No, it wasn’t ME that whacked him with the kayak paddle!
February 19, 2012 Emma's Corner
It’s been brought to my attention that something I discussed in my last post requires clarification.
“Hubby went away for a weekend with the guys and lost hundreds of dollars’ worth of fishing gear (and copped a good whack with a kayak paddle).”
No, I did not whack him with the paddle… the hunter became the hunted and it was the fish that taught him a lesson he won’t forget in a hurry.
We’ve had a couple of boats over the course of our marriage, but there’s always something not-quite-perfect about each one so Daniel gets fed up after a while and tries something new. His latest water-related purchase was a kayak.
Now, you might be thinking that Daniel decided on kayaking because it can be a lovely family activity; gently paddling down a smooth river, admiring the scenery and enjoying the outdoors. You’d be wrong.
Daniel decided that a kayak would be the perfect vessel from which to catch fish—and we’re not talking small fish here. His target, the barramundi, is often over 1 metre long and is a prized fighting fish in Australia. Trying to catch ol’ Baz from an itty bitty piece of plastic floating on the tropical, crocodile-infested waters of northern Queensland sounds like a great idea, right?
Daniel spent months perfecting the fitout of his ‘yak’. He built an icebox and installed fishing rod holders, a GPS, a sounder, and who knows what else. Finally, after months and months of him tinkering away at it, the kayak was finally ready for its maiden barramundi hunt.
After taking some time off work and making all the arrangements with his mates, they set off for an extended weekend of camping and fishing.
On their first day, one of the guys carelessly knocked his fishing rod out of its holder with his paddle. In seconds, the expensive rod, reel, and line sank down to its new watery home. Fortunately Aaron had brought a spare so the fishing continued.
The following day, Daniel hooked a huuuuuuge barra. According to his GPS it was towing him around at over 7 km/hour. I didn’t witness this, but in my mind I can see the orange kayak zooming around as if it were waterskiing behind an invisible boat. Eventually, the barra grew bored with this game and as quickly as it took the lure, spit it out and continued on its merry way.
Excited by the close call, Daniel found what looked to be the perfect fishing spot and cast his line. Accustomed to his usual fishing routine which consists of casting for hours, sitting around bored for hours, and not catching much (sorry Dan, but it’s true!), Daniel placed his rod in the holder for a moment as he reached down to adjust his oar (or something equally mundane). Needless to say, he was not quite ready for another hungry barra to attack the split-second that he let go of the fishing rod.
What could have simply been a case of Daniel’s fishing rod joining Aaron’s underwater turned into a much more costly and dangerous exercise. You see, after Daniel cast the line and was shifting around to put the rod in its holder, the fishing line looped over the tip of the rod. This is not a rare or unusual event, to resolve it a fisherman would normally twist or wiggle the rod slightly until the line comes free (or reach up and manually unloop the line.)
Daniel saw the line get caught. He knew he should fix it. He decided to do something else first.
Mr Barramundi did not want to wait for Daniel, so he took the lure when he was ready. Daniel was not.
Instead of the drag on the reel letting some line out, or the rod coming free of the rod holder à la Aaron’s experience, the line wrapped tight around the rod and flipped the entire kayak over!
Daniel says that one minute he was just sitting there minding his own business, the next he’s in the drink next to his upturned kayak, dazed and bruised from the oar which ‘broke his fall’ on both his head and his ribs as he was thrown into the water.
Eventually, Daniel managed to right the kayak and climb back on; all of the gear that he’d had with him gone. The fishing rod was taken so violently that the rod holder itself was physically ripped from the kayak, leaving a gaping hole which made Daniel’s attempts at flotation and paddling back to shore even more fun!
I wonder whether he’ll return to do battle on the kayak again or move on to another pastime. And I wonder how much other fishing equipment can be found below the waterline. I can just imagine those cheeky barramundi meeting up socially to boast about the humans they hooked that day and all the great fishing gear that they ‘caught’.
Emma is a freelance editor and writer who got her start at Newbie Writers two years ago. In her previous career she was an accountant, but escaped the numbers game to envelop herself in the literary world.