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Salt Water Fishing

A Story by Beryl Bowden

My husband Lloyd enjoyed fresh-water fishing but his real love was beach fishing. I liked to wet a line too, so when he retired we bought a little tin boat with an outboard motor and spent a lot of time at Karuah fishing for sand whiting. Not very exciting to catch, but we found them good to eat when covered in fish seasoning and deep-fried.

In 1960 we had a family holiday at Forster. Lloyd became friendly with a young chap from Tamworth whom he met while fishing on the beach. Both on their own, they chummed up and soon went off together each day. May is the month when the salt-water fish are reputed to bite. Lloyd and his new mate arranged to meet at South West Rocks for a week’s fishing the following May. Word went round Stroud and two grew to six. Instead of being a one-off trip, it became an annual event.

Lloyd beach fishing

Lloyd beach fishing

Initially, they came home with eskies loaded with fish. Unfortunately the fish supply dwindled over the years but their enthusiasm and anticipation of their week away, never diminished. Long before May, Lloyd would gather his fishing gear and store it in the spare bedroom. One of the first things to come out was a cranky old alarm clock. Lloyd was the designated ‘getter upper’ when they were on holiday, so he never failed to take the clock as an important part of his equipment.

One morning after the alarm went off, he went around and roused them up as usual. Kevin Farley protested, “that he didn’t feel as if he’d had any sleep at all!” They breakfasted, climbed into their vehicles and headed off for the beach- in the pitch dark. (They always liked to get there early to pick their spot.) While travelling along, some one noticed that the clock on the dashboard was showing 1-30! They all checked their watches and found the clock to be correct. The time was 1-30 am instead of 4-30 am! Lloyd’s calculations when setting the alarm had let him down badly. There was much grumbling as they turned around and went back to camp for a couple more hours sleep. He didn’t lose his job!

Lloyd’s mate Kevin Farley, who lived in Newcastle, usually spent the night before they went to North Haven, with us. They always travelled together in Kevin’s four-wheel-drive. One day they were well on the way to North Haven, when they ran out of petrol. It happened on a deserted part of the road but they didn’t worry–they knew their mates, in another vehicle, would soon be along and would get petrol for them. Seeing their friends’ car approaching they climbed out with the intention of waving them down. Their mates gave them a cheery answering wave and kept on going! When questioned later they said, that they” had wondered what on earth they were doing stopped there!

Lloyd told this story about his brother, Jack Bowden. Jack was fishing on the beach one night when another fisherman approached and asked, “How is it going mate?” “Very quiet.” said Jack “Nothing much about.” They yarned for quite some time before the other man moved away… only then, did Jack land the three-pound bream he had been playing all along!

Time wore on and their numbers dwindled. By 2014, after fifty years, only two of the original anglers are still with us; Kevin Farley and Charlie Miller.

However, the tradition is still carried on. Our son Tony and his mates do as their fathers did before them. Each year in May, they head for South West Rocks with the same pleasurable anticipation their fathers had had – and the same carefree enjoyment of a week’s fishing in good company.

When Lloyd was fishing at the beach, and nature called, a visit to the sand dunes was his only option. He quite happily managed for years but as he got older and his knees started to protest, he put his thinking cap on and came up with a solution that came to be called ‘Lloyd’s loo’! The other fishermen greeted it with much merriment, especially when he offered them the patent. There were no takers!

Perhaps I should offer it for sale on Ebay? After all, it is unique…

Lloyds Loo

Lloyds Loo

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One Comment on “Salt Water Fishing”

  1. kevin tull April 4, 2014 at 9:43 am #

    keep them coming beryl

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