We Are Not Fishermen… (Or Maybe We Are?)



I get the sense that fishing either runs in your blood or it doesn’t. I grew up in a non fishing family, the extent of our endeavors being a one off attempt in Carnarvon when I was 11. We lasted about an hour and eventually realized neither dad nor us had any clue what we were doing. It’s s dark and repressed memory.

Since then I’ve given it a shake on a number of occasions. I even owned a boat and occasionally could bring home a feed of herring or skippy. But I was never going to be a threat to WA fish stocks. Bag limits were never in question and serious fish would laugh at me as I dangled my primitive line in the water.

I contemplated taking the rods on this trip to add another activity to our repertoire in case the surf was flat, and the kids were bored, but in the end decided against it. With rods come tackle boxes, buckets, bait etc… Space is at a premium when camping and old smelly gear wasn’t considered worthy – besides which I would have needed to get it all serviced and up to speed.

However one week into the trip we did a quick fishing afternoon with the Wesleys (using their gear) and came home with a feed – a feed I have since discovered was all undersized. It got everyone hopeful – even me… So when we got to Point Samson I had a flourish of optimism and decided to splurge and buy some handlines, some hooks and sinkers and a bucket – a $6.00 bucket! We invested $60 into fishing gear and went out to catch dinner.

You know how this story ends though don’t you?…

Some people just aren’t fishermen.

Danelle pulled in a bream we deemed edible and of size, but otherwise it was an uneventful day. I discovered a huge school of gardies swimming nearby but couldn’t entice them to consider my bait. We caught a few tiny throwbacks but that was it.


We carried on to Broome and spent several hours throwing fishing gear into the ocean off the main jetty. Danelle managed to land a good sized diamond trevally and Sam hooked up to a good fish only to discover his dad’s knot tying skills weren’t up to the game and the fish escaped albeit with a hook in its mouth. We spent an evening dangling our hooks in the water while large fish swam visibly nearby but ignored us completely. Some people just aren’t fishermen…

Back in Exmouth we spent a couple of afternoons fishing off the rocks scoring some bream on our first attempt – enough for dinner – again undersize but not that we knew. That was a surprise and a feat we didn’t repeat.

On Saturday afternoon as we scrambled across the rocks, throwing out handlines and getting snagged regularly we did end up with one fair sized bream. I had since done some reading and learnt that black bream needed to be 28cm so he just snuck in. However when the fisheries officer came by she advised us that it was highly unlikely we had caught a black bream as it was pretty much all yellowfin in this area. I pulled him out of the bucket for inspection only to discover that the fins that once looked dark where now clearly yellow… Oh dear…

So as the rest of the family fished on I received an official caution – handled very well by the fisheries inspector I must add who clearly knew we were hapless hacks and unlikely to hurt anyone other than ourselves.

So we left for the cape without bait – thinking if we don’t have bait we can’t fish… But Sam has since hunted crabs, killed them and just as I finish this post he has set out to land the big one.

My hopes are a little more circumspect and I am going to check if the inverter will power the coffee grinder, as if it does then I will try and use Danelle’s tea strainer to make myself a brew.


Update – as I wrote this post Sam feeling eternally optimistic, left to go fishing. An hour later I dropped down to see how he was going. He had used the crab he had killed to catch a tiny bream, which was now his new bait.

‘Do you want to come for a walk to Yardi Sam?’

‘Nah – I’ll stay here and fish’.

Two hours later we come back to a big (easily legal) yellow fin bream and a son with a massive grin.

1 thought on “We Are Not Fishermen… (Or Maybe We Are?)

  1. So maybe it skipped a couple generations… or maybe it’s from his mom’s side. Either way, that’s fantastic. As a non-fisherman, my hat’s off to your son… and your willingness to not just let him, but help him in whatever way you can.

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