In the Palaeolithic era, it was practised to nourish oneself and to satisfy the knowledge of men. During the centuries, fishing also became a hobby, lifestyle and, like coffee, a rite that connects. And we have maybe all dreamt at least once to go fishing, watching “Tsurikichi Sanpei” as children, the manga fisherman hero and Japanese cartoon of the Eighties. However, we don’t want to write a fisherman’s handbook, but tell you some curiosities, anecdotes and, why not, small suggestions for those who would like to try it for the first time as “pastime” that brings men closer to nature and the sea, source of life. An enthusiasm Gionata Paolicchi, journalist and photographer, fosters since he was a child. Great fishing lover (of any kind), he wrote for the main national magazines of the sector. He currently lives in Forte dei Marmi, in the province of Lucca. His home is all seas and rivers of the five continents.
How does one fall in love with fishing?
It’s really hard to explain a feeling like love, but being fisherman is genetic; it’s a primordial instinct, something you have inside and feel since childhood. It’s difficult to get closer to fishing in adulthood, even if recent and new fishing techniques are pushing towards this direction, such as carpfishing, fishing that combines camping, living in the open air and being in company.
Useful advice and some small rules to be respected for those who would like to go fishing for the first time.
First of all, it’s important to understand that it’s not the fishing pole and reel worth 1000 Euros that catches fish; spending a few dozen Euros is enough. Learning to fishing is difficult and you need experience. You need to stay hours, days on a riverside in all seasons, with rain, freeze and heat, among achievements and defeats, and understand when and how fish eats, understand when and how to make it bite, and then, above all put it back in the water.
What kind of fishing do you suggest to those who would like to take a stab at it for the first time?
Something that doesn’t bore, some simple fishing, such as in a lake where there are many fish; the excitement of capturing is the main issue, the one that usually makes people, who had never fished before, get motivated.
On the other hand, what should one never do?
Kill the fish, above all if it’s of freshwater. There are only few fish and they have to be protected; you go fishing for pleasure, not to feed yourself. Obviously, if I go fishing and catch one or two sea bass, I can also keep them for a nice dinner, but fish is many times caught and thrown away, caught and sold, while fish is the most important good for us. Moreover, the environment needs to be respected and the banks, shores don’t have to be dirtied. Furthermore, never “exaggerate” by buying all and some; you really need few things to start fishing.
So, if I decide to go fishing tomorrow, what should not be missed in my rucksack?
Few but basic things, without the need to spend too much. If you want to approach spinning (game fishing with artificial bait), you just need a fishing pole with reel, hook disgorger (pliers to remove the hook from the fish’s mouth) and a box with a dozen of baits to fish sea bass, chub or trout; wear a pair of boots with non-slip soles. Never forget to put a photo camera in the rucksack. For those who practice “no kill” fishing, the fish will always or nearly always set free and the only way to remember the capture is taking a nice picture.
It’s said that fishermen are very superstitious. In which sense?
Actually, they are. For example, if someone tells you “enjoy fishing” before going fishing, there are people that really go back home. Fishing sometimes is luck, there are thousand “unknown” factors that don’t make you fish anything, and therefore, we blame on bad luck. However, me and two friends of mine are not superstitious and, therefore, we just put online a very nice and funny new website, which is actually called www.buonapesca.it (enjoy fishing).
Is fishing a rite and moment of conviviality, like coffee?
There is not even one single fisherman (of more than one and a half million in Italy), who doesn’t take coffee before going fishing. It’s a rite than cannot be renounced. Meeting place of a group of friends before a pleasant fishing day is in a bar in ninety percent of the cases; the remaining percentage meets at a toll booth, but stops at the first bar after few minutes. In the UK, I remember some fishing trips in motion, where I even used to bring a thermos bottle full of coffee with me. The day passed between a fish, a coffee, another fish and another coffee.
Recommended song for the reading of the present article: Starfish and coffee – Prince