A woman’s point of view: Chapt 2

(No sand flies were hurt in the making of this article, unfortunately!)

By Saltbush Sal


I had waited for this day for years. My first fishing trip with my husband. A romantic day on the water! After a few wardrobe malfunctions at the boat ramp, and a very impressive swan dive, followed by a belly flop, into the tinnie (thanks to an unknown creature, which touched my foot while I stood in the water) the much-anticipated day was under way. Time to lean back, take off my fishing shirt to show off my new gravity-defying bikini top and enjoy the wind in my face as we sped up the creek. The weather was beautiful, the birds were singing. What could possibly go wrong in this idyllic setting?

We came to a stop at the mouth of a gully so that a crab pot could be dispatched, the first of four we had on board. This is where my baptism of fire really started.

Apparently, spraying myself all over with body spray to impress and seduce Hubby was not one of my brightest ideas. This particular spray was called “Seduction”, and was sending every sandfly within a 5 km radius into raptures. Compounded by me discarding my fishing shirt and exposing some skin, perhaps a tad too much skin to be wearing a bikini, a huge black frenzied cloud of sandflies descended on to me at a rate of knots.   Nobody stands a chance against two million aroused sandflies. I squealed, jumped, and slapped myself all over like a hot-pants-wearing, drunken reveller at an Oktoberfest celebration.   I was trying to get my shirt back on and spray the insect repellent all over, while still looking like a seductress – mega fail. I had carelessly discarded the repellent earlier because I did not want to spoil my lovely body spray. Somehow the thought of “Seduction” and “Off” mixed together did not scream passion to me.

My sympathetic Hubby (not) looked up and shouted, “Stop rocking the boat. I told you to keep your shirt on.”

Sigh, the Love Boat was sinking faster than the Titanic. There I sat scratching, spotty and despondent.

Not only that, but I had again upset the Captain because I refused to further ruffle my carefully put together wardrobe ensemble and poke pieces of wire through the eye of a poor dead mullet.  Mullet guts is never in the same sentence as romance. Especially if you’re the mullet…

Captain was busy baiting the crab pots that were to be set at strategic spots. I sat watching him and thought to myself, isn’t it easier and cheaper to go and buy crabs already caught and cooked at the fish shop? I don’t get it.

Throwing pots with dead fish in them into the water was another activity that was not on my initial itinerary. I had pictured myself reclining back, looking positively fetching, while the Captain flexed his muscles hunting and gathering. The tinnie was my gondola, and the estuary was my Venice. My daydream was rudely interrupted at that point.

“Pick up the pot and throw it into the water when and where I tell you to,” Captain ordered.  So, obediently, I picked up the first one and stood on the deck at the pointy end, or the poop deck as I was later to call it (for reasons which will become disturbingly clear in a later chapter) and tried to keep my balance while mullet guts dripped down my front. The pots are heavy and awkward for a 5 foot 2 woman. Even heavier when said woman is “not happy Jan”.

“Throw it now,” he yelled, so I dutifully and happily threw it as far away from me as I could.

“What the hell are you doing?” squealed the captain.

I was quite proud of myself actually; I had thrown it a good distance away without ending up in the drink myself, so I was at a complete loss as what caused his latest outburst in my direction.

“You are supposed to unravel the rope from around the white identification buoy and you also threw it in upside down! Now I have to retrieve it and you will have to throw it again.”

Oops. I think if there were a plank on this ship, I would be hanging five off the end of it about now.

Captain retrieved the offending pot and after counting to ten, about six times, he quietly explained how and why the crab pots are set the way they are. So again I stood on the poop deck, pot in hand, ready for the next try. Now, not only mullet guts, but also water and mud was dripping down my clothes. The captain drove his tin ship around in a circle to again get in the correct position for launch. I glared at him over the top of the crab pot I was clutching, as I tried to keep my precarious balance. My carefully painted and manicured toes were dug into the deck and my bikini bottoms were creeping further and further towards my tonsils. Why, oh why, did I pick today to wear my very first G-string? Another epic fail.  

Finally he was happy with the boat’s position and gave the order to throw.   It landed where it was supposed to. Yippee! I glanced around at the Captain and I finally saw a smile, or it could have been wind. Only three more to go. I was feeling confident in my pot throwing prowess now. However, my shirt had a new pattern on the front of it and I smelt like a cat’s dinner.  

The next gully was up the creek further and I was ready for it this time. Pot baited, standing on poop deck, rope unravelled, right side up, and my G-string bikini bottom now missing in action.

At last the pots were in place, and Captain was happy. This is going to be a good day after all.

“Ok Captain, can we fish now?” I asked excitedly.

“No, you will have to drive the boat while I use the cast net to get some prawns,” was the reply.

This is my first time in a tinnie and he wants me to drive the outboard. After my initial look of horror, I thought, oh well, isn’t life meant to be an adventure after all. I can do this. Looks easy enough. I just need to push the stick thingy from side to side. Piece of cake.

To be continued…