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’.

Sharon J


Stumble Upon Toolbar


Richard said...

That's not a perch, btw. I think it's probably some kind of North American freshwater bass.

Sharon J said...

Well it looks just like the ones we used to catch at Sundhaugen and you told me they were perch.

Anonymous said...

A perch

Sharon J said...

Point taken. 'Abbor' does have stripes.

WebSmith said...

Haven't see a bass that looks quite like that in North America yet. We have Blue Gill, Crappie, Sun Fish, and Perch that look kind of like that. Our Perch narrower more like a Trout as are our small and large mouth Bass. We have some Stripers that became landlocked and exist totally in fresh water.

I can't remember the first fish I caught. It had to be in Michigan or Arkansas. I vaguely remember catching one off of a bridge in Flint with my father but I vividly remember tossing a line over a tree branch, tying it around my wrist, and my grandfather telling me not to do that in a quiet voice. As a catfish or garfish tried to pull me off of my feet or cut my hand off at the wrist, my grandfather walked over with his pocket knife and said quietly, "I told you not to do that".

My entire family and everyone we knew fished. The only thing we would never argue about was fishing. If you called one of them and asked them if they wanted to go, the response was, "Where are we going?" No one cared who caught the biggest or if they caught any at all.

As I grew older, my fishing became more solitary and I used to take my Weimaraner, Brummel, a light bag, a metal canteen (good for boiling water)a couple cans of beans, a small folding skillet, a Swiss Army knife, my fishing pole, a tin of flies and hooks, a light weight hammock, a couple cans of dog food, my 357 (bears and Mountain Lions), and a good book and follow the streams coming out of the mountains in the Placer National forest. Brummel would let me know if something was coming at night as I swung between trees in my hammock. I got lost for four days once but nothing changed except that I had to round food up for Brummel. I headed West because that's the way the road was.

I have fished in most states and both Oceans but, for some reason, never out of the country unless you count Puerto Rico. I have caught fish bigger than me in the Ocean and as big as my leg in fresh water.

The fish that I remember the most is the first one my son caught at Uvas Dam. He had just walked nine holes with me and we had about an hour of sunlight left. He climbed down a pretty imposing bank for someone 3 years old. It was a little bit smaller than the one in your picture but looked a lot like it.

Sharon J said...

So much confusion over a fish. Lise's was called 'Abbor' in Norwegian - those who are interested can look it up.

I used to take my dog too, Websmith. Buster was a border collie/kelpie mix and the most intelligent dog I've ever known (and I've know a good few, having been active in obedience, agility and more) and great company. He didn't like the boat though.

I loved the story about your grandfather.