When is good time to kill a fish... ?
I have recently come back form a family holiday in West Ireland Beara peninsula. A stolen couple of days meant I could get on the rocks after Pollock with a pocket full of HTO Real D'eels and nothing much else I could hop around unencumbered searching for wild Atlantic fish, that could easily reach double figures. Faced with miles of coastline I look for a bit of shelter from any wind, depth of water, kelpy ledges and tide run. But getting out of the weather is not always possible and, if the wind has any westerly in it, you’re going to get some impressive and dangerous seas. Still perfectly fishable maybe,, but note that some rock marks have plaques dedicated to anglers who ‘died doing what they loved’, which is somewhat sobering.
Bantry Bay...Shore pollack heaven...
I found fish fairly quickly and a succession in the 3-6ln bracket came to the garish pink HTO real deal, which held up well, with a touch of glue, to an onslaught of aggressive arm wrenching takes. Fish tended to come on the drop. 5 -10 turns and then keep in contact as the lures falls through the water, wallop! The taking areas usually being around a kelp ledge or feature. Very exciting fishing. Although there were to be no monsters I was pleased with my self and send a shot over to rob for the blog .
Sandy bays that scream turbot and small eyed rays...
‘I cant use this’ said Rob ‘the fish are dead, we need live fish to spread the message of conservation. People don’t like to see piles of dead fish’. Well ‘piles’ was a bit harsh, as I had kept two and I wanted to eat them and provide tea for our holiday party and any way although I could be more confident returning smaller fish the larger ones were being hauled out of a very heavy sea and there was no way you could use a drop net or go down to get them without risking your life, and returning them would be equally as primitive a process. Pollack aren’t a robust fish, it would be awful to see a decent fish float away belly up, and anyway I was fishing for the pot.
Thornback rays... If you can be bothered to prepare them, very tasty indeed...
Reflecting on Robs words I called him the next day. ‘Listen’ I said ‘ I’ve been thinking. Taking a fish or two for the table must be our right as anglers and if this is responsibly and sustainable, not only is it perfectly acceptable, but it gives meaning to our fishing. It connects us to our roots as hunter gathers and makes fishing much more justifiable morally too.
‘Well I agree’ said Rob, 'If we don’t eat the odd fish are we not just foxhunting on water?’ Having said that I wouldn’t want to encourage people taking numbers of fish when they are under pressure, like bass and even mackerel right now..’
Deep sloping cliffs, covered in kelps, giving way to clean sandy bottom..
So we agreed to put the picture up of my two delicious (to be pan fried with chips and peas) pollock, along with the stunning Irish scenery , a couple of bonus rays and a film of a released ray swimming away to inspire us all to go fishing responsibly and to feel okay about knocking the odd one on the head, where legal, and reminding ourselves that we are still essentially the same flesh and blood as our ancestors. Taking for killing what we eat to my mind is more noble than paying for someone else in some dreary abattoir to do our dirty work for us. I’m a veggie, but quite happy to eat anything I’ve killed myself. When I look at a cow or a pig I don’t feel like I want a bacon sandwich quite enough to get my hands that dirty. – so I’ll happily make do with quorn. Might be hypocritical but I love fish, squid crabs and prawns and eating what you catch is an uniquely satisfying part of life..... feel free to post any thoughts of your own on this issue!