Gone Fishing

Gone Fishing, Ballina

Fishing in Ballina


With Australia being bounded on all sides by water, its hardly surprising that one of the main pastimes here is fishing. It’s not just men, we’ve seen plenty of women and children casting off from bridges, harbour walls and beaches. (Still haven’t found out what the collective term is for both sexes that fish. Firemen and firewomen are referred to as firefighters. If anyone knows what the term for fishermen and fisherwoman is then do please let me know!) We have yet to see anyone land a really sizeable fish but there is still a thrill when the rod bends and something appears at the end of it. Personally I have no desire to take up the sport. I still carry the physical and mental scars from my childhood of when I had to kill a trout with a priest and when a fish hook got stuck in my finger, not to mention handling worms and the smell.

Fishers and surfers have been out in force this week in the seaside towns of Ballina, Yamba and Coffs Harbour. Its getting a bit cold for swimming now but we are enjoying beach walks, long shadows and the late autumn sunshine.

We took a little detour through Maclean, a town that actively promotes Scottish heritage and cultural identity. What started as a little project in 2000 to paint half a dozen telegraph poles with tartan designs to coincide with the arrival of the Olympic Torch, has turned into a massive feature throughout the town. There are over 210 family tartans painted on telegraph poles and for 20 cents you can buy a map to see where they are all located. Local families were allowed to sponsor a pole for $60 and volunteers ensure the pole’s appearance is maintained if they become damaged or faded. Matheson (although with an added “i”) was located outside the ambulance station!

And finally, a little ditty called:
‘Ode to the collectively named Fisher Folk’

Launch the tinnie, Vinnie
Fetch the rod, Todd
And don’t forget the reel, Neil.
We’re goin’ fishing.

Remember the bait, Kate
Try the yabby, Gaby
Perhaps the prawn, Shaun.
We’re goin’ fishing.

We’ll catch a stack, Zac
With the right hook, Luke
When is high tide, Clyde?
We’re goin’ fishing.

You netted a great haul, Paul
Only an hour at sea, Lee
What’s that smell, Belle?
Ahh, you’ve been fishing!

9 thoughts on “Gone Fishing

  1. Jenny McGregor

    I hope you had yourselves some fresh prawns and fish?? No pics of you guys catching anything though?!?!? I like “Fisher Folk” as a term for both sexes fishing. I bet you loved seeing all the tartans on the posts… hoping it might have sparked a bit of nostalgia for Scotland to help get you back home?? xxx

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    1. SheilaK Post author

      We did buy some fish and chips but sadly the fish they served up was not to our liking at all. It was sea mullet and the taste was really strong. Much prefer flathead. Looking forward to fish and chips from the Dee Why Grand on our return!

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  2. Gerry Kehoe

    Well Good day Sheila,
    I have to say fishing is not my pastime either, I can think of better things to do ….
    I see the old Tartan is getting everywhere even up telegraph poles, whats more they are making a money out of it, (typical Scottish Entrepreneur) I hear you say.

    And finally, My little ditty called:
    ‘Ode to the collectively named Fisher Folk in Oz’
    By the way to answer your question
    Fishermen & Fisherwomen (Collective name Fishers) Simples!

    Off in our Boat from the Jetty, Betty
    So go get the net, Pet
    And bring along the bait, Mate
    We’re goin’ fishing.

    We will be gone for a while, Kyle
    Will you catch me some Cod, Rod
    You go get the Barbie ready, Eddie.
    We’re goin’ fishing.

    We’ll use our reels to hook them, Ken
    If the fish don’t bite, Kyte
    We might just have a Sing Song, Ying Tong.
    We’re goin’ fishing.

    You bring home the catch, Patch
    As you sail across the waves, Maive
    If the fish don’t bite, Right
    We will know, you’ve not been fishing!

    Stay safe & keep Pootlinggggggggggg

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    1. SheilaK Post author

      Well G’day Ged You really are quite the poet! Love your response poem – almost as good as the original and as they say, there’s no higher compliment than imitation ! Fishers you say – I thought that had something to do with a crack or an aperture! We’ll keep on Pootlinggggggg meantime!

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  3. The White Way Round

    Love the poem! Can’t quite make ‘hook’ and ‘Luke’ work, but …
    We did look, but couldn’t see Chris’s Ancient Hunting Robertson anywhere in Maclean. Well done on finding yours! xx

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    1. SheilaK Post author

      Something in the accent perhaps! As for Maclean, so much Scottish tat in the Scottish Shop – I almost expected them to claim Nessie was swimming in the River!

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