And so, on Day 4 of our Geraldton jaunt, we packed a picnic brunch and drove to the Greenough River Mouth, which we were told was a good fishing spot. We were both hungry when we arrived (I suppose you’ve come to expect that) and so we spread the food out on a wooden bench by the river and tucked in. Jac had made herself two different kinds of sandwiches on multigrain bread: chicken and cognac pate (very generously spread) with lettuce, and Irish cheddar with Vegemite. I had made my own sandwiches, with leftover panfried salt-and-pepper chicken mixed with more Neil Perry aioli, and lettuce. We also ate cold hard-boiled eggs with salt. Once again, out came the trusty thermos of hot tea to wash it all down (that thermos was a very good buy – $4 from an op shop). For sweets we had bananas (this was such a treat, as we haven’t bought bananas as regularly as we used to since the prices went crazy. I’d spotted a 1-kilo bag of older-looking bananas for $4.40 at Woolies – as I’d suspected, the skins looked old, but the flesh inside was just fine!), more fruit cake and one of Jac’s favourite sweet treats – peanut brittle from the Asian supermarket.
Well, on this first fishing expedition, we didn’t catch anything. It was a little frustrating because 1) we knew there definitely were fish – we could see them jumping out of the water, like they were taunting us :). I went in as deep as above knee/just before mid-thigh, but didn’t go deeper than that for safety reasons. 2) The wind picked up and made casting into deeper water very difficult. It probably didn’t help that we were by no means expert casters to begin with, but I do feel that I improved throughout the day, and while conditions weren’t ideal we were both pleased to have the practice – and without other people around to laugh at our amateurish technique :). While we were there a man rocked up and set off in a small boat with his very excited dog and two fishing rods. I’m sure he had better luck than us! 3) My bait kept getting snaffled by greedy crabs. I’d get all excited by the persistent tugging at the end of the line and reel it in, only to find not a fish, but a blue swimmer crab (also known as blue manna crab) holding on to the hook/bait with one claw while stuffing its mouth with bait (in this case, pieces of squid) using the other claw. We couldn’t even keep the crabs as they were clearly undersized.
After a while Jac’s shoulder felt a little sore (an old injury aggravated by the casting action), and so she went back to the shore for a rest, potato crisps and more tea. I was determined to keep fishing though, and as I stood in the water holding my rod valiantly, the bloody crabs kept nipping at my feet, making me jump up and kick out to get them off me (mental note: next time, wear old sneakers rather than thongs) – I guess my toes looked pretty tasty to them. I think Jac kept nodding off but I kept waking her up with my kicking out and constant outbursts of swearing at the crabs (and yeah I know, I know, this probably would’ve scared any fish off). But despite the frustrations detailed above, I really enjoyed myself. It got increasingly windy, the sun very very hot, and when I finally admitted defeat it was just for the day – on the drive back to the holiday unit I knew I was more determined than ever to catch a fish some other time and that someday I would be able to call myself a real fisho*. I think the thrill of the hunt has been unleashed within me.
That evening for dinner we had fish – snapper fillets bought from the supermarket, which Jac cooked in the oven. She also baked potatoes in the oven – while we were at the shops the day before, we did some Christmas shopping, and Jac picked up a v-slicer – she’s been wanting to buy one for ages and now that she had one she was bursting to try it out. She sliced a couple of potatoes thinly and baked them in a tray in the oven, with salt and pepper and a little oil. They turned out crispy on the edges and very tasty. She also baked whole mushrooms with cloves of garlic. For greens we had Caesar salad (another supermarket salad pack) with chopped up leftover hardboiled eggs from our picnic.
More coming up – geez, writing these posts is really hard work!
*Fisho – gender non-specific term for person who fishes. I remember a talkback discussion on Triple J years ago about an alternative to “fisherman”. It was agreed that “fisherwoman” and “fisherperson” sounded silly (like “postwoman” or “postperson” sound ridiculous as alternatives to “postman” – hence we say “postie”). Someone rang up and suggested “fisho”. I liked that, and have used the term ever since. I suppose “angler” would suffice, but I like the Australian-ness of “fisho”.