Thursday, 30 August 2012
Angling's common language
It's been three weeks since I last fished, although I'll be remedying that sorry statistic tomorrow. The combination of a week on our church's youth camp followed by a two week family holiday in France ruled out any piscatorial possibilities, but while in the lovely Gers region of France I purchased a copy of the second best fishing magazine I've ever read. Now, I'll be honest with you, excepting the always excellent Waterlog, I'm pretty bored with English fishing magazines. I still buy them, but much in the same way as I used to buy cigarettes when I was a smoker - not because I enjoyed most of them, but because I was addicted! They just tend to be the same old articles and thinly disguised product promotions from sponsored anglers coming round again and again like some printed version of "Groundhog Day".
I stumbled on Le Pecheur de France in a small newsagents in a little bastide town and read it avidly for the rest of the holiday. My basic French, a bit of guesswork and the context of the articles meant that I could read and get the sense of most of what was being said, and it presented a winsome portrait of fishing accross the channel. There was lots about lure fishing, including a fascinating article about using surface baits for perch, some lovely photo's, quite a bit from a match angler called Jean Jaques Chaumet who sports the most prodigious of handlebar moustaches, and even an article on roach fishing "English-style"" (ie with a waggler and running line and reel) entitled "gardon au ble a l'angaise".
Not only did the magazine give an insight into fishing in France, but it served as a reminder that wherever anglers hail from, and however they choose to fish the fundamental attractions of the hobby are commonly owned ... a love of beautiful places and the challenge of fooling a living creature in its natural environment, before lovingly returning it from whence it came.