They mightn’t catch too many fish, but Gordon Cox and his crew of monthly fishing buddies don’t care too much about the ones that got away. For them, it’s more about the chance to catch up with each other and enjoy a great day out.
Northern Rivers Ability Linker Gordon has been running the group for two years now and has just organised the dates for the rest of this year, so the group is going from strength to strength. The group has around 10 to 15 regular participants (including two women) who get picked up from homes as far west as Kyogle to be transported to the coast for a day.
They usually head to Ballina, where they have five or six favourite spots that they rotate around, depending on the tide. “But this year we’ve got a bit more creative and the guys have expressed interest in fishing in different towns or different places,” Gordon says.
“So we’ve been able to lock in some fishing trips – one down to Evans Head for the day, and we’re going to do a freshwater trip out to the back of Kyogle.” With one or two participants in wheelchairs, and others with various mobility issues, finding the right spot can sometimes be challenging.
Gordon usually cooks up a barbecue for the group so they’ve got to find a place that has good access to the water, some shade and preferably near a park with facilities.
“We’ve also got a couple of fishing spots close to RSL and bowling clubs and they’ve been great about allowing us to use their bathrooms,” Gordon says.
But it’s not all about the fishing. In fact, Gordon admits there’s “nothing really to mention as far as great catches”.
“We’ve got one lady that comes along every month and up until recently she’s the only one who has had any catches. For the most part she does better than the boys,” he said. But what counts the most is the camaraderie and social connection. He said he was chatting to participant Phil from Kyogle, who said: “This is the only day of the month that I actually enjoy getting out of bed.”
“The guys who come fishing are an absolutely awesome bunch,” Gordon said. “They’re just a great group and they’re really, really chuffed being able to come from way out west, visit the coast, sit on the beach or sit by the water and do some fishing – and most of them don’t give two hoots whether they catch a fish or not.
“For them, it’s the outing – it’s catching up with me, and catching up with the driver and all the other guys that they wouldn’t normally see.”
Rain, hail or shine, the participants are keen to come along for the day. If it’s really too wet they might do something else like go to the maritime museums or buy fish and chips.
“But most of the time they just come to fish. They come and fish and go home wet,” Gordon said.
This post was written by northwestalliance