Sunday, July 19, 2009

Skipper calls for pilot

IT's nearly three years since Birkdale retired carpenter John Gallon dropped into Classie Corner for a chat.
Back then, John, with health problems, was looking for a fishing buddy, someone to help him get out on the bay in his 22ft (6.7m) fibreglass boat.
His troll through the Classifieds in 2006 caught a line of interested fisherfolk who, along with other mates, have supported his fishing instincts over the past few years.
Gradually, the support dropped off, and John called in with an SOS, saying he had not been out in the boat for seven months and was desperate.

AFTER formerly citing lung problems from contact with asbestos nearly 50 years ago as his main barrier to solo outings, John has now revealed another of life's kicks in the guts.
"I am sight impaired through macular degeneration," he said. "I am half blind and I can't see the buoys and beacons. If I went out by myself it would be suicide."
He said the boat had a big hard top for shade - as well as crabpots -and storm covers, allowing comfortable outings whether for a day or even overnight. John said he could still bait his own hook, cast and unhook any catches. His last victim had been a little whiting late last spring.
However, he still 'dines out' on the big squire he caught a few years ago, saying it just fitted in a "two-gallon bucket", with the volume reference meaning nine litres and not a play on his name.
He gleefully told how he caught a one-metre-long wobbegong shark in a dilly net.

JOHN, 66, said his lung condition, dating from a short stint working with asbestos in the 1960s, was not as debilitating as his sight problem.
"I have what's called 'wet macular', and apparently they can operate to clear it," he said. "I will have to get some tests to find out what they can do."
John said, seemingly with a straight face, he could only request that people with sight handicaps do not apply to become his new fishing buddy.

THE bay region's big fishing community can make a quick and easy check on the weekend tide times. Every Friday, The Redland Times' Boats & Marine Classifieds feature a three-day tide chart, with the important note of variations at locations from Wellington Point to Dunwich and south to Canaipa Point. Boats for sale last week ranged from a 10ft tinnie to a $35,000 cruiser.

This column has appeared in The Redland Times.

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