I hold the family record. A girl not even in her teens

by Chris Adler
(Northern Rivers, NSW. Australia)

Four am and my Dad was pulling off the bed clothes.

"If you want to go crabbing, then you better get out of bed." The warm bed had a firm hold and didn't want to let me go, but I knew the initial opposition would soon disappear as the morning warmed and the quality time spent in the old rowing boat, learning my Dad's fishing secrets would once again be a wonderful experience. We set off to the bay between Koolewong and Woy woy, on the Central Coast of New South Wales, where we lived, anchored and set about four lines on each side of the boat. Dad believed that catching muddies or blue swimmers was an art that required no tricks. A hand line with a cockney fillet was all you needed. Once the line started to move. then you slowly bought your catch to the surface and got it in the landing net. If it dropped off before you could land it, then it was smarter than you and deserved to be free.
A couple of hours into our morning and one of my lines had had little activity so I decided to bring it up with out Dad knowing. Having lost the bait would mean a repeated lesson I had heard many times before in my young years. I pulled. It refused to come up. Snagged? Not likely. Dad knew the bottom of this bay better than our own front lawn. There wasn't anything to snag on. I pulled again. No luck. I would have to ask for help. Dad checked the line and decided to bring in the other lines first as he wasn't quite sure what I had. There was some movement and then it went taught then slack again. He wanted to cut the line. No. I wanted to know what was on the other end. As i pulled, the old boat moved and not what I had hooked. After a good five minutes it finally started to rise.
"Damn those traps. If you need to use a trap, you don't know how to fish.Cut your line so we can fish properly" Dad told me.
"Well if I pull it up, then we can get rid of it at home and it wont cause anyone else trouble." was my argument.
Exasperated, he went to the other side and waited. As the old trapped reached the surface, my excitement was unbelievable.
How long the old trap had been down, we would never know, but being in the current the fish that had become trapped in it were safe from predators and had a constant food supply. We pulled it on board and then headed for home. As we arrived home, Mum came out to see the catch, and was greeted with, " You won't believe what our girl caught. 51 fish on one line, at the same time. True. Really, 51 all at the same time. This is a fish story no one is ever going to believe."
Dad and Mum are both gone now, and I wasn't even in my teens when I landed the biggest catch in family history. My own children still reckon it's a 'fish story' and couldn't have happened. But it did, it is true. To this day no one has ever beaten the family record.

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