My home water

There’s a river close to my home. It has a steep, rocky shoreline, surrounded by a thick forest of gum trees. The landscape is typically Australian. There’s a dry, harsh undercurrent to the bush. But there’s beauty in it too. Beauty in the timeless river that cuts through the hills. A river that is my home water.

I call it my home water because I know it better than any other. I know the landscape, I know the big rocks that mark the riverbank. I know where the sandflats lie beneath the water. I understand the tides and where the fish will hold when the water is shallow, or when it is deep.Most times I fish the river from my kayak, at first light. At this time of day, a mist usually hangs over the trees along the hill tops. Sometimes it rolls down the hills and settles on the water. When I paddle through the thickness of it, I half expect to see a sailing ship emerge from a bygone era. Like I have stepped back in time.

When I glide quietly along the water, I look at the rocks and the big trees. They will be there long after I have made my last cast. The tides will still turn and the fish will continue to outwit fishermen for generations to come. I find peace in that. In being part of the landscape, part of the river. Being part of something with a timeless history, if only for a moment.

The beauty, the simplicity, the history of the place. Imagining how indigenous Australians would have fished this river 1000 years ago. The strength of their connection to the place.

The river makes me think of these things as I paddle my kayak. Before I have even cast a lure. That is why I am so grateful to have fallen in love with fishing as a boy. Fishing has given me my home water. A connection with something profound. A sense of place.