After losing the friend who always went fishing with him, Ray Johnstone, aged 75, posted an advert for a fishing buddy. Ray had always gone fishing with a friend, and felt very lonely going on his own. He wanted to go with someone who felt similarly to fishing as he did, but he got an adventure he never expected!
Mati Batsinilas, 22, from Brisbane replied to the advert and took Ray out on a trip. He offered to take Ray on a fishing trip in Queensland, and flew him there for an all expenses paid trip.
Mati says that the weather was perfect, but the most rewarding part was to see Ray smiling and happy. Ray was beaming as they boarded Mati’s boat and set sail. The pair took numerous pictures of themselves, including one of Mati’s entire family with Ray. They managed to land a large amount of massive whiting on their trip.
“When I read it I thought it was a heartbreaking story so I commented on it, but I never thought it would ever get to Ray,” Mati said. “When I woke in the morning after posting the comment it had 1,600 likes and more than 500 messages in my mailbox on Facebook.”
“Everyone was trying to get Ray and I hooked up together to do this trip.”
“I offered him a holiday away — and not just for fishing, but to get away and relax,” he continued. “I said from the beginning to Ray that we would get there and that I would commit to it and do it.”
Ray, who was a toolmaker and quality control officer, offered to pay all the costs for ramp fees if they needed a boat. He also was prepared to split petrol costs with his new mate. The great grandfather left all his contact details for people to reply to his advert.
“What I want is a fishing mate in a similar position to myself who also wants someone to go fishing with,” Ray wrote.
Ray posted a reply to his advert, thanking the public for their kind words and thoughts on his advert.
“I just want to thank everyone for their kind words and remind you all that this was a family effort, not just mine,” he wrote.
The fishing buddies had such a good time that they have already organised a second outing, and Mati is hoping to take Ray four wheel driving to catch beachworms!
“It’s so good to see him smile.”
“The feedback has been unreal and the support from everyone has been phenomenal.”