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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Titfish Posted - 11/11/2006 : 22:15:50
I guess like many fellow fishers on this site I had my first taste of freshwater fishing chasing the heels of both my Dad and Grandfather as they gathered crickets, white grubs and shrimps prior to soaking them under a float in the quest for a feed of “perch”.

Fishing back then was quite an expedition and its main purpose besides having a bit of fun was to put food on the table. Very few fish went back in the water and the more that were caught the better. Thankfully our mindset has for the most part changed and C and R is now the order of the day. Not only did all the fishing gear get packed for the day out but I honestly can’t ever remember my Grandfather leaving the house without his trusty .22 or 12 gauge just in case we chanced upon a brush turkey or flock of pigeons to add to the pot when we got back home. It sounds pretty primitive as I read it back now but I guess back then the bush was like the supermarket shelves for a lot of people.

I never did get the chance to thank my grandfather for instilling in me my love of the river and the bush. I was too young when he passed away to appreciate what he had done. Quite possibly he got thanks from seeing the joy I experienced when we took off on another trip.

As the years passed Dad and I continued getting away from it all and heading bush, enjoying every minute of it. I think he was a better teacher than I was a student in the ways of the river and surrounds but still I learnt more from him than anybody and I never tired of the conversations we shared. They were precious times indeed.

Unfortunately Dad has been gone for a bit over two years now. He passed away suddenly a month before another planned long weekend camping trip, chasing the bass, telling some yarns, listening to the footy grand final on the radio and in his case still trying to fill in the many blanks in my “bush education”. It had become quite a tradition and one looked forward to by not only the two of us but also our mates who came along as well.

To complete my reminiscing I have been going through some old photos of late. Among photos of shot pigs, big flatties and trapped rabbits I came upon one of Dad when he was ten with a bass that was worthy of a photo. The photo was taken in 1939.
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I’m sure others would have similar stories to mine and I hope that you feel just as lucky as I do to have been introduced to the unparalleled pleasures that can be gained from simply being near a river. We have a duty to pass this and the responsibilities that go with it on to others.


6   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Scales Posted - 15/11/2006 : 07:55:10
Loving the stories guys. Makes me wonder what my late grandfather use to get up to when he was fishing out in the bush on the upper manning. I owe alot to him for giving me my love of fishing. Unfortunately it skiped a generation but luckily I picked up the addiction of fishing off old Pop. I once had an old black Bellbrook that was mint still in it's box that my pop left behind for me when he died. Unfortunately it was crushed and broken during a move, thanks to the removalists!

I was shattered.

I'm just greatful for the memories we shared and the time he spent teaching me the great craft of fishing and passing on his bushskills.

In so many ways I am just like him including the slow loss of hair.

I am also into the beach, surfing, Surf Life Saving & camping. I have often gone to many places that my old Pop had told me about and tried to picture what it must of been like back in his day. Unfortunately his work as a Bank Manager for the ANZ took him away from Wingham to Port Macquarie but he still kept a small farm up at Wingham back then so he could still get back to his piece and quiet.

Thanks Pop,I owe you.

Now it is my turn to ensure the love of the outdoors, to respect mother nature and appreciate what she has to offer, gets passed onto my kids.

the cod Posted - 14/11/2006 : 20:00:59
Continuing on with our reminiscing theme...

Those of you familiar with the Upper Clarence might recognise Yulgilbar Castle. Some of the early fishermen did it tough...

Here are some of the cod caught back then. No wonder they are an endangered species nowadays...

I sometimes wonder if any lessons have been learnt from the past mistakes of our ancestors. Land clearing and destruction of native vegetation still continue unabated. Our rivers are dieing and fish populations are decreasing at an alarming rate.

Will there be any fish left for our children and grandchildren to enjoy as we have done?

the cod
Titfish Posted - 12/11/2006 : 22:26:10
Good stuff Graeme. I'm not sure if that is impressive or if it brings a tear to my eye, or both. I remember Dad talking of 100 fish days over three consecutive days in what wasn't a big section of the river they fished. Christ there must have been some fish around years ago.

Hopefully others might contribute to this thread with a few "Old Timer" stories and some tales of yesteryear.
the cod Posted - 12/11/2006 : 21:39:37
Hi Guys,

Ken and John have done such a good job reminiscing that I have dug up an old article from the 1940s. The article is a bit hard to read, so I have retyped it for you and scanned the original photo.

Now, before you all start questioning my age, I must say that the article and pics are from the legendary Dan Frogan. Some of you might remember his name from some earlier articles I wrote.


The picture we publish in this column today is enough to send any avid perch fisherman to the wall.

It’s a safe bet that such a quality of the fish and of such size has not been seen anywhere in Australia for more than 30 years.

And it was about 33 years ago that this picture was taken.

A party of Rappville fisherman landed the perch at The Gorge in the Clarence River about 1946.

Those in the party were Regand Gil Gunthorpe, Merv and Tom Price and Fred Willis.

Reg and Gil Gunthorpe told us this week that they used small frogs for bait and landed the fish on a Saturday night and early Sunday morning.

“The fish bit so ferociously the frogs shot up the lines and we caught two or three fish on the same bait,” Gil said.

The fish were not weighed but it’s not hard to calculate that some of them must have topped six and seven pounds (3kg).

“We filled two corn bags,” Reg said.

This huge haul of perch (Australian bass) were taken at The Gorge in the Clarence River about 1946. See story, this column.

the cod
jabass Posted - 12/11/2006 : 13:22:55
Great memories Ken, and very similar to those of Grandfather and I. It bought back memories of the big "perch" of the Nepean Gorge, the Georges, Clarence and the Nymboida Rivers. The shooting and fishing adventures around Bathurst and Oberon in the old Essex and 27 Chev. With many a running repair having to be made along the road. Fish, rabbits, ducks and pigeons that all made the table and helped feed us nine brothers and sisters. Memories also of a backyard full of vegtable gardens that were also a necessity. Boy! how the times have changed - and not always for the better.

That is one hell of a bass (perch) your dad is holding back in 39 - I was three year old. Thanks again for the memories Ken.

Regards John Bethune
the cod Posted - 12/11/2006 : 11:15:25
A very enjoyable read, Ken.

Thanks for sharing your memories with us.

the cod

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