This post is part of a series of short writings by a small writer on particular topics and stories named Howard Reede-Pelling, he lives in Victoria, Australia and is in his older age now. Here, he has written about camping and bush lore.
Ah, the call of the wild! Nothing is as good as camping, communing with nature if will. But beware the pitfalls, and there are many of which the city dweller may not fully comprehend. Just a few reminders for city folk.
Be sure to pack the can opener, a box of matches and a torch. There are many things of creature comfort which we take for granted, but may not remember in the bush. A toilet roll, extra blankets, a container for water, a spade, the medical kit and most importantly – let someone know what you are planning and where you are going.
Setting up camp is like planning a house. One must look to safety first! Don’t just plonk down in the first shady spot you come to, look for the dangers. It may be there are bushes or logs about that could harbour spiders or snakes, which could come out and creep into bed with you for warmth at night. The river bank upon which you have erected your tent may be unstable and give way, casting you into the water at night. Perhaps the shade tree you have decided to camp under is a blue gum, which are notorious for dropping healthy looking limbs of great weight upon you unexpectedly. Then again, the gravely bank a little away from camp may be just one massive bull-ants nest!
Given that one has not neglected safety, all has been remembered that is necessary and the camp has been set up respectably; if one is fishing, the next step is to locate bait and a good fishing spot. Most people will rely upon the spade for the recovery of worms for bait. Not good enough! Fish do not rely on worms alone for feed; they eat the natural things which fall into the rivers and streams. The little white moths that abound near wattle trees, wichetty grubs that fall into the water from the same trees, spiders that can be found under the loose bark of gums and acacias, grasshoppers and locusts from the grasses and yabbies from nearby dams. A good angler will have the outer cable-case of a push bike handy. They can be stored in one’s creel quite easily. A lone ghost gum in a paddock is a good place to scrape the ground-cover leaves away and expose the bardie grubs web. A flick upon each hole will tell you whether a grub is home or not. A dull thud means he’s at home, a ting means he has already been taken.A twist of the cable down the hole and you are able to extricate the grub as bait. Scrub worms are also good bait.
Have fun safely and catch plenty of fish. Above all, take heavy boots to guard against snakes and scorpions.