Friday, November 16, 2012

Dear weather and fishing gods #2

Dear weather and fishing gods,

Thankyou for listening to my request and arranging a perfect spring day for us to go fishing up near Marysville. And while it might seem absurd for someone who doesn't particularly like fish or fishing to choose to spend a day involved with said pass-time, it made sense at the time.

We wanted to do our bit for the region after the devastating Black Saturday bushfires nearly 4 years ago, so why not head up there and fish! The town is still doing it pretty tough, although the tourists have returned bringing lots of vibrant colour and joyous laughter! They were certainly making the most of the cafes, spilling out into the streets, chattering and enjoying the food and wine on a perfect spring afternoon.

However, I hadn't expected to be so deeply affected by the devastation. Blackened tree trunks, gaps where atmospheric old buildings used to be, bright sun where there used to be shade, forlorn  flowers in untended remains of gardens where not so long ago there was a home and family.

It's sobering to realise that lots of locals are still in dongas (a small relocatable hut often used near mines for temporary accommodation) nearly four years after the town was obliterated. Rebuilding is painfully slow for all sorts of frustrating and convoluted reasons. 

I can't even begin to imagine the terror of having a firestorm reduce your town and region to ash, and it's something I hope never to experience again, even from the sidelines. Can weather gods prevent horrendous weather events occurring? I suspect not.

I've described the weather conditions during the Black Saturday bushfires here

But back to the fishing!

I caught my first fish ever which took both me and the salmon by complete surprise. Foolish, foolish salmon. 

I know it's kind of cheating to throw a baited hook into a well stocked dam and call it fishing, but I felt a sense of achievement mixed with a good dose of stunned disbelief at my success. I'll refrain from referring to myself as a fisherperson, however, as that'd be stretching the truth a bit.

Slimy, icky salmon.
Here's the salmon that insisted on leaping energetically onto the hook I'd halfheartedly dropped into the dam at the Marysville fish farm. The first one got away - truly! It was big and heavy and flapping so vigorously that it snapped the line as I was reeling it in .... it was this big ..................................................... holds hands way apart in true fisherperson style ;-)

The proprietor gutted the fish, and after the long drive home, where they nestled snugly in the compact car frig, I put them in freezer bags and wrapped them in newspaper as per instructions, before making little nests in the freezer. No doubt they're now solid blocks of raw fish. We caught four between us, 3 trout and 1 salmon. This is going to present a bit of a challenge - what to do with them next?

The photo below is of one of the fishing ponds and the dead and blackened eucalypt trunks. Eucalpyts regrow from little nodules under the bark which are called epicormic shoots. You can see these epicormic shoots sprouting from around the trunks of some of the trees as well as revegetated areas at the fish farm.  


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