Hail the ugly battler

With your flattened skull and docile eyes too far apart, you eerily remind me of a rugby player

DEAR catfish,

It will be fully understandable if you don’t understand this letter.

Generally you communicate in guttural grunting tones so the use of words could be a new concept to you.

I write in order to congratulate you on your fighting spirit.

As bizarre as it sounds, you’ve provided many memories over the years, and a few epic battles.

You’ve also caused quite a bit of heartbreak for the odd angler who thought he or she was onto a hard-pulling quality fish, only to see the whiskers emerge from below and behold your grunting arrival.

Tackle shops throughout the country probably owe you a debt of gratitude. More often than not your oversized mouth and deep gullet will swallow the entire hook, swivel and sinker combination.

Retrieving it poses a difficult task and the risk of being “spiked”, so it is no wonder so many simply cut their losses and re-rig their lines.

You’ve certainly gotten your own back over the years though. While I’ve never experienced it myself, I’m told a sting by a catfish spine is particularly painful.

In some ways I feel sorry for your lot in life. You must certainly be picked on within the murky waters of the fish world, what with your flattened skull and docile eyes that appear too far apart. You eerily remind me of too many rugby players that I know.

Then there is your excessive slime problem. Well, not really a problem from your perspective but it seems like it would be the equivalent of bad body odour in humans- it’s just awkwardly present.

Something within me suggests you are a little misunderstood. It seems our American cousins hold you as a prize catch with high culinary potential.

Here, you are simply a bottom feeder whose presence on the end of a fishing line can prompt all manner of name calling and head shaking.

Perhaps we Australians, so in love with our coasts, are simply too spoilt for choice.

Anyhow, thank you for the memories that have been and no doubt the memories to come, for while I dream of my next fish being something at least with scales, I know I will not be disappointed to see your sooty grey body pulled aloft, squirming and twisting.

The Iceberg LettersDear readers - the majority of an iceberg sits below the surface, and it may just take one special letter to see what else lurks under the tip of a topic.


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