The ‘too hard’ box
  |  First Published: June 2016

Something happens to me the minute the boat slows down and the anchor goes out and it comes time to throw a line in. Those plans I’d spent days, weeks or months organising in my tiny mind drift away like feral kites.

Why? I don’t know. It’s not as if they’re not properly thought out. I spend hour after hour after hour going through how I’m going to approach a certain trip. Stuffer and I will sit down around a campfire on Eagle Creek and go through where we had some good hits at Turkey, and what we could do to get back into that same situation. What stage of the tide, what time of the day and what bait we were using as well as the strength of line, the weight of sinker, the type of hook, the brand of rod and reel, whose boat, the strength of the wind, the temperature, the humidity, the type of knot, the presence or absence of other boats, the salinity of the water, whether the rod was in the rod holder or being held, how the bait was hooked, what star sign is dominant and where the Cows are coming on the points table are all up for discussion.

If this was a spreadsheet, it would run across twenty or thirty pages and even Isaac Newton would have a little lie down before trying to count the columns.

But from this broad range of discussion, a working plan is put together. A new way forward, which usually involves getting down to the tackle shop and investing in some fancy kit. But as I mentioned, once that kit sees the inside of the tacklebox, it’s as likely to come out as Cliff Richards.

These bits stay entrapped, never to see the light of day again. And that’s all because some sort of stupid virus hits me when the anchor goes out; my IQ plummets from already horrendously low base, my heart rate shoots up from an already mountainous summit, and my common-sense becomes as scarce as a giant scarce thing.

So that little jig, or fluttering thing, or sea anchor, or metal lure gets put into the too hard tackle box and on goes the old pillie, squiddly diddly, or mullet strip to be dropped over the side and dangle hopefully some feet above the top of Australia.

I am aware of this problem I have, but it’s one thing to know about it, and another thing to change it. I’d love to be like those anglers who spend a whole day driving around in their boats looking for bommies. What planning! What patience! What absolute boredom!

I suppose the positive part of not taking any notice of my cunning plots is that I jump in the boat, put the throttle somewhere up near the nav lights, and smash across the wave tops. Even though the idea that took two months of careful mental preparation never makes it through my frontal cortex, at least when I throw out the pick, chuck on the bait and drop her down, it’s all systems go. It might not be successful, but at least it’s not boring.

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