TAKING a break is usually something that all of us eagerly look forward to. A chance to get away from the hustle and bustle that is our daily lives - filled with work commitments, family responsibilities and the occasional fishing trip thrown in to keep some of us sane.
With Christmas now less than a month away, up here in Darwin many a trip south has been arranged to catch up with family and friends to enjoy the great Aussie summer. For those anglers remaining up here over the festive break, many will use their time productively by sorting lures and sharpening hooks, while sitting down listening or watching the cricket, in anticipation of a bumper 2012 barra run-off season. The sound of heavy monsoon rains resonating loudly on corrugated iron roofs is always sweet music to a barra fisho's ears.
On the last set of neaps I took a break too, but not in the above sense. No, mine was a more literal interpretation of the word and involved the snapping of one of my favourite jig sticks. Now something must be in the air, as last week I heard of a couple more snappers breaking their rods while out on the water. Popular co-host of the ABC Darwin's Tales From the Tinny fishing show, Rob Smith, and regular guest Ash Winks, both managed to break their rods while fishing aboard Super Mario Faggion's boat Yoshi – Mario just happens to be the young gun producer of the Tinny program. Talk about lightning striking twice in the same place! But wait there's more...
Guess who was aboard my boat Barraddiction when a certain rod of mine went crack? Yep, none other than young Mario himself. What made things worse was that Mario had set up his mini video camera on the bow of my 580 Eliminator and the calamity was captured on film. To view the footage click on the below, kindly supplied by ABC Darwin.
For those who get a chance to view the footage you will see that operator error is the likely root cause of the breakage. Most modern rods are built from carbon fibre material which is very strong, responsive and lightweight. Fished correctly, these rods are hard to break. However, things go pear-shaped when an angler starts lifting a rod past a fighting angle of 45 degrees to the water. What this does is shift the load on the rod away from the lower (and thicker) butt section and up towards the much thinner tip. Well, you don't need to be a Churchill Fellow to work out that things break at their weakness point. Such a situation gets even more precarious when a high rod angle is coupled with the line coming back under the boat which increases the angle even further. I guess me pulling up hard against 10kg of locked drag as the rod was being pulled down didn't help much either.
Thus in light of the compelling video evidence before the court of public opinion, I have decided to plead guilty to the charge of crimes against carbon fibre. It's a pity though that this trip won't ever be remembered for the seven macks, five queenfish and two GTs we jigged up in a couple of hours. But just like a clip on Funniest Home Videos, it's the stuff-ups that really grab the attention. No doubt tackle sellers would also love footage of other fishos (equally guilty of rod abuse) who as a matter of course walk back into the shop they bought their now broken rod from and say straight-faced to the owner, "I don't know why but it just broke."
Having reviewed all the evidence one last time, it is now patently clear what I really did wrong – it was inviting Mario the rod curser aboard Barraddiction in the first place!
At least someone knows how to use a fishing rod correctly! Picture: Peter Zeroni