Saturday, June 11, 2011

Seining for Gardies

As the sun went down a chill wind blew. Old Salt and I pulled the seine net onto the little dinghy. The wind crept through my woollies. Sand from the nets blew into my eyes, so I finished loading with my sunglasses in the half dark. Then I lost the bung while bailing rainwater out of the boat. Then Old Salt lost the padlock key - in the same patch of grass as the now invisible bung!
By then I was thinking, it's gonna be a shit shot. Everything's gone bad. Oh well. There's been shit shots before and there will be again. The last bad one, the net found a submerged rock and couldn't stay away from it.
We went inside the shack and made a cup of tea, waiting for the night to come on.

Down at The Pool, around the corner from Foul Bay, the wind died. It felt almost warm. Old Salt backed the trailer down to the water. We launched the boat and he rowed off into the night with me standing on the shore and holding the end of the seine net.

A beautiful night, glassed off, with the green  harbour markers flashing and bobbing in the water. By the time he pulled the boat back to shore two hundred metres along the beach and stumbled overboard, I'd nearly walked my end of the net up to where the truck was parked. Every so often, I shone the torch over the water, to find the buoy in the centre of the net.
'Start pullin that lead line in!'
'Keep pullin that lead line in!'
'Where's the bunt?' (The middle buoy.)
'Get that lead line under. Get that pocket happening!'

Running up and down the shoreline to grab more floats and get the net in brought up a bit of a sweat. Old Salt just ambled along until he was near the car too, then we both pulled the thrashing pocket of fish into the lacy water's edge.

A huge, brown stingray floundered, all elegance lost in the net and the sand. He was swiftly flipped out and slid into the sea. I kept wary eyes on the eel tails of cobbler. Blowies began rolling around the ebb like spiky footballs. Gardies, herring, whiting, all shining in the torchlight. A beautiful night.


  1. A beautiful night and a beautiful story Sarah. Thanks.

  2. You write so well, Sarah I can picture it in my imagination. Hope the bung and the key came to light again fairly quickly.

  3. Oh - I just heard someone say on the radio (when slagging off a writer) that 'her words fell like a stone'.

    Well, that would be no insult to you, Sarah. If your words sink into the depths, then they would take us with them - like plumbing the sky.

  4. Aw thanks Tom! And Molly! No the bung and the key are gone. I put an axehead over the spot to mark it and the next day, still couldn't find them. Twilight zone buffalo grass ...

  5. I love the way you write

    a short story but I wanted more


  6. I mean yes, its just that no seemed the right thing to say...

    No shit shot that shot, means a great shot, yeah?