One of my favorite British expressions is “Arsey-versey”, or as it is paraphrased in the U.S., “Bass-ackwards”. The States are a direct outgrowth of the former Empire, on which the sun never set on, and the two countries still have very close ties and some similarities in culture……..Some similarities, but not extending very much into the serious business of fishing. Not commercial fishing so much, but even there are real differences. We are, in the fishing universe, Arsey-Versey from one another in many ways, as follows.
Observed commercial differences – lobster fishing.
How different could it be? You have a cage style trap, attached to the required fathoms of rope and surface buoy. You put bait in the trap, throw it overboard and come back the next day or two and pick out your lobsters, crabs, conger eels, wolf fish and occasionally a monk fish before he has completely destroyed your trap. The methods here and there are very similar, but the essential gear, the trap, not so much
< Hi-tech typical Maine lobster trap, wire mesh held together with Hog Rings…even the venerable entrance netting is being replaced with poly-plastic mesh.
U.K. typical lobster pot…half round shape, the same as I started out with almost 40 years ago as a recreational lobsterman in Wells, Maine, but held together almost entirely of cordage and shredded tires holding the bottom onto the half-round structure.
Which one “fishes” better? Neither, just different approaches to the same end.
Recreational fishing is where the Arse-verse becomes warped.
America. (most parts) – never fish for ‘trash fish”, like carp, buffalo and most bottom feeders. Revere and hold almost mystical the art of catching trout and salmon. If trout are caught, in most instances one MUST release into the waters from which it was caught. If carp are caught, they most often end up composted and put on a garden….or not.
U.K. Fish fanatically, and often at great expense for the Great Olive Sport Fish, Cyprinidae! Carp. Never, under any circumstances keep the noble beast, but handle tenderly and release immediately back into the water as unscathed as possible. If trout are accidentally caught, immediately immobilize it with a priest and never ever return to the water.
I noted in an earlier post that I struck out on trout this trip, hooked several and then loosing them for various reasons (all absolutely beyond my control!). My host here in the U.K. and now friend, Chris privileged me with taking me along on a Coarse fishing trip. No vulgarity, just an opportunity to catch the mighty fish of Europe, one or another of the Carp. Having no good fortune with Troot, I more than willingly went along.
FISHING FOR CARP
U.S. Grab almost any old pole, a hook or two, maybe a sinker and either some bread dough-balls, which are in extreme hard-core carping, sweetened with Karo corn syrup. Cut a forked stick and jam into the mud – and there will be mud since you will be fishing in the direst swamps of lake or riverine waters. Bait the hook and heave out gently, lest the doughball fly off the hook at touch-down. Find the least damp spot and go to sleep.
U.K. Find a good sized SUV with plenty of cargo room. Drive any reasonable distance to the specimen lakes and begin the Getting Ready Game of purchasing a permit, driving to the chosen park-like setting and begin ferrying gear to your chose spot. (None of this driving right up to the spot). It’s easy to choose a spot since they have been dug out in perfect squares, lined with clean wood chips, surrounded by railroad ties, solidly embedded and anchored into the soil. Adjacent will be graceful willows and blooming hyacinth, whilst the whole time numerous species of ducks, geese and song birds parade before you.
Set up your gear. Continue setting up your gear. Set up your gear some more, and in our case yesterday, set up gear pretty much continually for the Yank who continues to loose it or cannot even see well enough tie it together in the first place. Use made-for the purpose horizontal fishing rod holders, equipped audible alarm fish bite indicators and little visible buoys lightly attached so that if you can’t figure out which alarm is sounding, you can see the little buoy rising into the air as the mighty carp streaks away with your bait.
Oh, and don’t forget the really nice and very comfortable folding chair with telescoping legs.
Chris, acting as my personal Ghillie, got very little fishing in, as he was pretty much constantly coming back and forth from his spot to mine, as I hooked fish and they broke off and I needed to be re-geared up. Finally, a short, but very muscular 10.5 lb “mirror” carp made it to the net…and then, of course, gently returned to the water.
All jest aside, it was a terrific afternoon out- an early, short shower, then warm sunshine which let me drift off to sleep….till someone set off an alarm clock! Oh, it was the buzzer on the “get up and reel in the hooked fish” alarm. I managed to land another 7 or so pound specimen and then it was time to disassemble all the assembled gear, rods, nets, fish-on alarms, infrared motion detectors, clay-mores and the like and head home.
I can’t remember a more relaxing and fun fishing trip and want to thank Chris Peatroy of Lois Barn Courtyard Farms (I never get that right), for not only being an excellent host, friend but ultimate Ghillie. I’ve seen big game outfitters in Namibia that were not so well supplied and certainly not as pleasant! You can find the Peatroys and their truly excellent rental, self-catering unit here: https://www.loisbarns.co.uk/booking.html.
As a postscript – the below, protected photo of a fellow carp enthusiast and his Ghillie can be found for purchase on my on-line art gallery at: https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/1-max-bowermeister.html