Is this fishing’s oddest comparison? (or am I missing something?)

“Casts like butter…”?!

I wondered if it was a momentary lapse by the writer, but no; Google the phrase and everyone uses it. And while going against the herd is not something I do lightly, I feel I must at least raise the question.

What the hell is everyone talking about?

“…like a knife through butter,” makes more sense, although some of we Northern Hemisphere types might like to preface “butter” with “warm” at this time of year. In its current form, though: who actually casts butter?

There’s a phrase doing the rounds among British soccer commentators of late which has sadly gained acceptance through unthinking repetition: one parrot after another referring to “stone wall” penalty decisions when they actually mean “stone cold”.

Let’s not take a similar stroll down Gibberish Boulevard, fly anglers; please…

Could this be fishing’s first class-action lawsuit?

Lying3Sam Harris, detester of gods, lover of rationality and the man behind Project Reason (“a nonprofit foundation devoted to spreading scientific knowledge and secular values in society”) has a book out and if you’re not bristling yet, you should be.

The book’s theme is lying, a human foible he clearly feels is no better embodied than in the likes of you and me.

Forget that the cover’s design is executed with exquisite simplicity, its message is stark and unequivocal (unless it’s some subtle play on the word ‘whopper‘, which I’m not sure plays out the same in American parlance)

Lying and anglers. Bonnie and Clyde. Morecambe and Wise. Entwined and indivisible.

This could be the most open-and-shut libel action ever.

I mean, fishermen being fast and loose with the truth. Where could he have possibly got that idea from?

And a Big, Hairy, Ape-like Thing Runs Through It

I sense that Robert Redford had nothing to do with this one.

Rag trade as in touch with reality as ever

Grey pork pie hat with a band and a feather.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just how many anglers did the Watanabe fashion house consult before launching this year’s Men’s Collection, I wonder?

“Junya Watanabe Spring Menswear 2014 takes on a hunting and fishing theme and quite alluringly might I add. These men will have no problem catching prey in these get-ups, complete with cross-body bags, camel coats and collared dress shirts. Watanabe infuses the pork pie hat with a fisherman vibe to complete a chic workingman’s outfit.”

So gushed one commentator from whatever planet it is on which fashionistas reside. Not that she was alone in spewing such guff…

“In an unusually forthcoming concession, Junya Watanabe said he “wanted to convey resort in a cool way” with his Spring collection. The resort he imagined was clearly somewhere with access to the great outdoors—hiking and fishing featured prominently as leisure activities…

“…So the backpacks—and fishermen’s bags—were the collection’s fulcrum, matched to the mutated outerwear that was another essential component of the show. An inside-out patchwork of construction has become a clear Junya signature.”

Click on the ‘slideshow’ button at the link, if you dare. And do let me know how the pork pie hat with a fisherman vibe worked out for you on the Teviot this summer.

Latest ‘Trout Fisherman’ out now

Click on image for more details.

Reflections on Scotland Pt 1 – good job I skipped the mayo…

Idéogrammes Ju-Jitsu

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Back at the office after my annual week-long pilgrimage north of the border to garner features for the following 12 months.

As ever, it was a joy, the scenery and noticeably down-tempo mood a welcome contrast to frenzied England, but there was a lesson to be learnt from my visit to a pub in Crianlarich at the end of Day 1.

Understandably not spoiled for choice at 9pm in a remote Scottish village, I was nevertheless cheered to find two pubs still open for business, particularly when I noted that one of them was called The Rod and Reel.

Human nature, isn’t it? Imagine, you’re hungry and thirsty and find yourself on a road with a sport-themed pub on either side. One of them is called The Trout and Damsel, the other The Ju Jitsu Arms. Assuming you’ve only ever worn pyjamas at bedtime, which one are you going to head for? Exactly; you’re an angler.

So it was that I entered The Rod and Reel and was gratified to find that the staff would at least enquire if a sandwich could be made available for me, even though the hour for serving food had just passed. How nice to see people willing to go the extra mile in pursuit of the tourist dollar, I remember thinking. Cheese and tomato would be fine, I assured them, once one of their number returned from the kitchen.

Not long afterwards, four slices of un-toasted bread arrived, each pair separated by a generous, if rough-and-ready sprinkling of grated cheese and some random fragments of tomato.  Credit where it’s due, a napkin came with it. Triple-ply.

“That’ll be £7.90, please,” said a voice that I eventually had to accept came from the same universe as my own.

Fortunately, I’m covered by my employers’ evening meal allowance. I can dine on either filet mignon or hay of an evening, as long as I eat only so many pounds’ worth of either. Tired, famished and with the fight beaten out of my by a long day behind the wheel, I shelled out, ate up and left The Rod and Reel, Crianlarich, for the first and last time.

And the moral of the tale? Ours is an evocative sport, whose charms resonate beyond its boundaries. Walk into a bar with a fishing theme and you can be forgiven for imagining yourself safe in the bosom of kindred spirits. This is not a universal truth, however. Now and again, you will have stepped merely into the clutches of modern commerce, where it’s not rod and reel you find yourself hankering for, so much as shin pads.

Caveat emptor. And never pooh-pooh The Ju Jitsu Arms.

“And some extra padding around the crotch, if you please, Mr Wader Manufacturer…”

Pacu frito (fried pacu) gross fish teeth

Pacu frito (fried pacu) gross fish teeth (Photo credit: yrpopqueen)

Ever since the global warming debate kicked off in earnest, those of us who still remember the colon-loosening experience of seeing Jaws on the big screen have had a singular dark thought tapping away in the recesses of our mind.

Nasty fish, heading north.

If this tentative dread tended to take the form of great whites off Bridlington or Babbacombe in our fevered imagination, the ultimate predator has been usurped by a tropical tiddler, which, like Joe Pesci in Casino, seems all the nastier for being small, making its menace unexpected.

Say hello to the pacu. Ideally with your legs crossed.

“‘The pacu is not normally dangerous to people but it has quite a serious bite, there have been incidents in other countries, such as Papua New Guinea where some men have had their testicles bitten off,’ said Henrik Carl, fish expert at the Danish museum.”

Now they’re just off Sweden. That’s even more north than us (because I know you’re wondering). And many thanks to the vindictive Mr Carl, who has left us with a quote that may take days to leave my head.

“They bite because they’re hungry, and testicles sit nicely in their mouth…”

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