A fisherman’s holiday that ended with a monster catch in Spain left him reeling from the weight of his 7ft 7ins record-breaking haul.
I am in the throes of compiling over 500 (now 1000 08-2010) quotations and aphorisms on fishing, fishermen, rivers, sea, boats and the whole damn thing, to go on my website. One particular quote has been rattling around the dark recesses of my mind and it won’t seem to go away – “If you want to know the priorities of a nation and the effectiveness of their government, test their water quality.” – Jim Slinsky.
It is just so simple a judgement. Water is absolutely fundamental to human life that anything that reduces or contaminates this precious resource, contaminates our very existence. Yet all of us who fish in rivers, streams, lakes, or ponds are confronted on each trip with the clear, irrefutable evidence of of the harm we are doing to our water supplies.
Rubbish in the water, on the banks, on the foreshore. Run-off from farms containing fertiliser and animal excrement that feeds explosive growth in weed, choking streams, rivers and lakes, growth that alters natures balance. Industrial waste literally poisoning the water supply. The cutting down of native trees to make way for pine forests, poisoning the water with tannin and chemical fertilisers. Allowing the use of weed killing chemicals in catchment areas adding more poison to the system. Allowing the “development” of lake foreshores – too often leading to waste products leaching into the water – “development” indeed, bah and humbug!
Many Governments, local and national, claim that it is economically unfeasible to police contamination of waterways, except in the instances of gross pollution. One could hope that these same Governments could explain the economic gains that might be made by spending money on making water fit to drink.
Unfortunately the problem is growing exponentially. Water quality around the world is declining at an ever increasing rate – the cost of processing that water to make it drinkable is also increasing at an ever upward spiralling rate. How long will it be for Governments abrogate their accountabilities altogether and leave it up to households to treat their own drinking water, or buy it in bottled form? This unpalatable fact is now very wide-spread around the world.
So why has this quote struck such a chord in me? I guess it is because the simplicity of the notion reveals, to me at least, how far the people who govern us have retreated from the notions of governing in the best interests of the people, for the good of the people – and how far they have retreated from any concern over the basics that determine our well-being at the most fundamental level, the water we drink and the air we breath.
But then of course the famous ‘they’, the Government, is us. That sad fact whacks me around the ears just thinking about it!
Most thinking fishermen will be aware of the need to release at least some fish – those that are undersized, or surplus to immediate requirements spring to mind, and for some anglers, releasing fish as a matter of course. But there are ‘rules’ for releasing fish that will ensure the fish has the greatest chance of surviving.
Rule 1: Speed Does Not Kill
The faster you can get a fish to the boat or shore the better its chances of survival. The longer the fight the less chance the fish has of surviving.
It is likely that the survival rates decrease exponentially as fight time increases. That is as fight-time goes up, survival chances decrease at an ever increasing rate. If you fish on a catch-and-release basis you should use gear that will minimise the fight time.
Rule 2: Get Wet
Lifting a fish out of the water, decreases its survival chances. The longer a fish is out of the water its chances of survival decrease expotentially. Try and remove the hook while the fish is in the water…
For all five rules plus a bonus rule – go here
An excellent overview on the facts about sharks and their interaction with humans, no prizes for guessing who comes off worst.
Between 20 and 100 million sharks are killed very year, most in the truly barbaric ‘shark-fin’ industry.
The National Geographic site has a wealth of information on sharks.
The Number 1 Question Asked on This Site!
Fishing Smells – how do you get rid of them?
The smell of fish and fishing really gets some people going – and at the risk of being sexist it is usually at its most strident when female partners are involved in the discussions.
Getting the smell off hands, etc is best done with any lemon scented soap or a mild dose of lemon detergent. Clothes are best attacked with good old NappiSan or any oxygen bleach, give them a soak first.
But the very best thing of all for removing fishy smells from body, boat, clothes and children is “Simple Green”. It can take a bit of finding, but it does a great job.
Trout fishermen are well advised to take a small flask of Simple Green in their fly fishing vest – it gets rid of the smell and residue of insect repellant and sunscreen – both of which you don’t want on your flies or leaders.
Just One Other Thing (And it Is Important):
In your book “Fishing Smarter for Trout”, chapter on Night Fishing , page 125, You mention wearing a tight belt around the outside of your waders. Why? The book that spawned the question : Fishing Smarter for Trout
My First answer:
Wearing a belt round waders helps stop water running into your waders when you first fall in, in a river. If you do get washed away after you fall in the air trapped in the waders will greatly help to keep you afloat. Then you can concentrate on getting and keeping your feet facing downstream, and moving yourself as quickly as possible to shore by moving across the flow, (never try to go up against the flow).
The next question:
Thanks for your reply, it created quite a good discussion and questions at work regarding the use of a belt with waders for safety reasons. We agree with your idea of using a belt if one is wearing PVC type waders. But if the fisherman were wearing the Neoprene type, would he still need to use a belt? I was under the impression that these Neoprene waders float no matter what, possibly a wrong assumption.
Your comments about PVC or Gortex type waders are spot on – you should always wear a belt with these waders. In fact the better quality waders of this type come with a belt built in.
Neoprene does float, but its ability to support the body depends on the amount of clothes the dunkee is wearing. In any event it is not the floatation that is usually the most pressing issue – but safety from getting knocked about on rocks, trees, etc. Waders full of water make movement in the water very difficult indeed. It is imperative that you try and keep your feet pointing downstream, to avoid being hit in the head on rocks, tree trunks, etc. Anything that hinders this is not good. Secondly when you get back to the shallows trying to climb out of the river with waders full of water is very difficult. You can minimise all these problems by wearing a belt.
The tackle was good. A top of the line 10 to 15 kilo jig stick, the best 5:1 reel, a fill of good line, and a tackle box full of all the goodies, all gleaming shiny and new on the counter.
The card was good too. The figure of $750.oo rocketed along the phone lines to the big computer in Wellington (NZ), and returned bearing the ‘approved’ sign on the card machine. I handed over the docket for the customer to sign, under the watchful eye of his wife.
Her face puckered into an ‘I just bit into a lemon’ look, and the tart remark shot out, “You will have to catch a lot of fish to cover that.”
My observation that the purchase price was only 15, two kilo snapper at fish shop prices, was greeted with the special look some people reserve for smart ass salespeople. Icy is too mild a description. The fact that every brass monkey for miles around was clutching their part’s privy, will give some idea of the frostiness of the glare.
She, and then he, began a vigorous discussion on the merits or otherwise of fishing tackle purchases. There was some emphasis placed on much needed, but not yet purchased kitchen appliances, a roof that needed painting, and the like. Discretion being by far the much better part of valour, I retired to the back of the shop to become busy doing something, anything.
‘Anything’, turned out to be some deep thought on the economics of fishing tackle purchases.
The first, and perhaps obvious train of thought that rattled through this, then, tackle store owner’s, brain, involved the purchase of fishing tackle. Purchasing heaps of expensive tackle seemed an excellent hypothesis to me.
This thought passed, replaced by an enquiry. Why do I spend so much time fishing? What is in it for me? ……story continues www.bishfish.co.nz/articles/general/economics.htm