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Bitter Sweet

December 9 2008

By The Editor

There are many bitter sweet experiences in the life of an angler.

We must all know that feeling of getting a good fish to the net only for it to shed the hook at the last moment.

Even worse perhaps is striking into some unseen adversary of (obviously) gargantuan proportions only to lose it before even catching a glimpse. Maybe just a huge swirl on the water, some seconds after you have parted company, the only clue as to the undeniable bulk of the long departed specimen.

These fish are frequently the largest you will never catch. No photographic evidence, perhaps no one to verify the tale?. Such specimens sometimes grow larger, not only in reality but perhaps also in the imagination, and sometimes the diet supplied by the imagination is a far more nutritious than any available to the wild fish.

Why bother?

It can work the other way though. A fruitless session in disgusting weather, the kind that makes you wonder why you bother, can end with that one fish that makes it worthwhile. The soaked clothing and tackle are forgotten as you slip that specimen fish back into a rain hammered lake.

And so it can be with teaching your kids how to fish. Over the last 12 issues of Get Hooked I have written many times about my children and their fishing experiences. Now I have to write about them catching bigger fish than me.

It was in 1995, I think, when I recounted Josh's first all night session and his first Carp to make the reel scream. He is the eldest and since then the other four have all fished to some degree. It is his younger brother Alf, however, who has developed the real 'feel' for the sport.

Floating baits for Carp is his current passion, one I very much share. I have watched in fascination as his efforts progressed from continual screams of angst as time and again he struck too early and pulled the crust from the carp's mouth, followed by more frustration as he over corrected and left it too late! All the while I was still catching fish in a seemingly smug 'this is how you do it' fashion.


Before long, however, the cries of anger turned into whoops of delight as he started to connect to more and more fish. This then evolved into 'it's only a small one' when landing fish of around 6 pounds. At this stage I am still on top and catching the better fish but I am beginning to see the writing on the wall.

We are lucky enough to live within a couple of miles of a lake, near Launceston, which has residents only fishing but allows some of the locals to fish on a day ticket basis. This is great because it means we can nip down for a three or four hour evening session, after phoning to make sure there are not other people fishing already.

Alf is probably the keenest angler in the family but is closely followed by younger sister Fern, who has progressed from fishing with a whip to casting with a fixed spool reel. It was on just such an evening foray that my personal best was beaten.