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February 24, 2013 / viewsfromasmallisland

Men Fishing On A Sunday Afternoon

Men Fishing On A Sunday Afternoon

Now I think this photograph could not have been taken anywhere but the UK.  Perhaps those of you from outside these lovely islands can correct me if I’m wrong.  I confess to being completely puzzled by the attraction of fishing but I know many who love it.  I’ve always thought of it as a thoroughly miserable way to enjoy yourself .  I can understand fishing to catch something to eat but I am talking about match fishing.  This is where individuals fish in competition with each other and then throw all the fish back.  In fact it is usually prohibited by the owners of the fishing rights of the water to keep any fish caught.   What is the point?  Today, in a bitterly cold NE wind straight from Scandinavia,  all the fisherman looked frozen and thoroughly miserable.  Whenever I stop to chat, they always sound miserable.  This pass-time seems very British.  There is a certain stoicism involved.  It requires grit, determination, endless patience and an approach to life that says ‘I’m going to enjoy myself even if it kills me’, which in today’s temperatures it probably will.



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  1. disperser / Feb 25 2013 1:07 am

    I loved fishing. Still would, if I had the time. However . . .

    I prefer shore fishing to fishing from a boat. I do not like fishing with live bait. I do not want to handle the fish at all . . . so I fish with de-barbed hooks. Ideally, the fish jumps off the lure just before I have to lift it out of the water. However, if not, I can just twist the lure to free the fish, and I don’t even have to touch them.

    Were I to try and explain what I liked (and would likely enjoy now), it would go something like this.

    First, there is the equipment. The idea of casting something and retrieving it is not unlike many sports. It’s dynamic, requires some skill, and there are a number of ways to do it. The reels are intricate machinery, and keeping the line nice and orderly requires some skill. The choice of reel and pole dictate the kind of fishing you do, and there is enough variety to keep it interesting. Note: standing on the shore, line out on the water, waiting for a fish to strike is not really fishing in my book. It’s more like “trying to get something to eat”.

    Second, it’s the “working of the lure”. You are trying to elicit a strike response on a predator fish. It may not seem like much, but when successful, you are fooling mother nature herself (I hear that’snot nice, but she and I have a mutual respect, and try to leave each other alone – mostly).

    Third, it’s the surprise. You can’t see underwater (usually). So, it’s all done by feel. The initial bumps, the strike, the setting of the hook, the trying to bring the fish in without losing it or the lure.

    And lastly, you are outside, near water, and unless you are crazy, it’s nice weather.

    I can’t speak for the guys in the photo.

    • viewsfromasmallisland / Feb 25 2013 9:12 am

      Thanks for taking the time to give such a full response. I can understand all you say and the main point for me is the last one. In the UK, in winter, it is very rarely nice weather. It is very cold and almost always wet, (snow, sleet, rain), sometimes extremely cold and wet. Added to that, when I took this shot, there was a NE wind that could cut you in half. The idea of sitting almost motionless for hours outside in those conditions just doesn’t seem like fun.

      • disperser / Feb 25 2013 1:17 pm

        I have to agree with you there. However, . . .

        I have friends who ice-fish (that’s more like fishing through the ice, than fishing for ice). They laud the activity. With modern outer-wear, some hand warmers, and a bit of warm liquid (sometimes alcoholic liquid), they are toasty and cozy.

        Finally . . . it’s all in what one loves, and the perspective others get. The idea of someone taking pictures out there in very cold weather (almost wet, I hear), battling a NE wind that would cut you in half . . . why, some might look upon that activity as not being as attractive as one makes it sound.

      • viewsfromasmallisland / Feb 25 2013 8:26 pm

        I agree that each to their own. I have to confess though that it’s my two large dogs that motivate me to get out and about on a cold frosty day rather than the camera.

  2. andelieya 安德洌雅 (official) / Feb 25 2013 3:30 am

    Plenty of fishing and competitions here, too. But it is so much warmer. 🙂

    • viewsfromasmallisland / Feb 25 2013 10:06 am

      I think that is the big difference. When I took the photo it was 1C with a strong NE from Scandinavia. My face hurt with the cold.

  3. stanzebla / Feb 25 2013 10:40 am

    It could be in Normandy as well. Before the revolution in 1789 only the nobility had the right of fishing (and hunting) therefore every man started to fish (and hunt) and is still fishing (or hunting) these days. Every village has a small fishing pond which used to be in the 19th century the washing place. Those ponds are sometimes not much bigger than a puddle but there are men sitting on the old washing constructions and fishing. Strange is though, that they didn’t start to breed pigeons. Pigeon breeding used to be a privilege of the nobility as well.

    • viewsfromasmallisland / Feb 25 2013 12:13 pm

      I’d forgotten about Normandy; a part of the world I really love. It really feels like home to Brits, though not so cold. I know alot of Brits like to visit Normandy for the fishing. It must be all that shared ancestry.

  4. mk / Feb 26 2013 5:22 pm

    Maybe it’s because I live in a warm sunny place (southern California) but this seems like a truly miserable way to spend the day. Especially if you’re a fish.

    Imagine a tribe of aliens catching humans for sport, and then throwing us back. How would the competition be scored? Fattest? Most attractive? Fought the hardest?

    • viewsfromasmallisland / Feb 26 2013 7:42 pm

      I don’t live in a warm sunny place and this still seems a miserable way to spend the day. I envy you that Californian sunshine at the moment. It is so cold and grey in the UK. Spring can’t be far away I hope.

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