Monday, 21 July 2008
For years I could regularly be found either by the sea, a lake or river, or in our boat, fishing rod in hand, waiting eagerly for ‘the bite’.
By regularly I mean at least once a week during summer, often more, but then fishing was so easy in Norway. No matter where you are, there’s always a lake, stream or river within easy hitting distance (cycling distance) and as the coast line’s long with fjords digging deep into the country, the sea’s usually not too far away either. You just sit on the rocks, and wait.
The peace and quite I felt whilst fishing was enormously good for me. I’d contemplate and theorise about all manner of things while I was surrounded by beautiful nature and didn’t care whether it rained or was late at night. As long as I was dressed properly, I was happy. Really happy.
Fishing can be such a simple pursuit and yet whenever I see anglers along the canal or at lakes here, they seem to be making such a big thing of it. They’re bogged down with all sorts of equipment (don’t ask me what they use it all for - I haven’t a clue) and in order to make a catch more likely, they’re stressing over which ground bait to use.
To me, fishing is a matter of a rod, a reel, a hook, some bait or a lure, and a box of extra line, hooks and other incidentals. A Y-twig to rest my rod on, should I need to leave it, is always good if I can find one but if I can’t, I’ll just make do.
Sometimes my partner and/or kids came with me and the children soon became almost just as keen as me although Paul, bless him, couldn't use a real hook because he didn't understand the danger and ended up with one firmly embedded in his hand. The photo at the top actually reminds me of Lise's first catch - that was a tiny perch, too.
Unlike most inland anglers here, what we caught was generally eaten. The only exceptions were young fish that would be thrown back in to hopefully be caught later once they’d grown or inedible fish that just happened to take the bait. Cod would be frozen down and used in fish cakes, fish pies, casseroles, or just eaten as fillets; trout would be grilled or barbequed the next day; and If we had too much fish for ourselves, we’d give some away to friends and family.
I really miss that kind of fishing so I’ve decided that next time I visit my family in Norway during summer, I’m going to buy myself some simple fishing equipment, take myself off somewhere early in the morning and fish until I feel ready to point my nose back towards ‘home‘. No rushing and nobody hassling me for something - just me and nature and complete relaxation.
I shall leave my gear over there so that I can fish every time I make a late spring/summer/early autumn visit. Ice fishing, I’m afraid, is off the agenda now. It was never as much fun anyway and now that I feel the cold so much, I don’t feel the least bit inclined to try again. I just hope I can still remember how to tie a knot!
Maybe one year I’ll hire a boat that we can all poodle around the fjord in, while I look for the places where nicely sized cod tend to gather, hoping for that exciting moment: ‘the bite’.