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There’s this Italian place around the corner manned by a family of Punjabis so the food is a little circumspect with regard to authenticity .. nevertheless we try it out and after ordering a bolognese to go we wait by the door for the young lovely to deliver dinner. Rosalie, a local girl, all smiles and no make-up.


A couple or three women walk past on their way into the restaurant, big women, big Australian women. Epidemical. This country breeds fat people who swear they don’t eat enough.

One of the ladies stops on the way through and rips me a slow once-over, like I work here, like I’m the show-me-to-your-table-guy.



I’m wearing a twenty-dollar pair of sandals bought from Rivers on special, a sixteen-day unwashed pair of blue jeans lifted from Tommy Bahamas in Byron when Mctavish was a boy and a McConaghy T handed out fifteen years ago by an Italian who liked the boat we built him. Speedy Ghekko cost Ignacio 15 mill, plus sails and deck-gear extra … teak decks, micro-wave big enough for a pizza, wine bar under the nav station, silk sheets, soft pillows, Ghetto Rapper air-freshener in the john and enough cutlery and toilet facilities for a family of eleven. Them or his girlfriends.

Ignacio was from Naples. If you’ve never been there you’ll never know.

Then, on the way back to the hotel room with food that gets thrown away … one bite, one swallow and it’s in the bin .. I bump into a old mate from Avalon, Tim, used to be a hairdresser but now is ripping off anybody who wants cheap solar panels.

Fair enough. Business is business.

Tim is sitting with his girl and they’re watching some dude fishing off the breakwall. The bloke has a three-piece composite rod, high tension reel, extra line, lead weights, soft and hard-body lures, three packs of long shank 6 to 10 size hooks, a gutting knife and a bait bucket .. all that’s missing is an easy chair and a 54″ HD Smart TV ..

.. and his wife, wherever she is. Cue to the pokie room just down the way at the Ballina RSL.

Everybody fishes in this family.

‘Bloke I know,’ says Tim, ‘reckons the best bait for bream is a chunk of raw beetroot on a hook. Either that or pineapple.’

Who am I to argue? Three days ago I watched a fellow tossing sliced bread into the river that was gobbled up by a frenzy of oversized fish.

Fishing is like surfing.

Fishing is envy and technique, catch or let go, win or lose.

Champions and losers.



Image is of Speedy Ghekko – the T.

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