Bushman files - #5 Fishing in Echuca
- by Tony Charky-
So Pete gave me a 1200 km
ride to Echuca over bumpy dustroads with no roadsigns.
He'd just sort of follow his nose and the position of
the sun, moon and stars. Heading South - no worries.
He is caracter this old chap - always barefoot, his
feet as red as the dessert sand, and wearing an old
hat that contains enought grease to deepfry a batch
of french fries. Mind, I am not complaining. He is a
nice bloke and brings me to Echuca.
Now, why Echuca?
Well, it's on the Murray river, and I wanted to fish
for Murray cod. It's a sort of Australian pike-pearch
that grows up to over 100 kg. Little chance I would
actually catch one, but I don't wanted to leave Australia
without at least having tried. In additon 4 days from
then it was gonna be Christmas, so i wanted to be in
a bit bigger town to celebrate the holidays.
When I arrived at the local youth hostel, I immediatly
asked the manager where to find the river and how much
chance I had of catching a Murray Cod. He told me that
it would take me a 30 minute walk due north mate, zero
chance, just the locals catch them.....yeahhh right.
So i unpack, grab my fishing gear and yabby nets, and
start heading north. After about one and a half hour
i arrive....back at the youth hostel! *Damn*, better
get my compass so this time I'll find the river, catch
me a few shrimps for bait and start fishing. The first
catch was kind of an unpleasant surprise - a 50 cm long
snapping turtle that tried to bite my kneecaps - better
just cut the wire now. Then finally, after having caught
a countless number of carps (they are a pest here and
by law you have to throw them on shore, but they're
ok bait for the yabbie nets) I land my first Murray
Cod. It was just 55 cm and not exactly 100 kg, but if
there's little ones it should be big ones as well. And
there went the "zero chance"-theory of the
I leave my yabby nets well baited in the river, and
head back to the hostel. The manager could hardly believe
his own eyes when he saw me gut and clean my first catch.
After a couple of days he'll be crying his eyes out
- the chap is used to young travellers with no nature
experience and with hardly enough energy to even sit
on their asses at the hostel doin nothing.
From that day I arrived with
a nice catch of yabbies and shrimps every morning that
shortly after would be boiling and ready for breakfast.
On the third day I caught a 98 cm long Murray cod and
earned myself the nickname "ye bloody aboriginal"
from the manager who's probably still back there shaking
his head in disbelief. I'm taking that as a compliment!
My Christmas celebration
was sort of ok. I had a inuit girl as a date - not really
a looker, but funny as hell - and I had a good time.
Usually the fun ends at 2300 on the local pub. The closing
hours really suck if you as me. On Christmas Eve things
are a bit different. The pub is stuffed with 200-250
people having great fun until the band stops playing
at 0300 in the morning and some uggly mother f****r
starts screaming "EVERYBODY OUUUUUT". Well, not much
to do but grab a bottle of liquer and make the streets
unsafe with my inuit chick. And that's that...I guess
I've seen it all here and I am off to Kangaroo Island
next. I've got myself a room for "Old Year's Eve"
Learn more about Echuca and the Murray river here
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