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Fresh-water fishing

A story by Beryl Bowden

One pastime that was enjoyed through the years but has now gone out of favour is fresh-water fishing. Many a mullet or perch was caught and cooked for tea straight from the river to the pan. We didn’t like mullet, we thought they tasted muddy however; Peg Davey and Margaret Gorton loved them and were happy to take them off our hands. Perch were a different story…we didn’t give them away, we liked them too much.

Kevin Farley and Lloyd Bowden - keen fishermen and life long friends

Kevin Farley and Lloyd Bowden – keen fishermen and life long friends

Fishing was a way of life for some old timers. Two in particular were Tynie Avery and Doughie Tull. Most early mornings and late afternoons in the summer, they could be seen going off carrying their rods and a sugar bag with rope attached, slung over their shoulders. We were never sure just where they went as they each had their own jealously guarded fishing spots. For them it was a solitary occupation. They didn’t encourage company, as they believed noise would frighten the fish.

They were good fishermen and seldom came home without something in the bag. We lived next door to Tynie Avery so were occasionally given enough for a meal if he had an extra good day.

When the black crickets appeared on the scene was the time to catch perch. Preferred bait for mullet was dough or garden worms.

Like Tynie and Doughie my husband Lloyd liked fresh-water fishing. He and a mate Bob (Cocker) Lyall followed in the old chaps’ footsteps. Lloyd would pounce on black crickets, put them in a bottle with holes in the lid and supply fresh grass and pieces of apple every day. In another jar he kept a collection of worms that were unlucky enough to show themselves when he was digging in the garden.

Lloyd was keen. At the first sound of the alarm he wouId spring out of bed. I liked fishing too but I preferred my bed at five o’clock in the morning. I’d turn over and go back to sleep. Apparently fresh-water fish keep regular eating hours…their mealtimes are early morning or late afternoon. I preferred to feed them in the afternoon.

Beryl and Lloyd Bowden and others at Max Gorton's, with the old Washpool Bridge in the background

Beryl and Lloyd Bowden and others at Max Gorton’s, with the old Washpool Bridge in the background

I wonder if there is anyone today…man or boy… who is carrying on this pleasurable occupation now that these anglers are no longer with us? The river or creek bank is a great place to while-away a few hours…and it is all free!

Can the black crickets and garden worms now live in peace, or do they have reason to fear?



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8 Comments on “Fresh-water fishing”

  1. terry May 25, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

    Great memories Beryl, I Recall those days and all those old blokes, I wasn’t much of a fishermen myself, but my son Matt loves it and goes over to Gordon’s bridge regularly with Clive Allan and Ethan Montford, a coupla you fellows from Stroud. Catching bass at Towser They catch plenty he caught four bass at Easter down at Towser,(I have a great photo ) but dont know how to put it on here. However he mostly throws them back, they use mostly plastic baits now days, so I guess the worms and crickets are safe.? Cheers Terry

    • Stroud Community Web May 27, 2013 at 7:39 am #

      Terry the fish look great. Email pics to me an I’ll get them up for you


    • Fishead May 8, 2016 at 10:07 am #

      Terry, the bag limit for bass in NSW is 2 per day

  2. Beryl Bowden May 22, 2013 at 7:15 am #

    I would like to know how he cooked the mullett, Wal. I remember going fishing with Lloyd one afternoon at Washpool when I caught a 3 pound mullet and two 2 pound ones. I out- fished him that day! Had to have his help to land them though!!

    • Wal Towells May 22, 2013 at 6:30 pm #

      Women have all the luck fishing.
      Sorry, I have no idea how he cooked the mullett and at time probably wasn’t concerned as I was no older than about 10.

  3. Wal Towells May 20, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

    Great story Beryl. I remember a rellie of Clarrie Bowden’s often came up from Newcastle for fishing in Mill Creek (do you believe it). He would go out early mornings and late evenings and berlei a favourite hole for several days and then go fishing in earnest with great success. The fish were mainly mullet but the way he cooked them I can still taste them, beautiful.

  4. Rob May 20, 2013 at 7:53 pm #

    Thank you for this story, It has reminded me where I came from and exactly why I still enjoy a fishing trip.

  5. Anne Frost May 20, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

    Hey Mum I notice you have a cushion – good thinking! Ah dear old Washpool before the ‘rape’ that was the dismantling of the old bridge and the construction of the cement monstrosity, which completely ruined the beautiful swimming hole we and many others enjoyed.

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