Labor has-beens take the bait


Fly-fishing enthusiast and newspaper man Chris Jones probably can’t believe his luck of late.

He’s landed a few beauties that have provided great sustenance for his hungry consumers.

Some weeks back, he pulled in a plump but old salmon, Jo-ann Miller (Bundambari bitterus), whose spent flesh left an appropriately bad taste in everyone’s mouth.

She had been clearly swimming upstream far too long but what a fighting fish and, oh boy, the damage she caused as she was being brought to the bank.

Then just the other day, Chris was just about to give the afternoon’s fishing away and ask Des Houghton to write something but on his last flick of his rod just as the gloaming took hold, a little known trout species, Partyofficialous nomoreii, soared skyward and took his lure.

Not even well known by its common name,  the Cameron Milner, the fish offered little nourishment if the truth be known but he was fleshed out a fair bit and seasoned to billyO to give the masses a reasonable feed.

“He may not have been happy with the result but he did, after all, take the bait,” the seasoned angler reasoned at the time.

But like all natural and gifted anglers, Chris knows there’s always the big one out there waiting for the ultimate showdown, the primordial battle between man as hunter and wildlife as prey.

Chris has in fact landed a prime Peter Beattie (Relevance deprivatis mediatarti) once before and the rare silver trout caused enormous damage before somehow slipping back into the oily-black depths.

Can you see Chris now, switching on the light of his mounted magnifying glass on his table in his editor’s office at The Courier-Mail and forensically checking his favourite fly?

He pauses, as if in prayer, before flicking his line once more into the public pond where, over under the trees on the far bank, a barely perceptible ripple alerts his trained eye to his old nemesis and all-time favourite fighting fish, that lurking beattie.

“Come to daddy,” he whispers. “I know you’re there.”

A quick double flick to that spot, the first for the fly just to brush the surface with a tantalising kiss, the second to hover, as if stationary, above the stream’s surface.

And there he is! A perfect Peter Beattie specimen, starved for both food and attention, launches himself skyward to devour the tasty tidbit a good metre above the surface.

The beattie – and he’s a beauty – appears almost suspended mid-air as if waiting for a photograph before he begins to spray some fresh “what I would have done if I was still someone important” rubbish that continues all the way to the bank and into Chris’s net.

The happy angler signals for art room staff to take the beattie away to be baked, roasted or steamed for a full two-page spread to be gobbled up greedily by his grateful diners, all keen to see the entire public pond one day emptied of these troublesome species.

“Who was that idiot that said that it’s the little fish that taste the sweetest?” Chris muses as he puts his rod and tackle back in the editorial cupboard suspecting he’ll be once again reaching for them soon enough.

Don Gordon-Brown