Learning from the ‘experts’
  |  First Published: September 2016

Occasionally, when I get tired of putting red-hot pokers into my eyes, or twisting parts of my anatomy around a barbed wire splint, I turn on the television, specifically to watch a fishing programme or two.

This is generally when I haven’t managed to get out on the boat for a decade or more, and I’m feeling the feeling that all fishos know. No, not that feeling. Eat more fibre! I mean that horrible compulsion to watch someone else catch a fish because you can’t catch one yourself. To be honest, I get that feeling of not catching fish whether I’ve been fishing or not. So the fishing shows get more exposure in my house than they might in other more normal households.

Watching someone else catch a fish can be therapeutic. I don’t know of any other reason a person would sit down to watch one of these shows, except if they were trying to get a not guilty by reason of insanity judgement.

In reality, you would never watch one of these shows if you were looking for some ways you might improve your catch rate. Old mate gets access to the best fishing spots in Australia, with the best gear, and the best bait or lures, with the best fishing guides, and what do you know… they catch fish! I mean, even the Dudds would be a slight chance of catching something under these conditions. So old mate tries to look like he has some magic ability as he casts knowingly towards an ‘obvious’ snag. I mean, let’s face it; the last angler who had this much assistance fishing got help by asking some bearded bloke walking on the water where to throw his net on the Sea of Galilee 2000 years ago.

So our television fishing guide throws out there and nails a barra. A barra for goodness sake! You’d swear there’s not another fish in the waters of Queensland the way they go on about barramundi. They’re a good fish for sure, but give me a nanny, a red, a trout or a jack any day of the week over a barra.

The other thing that gets me is where these people come from. It must be some sort of television law that the only people who are allowed catch fish on TV are New South Welshmen. I mean, where are all the Maroon presenters? Most of these shows need to have a long hard think about things and push these AFL supporters out of the way and grab someone from north of the Tweed to have a chat.

I can think of heaps of people who would make really good television if you put a camera in front of them. Perhaps for most of these new presenters the swearing bleep would be an issue. In fact, the conversation would have more beeps than C3PO in a late night session on a private browser on LEDtube. You see what I did there?

And most of the people I know wouldn’t need big coin to do the job either. Just a few samples of the sponsor’s product. Shimano could probably get me, Boobies and Stuffer for a year. Pommers would record an entire season for a couple of cartons of horse worming paste, and Skipper would sell his soul for a litre of glyphosate so he could stop mowing before and after work. And Doughers would only need one product to keep him talking: Jack. And I’m not talking about the one that lives under snags in tropical and semi-tropical estuaries and reefs. There’s only one Jack that Doughers would allow in his esky.

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