We set out for the ocean at around dawn – my dad swore by an early start. ‘Gotta sneak up on the fish if you want any chance at nabbing them!’ he would always say. Constantly. The whole drive.
He was so proud of his boat too, and had spent years customising it so that it was perfect for him and how he fished. I still remember the look on his face when he showed me and my sister his brand new custom stainless steel fishing rod holders – an early Christmas gift to himself (in August).
It used to just be that he was happy to tinker around by himself on the open water, or dragging along one of his friends from work. They never caught anything, of course, but he was satisfied enough. Then, a year ago or so, Dad had a health scare that really caught us all off guard. And that, somehow, translated to us having to learn how to fish.
And it wasn’t just learning how to fish – oh no, that would be getting off too lightly. No, he wanted us to learn everything there was to know about fishing. All the good spots, the ones you had to throw back, the best place in Melbourne for a boat catch installation. All of this was vital knowledge that had to be passed down to his offspring before his inevitable and untimely passing.
My sister, to her credit, took to it like a… natural. She was initially reluctant, for obvious teenage reasons, but something about being out on the water really flipped a switch in her. She found a sense of peace, of calm, as she stood on the side of the boat with her rod held loosely in one hand.
Me? I discovered just how much vomit a human body can produce. It was simultaneously not a huge amount and also much, much more than I ever thought possible. Frankly, I’ve never been so out of my element.
Dad says it’s just going to take practice – and if he says it one more time, he’s going overboard.