While some anglers seem to find it easier than others to look at more than just weights and numbers to measure the quality of a day fishing, I have yet to meet someone who cannot see there is some truth in the old cliché that there is more to fishing than catching fish.
I have just returned from a trip to Wales that again brought this message home. A friend and I ventured onto a flat calm sea at dusk, fished for an hour then wild camped on a beach under a million stars. We launched again as the north east glow of the high summer predawn was just a glimmer, then spent the whole day cooking in the sun, only stopping to brew tea, eat then snooze in a meadow around midday. As we cast our lures from a small boat, we sighted dolphins and numerous types of sea birds (including a great skua; a first for me). While in aquarium clear water, as we drifted over shallow reefs, we saw numerous kinds of marine life pass beneath us. And all of this sandwiched between the entrance and exit of the sun that ignited the cauldron of mountains around us and gave the day an obvious but pleasing symmetry
Now 24 hours on, with fingers sore from bass spines and my neck and arms still smouldering with sunburn, although we caught an exceptional (for us) number of bass, I know the trip will be remembered as the duck versus seal trip. The memorable event involved the attempts of an Eider duck having moulted and unable to fly (something I am told normally occurs in August not July), seeking to evade a pursuing grey seal that wanted a variation to its normal diet of fish and crab. My camera was with me (even if the right telephoto was not attached) and the pictures I feel best tell the story:
Seal in pursuit of the Eider duck
After many near misses the duck looks to be dinner
The duck suddenly breaks free from the seals jaws (why was unclear).
The duck then runs across the water again trying to reach the safety of the shore.
The seal then realises its meal is lost as the bird reaches shallow water (seemingly still in reasonable health).
So although in truth only on the water because of an overpowering need to feel the pull of a bass, my passion brings me experiences I would remain utterly oblivious to if it was not for fishing resulting in me leading a parallel existence to my more orthodox life.
I’d be interested to hear whether others have witnessed anything similar to this incident or where you stand on the thought that fishing is best measured in the size of the memories rather than just by the size of the fish?