Gallie for the Ballie

“Wa wag… Hier’s ‘n ding wat wil sak” my dad excitedly stated! He was quite bleak by this time because I had landed two beautiful Galjoen and he had only managed a Spotty and a juvenile Gallie. We used the same bait, fished the same hole, yet I seemed to be the days lucky one. Next thing his rod dipped and he hit. “Vas” he shouted with exuberance!

The fish took off with such force that the rod almost got pulled out of his hands and he had to give a couple of steps towards the water to prevent his line from breaking. I warned him to be careful and make sure the fish is on dry land before he starts celebrating. But he assured me that the fish was hooked solid and that it was only a matter of minutes before we had a piece of silver bliss flapping on the side.

The fish came slowly but surely, bumping the rod tip all the way. It swung around a few times stripping line off the Sustain 10K. I was concerned because the old man wasn’t letting up and kept maximum pressure on the fish. We fished in a hole with a sandbank at the back and there was a strong drawback when the water subsided. He played the fish into the last wave and tried to pull it up the bank with the surge. Next thing, the rod jerked back and the fish was gone! We didn’t even get to see what it was. I reckon by the fight that it was either a big Galjoen or a Kob…

We booked a place in Bettys for the long weekend in September. A weekend away with the whole family including my mom and dad. I couldn’t wait to get to the water to see what promises it might hold for the coming weekend. I was looking forward to a awesome weekend away with the whole family but even more so, fishing with my old man. My fishing partner for the past thirty five or so years! I’m really privileged to still be able to fish with dad and long may it continue. We have had so many memorable experiences next to some piece of water and this weekend would be another opportunity to make some more happy memories.

Saturday we woke up to a howling wind. The see wasn’t much better either with white foam everywhere. Heaven knows why I thought of only targeting Kob on a day like that. In hindsight it would probably have been better to target Galjoen. The wind was blowing us in all directions and we eventually decided to call it a day with our tails being blown sideways through our legs.

The rest of the day was spent driving to Stanford via breakfast in the “Hemel en Aarde” valley. Of course there was some beer tasting at Berkenhead and then some Ice Cream at Don Gelato in Stanford. When we got home we lit a fire and had a wonderful braai. The wind was busy dying down and the fishing prospect for the next day looked promising.

Sunday morning was started with “Koffie en Beskuit” before we drove down to the sea. Fishing was quiet for the the first part of the morning until my dad got stuck into a Spotted Gully Shark. The Galjoen tackle we used was fairly light and the Spotty used this to his full advantage. It was fun watching how the “oom” gets pulled up and down the beach by one of the strongest fish compared to its weight. Eventually I decided to go help and dragged a proper Spotty out on its tail.

It was wind still and an absolute pearler of a morning was unfolding in front of us.  As the day broke the fish seemed to come onto the bite. I caught a nice fat 45cm Galjoen followed by another one of 44cm. Every cast produced inquiries and we were quickly running out of bait. We tried to figure out why I was getting the bigger fish, our tackle and bait was exactly the same. I just tried to encourage my dad by reminding him to persist and that the big one will come past eventually.

Then, he lost the big one! There is no words that can take the agony away of a lost fish apart from the odd “&%$#” and a definitive “$@#!”. No word of encouragement takes away the burning pain that shoots through your heart. That didn’t keep me quite though. I was shouting and screaming and reminding him that I warned him to be careful. A proper tantrum like a teenager that has to be home by nine. My dad wasn’t flustered, not by the lost fish and neither by his 39 year old toddler. He just rebaited and made another cast as if nothing was wrong. I guess the more fish you loose the easier it gets.

Not long and he was in again. This time however, although he won’t admit it, there seemed to be a little more caution in the way the fish was played. Slowly but surely the fish came closer and with a nice rolling wave and some guidance from above the fish was landed. A stunning Gallie was glittering on wet sand in the morning sun. I was hopping up and down, high fiving  and and hugging the old man. My dad just gave me a sneaky confident smile and quietly dragged the fish up the bank and towards our bags.

Monday morning we were at it again and although the fish were smaller they were feisty. Before the sun broke the horizon we had quota and for the rest of the morning we just enjoyed catching and releasing one after the other fish. I even managed a Kobbie in between. All season I was telling my dad how the Gallies have been biting and now he could experience it for himself. I was really chuffed that they came to the party and that I could back up my big mouth with some fishy results. We came, we saw, we conquered… and the Ballie got his Gallie(s)!

A couple of days later I pondered about the way my dad didn’t get “upset” when he lost “that” fish. About the quiet way he just continued fishing as if noting was wrong. There’s a life lesson right there… It doesn’t help to get upset when things don’t go your way. It doesn’t help to throw your toys when you don’t get what you want. All you can do is to rebait and cast again…

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Saturdays fish
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On the braai

4 thoughts on “Gallie for the Ballie

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