‘Geoff is not of the old school. Geoff is of the school they tore down, in order to build the old school’. – Anon GVFFC employee
Geoff Hall has strong views on life and the world, having lived what I would surmise has been an uncompromising existence for the better part of 75 years. I think it’s safe for me to make the assumption that he was equally strong-willed as a child, but even if he wasn’t, he has more than made up for that in the 24 years that I have known him.
It is without doubt that it is this stubbornness and unwillingness to compromise that has made him such an excellent fly fisherman.
So it is with some sense of victory that I have finally managed to drag him out of retirement to the point where we can now preface that particular noun with a hyphenated semi. It has been about four years since he was guiding with us, but in all that time I still saw him fishing most days. Little did I know that during that period, he was actually rediscovering his fly fishing mojo and refilling his reserves of enthusiasm after twenty years of guiding on a daily basis. In fact he seemed to always be on the river in that old raft of his fishing with friends and relatives, and I think I saw him more during these past few years than I did back when we worked together. And quite often it turns out that he was ahead of me on the river.
Trust me. This is not something you want. Having a guide the caliber or Geoff Hall fishing all the water before you do.
But back to that raft.
SAMMY as he is known to all who guide here, was OEG’s first raft and ended up being dumped in a shed at Eildon because he was too small for their purposes. Enter a desperate fishing guide looking for new ways in which to the fish the Goulburn. Love at first sight one might say of this fortuitous meeting. And they’ve been inseparable ever since.
SAMMY is one tough watercraft, having been used and abused for a very, very long time. His age is anyone’s guess. Definitely older than our youngest staff member. We purchased SAMMY about 24 years ago, and he was at least ten years when Geoff found him. That old boat just keeps on going and never was the catchphrase ‘they don’t make ’em like that anymore’; ever truer.
But getting back to Geoff and his willingness to bend and not acquiesce to the politically correct world in which we live. I asked him what sets SAMMY apart from the other boats we use, and his response was quick and cutting. ‘Because he’s much better than those over-sized, over-priced battleships you guys use’. Of course he quickly realised the error in his response when he saw my jaw instantly drop. I mean the drift boats cost us over 25k each to import from the USA, taking a huge sea voyage as well as tons of paperwork and trailer mods to just get them here. Plus they row similarly to how a Lamborghini drives. They are nimble, responsive and a pleasure to operate.
But Geoff was adamant he was onto something.
‘Sure the drift boats are comfortable for anglers and are fun for run and gun style fly fishing, but I like to be more deliberate in my movements. SAMMY is like having a magical pair of waders on, a pair of waders that allows me to go all over the river and sneak up on fish for my clients. It can float in an inch of water, it’s quiet, and it can be launched and retrieved anywhere. I can also get its ten foot length into places you can only dream of in your 17 foot boat’.
While we can agree to disagree on what the raft is capable of versus the drift boat, there is no doubt that Geoff is a wizard in his small boat. He has twenty five years of experience on the oars rowing fly fishers in rafts on the Goulburn, and the raft just feels right to him. It also helps that he knows the fish by name, something I can say is true, given his lifetime of experience fishing the Goulburn River.
SAMMY is small and perfect for single angler bookings, although he can accommodate two if required. He sports a custom made steel (speed rail) rowing frame and proper wooden oars, making him safer than most of the other rafts you see getting about the rivers of Australia.
Geoff is now available most days for both bank and boat sessions in the Alexandra/Thornton/Marysville area. He also conducts customised trips to north east Victoria and the Snowy Mountains, where he has spent many of the best years of his life chasing trout in wild places pre-Instagram and Facebook. Actually pre the moon landings and the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Geoff is also well-read, a student of history, and a political animal. He is an excellent companion both on and off the water.
If you wish to book him, please phone me on 03 5773 2513 for the hook up and I’ll do the rest.
Oh yeah. And Geoff doesn’t do email or texts either. The proud owner of a ‘non-smart phone’, he has unreservedly told me that I can screen all his calls and do all that techy stuff that he hasn’t got time for because he lives in the real world.
It’s great to have him back on staff.