Hooked on fishing

A mother and baby dolphin break the water’s surface in perfect unison while the largest dolphin has a shredded fin and my kids christen him “Nigel No Fin”, the perfect buddy for Carol the old boat, writes Alex Brooks for the Daily Telegraph’s Best Weekend section.

How to take the kids fishing

Fishing is another word for waiting. Fishing from a boat on the Central Coast’s Brisbane Water makes all the waiting worth it.

We paid $115 to hire a 16-foot half-cabin wooden cruiser named Carol from Andersons Boatshed for five hours of boating around the waterways around Booker Bay. Andersons throw in a fishing bucket and licence, too. We paid another $6 for a packet of bait.

Carol was one of several old-style wooden cruisers available for hire — she has other boat friends named Susan and Bonnie — which can be hired by groups of up to six people.

There are more modern boats too, like the BBQ boats, which host up to 12 people and include a porta-potty.

I loved lounging on Carol’s timber bench under the shade of her white cabin while the boys of the family motored me around beautiful Brisbane Water, seeking the perfect fishing spot.

I did stretch Carol’s friendship when I nearly tipped her upside down after spotting a dolphin fin and rushing to the other side of the boat too quickly.

Carol was very forgiving and her super slow motor let us to putter close to Hardys Bay and see a pod of six dolphins dancing through the water. A kayaker pulled up alongside and said he paddles every weekend and has never seen dolphins in the bay.

A mother and baby dolphin break the water’s surface in perfect unison while the largest dolphin has a shredded fin and my kids christen him “Nigel No Fin”, the perfect buddy for Carol the old boat.

The blokes at Andersons recommend fishing near the oyster leases close to Rip Bridge, where fish are dazed and confused after being caught near the drastic current.

Bellbirds call, sea kites fly overhead and the boys are happy baiting their hooks with prawns and waiting for the fish to bite.

All is tranquil and perfect until big boats with names like TerraRISING and Kamikaze thunder past, leaving Carol bobbing dangerously in their wake.

The wash of waves brings a black rubber thong floating close to Carol, looking for all the world like it is walking on water.

The boys’ fishing rod finally reels in a fish. It looks like a morwong, but it’s so tiny I swear Carol is whispering we will be arrested for hooking such a baby.

The chief man of the house does his best to quickly unhook the teensy fish and send it back swimming, but there’s a strange blob of ooze still on the hook.

“I think that’s the fish’s tongue and salivary glands,” he says, deadpan. “Let’s hope the fish doesn’t sue,” pipes up youngest son.

Yes. Let’s.

Alex Brooks is executive editor of kidspot.com.au, where you can find thousands of events and things to do with kids

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Things to do & travel