I have a hobby!
I mean APART from writing all of this stuff! After all you can’t spend your entire life stuck in front of a computer screen typing madly now can you?
And from your point of view YOU don’t want to be sitting here all day, every day, reading what I type either, do you? After you’ve read this and caught up on all of the archives going back to February 2009 (but not before!) I’d like you to get out in the fresh air and do something active too!
I am an Angler. I like to catch fish. Modify that – I like to TRY to catch fish! More often than not the fish win by not getting caught!
There are, of course, different branches of Angling because there are drastically different environments in which to try to catch fish – so, for the uninitiated they are:
Sea Angling – self explanatory. For those who like to dip their tackle in freezing cold salt water (and what red-blooded male wouldn’t?) to bag the kind of fish that you could, in theory anyway, flog to your local Fish & Chip shop.
Coarse, or Freshwater, Angling. Using baits or lures to catch (largely inedible) species in lakes and rivers. This includes Carp fishing which is coarse fishing aimed at a specific species! It does NOT merit a separate heading although Carp specialists will try to tell you otherwise!
Fly fishing. Using elaborate constructs of silk and feather bound to a hook in order to fool “game” species such as Trout or Salmon into thinking that an edible insect has just landed softly on the surface just above their noses.
My preference (because I was brought up only ten miles from the east coast resort and port of Felixstowe in Suffolk) has always been Sea Angling but I do have to indulge in Coarse Angling to get my regular “fishing fix” now because I live in Peterborough which is about sixty miles from the nearest fishable bits of coast but only a few hundred yards from the River Nene.
At least that’s how it is now! Someday soon, when global warming knocks another couple of inches off the polar icecaps, Peterborough has every chance of becoming a seaport albeit a rather shallow one!
Apart from one event (which is to be the subject of a forthcoming article) and any “warm-ups” for it that my friends and I manage to squeeze in, my Sea Angling is, because of the remoteness of the coast, mostly done on holiday.
Looking back at the last thirty years I see that I first started taking fishing tackle on holiday with me when Faith and I went to Bournemouth in 1979 – that was because she had bought me (for the previous Christmas) a lightweight three piece 12 foot sea rod. The three pieces made stowing the rod in her Mini somewhat easier than my normal two piece 12-footer which would have had to stick out of the side window!
Since then, right up to and including my recent time off, I have taken a fishing rod with me on my holidays on all appropriate occasions.
I qualify that with the word “appropriate” for the following reasons:
1.Some years we did not have a seaside holiday and for some reason I’m just not interested in Coarse fishing when I’m away.
2.Some years we didn’t have a holiday at all.
3.On at least two occasions we were on holiday with other people, none of whom were interested in fishing and to go off on my own would have been anti-social.
4.In 1980 Faith and I were in Crete and I’m sure the fishing would have been great BUT we were on our honeymoon and I REALLY don’t think we would have stayed married for nearly thirty years if I’d trotted off by myself down to the rocks by the beach every evening of THAT week– do you?
Still, even with those qualifications I have managed to “holiday fish” in the following list of UK counties:
And a number of resorts in the following foreign locations:
Guernsey, Channel Islands
Jersey, Channel Islands
Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain
Majorca, Balearic Islands, Spain
Minorca, Balearic Islands, Spain
I haven’t always used the rod that Faith bought me – it is way too big to fit in a suitcase for the overseas trips. Instead I take a telescopic heavy duty freshwater rod and use it for float fishing or spinning.
The BIG problem with fishing on a beach, even if you leave it (as I do) until late in the evening, is the number of people who stroll along and insist on engaging in a conversation that ALWAYS begins with the words “Have you caught anything yet?”
There are only so many times that you feel you can stop what you’re doing and tell them, “No. I’ve only just started!” even after you’ve been going an hour or two.
I know a guy who got so fed up with these constant interruptions that he had a t-shirt made with the following words printed on the back:
“No, I haven’t f**king caught anything yet! Thank you SO much for asking!”
I empathise with that completely!
Of course there is another very good reason why such questioning tends to become rather galling!
The above list represents approximately twenty years of holidays altogether and in all that time and in all those places I HAVEN’T YET CAUGHT ANYTHING!! Nothing whatsoever! I have tried everything I can think of for bait (including salami slices from a hotel buffet smuggled out in a paper tissue in the pocket of my shorts!) but when I’m fishing on holiday – nothing wants to know!
It is probably because I know I’m not there to put food in the freezer or win a competition and I’m not really trying THAT hard to catch anything but just once it would be nice if the bloody fish just let me know they were there!
When I got back to our Bed & Breakfast place in Aldeburgh last week after another abortive session and Faith asked me how I’d got on, I replied in the manner of the disclaimer you see at the end of films and TV programmes.
“No fish were harmed during the making of this holiday!”