My adventures with the fish of the sea (as per the topic chosen by the Loose Bloggers Consortium) in five casts.
1. Fishing off the north Antrim coast. In a proper boat. Made of wood. We run aground. Luckily my Dad can tow us off. It’s that shallow. And we’re very light.
2. Best place for fish in Ireland? The Cook Inn off Tates Avenue, Belfast. Also very good for chips.
3. Some people hate fish. Like a housemate in Cardiff. She’s a vegetarian biker, but eats fish. Because she hates the slimy scaley beasties. They deserve to die.
4. Best place for fish in London? Kokeb Ethiopian restaurant on Roman Way, off the Caledonian Road. N7 near Pentonville Prison. (Hmmm… okay, it was tilapia which is a fresh water fish, so strictly speaking the line got tangled and this casting doesn’t count.)
4. (For real this time. Ease back and… Flick the rod forward.) Best place for fish anywhere? On the Venezuelan coast of the Caribbean Sea, inside Henri Pittier National Park, at a make-shift barbecue between the track and the water. Red snapper.
5. Fisherman with the biggest, ahem, rod? Gregorio Fuentes, who I meet in Cojimar, east of Havana, Cuba. Reputedly the Old Man in Hemingway‘s The Old Man And the Sea. He shows me his rod. It is indeed massive. I take it in both hands and try not to put out anyone’s eye. All Gregorio catches these days, I realise, is cigarettes from foreign blow-ins. I don’t smoke, but I always have a packet of fags while I’m working away, just in case. Later I hear that Gregorio has gone. Fish across the Caribbean Sea rejoice. But Gregorio’s rod lives on. So just watch yourselves fishies, or the next we meet could be on a plate.
In a moment you’ll go to the right hand column and scroll down to the links to the rest of the Loose Bloggers Consortium talking about fish. But in the meantime, here’s a song from my childhood. You’ll never guess what it’s about…
You can hear the songwriter, Ewan MacColl’s version here.
15 responses to “It was THIS big…”
Thank you for the Clancy record. It brought back memories. Didn’t they pack in the audiences world-wide. I listened also to Ewan McColl’s version, well done but I will stick with the Clancys and Tommy Maken, they express more vividly the harshness of the fisherman’s life. It reminds of the closing line of Pierre Loti’s ‘Pecheur D’Islande’, “Ils ne retournent jamais”. The last of the stragglers had returned and the young Breton wife was now a widow.
I have only limited experience of life ‘before the mast’ on a square-rigger but life must have been hard back then.
Looking at the McColl film I saw the black oilskin souwester hat that I and others of my school-fellows had for rainy days.
The fish-man with his cart of herrings on a Friday has disappeared as have the 100 cran and 1million of the silver darlings. Where? Maybe Russia or Spain
Yup, into huge factory ships. Japan too.
The work was hard and the hours were long. I have seen that on board fishing boats BWT. The fisherfolk, they are my favourite people anywhere, anytime. I have heard something similar way up near Aberdeen. Can’t for the world, find a reference.
I must remember the Cook Inn, I am planning a trip over to Tates Avenue in search of sculpture.
Hope it lives up to my billing.
Of course, with every good fish you need an equally good chip.
You know you’re probably in the right sort of place when you can almost eat the smell.
Sorry, but anyone who eats fish because they deserve to die is not by any stretch of imagination a vegetarian.
All I can say is that I last ate fish in 1975. I wonder what it tastes like?
Yes, it was an odd ethical stance.
I think you’re safe. It’s usually bacon that’s the undoing of vegetarians.
Well…! I really must arrange to meet this Georgio with “the massive rod”!!! lol… Sounds like a very fine catch if I could just net him 😉 But you say he is gone? Clearly I must fish a little harder 🙂
Well, you know what they say…
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I have fished a few times, but nothing exciting ever really happened. But, once I was fishing with some people, and this guy was just lazing around, napping half the time, and yet he still caught more than me. It made me mad. I caught nothing. I almost caught something once, but the line snapped. I would’ve been better off napping, too.
I thought you’d be dipping your head in the water. What’s all this about lines breaking?
Hmm it appears like your site ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.