Australian widower finds perfect catch after ad goes viral

A widowed man who posted an ad admitting he was lonely and wanted someone to go fishing with online has been inundated with offers from across Australia.

Ray Johnstone, 75, has a passion for fishing, but he's been alone for several years and says that's resulted in him spending too much time on his own watching television instead of out on the water.

His deceased wife was who he'd frequently go fishing with, and since her death he's been left relatively isolated, meaning he has no one to share his favourite pastime with.

"My name is Ray Johnstone. Australian. I'm a widowed pensioner who is looking for a fishing mate. My previous mate is now deceased," he wrote on the advert, which was posted on classified ads site Gumtree.

"I am a land-based fisherman. I have all the gear for all types of fish that is required for land-based fishing. 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, e.g. petrol, bait, and should you happen to own a boat, [I'm] willing to pay all ramp fees, but happy if you are also a land-based fisherman."

Little did he know, but Mr Johnstone's sad tale was to become a viral sensation, with more than 50,000 viewing his online plea.

Hundreds more were willing to do something about it too - and soon enough Mr Johnstone was flooded offers from Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales and Tasmania to accompany him on a fishing expedition.

A new hashtag, #IllFishWithRay, emerged from the story, and an online petition was also started to raise funds for a trip that'd see Mr Johnstone go snapper fishing on Australia's east coast.

9News has now revealed, however, that Mr Johnstone has officially accepted an offer to go fishing from someone "reasonably local".

When asked whether he'd made lots of friends through fishing, he replied no - but said that it seemed as though he now would be.