Man versus fish in a battle of wits.


If you’ve ever read this blog before, you can probably guess that I am not good at/ don’t like fishing. Much like many male oriented pastimes such as rugby, patriarchy and successfully impregnating women, I just don’t see the attraction. But this isn’t a story about the hilarious time I get taken fishing by my well meaning father/uncle and get water all over my kaftan and then accidentally catapult a small trout into a helicopter. No, this is a story about me accidentally being goddamn brilliant at fishing.

When I was a teenager, in one of those long Coke ad style summer holidays, I would basically spend the entire day kayaking around the bay. Pretty idyllic in retrospect. Anyway, one day I was standing in the water, stock still, lost in thought. I was probably thinking about elves or castles. I must have been standing still for so long that I was mistaken for an old post (not the first time that’s happened) and when I looked down, swimming between my feet was an enormous mullet. Without any conscious thought, I cocked my fist back and punched the fish right in the face.

This is exactly how Aquaman started. 

Despite the fact I’d never punched anything before, I apparently am a Schwarzenegger when it comes to marine life, because the fish rolled over and floated to the surface. Faced with the knowledge that I’d now killed an animal for absolutely no good reason, I decided the honourable thing to do would be to eat it. Admittedly, I felt a small amount of pride as I carried the fish into the backyard and presented it to my dad. Magnanimously, I claimed we could all eat it.

But, for some reason my family weren’t keen to eat the animal that I’d sourced using only my mighty fists. “It’s probably poisoned, or full of mercury, or old and diseased” they claimed, nervous as old and sensible women. So I was forced to release it back into the water. I like to that the mullet is still out there somewhere, swimming through the silt, brain damaged and confused, the impression of my spindly knuckles on its forehead.


When people talk about ‘hidden depths’ they’re usually referring to someones ability to flourish in a crisis, or be unexpectedly kind or charitable or strong. For years, I always felt my hidden depth was the ability to gather food by punching fish. Not that I ever did it again – I just knew that I could.
This was until I was spectacularly upstaged by a friend of mine. We were all swimming around in Victor Harbour, in Adelaide, when we heard a loud shriek. My friend Samira had been startled by a large jellyfish floating next to her arm, deadly tendrils floating around it like a dead ladies hair. In her efforts to swim away (let’s not use the words ‘flailing wildly’ here) she managed to smash her fist right through the globular face of the jellyfish.

This is exactly how the film classic ‘Waterworld’ started. 

The danger wasn’t over however – Samira had to be physically rescued from drowning. Because she was stung and paralysed? In shock? No. She was in such a hysterical state of giggling that she couldn’t keep her head above the water. Laughter kills, children.


Urghh. 3? Yeah, why not. 3/5 stars


One thought on “Fishing

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