Better the storm you know
  |  First Published: July 2014

There's something about good fishing weather that scares the hell out of me.

We've had a bit of calm stuff recently and I've been so suspicious I haven't even bothered to get the boat out of the shed. In fact I've been more suspicious than something that is very, very suspicious. It's like when that good looking girl winked at you during the Grade 10 dance and you waved back at her only to find she was interested in the pretty boy behind you. And she saw you do it. As did her friends. And your friends. Although of course your friends felt for your embarrassment and never mentioned it in front of you in case you felt awkward.

No, wait a minute. I'm sorry what? Can you imagine any Grade 10 boy in the entire history of the world not getting a massive sledge from his mates if that happened? Ten, twenty, even fifty years ago you would have copped some stick for that. I'll bet even Grok the Caveteenager at the cave's annual ‘Bash-em-over-the-head-to-show-em-you-like-em’ blue light soiree would have caught some flack (Grok's best pick up line? “Come over here baby and join the club.” Smoooooth that Grok.)

What I'm saying is that sometimes things look so good you don't trust they're as good as they appear to be. And he (or she) who hesitates is lost. If you don't take advantage of that window of opportunity you could miss some of the best fishing days going around.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, I have missed the boat. There's that awkward period where you don’t quite trust your new boat to take you back as successfully as it took you out. There's that little sliver of doubt that makes it impossible to relax. So you settle for some DVDs instead. Or in my case, you take your reels apart and service them.

Notice that I said, ‘take them apart and service them’ but didn't say ‘take them apart and service them and then put them back together so that there aren't any spare bits left in the tupperware container or on the floor.’ It's a great feeling to get everything back where you thought it was supposed to go and find that while the spool floats like it's on air, the spool is actually on back to front. Also the drag doesn’t work, the handle falls off when you wind it, and the ratchet is constantly on whether you're casting or winding. Sometimes even when the reel is sitting on the bench.

Other worthwhile things that you can do instead of taking the boat out in the best weather since the ancient mariner killed an albatross, include checking the switches on the dashboard (only half of them worked before you cleaned them. Now only one works, and it's the switch that makes the obsolete piece of equipment e.g. sandwich maker turn on).

Also it's a good time to put new GPS marks in (you wipe the memory card), check the boat trailer electrics (the brake light now comes on when you put the left blinker on, and nothing else works), and clean your rods (you break the tip off your expensive graphite rod, meanwhile you bend the old workhorse rod that Uncle Kev gave you for Christmas in 1850 into a figure eight, drive over it with a header and put it through a thermomix and it still stays in one piece).

Basically, by the time you get through a whole day of not fishing because you don’t trust the weather you realise if you'd taken the boat out you would have saved enough money to buy a new boat even if you did lose the old one. But hey, that's boating for you. It's not for the faint-hearted. Or the rich. And if you were rich when you started, well you won't stay that way for long. Why do you think Greg Norman sold his?

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