"Want to come fishing tomorrow?"
"Sure, you know me, I'll try anything," was the prompt reply. Afterwards I was a bit sorry for my hasty reply. I didn't know anything about fishing. Of course I know you stand there, toss in a line or two and catch that nights dinner, or is it breakfast?
Anyway, I didn't have a fishing rod or bait, nothing, apart from a raincoat. Whenever I'd seen people fishing it was always raining so I figured it would automatically rain if I went fishing.
"We'll bring the rods, you get some bait," and with that my friends drove away into the night. I shivered as I started digging in the garden at 11.00 p.m. in the hope to find 'the bait' for tomorrow's catch. A few miserable worms finally made it in my bucket filled with garden dirt. I'm sure I heard them squeal as I ripped them out of their homes. Finally at 1.30 a.m. I hit the sack only to be woken by a loud horn at 5.00 a.m.
Blurry eyed, grasping my bucket with its precious bait, we set off for the river, passing one of those faithful shops, always ready for the unprepared, where the owner is more than happy to sell us some bait. My eyes bulged as a huge bag full of wriggly things was tossed on my lap.
"Now that's bait!" my friends echoed as I did my best not to throw up while holding these poor creatures as far as possible away from my nose.
By 6.30 a.m. the first lines were tossed in and soon the first fish were pulled out of the water with shouts of triumph. At this stage I was still fighting with my line which somehow got tangled in the tree standing at least 15 metres away. Thankfully after lots of tugging the line broke free and the slow process of attaching new hooks was a most tedious task. One hooked in the palm of my hand leaving an inch gash behind, the other got lost somewhere in my jumper, goodness knows how or where! I gave up my search and chose another. At last my line was ready.
"Stand back," someone shouted as my rod went back and whizzed across my head where it proudly came to an abrupt halt. My foot was lifted into the air as I lost my balance and toppled head first in the bag of....?
Yes, what else, but that bag of bait.
With the line hooked to the back of my pants and bits and pieces stuck to my hair it was all a pathetic sight. Loud roars of laughter filled the air as I struggled to my feet only to fall backwards this time, landing with my bottom, you guessed.... in the bag of bait.
10.00 a.m. My friends were happy with their catch and started to pack up the rods. As the car bumped along the dirt track, I was still busy trying to get the gigantic hook out of my pants, only to get the thing stuck again in my woolly jumper. Exhaustion got the better of me and the putrefying stench of bait lingered around my head so I decided to leave the confounded hook with the other one, wherever that one had disappeared to. Grateful to see my house, my spirits soared and with some reluctance on my part, my friends decided to stay for lunch.
Soon the smell of fish cooking on the barbie filled the backyard. I was glad to hop in the shower and spruce up.
"Lunch is ready," someone yelled.
Beer cans popped open and a few toasts went around. My neighbour poked his head over the fence to admire our catch for the day and joined in the celebration with a can of beer. Everyone got stuck into their fish, I was handed my lunch, it was very quiet but I had to brake the silence with hysterical laughter as on my plate lay six, gruesome, fat barbecued worms.
Since that fateful day I will occasionally walk to town very early in the morning, pick up a nice big fish from the local markets and fry it on the barbie for lunch. The smell lingering in the backyard attracts my neighbour who pokes his head over the fence and curiously asks, "Gone fishin' again?" Smiling I wink and enjoy my catch for the day.... back
Copyright © 2002, Ingrid Griggs.