Q. How many of you go fishing the Yarra reaches near our clubhouse, let alone camp overnight on one of the nearby (now non-existent) beaches? This has not always been the case as researching our old photos and oral histories reveal. There has been many a good catch, if our Club Legends are to be believed!
First we have Jim Simpson who states that during the summer months, they would often paddle upstream to a great big sandbank, which was probably in Ivanhoe at Wilson Reserve. They would pull-up their canoes, light a fire, BBQ, enjoy some food and would stay overnight. Jim would go fishing, catch trout, roach or eels and, if there were enough, might cook one on the fire.”
We used to have a lot of fun. There wasn't much else to do. We didn't have computers or TV!”
Next witness sees Geoff Allen appear to testify: “Yeah, I went fishing a lot too. Mostly caught roach, a few redfin but in early years my father (Fred Allen) had caught a cod, a Murray cod, in "Hospital Straight" (the straight between the Pipe Bridge & current Freeway overpass). One other one I got was a Macquarie perch which is a pretty rare event. That was up near Burke Rd somewhere.”
Q. What did Fred Miller & Fred Allen catch?
A. Well, Geoff Allen’s older sister, Judy it would seem!
Finally we have a story about one of Paddle Victoria’s best fishing ‘catches’….a five time Olympian no less!
Enter Adrian, ‘Pippa’, Powell who explains how he found his way into paddling:
“I used to come down to the river here fishing, for years and years, down at Fairfield. Straight down from my place, straight down through the old timber yard.. I used to go there fishing and I saw this fella come past in a Canadian, & I thought I wouldn't mind getting one of them to go fishing in. So I bought this old boat, really old boat it was, & as it was leaking & as I was a plumber at the time & had this stuff we used to use on the gutters, I painted the thing.
I used to paddle it up and down the river & then Jonny Mayne said to me one day: "Why don't you join our Club? It's cheaper to leave your boat at the Clubhouse". So I said ‘OK’ and joined the club. I was paddling along and just going down there fishin’ and paddlin’, & he said to me "There's a regatta coming on, would you mind going in it?" & I said "Oh I don't know, I haven't got a good boat". So he said "I've got a boat I'll lend you". So he lent me this boat and, you know, I went pretty well. Had a few wins. Paddled with a girl, and the girl and I won. So it was pretty good and I said "Oh, I might have a go at this racing, started to race and……….”.
The rest is history! What is truly amazing is that Adrian paddled C1 in the Rome Olympics and then swapped into K2 in the subsequent four Olympics: Tokyo, Mexico, Munich & Montreal.