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.

Coelacanth

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.

Sawfish

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.”

Sturgeon

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.

Sharks

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 britishseafishing.co.uk 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: Andrewblackfishing.co.uk
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.

Razorfish

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?

Women

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.

Animals

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

Source: sortedfood.com
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: funnyjunk.com

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 ijr.com 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: 3Dprint.com

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

dude-catching-a-large-bass-fish-with-bare-hands1

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.

National Fishing Month 2016 is almost here!

national fishing month logo

Image source: National Fishing Month
The dates of the 2016 National Fishing Month are 22nd July-29th August.

It’s that time of year again! National Fishing Month is almost upon us. Time to celebrate our favourite sport and spread the angling love to our friends and family with some top notch events.

Last year’s NFM was a cracker with over 14,000 new people introduced to angling through hundreds of taster sessions, family days, and competitions. This year’s National Fishing Month is set to be another hit. Here are some of our top picks for events taking place around the country.

NORTH

1. 15th Annual Charity Angling Competition – Northumberland

rods set up by the water

Image source: Danny’s Angling Blog
Charity Angling Competition: Friday 29th July, 2016 (8am-3pm)

Now in its 15th year, the Annual Charity Angling Competition is an opportunity for children and adults alike to showcase their angling skills. And, in addition to the chance to win competition prizes on the day, all entrants will automatically be entered into a prize draw for a “Golden Ticket” (a Northumbrian Water seven-day fishing permit) as well. Add to that the chance to enjoy the picturesque surrounds and great trout fishing of the Fontburn Reservoir and this is sure to be a great day out.

2) Prince Albert Angling Society Junior Open Competition – Cheshire

three boys fishing

Image source: BigStock
Junior Open Competition: Saturday 13th August, 2016 (11am-4pm)

If you’ve got junior anglers under the age of 16 in the family, then head over to Cheshire in August for another great competition. The Prince Albert Angling Society Junior Open Competition is free to enter, and offers prizes and the obvious bragging rights that come with them! Plus, there will be licensed Angling Trust coaches on hand to help during the day.

THE MIDLANDS

3. Fish n Frolics – Warwickshire

rainy fishing trip

Image source: Fish n Frolics
Fish ‘n’ Frolics: Saturday 29th-Monday 31st July, 2016 (daily, 8am-11pm)

Over at the Shipston Sport Club in Warwickshire this July, Fish n Frolics will be serving up three days of fishing-orientated fun, with angling contests and tutorials on the River Stour. And if that wasn’t enough, there will be a festival atmosphere, live music, stalls, and plenty of food and drink.

4. YOUFISH Sportivate – Nottinghamshire

riverside carping

Image source: Paul on Coarse Fishing
YOUFISH Sportivate: Monday 8th August, 2016 (9am-3pm)

If you’ve got young coarse anglers in your family, then YOUFISH Sportivate in Nottingham is the event for you. YOUFISH is aimed at getting more young anglers out on the water; in this case, the Richmond Canal. You’ll want to book their spaces in advance though, as it’ll fill up quickly. But all tackle and bait will be provided on the day, and experienced Angling Trust-licensed coaches will be ready and waiting to help hone your kids’ skills.

SOUTH

5) Sea Casting for Beginners and Improvers – Devon

west cork bass fishing

Image source: West Cork Bass Fishing
Sea Casting: Tuesday 16th August, 2016 (6.30-8.30pm)

Think you’re a dab hand on the riverbank, but you’re not sure how to find your feet when it comes to Sea Casting? This event, held on Goodrington Beach, is a great place to start. As the name suggests, Sea Casting for Beginners and Improvers is aimed at newbies and those looking to perfect their technique, both adults and kids alike. During the evening, the coaches will talk you through the basic methods of fishing from the shore. And there’s a good pub nearby to retire to after your session – as long as you’re over 18, of course.

6) Family Fishing Day and BBQ – Kent

Harrietsham lake

Image source: Cranbrook Angling Club
Family Fishing Day and BBQ: Sunday 21st August, 2016 (9am-4pm)

Cranbrook Angling Club’s family fishing day in August is set to be one of the best events in Kent this summer. Not only will you get the chance to pick the brains and admire the form of professional fishing coaches, but there’s a five-acre lake to enjoy and the club will be laying out all the tackle and bait you’ll need for a spot of angling. And there’s a free BBQ. Great fishing and great food; what more could you ask for?

EAST

7. CFPAS Angling Family Open Day – Cambridgeshire

girl with fish

Image source: CFPAS
CFPAS Angling Family Open Day: Sunday 24th July, 2016 (10am-4pm)

Another unmissable event for the whole family, the CFPAS LTD Angling Family Open Day will be offering taster sessions for carp, waggler, and pole fishing around the lake at Milton Country Park in July. And the Park Rangers will even be on hand during the day, offering three pond dipping sessions. The park itself is spread across 95 picturesque acres, with plenty of paths and children’s play areas to enjoy. So don’t forget to bring a picnic with you on the day.

8. Angling in Essex Family Day – Essex

 

family fishing

Image source: shutterstock
Angling in Essex Family Day: Saturday 23rd July, 2016 (9.30am-4pm)

As blogger Sam Edmonds will tell you, nothing beats fishing with your family:

“Fishing has been a part of my life since the day I was born. I suppose it comes as no surprise when you have a Dad that’s fishing crazy. We fish together literally all of the time and have had some fantastic times.”

Whether or not you’re “fishing crazy” like Sam’s dad, if you’re based in or around Basildon and fancy a family fishing future of your own, then head to the Angling in Essex Family Day. There will be demonstrations and lessons for rig tying and other skills, as well as free angling coaching. And even a cafe nearby if the weather turns during the day.

WALES AND SOUTHWEST

9. Intro to coarse fishing and fly casting – Anglesey

fly fishing angler

Image source: Fly Fishing Wales
Intro to Coarse Fishing and Fly Casting: Saturday 23rd July, 2016 (10am-4pm)

Taking place in the beautiful surrounds of Breakwater Country Park in Holyhead, this day-long introductory event in July aims to give newcomers a solid grounding in coarse fishing and fly casting. Angling Cymru will be providing coaching throughout the day and, as an added bonus, reduced membership to the local angling club will be offered to people who attend and catch the angling bug!

10. South Cerney Taster Day – Gloucestershire

a fine catch at south cerney

Image source: South Cerney Angling Club
South Cerney Taster Days: Saturdays 8th and 22nd August, 2016 (10am-6pm)

There are two South Cerney Taster Days to enjoy this August. Just rock up on the day and get your free, one-on-one lesson, then stick around to learn about the fish and wildlife you’ll be encountering with your new favourite hobby. If the free dates somehow don’t make it into your diary, just book one of their affordable lessons that take place year-round. These sessions can be tailored to your level, whether you’re a beginner or you’ve got a bit of experience in your waders.

There’s some great stuff to look forward to in this year’s National Fishing Month. And if free food, fishing coaching, and fun events for the whole family aren’t enough, there are some great offers surrounding the festival as well. Pick up your free one-day rod licence in issues of Angler’s Mail magazine now!
So which events are you going to? Did you make it to any event’s last year? Share your photos with us on Facebook.

Meet The Footballers That Fish

Well, the Euro’s are over, and the ball kicking season has yet to begin… So what do footballer’s actually do in their down time? The answer is fish. And when they retire, they just carry on fishing…  In this blog we take a look at some well known footy stars who simply love bending a rod.

David Beckham – This picture surfaced on Beck’s Instagram recently. Already known for dabbling in sea and coarse fishing, It seems Beckham has turned his attention to the noble art of fly fishing – Icelandic Salmon in fact! Sporting a nice pair of Simms G3 Guide waders, clearly the man appreciates quality fishing tackle. Not sure about the gloves though…

becks

Cristiano Ronaldo – Loved by Portugal and Real Madrid fans. Loathed by literally everyone else. It seems Cris’ enjoys his down time on a boat in search of big game, as his tweet reveals! Hailing from Madeira, well known as the sport fish capital of the world, it’s no wonder Ronaldo likes to target hard fighting game species such as marlin, wahoo and giant bluefin tuna when on his home turf. With prices starting from £1000 a day, deep sea sport fishing is very much a rich man’s game; chump change for Ron though…

Image posted on twitter by Cristiano Ronaldo: Love to fish. Have you ever tried it?

Robin Van Persie – Another deep sea rod dangler, Van Persie is known to tangle with sharks on a regular basis, plus sword and sailfish of epic proportions. Looking at these pics, the Dutchman sure knows how to reel them in. A deep sea fishing duel with Ronaldo? We would pay to see that one!

John Terry – Loves to get his hands dirty – by touching carp. The former England captain enjoys fishing so much he built a heavily stocked lake in the grounds of his mansion. The massive lake was carefully custom designed by John to be the perfect back yard fishery – every anglers dream!

David Seaman – He might have flapped at “that” Ronaldinho free kick, but generally, Seaman’s safe hands mean he will probably never drop a fish, no matter how much it wriggles. From fly to coarse fishing Dave has been doing it for years and clearly loves the sport. A legend in the goal mouth and the river mouth. Top angler!

Gazza – World cup and Toon Legend Paul Gascoigne clearly loves his fishing, especially with the fly rod. For Gazza fishing is a way you can heal yourself, and the world. Remember the infamous Raoul Moat stand off? Gazza turned up with a few tinnies, some chicken, a fly fishing rod and a ‘dressing goon’. He still fishes in it today.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Swedish super star Ibrahimovic may consider himself the son of God, and refer to himself in the third person – a lot. He might say: ”Zlatan catches bigger fish than anyone, Zlatan will catch fish anywhere, even a puddle” etc. etc.  But looking at this Facebook picture, he actually does! From the looks of it Zlatan has all the gear – and the idea. A decent boat, well organised fishing kit, and the correct ‘grin and grip’ photo technique with this pike. He obviously knows what he is doing on the lake. A move to to Manchester United should be a great chance for him to up his fishing catches – the Lake District Isn’t that far away, and it’s literally teeming with pike.

zlatan Pike

Lee Bowyer – The legendary trouble making ex Leeds, West Ham and Newcastle midfielder has a serious passion for carp angling. So much so, that he now runs his own carp lake in the tranquil French countryside. Best place for him to be fair; should keep him out of trouble with the boys in blue. If you do visit the venue, whatever you do, don’t catch a bigger fish than him!

LeeBowyer

Vinnnie Jones – On the theme of football hard nuts, none come bigger than ex Wimbledon headcase Vinnie Jones. A lifelong hardcore angler, Vinnie has been as far afield as Outer Mongolia in search of the mighty Taimen. Closer to home, Scottish salmon and coarse fishing on Hampshire’s bucolic chalk streams float his boat. Fishing.. it’s been emotional.

Neil Ruddock – Footie hard-man no.3. (Think we have a pattern emerging here.) Neil ‘The Razor’ Ruddock is an angler to the core. From big carp to sea side ray’s alike, The Razor can catch almost anything with fins. A recent competitor on ‘The Big Fish off’ show with Korda and ITV, this man is a proper fishing machine.

Sergio Aguero – From the Patagonian wilds of Argentina, Aguero reportedly enjoys his fishing, after taking it up during an injury break. His homeland has some of the best sea trout fishing in the world, but while he is on UK soil, a trip to Blackpool beach is apparently enough to satisfy his fishing urges. Unfortunately we could not actually find a picture of him fishing, but the Photoshop job doing the rounds online should give you an idea…

 

10 Fantastic Fishing Songs

10 Fantastic Fishing Songs

singing by the river

Image source: BigStock
The riverbank has always inspired great music.

Do you have your own all-time favourite fishing songs? Here are 10 of ours, spanning genres as varied as country, blues and folk. These catchy little odes to the world’s best sport have been collected together from our much-listened to playlists, YouTube watchlists, and much-loved records on our shelves.

Be advised, these fantastic fishing songs will have you running to the riverbank (or the record shop) in no time at all!

1 – “Fisherman’s Blues” – The Waterboys

Marking their transition from rockers to adopted Irish folk-rockers, “Fisherman’s Blues” is the titular song in The Waterboys’ now-classic 1988 album. Singing of their wish to be fishermen, “tumblin’ on the seas, far away from dry land and bitter memories”, they evoke the amazing sense of freedom that fishing gives you. Listening to the line, “no ceiling bearin’ down on me, except the starry sky above,” it’s almost more than we can take not to dash out into the night with our fishing rods right then.

2 – “Fishin’ Blues” – Taj Mahal

For a song called “Fishing Blues”, Taj Mahal’s tune is downright upbeat. But that’s because he’s a man who’s pretty darn happy; he’s “goin’ fishin’, yes I’m goin’ fishin’ and my baby goin’ fishin’ too”. Who wouldn’t be happy about that? Taj Mahal, a renowned American blues musician, recorded this version in 1968, but the song’s a lot older than that; the earliest version we know about dates to 1928. More than just a jaunty tune, it’s also got some decent advice at it’s core: “many fish bite if you got good bait”. Simple, but to the point.

3 – “Gone Fishin’” – Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong

Now for an oldie, but a goodie. Legendary duo, Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong, have got their priorities right in their 1951 classic  “Gone Fishin’”. They’ve left the “hoe out in the sun” and hung signs on their office doors, and headed straight to the river to fish. “Mister Satch and Mister Cros” really know how to live. Roughly a decade after the success of this song, Bing and Louis recorded an entire album together; a dynamite duo like this doesn’t come around every day. As for this song, we dare you to listen and not croon along with them.

4 – “I’m gonna go fishin’” – Peggy Lee

Another vintage entry into our Top 10, this time from the 70s, comes from American jazz singer Peggy Lee. Originally composed by Duke Ellington, “I’m Gonna Go Fishin’” has been performed by the likes of Woody Guthrie, Mel Torme, and New Orleans star Dr John over the years. But we like the spin Ms Lee puts on this classic track. Just listen to her sultry, dulcet tones singing about fishing for trout. “I’m gonna go fishing and jump in the lake,” she sings. We wouldn’t mind jumping in with her…

5 – “Can’t Catch a Fish” – The Fishing Musicians

You don’t need to dive down deep to get the wisdom of “Can’t Catch a Fish”, it’s right there in the fun, cheery lyrics. Offering life advice in the guise of an ode to our favourite pastime, the Fishing Musicians remind you that “you can’t catch a fish if your line ain’t in the water.” True words, indeed. And if you like what you see, you can always catch more of the Fishing Musicians on their YouTube channel.

6 – “Fish and Whistle” – John Prine

Now let’s take the tempo down a notch with “Fish and Whistle”, a song from John Prine’s 1978 album, “Bruised Orange”. A brave choice for the opening track, this sweet-sounding song is a meditation on mankind’s flaws, and almost a celebration of all the little things in our lives. Settle back, let it wash over you and take its message to heart. “We’ll forgive each other till we both turn blue, then we’ll whistle and go fishing in heaven.”

8 – “Deep River Blues” – Doc Watson

Conjuring up steamboats and banjos and early morning river mist, Doc Watson’s “Deep River Mist” is a bluesy tale of heading to the river to escape your troubles. You wouldn’t know it by listening to his masterful fingerwork but Doc, born in 1928, was actually blind from the age of one. Never letting his lack of sight slow him down, Doc went on to become an accomplishment folk and bluegrass musician and, later, one of the best acoustic guitarists in the states.

9 – “Five Pound Bass” – Robert Earl Keen

Another musician with tiptop skills, Robert Earl Keen’s tale of the five pound bass will get your toes tapping. There are no metaphors or life lessons here; Keen’s song is a hearty, uptempo song about waking up to catch an epic fish. “I find a perfect spot… I tie my lure, I make my cast”, watching the “lure as it’s flying through the air” into the cool, clean water. And does he catch it? Dear reader, he does. And “it’s big as a god-damned baby.”

10 – “Fishin’ in the Dark” – Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

The American country music group, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (or NGDB to fans), released “Fishin’ in the Dark” in 1987. It was a massive hit then and it’s still a classic now. And though it doesn’t take a genius to see through the euphemisms, this is an all-out feel-good tune about love and fishing… of sorts. “It don’t matter if… the fish don’t bite” when “you and me go fishin’ in the dark, lyin’ on our backs and countin’ the stars.”

“A Bad Day’s Fishing (beats a good day’s work)”, Slim Dusty

We can all agree that Slim Dusty knows what he’s talking about. A mediocre day at the river still beats most things – especially a day at work. We all know that feeling when the fish aren’t biting, but the midges are and yet, somehow, you don’t care. That’s because, as Slim would say, even a “bad day’s fishing is good for the soul.” Sing it, Slim!

So that was our Top 10, but the fishing song fun doesn’t stop there; we’ve put together a playlist of some of these songs for your listening enjoyment, plus a few extra for good measure. Now you can enjoy fishing songs wherever you are! But we’re always on the hunt for more, so let us know some of your favourites on our Facebook page.