Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Thinking about fishing

click photo to enlarge
The other day, as I stood on a footbridge over the River Welland in Stamford, Lincolnshire, I thought about fishing - the sort that you do with a rod and line. Judging by all the newly created "fishing ponds" that I've passed in recent years, the number of people wanting to pursue this sport must exceed the water available. And, each time I see a group of fishermen sat around one of these ponds I wonder just what is the attraction?

Several years ago, when I was in France I watched, open-mouthed, as fishermen sat round a pond pulling massive carp after massive carp out of the water. They stored them in their keep-nets, then at the end of their session, put them back in the pond. Maybe they weighed them; maybe they kept one or two for eating, I don't recall. However, it looked like "shooting fish in a barrel". It seemed to require no skill on their part, and they always caught a "big un". The only time I've pursued this sport was for a year or so in my youth when I fished the rocky River Ribble in the Yorkshire Dales and had a few goes on the River Lune near Kirkby Lonsdale. Here the skill was to find the location that held some fish (brown trout, grayling and salmon were the main quarry) then decide whether to use a lure, float or fly to catch them. The best areas to fish would change with the season and the height of the water. So, local knowledge and skill was necessary. I remain to be convinced that much of either is necessary when fishing a small pond that is stocked by man rather than nature. The incidentals that I enjoyed all those years ago - walking the bank, dodging the trees, wading into the shallows, standing on rocks, and watching the plentiful wildlife as I waited for a "bite" - also seem to be absent. However, there is clearly some pleasure to be had from casting from the edge of a pond or this pastime woudn't be proliferating. Perhaps the reason I can't see it is linked to the reason that caused me to cast aside my rod after such a short time. Truly, freshwater fishing can be a puzzling sport!

So why was I thinking about fishing as I surveyed this verdant river view. Well, try as I might, I couldn't see a single fish in the water. They must have been there, but hiding! I've pointed my camera at this particular view before but never taken the shot. However, this time the boats, the water, the trees, and particularly the light, made it work better as a photograph. So I pressed the shutter.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 48mm (96mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f8
Shutter Speed: 1/125
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.7 EV
Image Stabilisation: On