Elderly Australian man who placed online ad for fishing mate receives offers from around the world

Grandfather Ray Johnstone, 75, took to Gumtree on Jan 19 to find a fishing mate as his previous partner had died.
Grandfather Ray Johnstone, 75, took to Gumtree on Jan 19 to find a fishing mate as his previous partner had died.PHOTO: GUMTREE

An elderly man in Australia who advertised online for a fishing companion has reeled in more offers than he expected, boosted by a social media campaign.

Grandfather Ray Johnstone, 75, took to Gumtree on Jan 19 to find a "fishing mate" as his previous partner had died.

He wrote: "What I want is a fishing mate in a similar position to myself who also wants someone to go fishing with."

"I am willing to share all costs," he added.

Along with picturesque photographs of South Australia, Mr Johnstone, a widower, also displayed a sense of wry humour by referring to his condition as "used".

A social media campaign with the hastag #illfishwithray popularised his advertisement, which has chalked up more than 100,000 views on Friday (Feb 3).

Offers to fish with Mr Johnstone and messages of encouragement were awash on social media, with people around the world inviting him to fish with them.

One user tweeted: "Ray, if you're ever in my end of the world, it's a date."

Another extended the invitation all the way to Italy: "Ray get on a plane to the Italy i will be your fishing mate."

Besides charter boat offers for him and his grandson, Mr Johnstone has also received an offer from a carpenter to fly him and his grandson more than 1600km to Queensland for a two-day fishing trip off Stradbroke Island, reported the BBC.

For all the attention he has received, Mr Johnstone was baffled.

"I can't see how one simple little ad caused that many people to respond," he told the BBC.

"Maybe it's because I'm 75 years old."