When I was around 9 years old, my family packed up and went off for a couple of weeks to Bateman’s Bay on the south coast of New South Wales for our summer holidays. We’d rented an old cottage across from the bay. We being my mother, father, & 1 year old sister, Jane.
We immediately enjoyed the holiday with a morning trip to the beach & walks to the local shops with ice creams each afternoon. Every afternoon while Mum and I sat on the veranda with a book and Jane was taking a nap, Dad went off fishing. He often came back with a couple of bream or snapper that we enjoyed for dinner.
At the end of the first week, Jane was sick with a fever. Mum was frantic and took her to the local doctor. He gave her some medicine but she didn’t get any better in a day or so. It was decided that Mum and Jane would fly back to Sydney to the Children’s hospital. Dad and I stayed behind as we had paid for three weeks at the holiday cottage.
We put Mum and Jane on the small plane and Dad and I went back to he cottage. After lunch, he suggested that I come fishing with him. I was so excited. This was something that Mum wouldn’t approve, which it made it even more exciting.
Dad and I walked to a local wharf on the bay. Dad fixed me up with a fishing line and showed me how to put the bait on the hook. After about an hour, nothing had taken the bait and I was getting a bit bored but I didn’t say anything. Then, all of sudden, there was fish on my line. Dad helped me bring it in. A big snapper about 500 grams! That was it – every afternoon, I couldn’t wait to get to the wharf. Some days we got a few small ones, my Dad insisted we threw back, some days we got a few which we enjoyed for dinner and there were a couple of days we got some & managed to freeze to take home with us.
When we got home, I couldn’t wait to tell Mum and my friends about my fishing “expertise”. But somehow after that, we never went on fishing holidays again. My parents bought a small holiday house on a beach and beach fishing wasn’t the same.
Whenever I see people sitting on wharves dropping in their lines, I wish I could join them.