The Lung Fish

By Banjo Paterson

The Honorable Ardleigh Wyse
Was every fisherman’s despair;
He caught his fish on floating flies,
In fact he caught them in the air,
And wet-fly men — good sports, perhaps —
He called “those chuck-and-chance-it chaps”.
And then the Fates that sometimes play
A joke on such as me and you
Deported him up Queensland way
To act as a station jackaroo.
The boundary rider said, said he,
“You fish dry fly? Well, so do we.

“These barramundi are the blokes
To give you all the sport you need:
For when the big lagoons and soaks
Are dried right down to mud and weed
They don’t sit there and raise a roar,
They pack their traps and come ashore.

“And all these rods and reels you lump
Along the creek from day to day
Would only give a man the hump
Who does his fishing Queensland way.
For when the barramundi’s thick
We knock ’em over with a stick.

“The black boys on the Darwin side
Will fill a creek with bitter leaves
And when the fish are stupefied
The gins will gather ’em in sheaves.
Now tell me, could a feller wish
A finer way of catchin’ fish?”

The stokehold of the steamship Foam
Contains our hero, very sick,
A-working of his passage home
And brandishing a blue gum stick.
“Behold,” says he, “the latest fly;
It’s called the Great Australian Dry.”

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