2015 Grand Final – Hawthorn v West Coast: Great Hope part 2.


“At this point” thought Rabonzo, “anything is possible”.


Suddenly the fish fell headfirst into the net; almost inexplicably the battle was over. At first Rabonzo didn’t quite understand that it was so and then he wasn’t sure why? Perhaps the trout had had enough? Or it had pushed one way when it should’ve pushed another? Anyways the trout was in the net and when that realization struck him Rabonzo was a tad disappointed. For Rabonzo, the battle was everything. It was the culmination of a well prepared and a finely executed plan. Now all that anticipation, the longing for and even the butterflies in his stomach were gone. It was over, Rabonzo wasn’t sure what to do except to look down upon his prize.


The brown ’n’ golden trout was long, it was thick all the way through its body, broad around the head and its tail was like a mighty paddle. Rabonzo had read the club records and knew that in a bygone distant age that similar monsters had been caught, Mel Bourne twice, Col Wood even bigger again and in a previous incarnation of the club G. Long and S.M. Bourne (no relation to Mel) had gone just as big as Wood. Yet Rabonzo had never seen such a fish in the Merri, never had he dreamed of such a behemoth within his delicate pretty stream.


The trout measured out 60 cm and 3 kg, or in Rabonzo’s old school language it was twenty-four inches and weighed in at a whopping six and a half pounds. Until now, the best Rabonzo had caught in the Merri was just over four pounds, something he had managed twice before, usually a good catch was about a pound. This was an exceptional feat, perhaps not unique but in this era it was rare. Rabonzo photographed the fish alongside his official measuring stick, recorded the weight and then did something he hardly ever did. He released the brown trout.


“If trout are meant to be released then why do they taste so good?” Rabonzo would taunt the catch’n’release crowd. Rabonzo despised the way the catch and release fad was dressed up as conservation. He despised most regulations and rules but particularly those unwritten ones made up by wankers who presumed to know for the better of all. Yet, this particular trout had to go back, it had a role to perform in the Merri River and the river would not be the same without it. Rabonzo was old school but he was also flexible, adaptable and had a huge desire to catch big brown trout. All of this philosophising flowed through Rabonzo like the Merri itself, effortlessly.


Rabonzo was still caught up in the moment and only just comprehending all of the statistics when he heard someone, above him, on the riverbank. It was Ashleigh; she had peeled away from her fiancé and had watched from the last few moments before the netting. Her smile was as big as the trout and this made Rabonzo smile too. Then Rabonzo couldn’t stop smiling because now he could share the moment.


“You’ll have their respect, but they’re still gunna hate you” Ashleigh chirped. “Won’t they be annoyed?”


“Yes probably but I don’t need their approval nor do I care what they think.”


“You’ll be gracious won’t you”? Ashleigh’s eyes implored him.


“Yes. I can afford to be”.


Rabonzo climbed up the bank and joined Ashleigh. They were walking towards their cars in order to join the others at the clubhouse, when  Rabonzo realised that he would need Ashleigh to verify the result. Without her someone might try to dispute what he had achieved. They might try to spoil it for him.


Rabonzo explained this to Ashleigh.


“Who would want to do such a thing?” she asked. “Sometimes you lot get so hung up on the result that you forget what it all means. Just enjoy the moment.”


Rabonzo smiled and then became lost in thought. Ashleigh looked at him and knew what he was thinking. He was already thinking about the next fish. She shook her head and then smiled too. Life was beautiful!




  1. Love it SH. Nicely measured. Will we head down to Merri Creek for one more go?


  2. Ahh, S Hodder.
    Living in the moment.
    Hope you bought the t-shirt.

    Love this dreaming.

  3. Steve Hodder says

    T-shirt? Where?

    Can’t move in the kids rooms for all the posters, mags ‘n’ stuff. More merchandising than you could poke a premiership cup at.



  4. Steve
    Premiership on the weekend.
    Tomorrow heading off for annual 5 days of trout fishing at Millbrook Lakes.
    Life is very, very good.

  5. Steve Hodder says

    Millbrook Lakes; that is very nice! I know someone whose parents fish there regularly, in between fishing trips to Ireland.

    Yup, “Life is very, very good.”

    Maybe I should hit the lakes while I’m waiting for a few of the streams to come on. Let me know how you go.


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