RICHARD ORD: Escape the misery of lockdown by standing in a river with a stick

“Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Give a man a fishing rod and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” Or so the proverb kinda goes.

Wednesday, 1st July 2020, 12:00 am
'Standing in a river' is one of the UK's most popular sports.

With those words ringing in my ears, I embarked on my first fly-fishing experience the other day.

What better way to soothe any lockdown worries, I thought, than to learn a survival skill that could come in handy if the world continues to go to hell in a handcart?

Should lockdown mayhem hit our neighbourhood again, I’d be suitably equipped in the ancient art of fishing to hook myself a bog roll over the heads of the panic-buying hordes. Always gotta be one step ahead of the mob.

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Fly-fishing, I can report however, is not as easy as you may think. In fact, it might have been easier trying to catch a fly. The fish really don’t wanna know.

As my work colleague pointed out. If fishing was easy, it would be called ‘catching.’

In my case, ‘standing in a river’ may be a better name for the sport.

“You standing in a river today?”

“Yeah, got the day off work so thought I’d go standing in a river for a few hours. Looks perfect for it.”

“Great, see you back home at 5pm. I’m going to supermarket. Thought I’d buy fish for tea.”

“Nice, I’ve almost forgotten what it tastes like.”

That’s not to say that I didn’t see any fish. I saw loads. They were jumping out of the river to my left and to my right, in fact, they jumped out from everywhere my hook wasn’t.

Scientists, I discovered, performed a study to find out why salmon jumped out of river water. The creatures are covered in sea lice when they start their journey upstream and scientists concluded, after much careful study, that they were leaping to try to dislodge the blood-sucking parasites.

There may be some truth in that, but I suspect the reason is much simpler. They’re goading fishermen.

Needless to day, after six hours of being goaded by salmon, I returned home empty handed.

That proverb needed revising: “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Give him a fishing rod, and he’ll be able to smash it up to build a roaring fire to warm up his freezing backside after standing in a river all day.”