Fishing in Danger Zones

mine sweep

U.S. Army photo of a land mine sweep by Spc. Derek Gaines, via Wikimedia Commons

It should come as no surprise that some of the most troubled places in the world have excellent fishing. While we worry about civil war, piracy and nuclear radiation, the fish thrive on neglect. Dominic Garnett looks at some of the most dangerous fishing spots in the world, and what swims there.



Lake Band-e-Amir by Carl Montgomery

Would you go fishing in the Bamiyan area of Afghanistan, where the local landmarks include the City of Screams (Shahr-e Gholghola), the Blood Fort (Shahr-e Zohak) and Dragon Valley (Darya-e Adjahar)? In 2015, parts of Afghanistan were relatively safe, allowing one of Forbes Fly Tying’s intrepid bloggers to dodge the landmines to try his luck there.

For a desert country, Afghanistan has a surprising amount of water. Among the mountains, you’ll find Jurassic lakes and fast rivers, many of which contain trout. There are also snow trout in the mountain springs, which local people catch using handlines, explosives, and even the occasional rocket propelled grenade.

West Hawaii


Lava flowing into the sea in Hawaii. Image courtesy of USGS via Wikimedia Commons

Anyone who fancies spicing-up their angling experience by dodging molten lava while they fish, will find West Hawaii a red-hot spot. With some of the most active volcanoes on the planet, the warm coastal waters there are incredibly fertile.

Anyone mad enough to wet a line In West Hawaii will find a cornucopia of species there, from colourful oddities, to the likes of bonefish, barracuda and snapper. Just get ready to run or swim if you hear a rumble.



Fishing from the beach in Namibia
Image source: Shutterstock

The coast of Namibia offers some of the most spectacular shark fishing on earth. A nation once blighted by apartheid, poverty and war, thankfully, the political situation is less perilous now.

You’ll still have to keep your wits about you though, not least because of the searing heat of the sun, and the huge variety of hungry sharks there.



Radioactive waters surrounding the Chernobyl power plant.
Image courtesy of Carlwillis via: Wikimedia Commons

Big fish including including wels and sturgeon dwell in the bleak industrial waters of Chernobyl in the former Soviet Union. But what happens to the fish when man-made catastrophe renders waters radioactive?

There are rumours of, and actual captures of strange mutants, like the catfish Jeremy Wade landed in River Monsters. And there are also hordes of zander, thriving due to the lack of human inhabitants. Just don’t hang around for too long: visitors must adhere to strict time limits to avoid overexposure to radioactivity.

Northern Norway and Iceland

ice fishing

Arctic conditions can be life-threatening. Image courtesy of Dom Garnett

If it’s extreme fishing weather you crave, rather than war zones, volcanoes or toxic death traps, Northern Norway and Iceland have some truly wild conditions and remote places to fish.

You wouldn’t want to be caught in an avalanche or freeze to death in a blizzard, but if you do survive the howling winds and freezing temperatures, there’s some unreal arctic char fishing in the mountains of the North. It’s treacherous territory, so a guide is essential, as is a giant corkscrew drill to get through the ice.



Keep your wits about you, wherever you are. Image courtesy of Dom Garnett

We’re not joking. In terms of the annual number of fatalities, the risk of drowning makes fishing the UK’s most dangerous sport. And natural hazards aside, how many of you would consider fishing in the one of the tastier parts of London or Liverpool in the early hours of the morning?

Some of the areas of the country that get the worst press are in fact very friendly and have surprisingly good fishing; Birmingham, Glasgow and Plymouth are some of the best examples. Nevertheless, there are plenty of spots where you do have to keep your wits about you.

Fishing tips for risky places

  • Preparation is everything. A lack of drinking water or extremes of hot and cold are the biggest threats to your safety.
  • If you’re fishing abroad, a local guide always makes sense. He or she will be aware of the risks, and is your best chance of staying safe.
  • Don’t fish risky areas with fancy tackle or too much gear. Expensive kit left around will catch unwanted attention. Keep your tackle simple and be prepared to move quickly should you feel threatened.
  • One of the biggest dangers for anglers is to get too absorbed in the fishing. Always keep your wits about you, keep an eye on others, and anticipate what the weather is doing. Follow your gut instinct and listen to warnings the first time.
  • Always keep your phone and other essentials safe and close to hand. Pack a first-aid kit and keep an emergency bag of supplies. Mine always contains ID, antiseptic hand gel, a bottle of clean water, spare socks, a few calories and sunblock.

Further fishing adventures…

Casting a line from Arctic Norway to the streets of Manhattan, Dom Garnett’s most recent book “Crooked Lines” is packed with a host of great fishing stories, original illustrations, and features a foreword by Matt Hayes.  Order your copy for just £9.99 or as a £4.99 e-book at Amazon UK.

Top Five Water-loving Dogs

man and dog

Some dogs love a day’s fishing almost as much as their owners
Image source: Shutterstock

Some dogs have an innate love of water and, with patience, can be trained to be excellent fishing companions…and there are other mutts, incredibly annoying four legged fur balls whose presence on the riverbank is a blight on your day.

If you like a hound for company, here are five breeds which, with the right instruction, will enjoy a day’s fishing without driving you and your fellow anglers to distraction.

1. Standard Poodle


Poodles love to play in the water
Image source: Shutterstock

Originally bred to retrieve waterfowl, the poodle gets its name from the German word pudeln, “to splash in water.” Poodles are still used as hunting and retrieving dogs, their famous “poodle cut”, an 18th century invention designed to make them more buoyant.

Standard Poodles love to impress their human families and get along well with children and other dogs. Intelligent animals, they’re protective, love to be trained, and often excel at dog sports.

2. Newfoundland


Newfoundlands are extremely strong swimmers and can withstand cold water
Credit: Jeremy Tarling. Image source: Creative Commons

A big-hearted dog that’s gentle, protective and loves children, Newfoundlands also have an affinity with water that makes them excellent angling companions.

In J.M.Barrie’s Peter Pan, ‘Nana’ is the Newfoundland employed by the Darling family to look after the children. In reality, Newfoundlands were a tough working dog bred to help fishermen by hauling nets, towing mooring lines and moving loads by cart.

With their double-layered coat, webbed feet and immense strength, Newfoundlands are superb swimmers which are also known for their courage and determination. One Newfoundland called Whizz was recently posthumously awarded an OBE for saving the lives of nine people during its lifetime.

3. Portuguese Water Dog

water dog

Bo, the Obamas’ family dog outside the White House
Image source: Flickr Wikimedia

Remember Bo and Sunny, the Obamas’ White House pets? Portuguese Water Dogs weren’t originally bred for high office, but for herding shoals of fish into nets.

Portuguese Water Dogs also retrieved lost fishing gear and acted as boat-to-boat couriers, carrying messages between fishermen.

Closely related to the standard poodle, this intelligent breed has webbed toes for swimming, strong legs and a wavy coat that repels water. Portuguese Water Dogs are content to stay close to their masters and can be trained to follow complex commands.

4. Labrador Retriever


Labrador Retrievers love to swim
Image source: Wikimedia creative commons

The modern Labrador Retriever is a descendent of the St John’s Water Dog, a Newfoundland breed famous for its swimming and retrieval abilities. Benefiting from a dense coat that repels water and keeps it warm, the modern Labrador is the UK’s most popular family dog.

A Labrador’s soft mouth means it can be trained to retrieve fowl and fish, and because it’s intuitive and responsive to body language and hand signals, giving your Lab’ orders needn’t disturb your fellow anglers.

Labradors can sometimes be very intense around water, but you can avoid this by beginning their water training while they’re young.

5. English Setter

english setter

A loyal English Setter will even help to carry your tackle
Image source:

English Setters were originally bred as bird dogs to point and retrieve game on English moors. Known for being affectionate, gentle, intelligent and social, they excel at a wide variety of tasks including pointing, retrieving and tracking.

These beautiful water-loving dogs mellow from about the age of three years and love human company. In fact, even more than most dogs, English Setters need to be with people and part of their owners’ daily lives.

An ideal dog for those looking for companionship and affection, your English Setter will love you even if you never catch a thing.

How to Make a Living out of Fishing

dominic garnett, professional angler

Could you cut it as a pro angler?

Ever considered turning your favourite pastime into a job? Fishing author and guide Dom Garnett presents a realistic rough guide to making your living from angling.

The good news is, there have never been more opportunities to make money from fishing, just don’t expect it to be easy because the sector has never been more competitive.

Here’s some advice to get you started.

What can you offer?

dominic garnett with big fish

You will need to be a passionate, competent angler to earn. Eye-opening catches can help, but the “professional big fish angler” is a complete myth!

Forget the myth of the “sponsored angler”, the guy who gets paid just to go fishing. If only it was that simple. You’re only going to make money from fishing by providing something that others want.

Professional angling isn’t just about catching big fish. A much better starting point is to ask: “What can I give to angling as a sport?”

Perhaps you take a great picture or can tell a great story. Do you have design or creative skills? Are you a dab hand with social media or digital marketing? Or maybe you have a deep understanding of the environment.

Guiding & Coaching

dominic garnett, fishing guide, with an angler

Guiding and coaching are the most realistic ways to earn from angling.

The most realistic and achievable way of making an income from angling is to take others fishing, by which I mean becoming a guide, gillie, skipper or coach.

Folks who teach others to cast a fly, who can charter a boat or who can provide some other direct service can all generate an income of some kind. But remember, guiding is not about going fishing yourself, but putting others first.

Get qualified. Schemes run by bodies like the Angling Trust are excellent, and fishing clubs also offer events and pathways to training. Gaining a recognised qualification puts you above board with first aid and insurance, and learning to be a better teacher means you’ll be able to give your guests a great experience.

Most guides specialise. Perhaps you live near some top class barbel fishing, or live in an area with lots of fly fishing. Or maybe you have a specialist skill and can share it with others. Many professionals attach themselves to a venue like a fishery or hotel, while others, from pike specialists to sea fishing experts, are more mobile. Work out what your strengths are and play to them.

I also know a few angling pros who make their living from coaching kids, a task that takes patience and paperwork, but what a wonderful calling.


angling magazines

Various magazines will take articles, but you need quality and determination.

Articles and books have been my mainstay for ten years. Writing about fishing is not brilliantly paid, but there remains a decent market for it. The magazines and weeklies thrive on content provided by anglers like you.

The key to success as a writer is to compose good quality articles and get them to the right people. Print titles tend to be the way to go to get paid. Many websites don’t pay at all or offer a pittance, although they can still be very useful for getting your work out there.

You must always think of your target audience, remembering to adapt and tailor your work to different styles and formats. Editors want to hear from you, but they’ll be off-put by dodgy English or material that’s a headache to work with.

If you’re new to the game, be prepared to be rejected. The vast majority of us have the ability to write, but it’s a craft that must be honed. Organise your articles so that each is clear, logical and free of glaring errors. Come up with a strong title and a punchy opening sentence, pay attention to word count and always check your work.

Getting friends to read and critique your output is always helpful. Choose those who’ll highlight your mistakes and provide honest feedback. Give your work a fair chance by taking pride in it, or an editor might simply reject it without saying why.

Finally, do also pay close attention to your photography. Even the best-written piece won’t be accepted if it doesn’t have decent pictures. A really arresting main image can sell your work every bit as well as a great headline.


fishing and blogging

If you love to fish and love to write, blogging could be a good start

Blogging is huge and though it’s difficult to make money directly from blog posts, I can’t stress how important this skill is. Tweets and Facebook posts become ancient history incredibly quickly, whereas popular blog posts can remain popular for years and show up on search results far better than do social media pages.

In today’s digital world, we’re invisible without an online presence. A blog puts you out there and gives you the freedom to talk about whatever you like, enabling you to build a relationship with readers and customers. Whether you’re a guide, a writer, a bait company or a photographer, your blog tells your story and engages with the people who use your services.

And don’t forget professional blogging. There are a huge number of companies and organisations now hiring bloggers, and the fishing world is quickly following suit. Well, you’re reading this aren’t you?

Fishing Books & E-Books

crooked lines by dominic garnett

Crooked Lines is my fifth book; but it has taken many years to develop my craft and build up a readership.

If words are truly your thing, the biggest single chunk of income you can make from writing about fishing is to produce a book; a daunting task and a subject in its own right. Suffice to say, you need a strong idea and a lot of willpower to make this happen.

I strongly believe the old saying that we all have a book in us. But the key to the success of any fishing book is how many readers it will appeal to. Whether it’s a great page-turning read or an insight into a special area of expertise, you need a solid theme and something compelling to capture the reader’s attention.

The most obvious route for the would-be-author is to try and get a publisher interested. Afterall, writing the text is only half the battle with any book. Design, layout, proofreading and marketing are just some of the other tasks you would otherwise have to take care of yourself.

Self-publishing is another option, but a major book project can be a nightmare without specialist knowledge and support. That said, if you do have an audience, along with the right skills and connections, you then have the advantage that you retain editorial control and keep more of the profits.

Last but by no means least, I should also mention ebooks. Kindle edition fishing books are still not vast in range, but times are changing and they do sell. You won’t get as many illustrations in a download and the writing has to really stand up to scrutiny, but ebooks can be great little earners. Once you’ve uploaded your book there are no printing costs, storage or overheads to consider either.

Both of my own ebooks, Crooked Lines and Tangles with Pike sell at a nice steady trickle all year round and interestingly, those who enjoy the Kindle edition quite often buy the “real” hard copy after reading the digital version. Above all though, ebooks are an exciting and underexploited area. Why not be one of the pioneers and give it a try?

Sponsorships and Angling Companies

dominic garnett's flies

Ever had an idea for a new product? I had many ideas rejected, before Turrall began producing my various flies for coarse species.

Many anglers seem to believe that being sponsored is the easiest route to a career in fishing. Sadly, this is seldom true. There are, admittedly, a heck of a lot of sponsored anglers out there, but most get free kit and bait rather than a salary. But seeing as most landlords don’t accept boilies or lures in lieu of rent, how might you go about getting a proper paid role?

If you have specialist knowledge or business skills, a job with a tackle company is the obvious route to take. Do bear in mind though that these days, companies are looking for all-rounders and not just those who can catch big fish or make a sale.

There is also the possibility to endorse or design products for a commission. Again, not easy but possible if you have an idea with sales potential and a company willing to listen.

Digital marketing is hugely important now, and lots of companies are looking for people who can provide films, blogs and other digital media. The trick, as always, is to identify a need, then tailor your products and services to meet it. Be warned though, the tackle world can bite, so be careful, pick wisely, and if you have useful skills don’t give them away for nothing.

Film, TV Work & Talks

filming with NatGeo

My “lucky” break with National Geographic came after many rejected efforts.

Television is a very tough world to break into, but it never hurts to make contacts and ask questions. From the outside looking in, professional TV anglers appear lucky but most faced years of trial, error and rejection before getting any kind of break.

I shudder to think how many of my ideas and emails were ignored or rejected, but eventually I made progress. Not to stardom, but to appearances on Sky Sports and National Geographic, experiences that were lots of fun, paid money and helped my career.

Just like selling features and articles, you need something fresh to offer film and TV people. You also need to be able to handle rejection and keep going. Any practise you can get will serve you well, like making your own videos or giving talks and presentations. And if your videos get stacks of views on YouTube you might even make a small amount of advertising revenue.

Fisheries, Fishing Shops and the “Front Line”

There are a heck of a lot of jobs in the wider world that might not be “living the dream” but do mean getting closer to it! Those who run fisheries and tackle shops or who work in conservation or protecting the environment are all linked to the angling sector.

Realistically, the “superstar” angling celebrity is one in a hundred thousand, and the guy simply paid to go fishing is a myth. However, if you have passion and are prepared to work hard and give something to the sport there are many roles that might work out. I wish you the very best of luck.

Some Further Tips:

dominic garnett angling tips

It’s always good to have a niche; blurring the lines between fly and coarse fishing has definitely helped me to offer something different and enjoyable.

  • Identify your strengths. Ask yourself what you can contribute into the sport.
  • Get qualified.
  • Get insured.
  • Be licensed and above board at all times.
  • Never work for nothing. If you have a skill, don’t give it away for free.
  • Specialise. If you go down the big fish and PB route, you’ll be one of many. Do something original.
  • Be versatile. For most of us, the only way to make a reliable income is to juggle different roles and jobs.
  • Stay positive. Help others, serve the sport well and you will be helped in return.

Further Info:

You can read more on the highs and lows of a professional angler in Dom Garnett’s books and regular blog at

All images © Dominic Garnett.

Prehistoric fish and where to find them

Fossilised fish

Image: Shutterstock
A fossilised fish

Forget witches, wizards and suitcases full of fantastic beasts, the real world conjures up creatures so weird and wonderful they make your jaw drop. It’s from the oceans that the strangest of beings emerge, slimy and dripping; creatures that time forgot.

We’re talking prehistoric fish – swimmers that should be fossils. Here are some of the oddest and oldest fish ever found.


Image: Everything dinosaur Fearsome but thick

Image: Everything dinosaur
Fearsome but thick

For a long time the Coelacanth was thought to be extinct 66 million years ago, but then in 1938 a fisherman caught one off the coast of South Africa. Thought to be the sole surviving member of a species dating back 400 million years, more recent studies have shown that the coelacanth has many more relatives than scientists realised.

A true living fossil this fish measures 2 metres in length and is a predator that lives in the deeps surviving off smaller fish and even sharks.

Considered critically endangered, the Coelacanth is armour plated and has a mouthful of sharp teeth, but for all its fearsome appearance, this is a fish of very little brain; its brain space being made up of 98.5% fat.

Alligator Gar

Alligator gar

Image: Flickr / FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute
We’re not sure this alligator gar would fit on your plate

The 100 million year old Alligator Gar species can weigh in at a very substantial 300lbs, and it’s not for nothing that it’s called an alligator.

With its razor sharp teeth, jaws like a car crusher and a naturally aggressive personality, you’d want to be wearing reinforced waders if you ever landed one of these.

Found in the waterways of Texas and Florida, the locals say the Alligator Gar is good eating. We think we’ll take their word for it.


Image: Sawfish conservation society Their saw is more sensitive than it looks

Image: Sawfish conservation society
Their saw is more sensitive than it looks

A creature with its origins in the Eocene 56 million years ago, all species of sawfish are today classified as either endangered or critically endangered.

The sawfish is notable for its long spiny saw or ‘rostrum’, but what looks like a dangerous offensive weapon is also a very clever food-detecting device which, because it’s covered in thousands of tiny sensors, enables the sawfish to detect the movement of prey in the water.

Mind you, you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of a sawfish – a relative of the shark, this fish grows to 7 metres in length and will attack if provoked.

Frilled shark

Image: Sharksider Deep sea dwelling

Image: Sharksider
Deep sea dwelling

One bite from the frilled shark with its 300 teeth spread over 25 rows, and it’s game over for prey. One of the oddest looking fish we’ve ever seen, this denizen of the deep lives between 1000 and 5000 feet below the ocean waves.

Imagine how surprised commercial fishermen were when they caught one in waters off the coast of south eastern Victoria, Australia. At the time the fish, which evolved into its current form 80 million years ago, was thought to be the first live specimen ever seen. But in 2007, one was captured and transferred to a marine park in Japan, where it was filmed in captivity, though sadly it died within hours.

According to the Daily Mirror, a spokesman for the local fishing association commented that the catch was “Good for dentists, but it is a freaky thing. I don’t think you would want to show it to little children before they went to bed.”


Image: Trout Unlimited An endangered sturgeon

Image: Trout Unlimited (under cc licence
An endangered sturgeon

Anyone for caviar? A prehistoric fish hailing from the the Triassic period, 248 – 208 million years ago, perhaps we should have spent more time preserving the sturgeon rather than harvesting it for its eggs.

Thanks to pollution and overfishing, Sturgeon are now more endangered than any other species of fish. Large specimens are rare, though if you were to find one, it could be quite big – the largest ever catch was made in 1827, a female measuring 24 feet.

But unless something is done to protect sturgeon from the poachers, the fish is doomed in Europe. Our advice – stick to eating lumpfish caviar with your Champagne.

What tackle do you think would work best for catching prehistoric fish? Let us know on our Facebook page!

When Fish Bite Back

fisherman in boat with pike under water

Image source: Shutterstock
Pike are known to be fierce

British rivers and beaches are becoming filled with threats. Giant pike, venomous weevers and even great white sharks have all been encountered in our traditionally safe British waters. But how much of a threat do they really pose?

While we agree with Richard Peirce that British waters possess the right conditions and plenty of prey for White Sharks, to date there is no documented evidence (photos, video, teeth, carcass, etc) of their presence here. It could be a bit of a stretch to state “…White Sharks have been encountered in our traditionally safe British waters.

We’ve been finding out what happens when anglers (and other people) come face to face with fearsome fish who aren’t afraid to bite back. Here’s our roundup of piscatorial perils.


Blue shark in UK waters

Image source: Shutterstock
Blue sharks are one of 21 species that visit the UK

Did you know there are at least 21 species of shark in UK waters? Smaller species like the lesser spotted catshark are regularly sighted, while blue sharks and basking sharks prefer to visit in the summer months. Most encounters pose no threat to humans, but there have been occasions when sharks have bitten back.

Angler Hamish Currie was had a lucky escape when he landed a 7 foot Porbeagle shark. As he struggled to catch the giant fish, it lashed out and bit a hole in his steel capped boots!

The guys at aren’t surprised by the attack:

“…porbeagle sharks do not take kindly to being caught on rod and line, and most injuries sustained by people are when the shark is caught and brought on board a boat.”

The good news? Very few sharks pose a danger to humans. The Shark Trust tells us there have been no reports of unprovoked shark bites in UK waters since records began in 1847. They go on to say:

“With so many sharks in decline, we believe that shark encounters should be seen as a privilege rather than a cause for alarm.”

But there is one species of shark whose presence triggers more alarm than most. And it could be coming closer.

The Great White

Great white shark head

Image source: Shutterstock
The great white shark-coming to a coastline near you!

Cornish birdwatcher Brian Mellow is convinced that he saw a great white off Cornish coast last summer, when a wave crashed over the fish, revealing its profile. He told the Express:

“I’ve seen other sharks before and it wasn’t a basking shark, or a mako shark or a porbeagle.”

Commercial fishing boats and divers in Scottish waters have also spotted potential great whites. Witnesses include two divers who were circled by a very large shark that was much bigger than any porbeagle.

“We had no idea what it was, but we estimated it at 13ft to 14ft long. We had never seen a shark anywhere near that big. It made us very nervous. We got out of the water as quickly as we could,”

Could there really be great white sharks in UK waters? Richard Peirce, chairman of the Shark Trust, believes that British waters possess the right conditions and plenty of prey:

“The real surprise is that we don’t have an established white shark population, because conditions here mirror those in parts of South Africa, Australia and northern California. Research has shown that white sharks tolerate water temperatures in a range which would make British waters perfectly suitable for this species.”

Perhaps we’ll be seeing more sightings in coming years. The Suffolk Gazette’s shark attack parody story would have us think so!

Giant Pike

Angler in cap with pike falling out of hands

Image source:
The pike that bit back

In August 2016, coarse fishing blogger Andrew Black was injured when the large pike he caught decided to get its own back:

“I had caught a twenty and was doing a self-take- just as the camera clicked the pike flipped and I somehow caught it tail up / head down, just before it went ballistic and started to thrash around mouth open and clamped on my leg, ripping my trousers in the process!”

Water skier Daniel Blake was bitten on the foot by a pike while waiting for a boat on Llangorse lake in Wales. Llangorse is known for its giant pike and James Vincent of Britain Explorer believes that they may have inspired the mythical tales for which the lake is famed:

“It’s said to be the home of a mythical creature, Gorsey the afanc. Afanc is Welsh for lake monster”

Indeed, in 1846, an angler reported catching an enormous Pike weighing 68 Pounds (31kg) while fishing on the lake. It’s an unsubstantiated claim, but if true, this pike would still hold the worldwide record for the biggest pike ever caught.

But Pike don’t restrict themselves to attacking humans. In 2015 a huge Pike attacked a swan on an Irish lake. The attack was brutal, rupturing the swan’s eye and ripping its lower bill from its face, as well as tearing its throat. Gruesome.

Weever Fish

Weever fish in net

Image source: British Marine Life Study Society
Watch out for weever fish

In the summer of 2000, Jo Foster was walking through a metre of water on Crantock Beach near Newquay, when she suffered an excruciating sting. The culprit? A weever fish which left three puncture marks in her toe:

“The pain responded to hot water treatment, subsiding not immediately but after 20 minutes. However, the wound swelled up and 2 operations, the second requiring a 6 day stay in hospital”.

Alexandra Connolly endured a similar fate on a beach in Ireland when she waded into sea and suddenly felt like she’d been punched on the foot:

“While hyperventilating, my mind began trying to work out what had happened. I decided that I’d been stung by some creature with a nerve toxin venom and that I would soon begin to die.”

The pain subsided, but Alexandra had to take antibiotics for several weeks.

Weever fish are normally found on beaches in summer and are sometimes mistaken for small pouting or whiting. The fish uses its venomous fin spines to defend itself and capture prey.

Usually buried under the sandy seabed with just its dorsal fin visible, the weever’s sting is very painful. But the venom can be treated by bathing the affected area in the hottest water you can stand. Expect the wound to swell, and always seek medical advice.

Blood-sucking lampreys

Man holding lamprey

Image source: The Environment Agency
The lamprey is making a comeback

Fishing Tails blogger Sean McSeveny recoiled in horror when he landed a lamprey while fishing on the River Frome. But why was he so reluctant to handle this unusual fish?

To start with, lampreys look pretty terrifying. Growing up to a metre long, their permanently open mouths contain a disc of razor sharp teeth and a powerful sucker which they use to suck out their victim’s blood.

These prehistoric creatures have also been known to attack humans, so Seans’ comment of “this thing will give me nightmares” is understandable.

Record numbers of lampreys have recently been recorded in UK rivers. This might be concerning, but in fact it’s good news. Not only do they keep rivers healthy by processing vital nutrients, but their revival signals a huge improvement in water quality, which is good news for all species of fish.

But the boost in the lamprey population isn’t just down to cleaner rivers. The removal of man-made weirs, and the Environment Agency’s use of lamprey tiles have opened up 12,500 miles of English rivers, enabling fish to migrate much more smoothly. Lamprey tiles are inexpensive cones which help the fish to swim upstream using their sucker-like mouths as anchors. Fisheries expert Simon Toms is optimistic:

“Now that water quality has improved and some of these barriers have been removed we are seeing lampreys return to the upper reaches of rivers such as the Ouse, Trent, and Derwent, where they were absent as recently as 30 years ago.”

And if we still haven’t convinced you to look differently at these terrifying fish, there’s one final nugget of information that might persuade you. They make brilliant pike fishing bait. Andy Webster of Pike Angler explains how:

“Lamprey can be used whole or in sections. A neat tip is to use them almost whole with just the last inch cut off of the tail. This allows the blood to seep from the bait and leave a scent trail for the pike to follow.”

Lampreys are tough skinned and very bloody, making them perfect bait for pike.


Beach covered in razorfish shells

Image source: Shutterstock
Don’t put your feet near razorfish shells!

Razorfish are actually shellfish, named because their half shell resembles a cut-throat razor. They normally burrow 18 inches into the sand on the edge of the low-tide mark. Fish love them, and they make great bait, but expect pain if you step on one!

One of the worst recorded cases of razorfish injuries occurred on a Devon beach in 1998. 800 people cut themselves on the shells! 14 ambulances rushed to the scene and 30 victims were hospitalised. The experts from the British Marine Life Study Society explain why this unusual event took place:

“Razorshells live buried under the sand, but will rise to the surface of the sand to feed. Many of the Razorshells seem to have died during the heatwave leaving the sharp remains of the shell above the surface of the sand in the shallow water.”

It pays to check underfoot when you’re enjoying a summer beach holiday…

Have you experienced any fearsome fish attacks? Tell us your stories. Head over to our Facebook page and get posting.

Fishing Superstitions


Image: Maritime Museum

Image: Maritime Museum
There’s a long list of things NOT to do on a boat

Leave all your money at home. Never take bananas on board, and don’t mention the word ‘pig’. Generations of anglers have depended on beliefs like this to give them a sense of control over a powerful ocean.

Sea fishing is still one of the top five most dangerous jobs in the UK, which might explain why it remains steeped in superstition. We’ve plumbed the depths of the blogosphere and our Facebook page to discover some of the most famous.

From God to gore

Priest holding cross over bible

Image source: Shutterstock
Fishing is rife with religious superstitions

The familiar phrase “may God bless this ship and all who sail in her” may sound like a prayer, but the accompanying custom of smashing a bottle of wine over the bow of a new vessel has pagan origins. Experts at the Royal Museums in Greenwich tell us that launching ceremonies in the past were much more grisly than today’s, often involving human sacrifice:

“The Vikings, for instance, used to sacrifice a slave to win the favour of their sea god. But with the introduction of Christianity, this custom was dropped, and a goat was offered in the place of a slave.”

Christianity is also responsible for a raft of unlucky fishing dates. Superstitious? Then you should avoid fishing on Fridays, as it’s the day when Christ was crucified. The first Monday in April is also out of the question, as it’s believed to be the day when Cain killed his brother Abel. And never fish on December 31st, as it’s thought to be the date when Judas Iscariot hanged himself.

Even the clergy were considered to be unlucky. According to Morag Skene from The North East Folklore Archive (NEFA), if a fisherman passed a priest or “sky pilot” on the way to his boat, he’d either turn around and go back home, or risk impending doom.  Scottish blogger, Ian Kenn, elaborates:

“Once on board, even the mention of the word minister would have upset the spirits of the sea so if there were any references to vicars, priests, ministers or parsons it would have been done under the guise of something such as “the man wi’ the bleck coat.”

The fact that priests conducted funerals didn’t do much for their reputation as bringers of misfortune either.

Food and drink

Bunches on bananas

Image source: Shutterstock
Bananas are banned on board

Meals at sea were always accompanied by a side order of superstition. The saying, “pass salt, pass sorrow” stems from the belief that fishermen shouldn’t pass the salt cellar from one man to another without putting it on the table first. And even the humble loaf wasn’t immune, as Fishing Arts blogger, Stephen Friend, explains:

“Cutting bread and then turning the loaf upside down was said to anticipate the boat turning over and sinking.”

Bananas on board also brought bad luck. Steve Williams explains the background to this superstition on Facebook:

“Apparently donkeys years ago a cargo of bananas were being transported overseas and through bad weather the ship capsized and all people on board drowned. The only thing floating were bananas, that’s the old story.”

But is this just a story? Facebook follower Roger Tipple is convinced that bananas spell bad luck:

“I went pike fishing on a boat and near the end of the day I was blanking whereas my boat partner had a few good fish. I grabbed my food bag a saw the misses had packed me a banana which I slung away as soon as I saw it next thing I know I’m into a good fish which turned out to be 19.2 and the biggest fish of the day. Moral of the story DON’T TAKE A BANANA.”

Facebooker John Deans suggests a more logical explanation:

“The actual reason is bananas turn other fruits bad so all the sailors got scurvy. That’s why bananas shouldn’t be kept in the fruit bowl either.”

According to superstition, as well as being careful about what they ate, fishermen needed to be careful about how they ate. Stirring tea with a knife was strictly forbidden, and one should never cross one’s knives on the galley table!

On board

Trawler boat in stormy sea

Image source: Shutterstock
Could superstitions prevent storms?

The superstitions began before a trawlerman even set foot on his boat. In his book, SUPERSTITIONS: Folk Magic in Hull’s Fishing Community, Dr Alec Gill tells the story of six children in the Casey family, who helped dad Fred pack for his three-week trip. His own superstition meant that once something was put inside his bag, he couldn’t take it out or he’d never make it to sea:

“Eager little hands, innocently, dropped toys into his bag, and many a time Fred went off to Bear Island with a load of useless (and embarrassing) junk.”

And the superstitions followed fishermen on board. Upturning a hatch cover or sleeping on one’s stomach was also forbidden, as these actions could apparently cause the boat to turn over and sink. Superstitious fishermen never wore a watch on board either, nor did they take money to sea. Blogger Steve remembers:

“If they went to sea skint, they would have a good and successful trip. I can recall my grandfather talking about kids scrambling for money when the sailors threw their loose change into the air for the expectant and waiting children prior to setting sail.”

Facebook follower Rob Moore also recommends leaving one particular piece of equipment at home when you go fishing:

“Don’t bring the scales. Always blank when I bring the scales.”

Do you have any gear you think is cursed?


Golden figurehead carved on boat

Image source: Shutterstock
Female figureheads keep the sea calm

Women weren’t welcome on board fishing boats, but they were responsible for keeping their their men safe by following superstitions on the day of his departure. Wash your husband’s clothes on the day he left for sea and you could cause him to be washed overboard. Wave him goodbye and a wave might sweep him away.

Women were also advised to avoid calling out as their husbands left for the dock and going down to the dock to see him off was not an option. Some women left their tea pot or ash pans full until the next day for fear of washing their husbands away!

But despite all their efforts, women could still cause misfortune. In particular, red headed women, who were believed to bring bad luck to a journey. Happily, if a fisherman did happen to meet a flame-haired female en route to the dock, there was a solution. Aberdonion, Eddie, who blogs at The Doric Columns explains:

“The bad luck could be avoided by speaking to the person before they had a chance to say anything.”

Once on board the fishing vessel, woe betide any fisherman who allowed a woman on board. According to author Mark Riley this was because the god of the seas is a beautiful female who doesn’t like men to pay attention to other women:

“Having a woman aboard makes her angry and she will stir up the ocean creating great waves to destroy the ship and all aboard her. If a woman was aboard and the sea became rough, the woman aboard should take off her clothes baring her breasts as this would calm the sea once again.”

This is why bare breasted female figureheads which often adorned ships were supposed to keep bad weather at bay.


young rabbit on grass

Image source: Shutterstock
The rabbit’s sacred roots led to superstitions

According to blogger Ian Kenn, the word ‘pig’ has always been considered bad luck for fisherman. The names ‘curly tail’ and ‘turf rooter’ are much more preferable:

“It was believed that mentioning the word “pig” would result in strong winds and actually killing a pig on board a ship would result in a full scale storm. If the word sow or pig is mentioned in the hearing of a fisherman, he cries out “caul’ iron” (cold iron).”

One possible reason for this superstition is the fact that pigs possess cloven hooves like the devil. But boars were also venerated by the ancient celts, and many Welsh stories feature magical boars.

Ever heard rabbits referred to as mappies or lang ears? If you’re a sea angler you’ll probably know that the word itself shouldn’t be mentioned on board a fishing vessel. But why is this? In response to NEFA’s Morag Skene talking about superstitions Dr Patrick Roper explains that rabbits and hares seem to be interchangeable and that before the rabbit was introduced, the hare was regarded as a sacred animal by the British:

“Among other things it was thought to be able transform itself into all sorts of different creatures, especially witches.”

It doesn’t help matters that hares are born with open eyes, which supposedly gives them special powers over the evil eye.

Fishermen also believed that they should never kill a gull or albatross. These birds were thought to carry the souls of dead sailors and to kill one would have resulted in the loss of the soul it was carrying.

Lucky hat?

Angler wearing cap and sunglasses holding fish

Image: Eat Sleep Fish
Pete Tyjas in his new ‘lucky hat’

Pete Tyjas, editor of ‘Eat Sleep Fish’ isn’t superstitious at all. Oh, no. Not at all. Apart from one thing – his fishing hats:

“It takes time to break one in and if I’ve had a bad day on the water I never wear it again.”

It was a difficult time when he realised that his favourite trucker hat just wasn’t warm enough. He tried out the one in the picture above, which his wife Emma had worn a few times but he hadn’t broken in himself. How did he fare?

“the day went really well, we caught fish, had some fun and any bad mojo doesn’t seem to have rubbed off on the hat”

The picture shows his first catch of the day, so Pete’s relieved. However, the Facebook thread released a flood of ‘lucky hat’ comments from ESF’s fans. More than one angler confesses to having up to three lucky hats. How many do you have?

How to improve your luck

Full moon in black sky

Image source: Dave Lane
Does a full moon mean fabulous fishing?

Many superstitions instil fear but apart from the right hat, there are plenty of other ways to add a bit of good luck to your voyage. To begin with, it’s always been considered good luck to sail on Wednesdays as the Norse God Woden was seen as a protective towards mariners.

Iron is thought to be a lucky metal, so fishermen nailed horseshoes to the mast as protection from bad luck, bad spirits and even witches. You could also increase your chances of a good catch by ensuring that your nets are “salted in” at the beginning of the season. This often took the form of a blessing, and a sprinkling of salt.

Pop a silver coin under the masthead of your boat and you’ll enjoy a successful voyage. Other good luck charms included pieces of fur, or the wearing of a single gold earring. This was supposed to improve your eyesight and guarantee a decent burial if you ran out of luck at sea.

One of our Facebook fans Colin Wakeling reckons he has the best luck when he fishes by the light of a full moon:

“Defo, I’ve had four 40lb plus carp ,all caught on a full moon phase. Couldn’t believe it, but it’s in my catch book. So, when the moon is full I try to get out fishing. Daft not to.”

Which fishing superstitions do you follow? Head over to our Facebook page and share your stories.

Five Rainbow Trout Feasts

Got too many trout in your freezer? Bored of your usual recipes? Or just fancy a different way of preparing a trout for your evening meal? This blog post takes a look at some great alternative recipes for cooking rainbow trout.

One for the pot - a rainbow trout destined for the dinner table

One for the pot – a rainbow trout destined for the dinner table.

We have all had times when far too many trout fill our bass bag – either from a small fishery that prohibits catch and release, or maybe a fly fishing competition on a reservoir where a bag limit had to be weighed in. There are other times of course, when it’s just nice to keep a fish for dinner if you fancy one. The main thing is rather than waste these trout by throwing or giving them away, you can cook and prepare them in a way that tastes great.

Fresh-caught and fresh-cooked

Two dead trout on chopping board

Image source: Shutterstock
Simple ingredients help bring out the fine flavour

Rainbow trout is delicious steamed or baked, whole or filleted. Some even prefer it to salmon because of the lighter taste and lower fat content.

We’ve got a few tasty rainbow recipes for you, but of course the first thing you’ll need to do is gut and clean your fish. It’s essential to get rid of the guts and gills so it doesn’t taint the flavour. The quicker you do this, the better. Many fisheries have facilities on site where this can be done – plus it also stops the wife from moaning about the mess in the kitchen too! Our preferred way to gut a trout efficiently is shown on the video below:

Trout on an open fire

Two trout in tin foil

A tasty treat in just 5 minutes

After a long day on the water, you want to be able to get your meal as quickly as possible. Sorted Food reckons one of the best things to cook on an open fire is fresh fish:

“It cooks quickly, tastes incredible and is not only healthy but pretty impressive looking.”

Just season your trout with lemon, fresh parsley and salt and pepper, wrap in foil, and chuck it on the barbecue or grill. Five minutes later, you’re ready to dine. Maybe add a nice salad to up the healthy factor.

Pan Fried Rainbow Trout

Plate with trout and asparagus

Source: Local Honest Simple
Impress the Mrs with this simple gourmet option

If there’s one culture that really knows its trout, it’s the Scots, and Caledonian chef, Graeme Pallister, has worked in some of Scotland’s top restaurants over his time. He says he’d prefer trout over salmon any day:

“I find the lovely sweet, soft flakes of fresh trout irresistible – but it’s also man enough to take on some strong, acidic flavours.”

You’ll need to prep the seasoning and sauce in advance. A mix of fresh herbs, garlic and lemon with white wine and chicken stock (tip: use a stock cube) is easy to get ready early in the day, though.

Make a few 3mm deep incisions in your fish before pan-frying, and give it just a couple of minutes in the pan on each side before you serve up with some asparagus and boiled potatoes. Simple, but delicious.

Smoked trout

Smoked salmon

Source: Country Skills
An overnight success for smoking trout

If you’ve got the patience to wait before eating your day’s catch, smoking your trout makes a delicious option. Craft and sustainability blogger, Kate, from the Country Skills site goes into great detail for the process, but it really amounts to just a few steps.

Make a cure of 1/3 sugar and 2/3 table salt and put a thin layer at the bottom of a non-metallic dish. Place the fish on top, and then another good coating of cure on top of the fish.

Weigh down the fillets to help draw water out – you’re aiming for around an 18% water loss. Take care to avoid putting anything metallic in direct contact with the curing fish. Then put the salted fillets in the fridge.

Kate does detail the cold smoking process, which she describes as “culinary alchemy” but assures that it’s cheap and simple. A cardboard box, a rack or two, and a smoke source will do just fine. It’s a little more intense as a process, but the added flavour to this luxury dish is worth the effort of making it with your own two hands.

Thai baked trout

Two trout with chilli and lime

Source: Brixton Blog
Get the taste of a Thai beachside barbecue

So far, the most exotic we’ve gotten is a bit of smoking – what about those who prefer their fish with a little more bite? From the multicultural haven of Brixton, and Amy at Feeding Franklin, comes this treat to take you to the Thai beachside.

We’ll skip the parsley and head instead for chilli, ginger and coriander. Pop these into a pestle and mortar and grind into a coarse paste. Split open your fish and fill the cavity with your paste, saving a little to spread on the outside.

Then, line a baking tray with enough foil or baking parchment to cover the fish, and place them on the tray. Add a couple of tablespoons of water to keep your fish moist, and bake at 180 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Get ready for a flavour explosion.

Barbecued trout with prosciutto

Trout wrapped in bacon on grill

Source: British Trout
Don’t wait for summer to chuck these on the barbie

The Scots might know their trout, but the Aussies know what makes a good barbecue, and this barbecued trout recipe comes straight from Antipodean chef Pete Evans.

It’s another beautifully simple recipe. Just wrap your fish in prosciutto, adding a sprig of thyme inside the parcel. Then grill for about four minutes on each side. Looking for a bit of extra flavour? Cook with some mushrooms and garlic to add some more taste.

What next?

There’s little more satisfying after a good day on the water than getting home and sampling the fruits of your labour. Bon appetit – and remember share your favourite fish recipes on Facebook

Take your kids to the bank – fishing with children

young boy catching fish

Image source: Shutterstock
Hats off to all those junior anglers out there!

When did you learn to fish? We say no one’s too young to enjoy the riverbank in one way or other. Fishing gets kids out in the fresh air. They learn about nature. And they spend quality time with you and the rest of the family. What’s not to love about that?

So with that in mind – as if you needed further encouragement – we’ve put together a celebration of the next generation of anglers!

Getting started

grandparent fishing with small child

Image source: Shutterstock
Getting kids on the river is the first step in teaching them to fish!

Dan Bryant on the Total Fishing blog understands kids and fishing very well:

“If you take a kid fishing, he can enjoy it for the day, but if you teach a kid to fish, he can enjoy it for a lifetime”

Teaching children to fish can be the start of a life-long love for them, and the creation of some great memories for you. Plus, as Dan’s happy to report, it gets them away from television and video games, and can be extremely beneficial for their self-esteem.

Not to mention the fact that, if you take a kid fishing, as Dan says, you just might find “that you enjoy teaching them as much as you enjoy fishing yourself.” And there you were, thinking that fishing couldn’t get any better.

young boys fishing

Image source: Crooked Lines
Luke and Zach (5 and 7) learning to fish.

Dominic Garnett, blogger and author of new title Crooked Lines, was one angler who absolutely loved teaching his friends’ kids to fish. His earliest memory is of a fishing trip, so he’s happy to pass along the favour to the next generation.

He’s noticed that lots of people talk as if it’s a battle to get kids fishing, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. As far as he’s concerned:

“You just have to get them out on the bank. I have yet to meet a boy or girl who didn’t ask loads of questions or didn’t want to inspect, hold or release their first fish.”

If in doubt, take Dominic’s advice and just start kids out with the simplicity of a pole on a small lake for “a light and largely tangle-proof way to have some fun.”

family fishing

Image source: Tide Lines
Letting the kids watch you is a great way to catch their interest.

Or there’s always Martin’s approach. Writing in his blog, Tide Lines, he explains that he encouraged the kids to watch as he reeled in his catch.

Martin had 10 minutes to catch them a fish, but managed to do it in five. By showing them how, he taught them where food comes from and got to show off some serious skills. And by the looks of it the little boy has now got dreams of landing a fish of his own. His interest is definitely piqued!

Landing a Catch

young boy with pb carp

Image source: Fishtec Facebook
Just look at the size of that carp!

Once kids have got the hang of holding a rod or pole, there’s no telling the kind of amazing catches that their angling future holds. Tim Stanley’s little boy managed to land his very first carp in October 2015, as he told us on our Facebook page. But not only that – it was a whopping 10lb 6oz!

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times: there’s nothing better than the feeling of landing a spectacular catch. Now Tim’s little boy knows that feeling. Is there anything better for a father to pass on to his son?

young angler, massive pike

Image source: Facebook
Based on his catches so far, young angler Daniel is sure to have a fish-filled future!

Now that’s the face of a kid who loves to fish. And so he should! Daniel and his dad Matt fish together frequently. In fact, Daniel smashed his dad’s PB earlier this year when he caught his own PB 28lb 10oz pike on Hampshire’s River Test, as well capturing the Chew Valley lake monster in the image above. Looks like this is one angler with a bright future!

young angler with common carp

Image source: Seven Lakes Angling
A keen young lad with his 5½ lb Common

Just think of the kind of fish Joshua (pictured above) has gone on to catch. He caught this 5½lb Common back in 2013 when he was only 8 years old!

For kids who are showing a real interest in angling like Joshua, junior competitions are a great way to help them hone their skills. They’ll also meet loads of other children who share their interests.

A lifetime’s journey

children with their fishing catch

Image source: Environment Agency blog
Paul Lidgett’s kids loved learning to fish – they’re already planning their next trip

Even if it’s just a hobby you want to help them develop, then that’s great, too. At the end of the day, this is something you can share for a lifetime, like blogger Sam Edmonds knows. He started fishing with his dad as a kid, and has never stopped. They still regularly go on trips together, and spend loads of time on the rivers.

Paul Lidgett, Fisheries Advisor at the Environment Agency, is just at the beginning of his angling journey with his children. Having taught them in Scotland, on the same loch-side pier he learned on as a child 40 years ago, they’ve already mastered the basics:

“Casting a line, playing a fish and releasing it unharmed – and they are already pestering me about this year’s fishing trips!”

He says: “If your children are anything like mine, they’ll love it and want to spend the summer by the water’s edge.” His top tip? Remember your rod license. It’s just £5 for children, and under 12s go free. So there’s no reason not to charge ahead and give fishing with your kids a go!

Are you going to teach your kids to fish, or have you done it already? Why not do as Tim Stanley did and post pictures of your kids’ incredible catches and trips to the riverbank on our Facebook page?

Fifteen Fantastic Fishing Gifs

That quick snippet of life, the animated gif is a great way of capturing a unique moment and this collection is guaranteed to leave you chuckling. So grab a drink, sit back and prepare to be amused as we share some of our fishy favourites.

Shocking encounters

Creepy crawly catch

what's coming from this fish's mouth?

Image source:

James Green of drowning worms, where this also appears, is still trying to identify the star of this gruesome gif:

“Can anyone help us identify this horrible creepy crawly, which almost makes this angler jump out of his skin?”

If you know the identity of this alien invader, let us know!

Cap stealing carp

angler loses hat to flying carp

Image source: World Fishing Network

Suncream? Check. Flask? Check. This guy knows that preparation is key to enjoying a day on the river. Unfortunately, nothing can prepare you for having your sunhat sabotaged by an Asian jumping carp! Impressive flying for a fish!

Fancy a swim?

angler gets washed off harbour wall by wave

Image source: wideopenspaces

This avid angler can wave farewell to his fishing rod (and his dignity)! Is he brave or foolish? You decide!

Fish hook horror

fisherman stabbing himself with fish hooks to demonstrate removal

Image source: newsFlow24

The wise angler never forgets that fishhooks are very sharp. Virginia Kruta at agrees:

“The tiniest of distractions — or an errant cast of the rod — could leave one lodged in your skin. “

But if you do find yourself in this predicament, the experts at Total Fisherman advise you to push the hook in until the barb exits the skin, cut the barb off or flatten it and then back the hook out the way it came in.

You can view the whole process on YouTube, but beware, this video is not for the faint-hearted fisherman!

Tipping point

two anglers and a tipping bench. one angler falls and gets wet

Image source: Giphy

The moral of this fishing fail? Select your seat with care! This unlucky angler’s pal is completely oblivious to his friend’s predicament until he hears the splash!

Alternative angling

3D fishing

fish caught with 3d printed fishing reel

Image source:

Wondering why Casey Johnson’s fishing kit caught our eye? Incredibly, the whole caboodle was created by a 3d printer!  Casey used AutoCAD to design his three piece rod and fishing reel.

“The whole thing went from an idea to actually catching fish in one day, which is pretty neat.”

Helicopter Hero

man catches fish from helicopter

Image source: Salt strong

This is what we call angling with attitude! The gif shows New Zealand’s extreme angler Matt Watson jumping from a helicopter to catch a marlin. Matt was a big game fisherman before he discovered his talent for daring stunts, which have also included catching marlin from a surfboard and a jet ski. We wouldn’t recommend this as a hobby!

Cool hand fluke


Image source: Drowning worms

You have to hand it to this guy. Using just his bare hands and presumably a tasty treat, he manages to catch a bass and bring it up out of the water. We’d love to know his secret.

Angling Aussie style

Hunting Fish with a Boomerang

This poor fish was knocked on the noggin by a boomerang! What was this Aussie-style angler thinking? His aim’s pretty impressive but this is one boomerang that won’t be coming back!

Spear fishing scare

goliath grouper steals catch

Image source: drowning worms

This spear fisherman doesn’t stand a chance of keeping his catch when a hungry Goliath grouper appears. If you’re wondering about the name, these fearless fish can weigh up to 800 pounds and grow up to three metres long!

Awesome animal anglers

Salmon snack stop

bear catches leaping salmon

Image source: Giphy

Every summer brown bears take the opportunity to hunt for salmon migrating up the rivers of north America and Russia. This gif captures the bear’s speedy reflexes as he snags the fish with the front of his mouth before carrying it to shore.

Sheep shove

sheep butting angler

Image source: cheezburger

It’s behind ewe! A sheep’s the last thing you’d expect to see on a riverbank while you’re fishing.This one obviously couldn’t resist temptation! We love the way the sheep carefully gets into position before taking a run up.

Speedy sea lion

sea lion steals anglers catch

Image source: Drowning worms

The speedy sea lion in this gif is clearly a canny angler with an appetite! We couldn’t help chuckling at the look of amused disbelief on the angler’s face as he realises his dorado has disappeared!

Underwater attack

kingfisher catches fish underwater shot

Image source: drowning worms

James Green of drowning worms often fancies being fish for a day. But not on this occasion, as the fish in question falls victim to an aerial attack.

“Although I’d love to be able to breath underwater (imagine!), there are certain times that I’m glad I’m not a fish. And this is definitely one of them…”

Panicking pooch

fisherman falls, dog trapped in net

Image source: Giphy

This unsuspecting pooch falls victim to a clumsy angler and ends up in a net. Maybe it wasn’t such a great idea to bring the dog on a fishing trip?

Feathered fishing

kingfisher dives into water

Image source: tumblr

This creator of this gorgeous gif captures the grace and speed of the Kingfisher as it dives towards its catch. A majestic moment that deserves to be animated! If you want to see further steps, you can catch them at on tumblr, where the whole sequence is broken down into four amazing segments.

Which gifs are keeping you amused this summer? Head over to our Facebook page and share your favourites!

Drawing a line: vintage angling pictures

boy fishing

Image source: Public Domain Images
Vintage pictures like this make us want to head straight for our fishing tackle.

As anglers, we know that fishing is now an inspirational pastime, profession, and pursuit. But it’s been capturing the imaginations of artists and writers since time immemorial as well? We’ve got the pictures to prove it.

We scoured the British Library archives and dipped our toe in dusty corners of the internet to bring you photos, drawings and sketches of angling in times gone by.

The English riverbanks of old

british fishing idyll

Image source: British Library
A 19th century British idyll

Taken from a 1885 tome on English landscape, the scene in this vintage picture will be familiar to many anglers. The calm, serene country setting, the solitary angler in pursuit of his quarry. This could very well be an illustration of a picturesque English river today.

leave room for anglers to cast

Image source: British Library
Now that’s why you give an angler room on the riverbank.

Another recognisable scene – it seems that anglers back in the day were just as conscious of the need to give an angler space on the riverbank as we are now. It’s good angling etiquette, to be sure. But it also helps you avoid a swift hook to the face!

Looking at this picture, we can’t help being a little nostalgic for the old days. His exclamation of “Oh! I say, you know” perfectly conjures up the English gentleman of yore. A similar scenario has probably taken place on many 21st century riverbanks, although the language would have been more… colourful.

Some pretty big fish

salmon fishing in history

Image source: British Library
Today’s salmon anglers might be envious of this haul.

These Canadian fishermen from 1889 have caught some salmon that anglers today would be proud to call their own. Armed with hooks and rods, and a simple canoe, they prove that time out on the water is always well-spent, especially if you take big fish like those back to the shore with you.

man as bait fishing picture

Image source: British Library
Seems that man is the best bait in this picture.

But those salmon pale in comparison to this big fish. Tapping into some deep fear of what lies beneath, this 1891 picture shows a giant fish avoiding the hook and heading straight for the man-sized snack instead…

massive fish being caught

Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Imagine dragging this behemoth to the shore…

Thankfully the giant fish in this picture chose to snack on other fish, rather than the fishermen. Titled “Big Fishes Eat Little Fishes”, this is a picture of Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s engraving, which currently resides in the British Museum. It’s a manic explosion of fish that dates all the way back to the 16th century. Can you imagine dragging that beast to the shore? The catch of a lifetime!

Hemingway having caught marlin

Image source: Wikimedia Commons/John F. Kennedy Library
Those are some pretty enormous marlin

Author of The Old Man and The Sea, Ernest Hemingway, was obviously no stranger to big fish, as this picture of him with his family and four huge marlin attests. Although Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s fish (above) was something plucked from an artist’s imagination, this picture, taken in 1935, shows that there really are some big fish lurking beneath the waves.

Nightmarish and celestial anglers

the red fisherman

Image source: British Library
This would be a terrifying sight on the riverbank

We don’t know about you, but some depictions of fishing and fishermen are best left in dusty books. How terrifying would this “Red Fisherman” from the 1880s be, if encountered riverside? Although, if we look a bit closer, it does bear a remarkable resemblance to some of the grumpy, early morning faces we’ve seen on the river. Before the strong tea kicks in, of course.

cherubic anglers fishing

Image source: British Library
Casually reeling in the catch of the day

Moving swiftly on from the stuff of anglers’ nightmares to more celestial figures. We found that there are plenty of cherubic anglers in vintage pictures, like this one from 1891. These innocent figures are casually reeling in a pretty enormous fish with effortless ease. It’s alright for some, huh? Especially when they have heavenly powers on their side.

Looking on the lighter side

fighting with big fish

Image source: British Library
Now that’s a helluva fish

But, for the rest of us mortal anglers, it takes a bit more work to reel in a big catch! This comic sketch from the 19th century goes to show that vintage angling pictures aren’t all serious. Drawn in 1898, this sketch shows the fun side of angling. Not to mention depicting man’s eternal struggle to catch that elusive, big fish.

Hard work pays off

woman having caught fish

Image source: Wikimedia Commons
That’s a catch to be proud of

But sometimes a bit of hard work pays off, as this woman shows with her impressive catch. A picture from the more recent past, her fishing gear is a bit more snazzy than some of the earlier images, but you can see that the satisfaction of a good day’s work is the same.

There’s nothing like a blast from the past to make you appreciate how good angling is today. And how we’re all part of a long, proud tradition of people who love nothing more than to head out to the water with our fishing tackle.

Have you got any vintage photos of your family members out on the river? Or, like Richard Handel of UK Carp & Coarse Fishing, do you have some old school pictures from your own angling library? Share them with us on our Facebook page.