Fishing and Earthquakes – Having an Eel of a Time

It was the family summer vacation of 1982 and the Scottish Highlands were enjoying one of its rare blazing hot summers.

My dad had just bought me my first ever fishing rod from the local fishing tackle store, it was a bright shiny yellow which stood out a mile, and perhaps this was a sign of things to come!

I knew nothing about fishing but couldn’t wait to test the new rod out in the nearby Loch. My dad assembled the fishing tackle for me and off I set, fully expecting to catch lots of fish, although I hadn’t planned as far as what to do with them once I had caught them!

It was a gloriously sunny, warm day and after just a few minutes walk from where we were staying, I reached the bank of the Loch and settled into position. A friendly neighbour from one of the other log cabins was fishing just a little further up the bank and it seemed he was already having great success with his landing net already showing signs of activity!

It would only be a matter of time, I thought naively, before I was reeling in giant trout, carp and bass! I decided I wouldn’t sit down because there was sure to be lots of activity and fishing action!

I began to notice that the guy further up the bank was actually making a catch what seemed to me to be every few minutes. I also noticed and the guy confirmed as he cursed, “Another wretched eel!”, that all he was hauling in were eels! Nonetheless at least he was catching something.

An hour must have passed and I had long since sat down. The man was still cursing his luck and still reeling in the eels, while I was cursing the fact that he seemed to be stealing them all!

When I had finally given up several hours later, the final results went something like this, “man up the bank, at least 30 eels, and little ole me, 2 pieces of weed and a crisp packet!”

A couple of years later on a holiday in Wales, I went one better! In the midst of one of the most powerful earthquakes in the UK for years, I was net fishing in a stream and caught my first minnow! Hooray! I didn’t find out about the earthquake till later because I hadn’t felt a thing.

It is fair to say I am no expert fisherman but I have always retained an interest in fishing despite my humble beginnings.


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