Even the first angler needed persistence

PUBLISHED: 09:00 19 December 2008 | UPDATED: 11:58 17 June 2010

My plans to do some serious fishing have, again, been put on hold due to the persistent bad weather, writes Martin Wright

My plans to do some serious fishing have, again, been put on hold due to the persistent bad weather, so I have no current personal fishing experience to report, so let's go back to the beginning.A long time ago, a tribe of stone-age hunter gatherers made camp by a rocky coastline. One of the men observed plenty of fish in the sea close to the rocks and wondered if they were good to eat and how they could be hunted.He conveyed these thoughts to his fellow hunters, but was considered mad so he decided to go it alone.With strips of animal hide, a hook made from an animal bone and a stone as a weight, he made up what would be a modern fishing hand-line as used from boats.He managed to throw his baited hook over the rocks to where the fish were. Bites and hooked fish came at once but, to his dismay, they were lost or his line was broken as he tried to drag them back over the sharp rocks.He told his wife that he must have displeased the Gods in some way and would join his fellow hunters again to hunt dangerous animals to eat.His wife, a practical woman, suggested he should find some way to lift the fish clear of the rocks. The next day he went to the woods and cut down a thin 20 foot sapling. He attached the hand-line to the end of the pole and swung the bait out over the rocks. Fish were hooked as easily as before but, to his delight, he could now lift them over the rocks without snagging and his catch rate was impressive.The plentiful supply of nutritious fish prompted the tribe to "stay put" and the angler was promoted to tribe leader.Future generations of the tribe's children did well in life due to their ingenuity - due, perhaps, to a diet of fish increasing brain power. Who knows?I wrote in my last article about my preference for centre-pin and multiplier reels. It matters not what preference a person has for a rod or reel. What is important is the way the bait is presented to the fish on the "terminal tackle".There are now so many new "rigs" and methods available since I last tried my hand at fishing. I must experiment and hope to report soon on practical experiences - hopefully about my elusive barbel.May I wish all Sidmouth Herald readers a Happy Christmas and a good New Year and continued best wishes to Mike Winter and his family.

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