Sunday, 16 September 2012

Fishing the Usk Pt6

So you've been reading about our adventures fishing the Usk, and you're thinking of coming to the UK to fish, or you're new to fishing and you're wondering how things roll 'stream-side'?

All The Gear - No Idea
There is no greater fear in the heart of the British [I know, this time I'm including them - as its the same for them too] Outdoorsman than to be branded with this epithet. In other countries a man fishing with his new £800 fly rod, in his £600 waders and £500 wading jacket is probably admired for his financial success or profligacy with a credit card, looked up to as someone who has invested seriously in the sport.

Here he could be rendered the lowest of the low with just a few words: if he was really good all you'd have to do is look  at the ground and say 'Tackle Tart' or if he was anything less than world championship standard, 'All The Gear - No Idea' would do it. Once dismissed like this I'm not sure there would be any way for him to bounce back without living on the riverbank for the next year, eating only fish he'd caught, but caught only after repairing his rod with Pine Pitch and parts culled from an abandoned washing machine.

For the real 'Aficionado' look your gear would look something like this:
Your Jacket: should look like it was; dived from a dumpster or belonged to your grandfather.
Your Waders: should be mainly made up of patches.
Your Rod: can be as expensive as you like, you may know the name of the brand, but certainly not the model and you should have a story to go with it about how you got it in a trade with some fool who thought they could buy their way into the sport but has now taken up something else, letting you buy the rod for 10-15% of its sale price.
Your Reel: anything more than 60% of the original finish left on the reel. We have a name for people like that.
Your Hat: like the dog dragged it in, and preferably you'll be seen using it as a dogs bowl at least once during the day.

Your Fly-Box; if you must insist on using a bought one, it needs a crack in the plastic, but better still a very old tabacco tin, preferably of a brand no longer sold.

Now we get to the difficult bit, how to conduct yourself. Any kind of success must be down-played, but the opportunity must also be used to demonstrate your ethical superiority. That 20lb fish was ' reasonable' but obviously was released to breed and so others could enjoy the majesty of caching it. However unworthy they may be. Where visitors from more expressive nations often come unstuck is that we have very strict rules banning: earnestness, gushing, emoting and talking about yourself. To prevent social disgrace where others would use the above, we use that most British of traits Understatement. If in doubt feign dry, deadpan, indifference at all times.

"The understatement rule means that a debilitating and painful chronic illness must be described as 'a bit of a nuisance'; a truly horrific experience is 'well, not exactly what I would have chosen'; a sight of breathtaking beauty is 'quite pretty'; an outstanding performance of achievement is 'not bad'; an act of abominable cruelty is 'not very friendly', and an unforgivably stupid misjudgment is 'not very clever'; the Antarctic is 'rather cold' and the Sahara 'a bit too hot for my taste'; and any exceptionally delightful object, person or event, which in other cultures would warrant streams of superlatives, is pretty much covered by 'nice', or, if we wish to express more ardent approval, 'very nice'."
From 'Watching The English', by Kate Fox. [Bright girl, not a bad read.] 

An antique shotgun of staggering beauty and fascinating provenance is "this old thing", a supermodel = not a bad looking bird, a vintage Porsche = 'my hack' and/or  'I'm keeping it on the road', a handmade suit would be 'the uniform' and a man who owns as far as the eye can see is 'a farmer' or even better understating the understatement 'a bit of a farmer'.

Another nation with understatement rules is of course Japan [aka the Britain of Asia]. I once asked a japanese girl how the notoriously polite japanese people cope with the english trampling over their social sensibilities. She smiled kindly "It's not your fault you're a barbarian"

More soon
Your pal


sewa mobil jakarta said...

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Hippo said...

You wear waders? Unless you were bare legged inside them and they were filled with Swarfega and nettles, strikes me as a bit effette...

Steve Bodio said...

I like all this-- will send you a pic of my very battered old fly reel, though I wish I got to use it more. My guns range from perfect & old to beat up and relatively new-- how much of a given species do you shoot in a season? How often do you carry it?

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

I think that sentiment is pretty close to universal, but it's expressed differently in different places. Ever hear "All hat, no cattle?"

The Suburban Bushwacker said...


Of course I was bear legged inside them, but no, I'm a wuss so no nettles.

The Suburban Bushwacker said...


Loved the pic

My ambition has always been
2-3 decent sized Fallow does (or about 6 Roe)
100 squirrels
100 rabbits
5 Hares
150 pigeons
50 ducks
25 Geese
as many trout as possible and a freezer full of Mackerel
This would be a manageable amount to store, would easily be enough to eat with plenty left for trading
Never even come close.

The Suburban Bushwacker said...


Yep that's it! We also have "all mouth and trousers' which I guess is nearest to "All hat, no cattle". There must be more. maybe we should make a list?

Cro Magnon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Cro Mag

Sorry mate I accidentally deleted your comment

Am pleased to see that I qualify on at least one item. My 40 year old 'long wheel base' Barbour is even more tattered than yours. My wife despairs, whilst I simply accept.

Care to send in a photo? Steve has already sent in a suitably field-worn reel

PAHunter said...

We are so excited for hunting season! Just found out that this small little place processes venison meat if you live in Pennsylvania! Thought I would share it with the hunting community! Their website is if you want to know more.

Good luck this season everyone

LSP said...

American women especially like the understatement rule.

They appear, immaculate.

"How do I look?"


Alisha westin said...

Informative ones thanks for such kinda post buddy!