When Geoff Maynard, the editor,(Sir to me!) asked if I was interested in writing an article on fish, native to England, that are now found in Australia, I thought about it for ten seconds and then said 'YES'. As a Pommie with dual nationality, now resident in Aussie, any chance of writing on my favourite subject - FISH - and especially Pommie Fish, was too good to refuse!

Several species of Pommie Fish were brought 'down under' last century and have not only survived, but flourished. Most are roundly hated by Australians, who judge most finny creatures by their eating qualities. Needless to say, muddy old coarse fish don't exactly tickle the palate, unless one of the many bones sticks half way down your gullet. (Good Heavens, that almost rhymed!) Fortunately there are now several fishing broadcasters on TV promoting the return of fish to the water, one even kisses them goodbye! I don't know what his wife thinks of this practice, but I wouldn't think she's too amused. Consequently fishing purely for sport is beginning to become more popular.

But as most Aussies live on the extensive coast of their country and as most large rivers are distant, fishing is mainly confined to angling for sea-fish. Incidentally, if you like this branch of the sport, Australia offers marvellous opportunities, with great weather and spectacular scenery, as well as a large variety of really big fish. Perhaps I should start a travel agency for jaded Poms!

The Department of Fisheries and local tourism groups do promote fresh water fishing but mainly for the native species which include - silver and golden perch, Murray cod (which grow huge) and in northern regions, the famous barramundi.

Pommie Fish are found mainly in the state of Victoria and this is where most of the action is for die-hard, nostalgic ex-poms. I presume the reason these fish occur mainly in the above state has nothing to do with them respecting state boundaries, but is simply because that was where they were introduced!! Northern Australia is too warm for them anyway, but Victoria is ideal. (Victoria is also home to my step-daughter, who is a Member of Parliament there, but I don't expect you want to know that. Hard luck 'cause you now do.) In this most fortunate of states are found - roach, tench, perch (called redfin over here to distinguish them from native perch), carp and eels. As I wrote earlier, Pommie fish aren't popular, but carp are public enemy No.1.

Carp occur in all the southern states and are blamed for wrecking the rivers. The farmers and authorities have convinced the public that the shocking state of Aussie waterways is due to the poor old carp destroying the river-banks and muddying the water. They are also blamed for drastically reducing the numbers of native fish. Of course, if you point out that the carp didn't cut down all the huge gum trees that lived along the water's edge and which stopped erosion and run-off of huge quantities of top-soil, they don't want to know. And, if you also point out that these gums kept the water-table down, which in turn stopped the salinity level of the rivers from rising - they still don't want to know! More care and management is at last being given to the waterways, but the carp still cops most of the blame. The other species of Pommie fish are tolerated to some extent, but they are still not popular.

To gain more information for this article I looked up 'coarse fishing in Australia' on the Internet. I found that the Melbourne Coarse Anglers' Club was the largest of the groups fishing for Pommie fish down under. There are other clubs, both in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia, and possibly elsewhere, but this is the biggest and most successful of them. These clubs are under the umbrella (appropriate word for Pommie fishing) of the Australian Federation of Coarse Anglers. The Melbourne Club was formed in 1986 by expatriate Poms who were homesick for Pommie fishing. As Australia is such a competitive country, they were keen, right from the outset, to compete in international events, and in 1992, a member of the club, David Wesson, at 21 years old, became the youngest ever World Champion, the first time the title had been won by a Non-European! I have been told that David now resides in England and makes his living from fishing and sponsorship deals.

The Melbourne Club holds regular competitions, with outings twice a month on Sundays. These events have similar rules to Pommie competitions and take place on local rivers and lakes. I think Pommie anglers would be impressed with the fishing available, particularly in Victoria. As you can see from the photographs, there are some nice fish to be taken here. What about the goldfish? I reckon he must be a world-beater, perhaps you should stock them in English venues! Pommie fish grow pretty big in Australia and if any Pommies fancy a trip to Victoria they would be greeted with true Aussie hospitality by club members. Could they please bring some up to date tackle with them as with the healthy Pound Sterling and the decidedly unhealthy Australian Dollar, it is very expensive over here if it is available at all.

The Internet has made a huge difference to acquiring information on many subjects, including angling, and the coarse anglers over here have their own club and national sites on the Net. They can also access great sites like this one, which keeps them abreast of developments, and keeps them in touch with fellow anglers around the world. The only downside with me is that when I see articles on places that I used to fish in the old country, I become very homesick and nostalgic, but Australia is a great place and I quickly cheer up - remind me to tell you about the trout fishing some time!

I am indebted to Alan Dobbs and Dave Granger of Melbourne Coarse Anglers for much of the information and all of the photographs - Thanks Guys!