Making Fishing Sinkers - Tumby Bay


When we were young children, our parents would annually take us back to my father's birthplace: the small seaside town of Tumby Bay on the west coast of South Australia. Amongst the tasks of preparing for the holiday was to get the fishing gear in order; and to make sinkers. The method was to pour molten lead into different impressions in damp sand. My favourite was my father's thumbprint. Going through some things left over from my childhood recently, I discovered one, and of course it instantly became more than just a fishing sinker; it stood rather as a very special symbol of all of the things my father had taught and given me as a child.

Making Sinkers

my father would always let me spill the sputtering lead from the small primus burner into his thumb prints in the sharp wet sand spoon sinkers

for the dragging surf off Christmas beaches and I had thought that none came back that I had lost them all from the long lines between his own forbearance and the restive sea

snagged on rocks or the deep dark floating weed beneath the glaucous waves one got through I turned it up years after the firmness of his hand upon my own uncertain twitching line was gone a small dulled pendant it stood for something more now the alchemy of all that I once had from him poured without my knowing then and found with some surprise when I first needed something to hold me cast off from an altogether different beach without warning into a strange and difficult sea

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© 2017 Jeff Guess

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