Lonely grandfather heads out on dream fishing trip after Gumtree plea

The lonely Adelaide grandfather, who was inundated with offers after appealing for a new fishing buddy online, had his wish come true.

Widower Ray Johnstone was flown to Queensland to fish with Mati Batsinalis and his brother Pete.

At the age of 75, Mr Johnstone went on his first flight before heading out to fish off Stradbroke Island on Tuesday.

Ray Johnstone and Mati Batsinalis. Source: Facebook
Ray Johnstone and Mati Batsinalis. Source: Facebook
It was an early start for the Batsinalis boys and Ray Johnstone. Source: 7 News
It was an early start for the Batsinalis boys and Ray Johnstone. Source: 7 News

“It’s been good today, caught a few whiting, a couple of other little ones,” Mr Johnstone said.

Ray captured the hearts of the nation when his Gumtree advertisement for a fishing friend went viral.

The lonely widower said his old fishing pal had sadly died, leaving him alone which “isn’t much fun”.

The Batsinalis brothers took Ray out fishing off Stradbroke Island. Source: 7 News
The Batsinalis brothers took Ray out fishing off Stradbroke Island. Source: 7 News

The Batsinalis brothers were two of the thousands of people who offered to help get Mr Johnstone back out on the water.

“It’s not just about the fishing,” Mati Batsinalis said.

“It’s about relaxing, giving Ray a good time and that full Queensland experience.

“It’s about giving back to someone, something I can help with.”

Ray with a catch. Source: 7 News
Ray with a catch. Source: 7 News

The 75-year-old said he never imagined his post would lead him to Queensland, but thanked everyone for the assistance – especially the Batsinalis boys.

“I’d like to thank you for everything you’ve done, I really appreciate it,” he said.

While Ray didn’t finish the day with a big one, he hooked some friends for life.

Ray with the Batsinalis family. Source: Facebook
Ray with the Batsinalis family. Source: Facebook

“I think he’s going to go back with a few extra kilos,” Mati Batsinalis joked.

“My mum came over and she’s cooking us some food.”

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