When I started this blog I boldly announced that it would deal with the (in my opinion) most important issues the world is facing today – Fishing (Why we do it, how to do it, and where to do it), Sausages (the good, the bad and the downright inedible) and Music (mainly for light relief from the other two weighty and imponderable topics).
Going back over the few posts that I’ve written thus far I realised that Sausages have not really been given the attention they deserve. I can only apologise for this and say that to be honest I’ve not been paying as much attention as perhaps I should to the pursuit of the Charcutiers art.
The original aim was to provide my fellow anglers with up to date intel on the best bangers for bankside breakfasting (hows that for some late-night alliteration?). The problem is that my recent trips to the river or pond have not involved any outdoor cooking. Partly because the cold weather means that my Trangia burner takes forever to get hot enough to work efficiently, and partly because I can’t bear to reel in my line for long enough to focus on the cooking. I know I could get some bite alarms but that smacks of cheating – the whole point of fishing with a sensitive quiver tip is to actually see it quiver. Having my back turned to the water and waiting for an electronic chirp seems somehow wrong to me.
This whole issue needs to be resolved though. I cannot help but feel that I’d enjoy the fishing more if the sausages featured more regularly. I’ve currently got my eye on a proper Trangia setup with windshields and all – this may be the breakthrough I’m in need of. At the moment I simply use the Trangia burner with a Honey Stove setup – nice and lightweight and relatively hassle free, although as I mentioned pretty crap when the temperature is nudging zero.
Anyway, on to other matters.
I’ve been reading with interest some articles on the Angling Trust website regarding the debate over the validity of the coarse angling Close Season. Several anglers of note have written short articles outlining their personal views on the subject and, as can be expected they range from the thoughtful and considered to the reactionary and bullish. If you have the time (and inclination) they make for interesting reading.
One subject that came up repeatedly in the articles was that of fish welfare. Obviously all the writers are squarely in the camp that ‘fish welfare is very important.’ No surprises there then. It’s something we hear so much and from virtually every angle that it’s become something of a mantra for those of us who spend our time trying to catch fish. A recent article in one of the Angling magazines stated that ‘as anglers, fish welfare ought to be our number one priority.’
Really? I thought that our number one priority was catching fish. If we were more concerned about fish welfare than we are with catching fish then surely we wouldn’t spend hundreds, if not thousands of pounds on tackle, bait, day tickets and the like, but instead would only ever visit the banks with the aim of improving the lot of the fish that swim between them.
The whole point of angling is to catch fish. The bit we get excited about is the fight. In other words, we derive our pleasure from the trapping of a creature and it’s subsequent struggle to get away. The dictionary defines ‘sadistic’ as deriving pleasure from inflicting pain, suffering, or humiliation on others.
Now I’m not about to suggest that fish can feel humiliated, but they clearly don’t like being hooked and then dragged across a river or lake. Surely that makes our enjoyment of our pastime just a little bit unsavoury?
To qualify this I should state that I’m perfectly happy with the idea of hunting and shooting animals for food. I’ll happily admit that I enjoy being out in the countryside either alone or in the company of others with the sole purpose of bagging some rabbits, pheasants or even wood pigeons which will eventually find their way into some kind of stew.
I’m also perfectly happy with the idea of catching fish for the same purpose. The issue arises when we talk about catching fish purely for the fun of it. Some of us (myself included) have a multitude of reasons for going fishing, most of which have nothing to do with catching fish. So the needs or desires that fishing satisfies could largely be met without the fish even knowing we’re there.
Equally I’m not suggesting that those who go fishing are raving barbarians or wannabe serial killers.
I just think we should be honest about what we do and why we do it – that’s all. I’m well aware that this whole post (apart from the bit about sausages) is almost certain to be a bit contentious, and that it doesn’t really offer any answers etc etc. I’d like to think it could be taken as it’s meant – purely observation and musing, hopefully stimulating discussion or thought.
If so, hoorah! If not, hey-ho, put the sausages on.