Just the other day, my buddy and I were unpacking our gear and were about to take a walk to our fishing mark. A passing family with two small kids waved at us and wished us good luck. This was not an uncommon occurrence. Many times, over the years, I have been greeted by, and even gotten into friendly chats with, non-angling passersby. On that day, while walking to our destination, we began to talk about how nonparticipants accept angling much more than hunting. We agreed that if we had been pulling out rifles, instead of fishing rods, from the trunk of our car, we wouldn’t have enjoyed such friendly reactions.
So why doesn’t angling spark such negative emotions as hunting? This must have something to do with the arbitrary scale each of us uses to assign value to the life of various creatures. We usually do so based on intelligence (elephants are so smart) or size (whales are so big) or perceived scarcity of the resource (there are not many lions left in the world). No matter how you cut it, fish usually rank pretty low on the scale. They are fairly simple creatures which are not fluffy or cute and in most cases are perceived as plentiful. So the public doesn’t mind seeing a dude with a fishing rod on the river bank.
Unfortunately, with the growth of radical environmentalism coupled with the recreational outrage culture, things have begun to change. Nowadays, anglers are criticised more often than before. The arguments are not new. Anti-anglers use the same rhetoric as anti-hunters: the causing of unnecessary pain to a fish, the allegedly negative impact on the environment, the supposed sanctity of all life, and all the rest of the quasi-ethical arguments. Social media platforms provide a slick echo-chamber for perpetuating such arguments. Alas, many people choose to shape their view of the world based on the shallow and uninformed opinions of their favourite celebrity, rather than scientific evidence.
It is somewhat worrying that this trend can also be seen among the hunting and fishing community. It is becoming more common for sportsmen to criticise each other based on what tackle they use or what quarry they pursue. For example, I have met a few anglers who were very critical about hunting, clearly blindfolded to the fact that angling is, itself, a form of hunting. So if you are a hardcore catch & release angler, criticizing fellow sportsmen, remember that you might be surprised, sooner than you think, to find yourself on the wrong side of this argument.
We have spoken many times about the need for advocacy for hunters and anglers, strong organizations that would represent sportsmen’s interests. Angling Trust is one such organization. Its aim is to represent anglers from England and Wales. Our guest is Dave Mitchell who is Angling Trust’s Head of Marine. He is also a board member of the European Anglers Alliance. In the podcast, I talk with Dave about angling advocacy, the state of the marine environment and the challenges faced by the angling community. If you are an angler, this one is worth listening to, even if you don’t live in England or Wales.
This is yet another review of a compact super-zoom camera. This time we take a look at the Panasonic Lumix FZ80/FZ82. I have used this camera for a number of days and in this video, I will share my observations with you. What’s good, what’s bad and ultimately – is it worth buying? Watch this video and decide for yourself.
In this episode you will hear a fascinating account about one man who has spent most of his life fighting illegal salmon netting in the rivers and estuaries of the Irish South West. His name is Bertie Brosnan and he has joined me with his son Dan to tell his fascinating story. But be warned, it is not for the fainthearted. You will hear about personal sacrifice, threats, damaged property, court sentences and shots fired.
There is a lot more than we could possibly fit into roughly an hour-long podcast and we only scratched the surface. That’s why we might get back to this tale in the future. Please leave your comments if you would like us to dig deeper.
This is a no-nonsense review of the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS super-zoom compact camera done from the perspective of outdoors use. Are the features and real-life performance of the camera on par with its price? Watch this video to find out.
This is the second part of last week’s podcast where we talked with Tomás Mac an t-Saoir about his solo and unsupported cycle down the length of Africa. If you missed the first part, go and listen to it now. Otherwise, let’s jump right in!
You may remember Tomás from one of the previous episodes of the podcast. Back then, he was a few months away from his planned, solo and unsupported, cycle from Cairo to Cape Town in aid of the Donal Walsh Live Life Foundation.
A year later I got to talk with Tomás again. He is back from his cycle, in one piece, healthy and happy. In this incredible episode, Tomás gives a vivid description of his trip and his adventures along the way. African people, African wildlife, pain, sorrow, exhilaration, unreal landscapes, ethnic conflict and friendship.
This is another big-adventure episode and I feel really fortunate to call this young, but highly experienced, adventurer, a friend.