SOMETHING FISHY

My son went fishing yesterday.

He went with a friend, all socially distanced of course, all legal; rod licence, day ticket, two fish take away.

I confess I didn’t think he’d need the latter permission. My memories of fishing were of hours of tedium as you sat there not catching anything, getting bitten by midges, getting soaking wet or sunburned. If you ever did get ‘lucky’ the boredom was punctuated by flashing moments of; how do I get the hook out of this thing, how do I not get bitten (Pike), cut, (Perch) by this thing and then releasing it back into the water without drowning myself.

Nothing we caught was edible – I fished in the canal and grotty ponds, no fly fishing or expensive clean fast flowing spinning rivers for me. This was the 1960s and early 70s and waterways were mostly cheap waste disposal systems for industry farms and local yobs of all ages. Water management was barely acknowledged as an issue. So lead, mercury and sewage were some of the less harmful additives to the diet of most ‘freshwater’ fish in many parts of the UK.

So when he came back with his allotted Rainbow Trout I was impressed, proud and, at ten o’clock at night, not a little exercised by having to remember how to descale, gut and fillet a trout. I had done it (okay we got some brown trout out of clear streams in the hills occasionally) but when I thought about it, the last time I had cleaned and cooked a fish fresh out of the water was about 40 years ago. Now fish haven’t changed but my memory, dexterity and patience have.

However, he’d done his bit, now I had mine to do. I was sort of hoping for a father son moment where I showed him how to deal with what he had brought home. The mighty hunter however had (and I apologise for this) other fish to fry. So off to the PS4 he strode leaving me clutching one slippery piscine trophy staring most accusingly at me in a dead, vacant sort of a manner.

The upshot is we now have a couple of trout fillets in the refrigerator ready for cooking, when he arises. I confess I have seen neater bits of filleting. I’ve done neater bits of filleting, but for a late night stab (I’m sorry about this) at a half remembered skill, not bad. I hope. Of course the proof of the pudding will be in the eating. I’m recommending caution as we eat. Read the small print on the packet about some bones may remain.

At the moment he is full of enthusiasm for fishing and he has plans to be a regular. I’m wondering if we should perhaps engage in a few more trial runs before major investments. Initial enthusiasms do have a habit of wearing off. On the other hand, if it takes I guess there are worse ways of spending hours outdoors getting wet and sunburned.

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