Boobies tore out of the camp half an hour later for some unknown reason to fish on his own. When we checked the traps there were no shrimp in the traps at all.

“No shrimps Boobies?”

“Didn’t check ‘em,” he called back.

“Mustn’t be any around, hey?” Yeah right. So while we threw more lures than someone who threw a lot of lures, Boobies fished on his own and picked up about half a dozen little bass. Of course he neglected to tell us that he’d checked the traps and kept the shrimp. Not that I remember that occasion and hold a grudge at all about that…

But as I say, John has this knack of picking up trophy fish wherever he travels. He’ll get good yellas out of the Moonie when it’s so dirty it’s got a skin on top like a month old custard. He’ll go out onto the reef with someone just for the day from Mooloolabah and hook up a legal red with a piece of shoe as bait. And everyone knows that last person to catch a legal red on Murphy’s or the Inner, Outer or Middle Gneerings was using string fishing line, a kero lantern and Manly players were all locals.

Meanwhile Stuffer and I will have put in days getting smashed up at Turkey, stranded at Baffle, snagged at Monduran and completely bored witless at Boondoomba (there are no shrimps there apparently, or bass), and Johnno will wander into an email discussion about the best return available for used fishing equipment and mention he’s just landed a jack, golden snapper, blue salmon, threadie, red, trout… at which point Stuffer’s replies become conspicuously absent. I think.

I'm not following the discussion at this point. I'm too busy stabbing myself in the thigh with a pencil to notice. I mean, where’s the fairness? Why not us? Surely, if there was any justice in the world Stuffer and I would be the ones getting the fish because let’s face it, we’re the master fishermen not him. Right? Right? Hey, don't just sit there looking at me! Give me an honest answer. No, wait, forget honest, just give me an answer. There's some used fishing gear in it for you...

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