Last August I wrote a piece on this site concerning the Barclays Bank Sea Angling match that I have competed in every year since 1984.
You can read more about that event by going to the “Gone Fishing” link on the wittily named (not by me, alas!) “Blog-roll” on the right hand side towards the top of the page.
What you won’t find mentioned are the intensely sparkling and philosophical conversations that my colleagues and I enjoy after a long night on Guinness and Jack Daniels or similar!
Specifically, you won’t read about the lengthy conversation 4 of us had in the bar of a small hotel in Broadstairs, Kent in late November 1994.
The barman had gone off to bed having enabled us to purchase what he considered were sufficient beers to keep us going all night. We had finished those and were well into our own personal supplies – the half bottles of Whisky that we kept in our tackle boxes “for medicinal purposes”!
So, you’ll have got the idea that we were pretty well-oiled bearing in mind that we had to be up in about five hours to go and fish a match, and I don’t remember how the subject came up.
It concerned, to put it delicately, the anatomy of the digestive tract of a common species of flatfish!
Or, as my friend Mike J rather less delicately put it, “Where exactly IS a Dab’s arsehole?”
With round bodied fish such as the Cod, Whiting and particularly the common or garden Pouting one is left in no doubt – hold them a bit too tight and they’ll very obviously poo all over you!
The Dab (like it’s close relatives the Flounder and the Plaice) is rather different – it has gill flaps top and bottom, a sideways–on mouth at the front and a continuous fin running along the edges all the way to the tail, apparently leaving nowhere for the orifice in question.
And yet, we argued, they must have one otherwise they’d explode from all those fishing baits of mine they manage to eat without getting caught!
Please don’t think I’m going to give you an answer – we don’t really want to know because if we found out we’d never be able to talk about it again. And if any of us catch a Dab we studiously refrain from looking for the same reason.
“So why are you wasting our time telling us about it?” I hear you ask.
Well, it seemed to me a not wholly inappropriate way to introduce a thought I had while driving back down the A1 after a visit to my daughter in Carlisle last weekend.
As a sedate middle-aged driver of a Citroen Picasso who hardly ever exceeds 85 mph even to get out of trouble or impending congestion, I was struck (not literally I’m pleased to say) by the number of absolute MANIACS aggresively driving BMW “3 series” (company) cars at ludicrously high speeds on a Sunday afternoon!
And that’s when the thing about the fish occurred to me.
Because, you see, with the exception of the Dab which remains a mystery, just about every animal in nature has it’s arsehole at the back.
The BMW “3 series”, however, has evolved with an arsehole in the front!