Broken Bay Writers – Stories of NSW Central Coast and beyond

Scribbles on life, the universe and everything… Woy Woy, Ettalong, Umina and teh Central Coast that is!

Tag Archives: fishermen

Late at Night, When the Stars Come Out to Play.

During the day, Ettalong Beach is another Australian beach, full of families, swimmers and sunseekers.  Cricket on the beach, building castles in the sand and good old fun splashing in the water are part of the daytime activities.

But, when the sun goes down and the stars come out to play, Ettalong Beach comes alive with a new set of beach dwellers.

This is the time to watch teenagers wade through the water with nets and flashlights looking to scoop up octopus, squid or prawns.  Being Canadian, I have never experienced this form of fishing before. The squeals from the girls whenever they see a sting ray is funny.  Not sure this is the legacy Steve Irwin wanted to leave.

Further along the beach is where you find the local sports fishermen with there poles lined up like fence posts.  The fishermen are prepared.  They have eskies (coolers) full of bait, snacks and beer.  The fishing poles have lights on their tip so the fisherman can see the tip snap in the dark when the fish bite. These night dwellers are fishing for whiting and flatheads.  Anything otherwise will cause an intense conversation amongst them.

Another beach dweller is a black and white border collie that plies the waters edge day and night.  He actually lives across the road from the beach, but spends most of his time on the beach.  During the day he is happy to pick up the pace and join you on a walk, or if you choose to throw sticks for him, it is “game on” until your arm is ready to fall off.

At night, same dog, different story.  It is all work.  He is there to fish.  He will choose a fisherman to work with and sit.  He watches the pole with the intensity that only a working dog could muster.  If there is the slightest movement, he gets excited.  He will start to chase his tale and jump around.  He watches intently as the line is reeled in.  Once the fish is extracted from the hook and the line has been cast once again, he once again sits and waits.

This is serious business for this dog.  When he is fishing, there is no playing, no fetching sticks, no walking.  While there is a job to be done, he is doing it.

Ask the fishermen if the dog favours one over the other?  “No, he just chooses someone for the night and that is who he fishes with”.

What a wonderful addition to Ettalong Beach.  I haven’t seen a fisherman that doesn’t like the dog or chases him away.  They just accept him as part of fishing on the beach.

I have always wondered who the owners are and what they think of their dog.  He must be so low maintenance.  I am sure he never requires a walk or exercise, he gets plenty day and night.

He can’t be lacking for attention.  Everyone on the beach stops to give him a pat.  We ourselves have stopped to play with him for a minute and suddenly realized that an hour has flown by.

Nobody on the beach seems to know the owners or the dogs name, but that has not stopped the relationship from building.  I am sure that if he didn’t show up one evening, his absence would take up  the “lions share” of the evening conversation between the fishermen.

Yes, Ettalong Beach could never be just another Australian Beach.  It  has a pulse of it’s own.  The teenagers, the fishermen and the dog bring the beach alive every evening when the stars come out to play…