The theme for this week’s Sepia Saturday blogging prompt is fish. Saturday is the birthday of my maternal grandfather Hans Boltz, who was born 4 July 1910.

At the moment I can’t find a photograph of Hans fishing.

This is a picture of my grandfather in 1991 wearing a hat much smarter than his fishing hat.

I am not sure when Hans took up fishing.  In 1949 he emigrated to Australia from Germany and came to Canberra to work for the Bureau of Mineral Resources as a cartographer on geological maps. He bought his first car in 1959. I remember him telling me he would go bushwalking with friends in the 1950s.  I assume others gave him lifts. I don’t remember him mentioning fishing excursions. I think he must have started fishing for trout around Canberra only after he bought a car of his own.

When I was a child in the 60s and 70s I remember going with him on trout-fishing excursions to Lake Eucumbene and Lake Jindabyne in the Snowy Mountains and to the Goodradigbee River in the Brindabella Valley west of Canberra.

Map showing Lakes Eucumbene and Jindabyne south of Canberra and Brindabella west of Canberra. Jindabyne is about 175 kms south of Canberra and Brindabella is about 60 km from Canberra.

We camped in tents on our fishing trips. I can remember a trip to Buckenderra on Lake Eucumbene.  My brother lost his toy fire engine there.  My grandparents imported a large tent from Germany about 1967 and I can remember the trip to Buckenderra used this tent and my mother, brother, aunt and grandparents were all on the excursion. We all slept in the one large tent that included an inner bedroom compartment. Before this trip I had apparently complained several times that nobody ever took me to Buckenderra.

The giant trout at Adaminaby near Lake Eucumbene photographed in February 2006.

Our fishing excursions to the Goodradigbee River in the Brindabellas were day trips; we didn’t camp.  The river and the countryside are very beautiful. The trip over the Brindabella mountains was winding and rough.  As a child I often used to get car sick but never when driving with my grandfather even during the difficult trip to the Goodradigbee in the Brindabella Valley.  I would be allowed to sit in the front seat. In those days cars had a bench seat in the front. I would sit between my grandparents.

The Goodradigbee River in the Brindabella Valley photographed in January 2009

Trout are hard to catch and we often came home empty handed.

My father-in-law, Peter, by contrast, was a very successful fisherman. He used to  catch redfin by the sugar bag in the Hume Weir near Albury.  To be followed up in another blog post, though I did ask my husband Greg how big a sugar bag was – he estimated about half the size of a potato bag which held 50 kgs.

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