It’s the fisherman who’s truly hooked

Trying to catch fish with rod and line is a pursuit that, for many, goes far beyond the pleasant passing of a few leisure hours, the diverting indulgence of a hobby. It becomes little short of a reason for existence, an end for which the other bits of life are merely the means. I have never been so afflicted, being a casual sea-angler, but I look upon those who are with profound curiosity. Like deep religious faith, such zeal might sometimes look cranky, but there is much to envy too. ‘Fishing simply sent me out of my mind,’ confessed the Russian writer Sergei Aksakov. In The Lightning Thread, David Profumo

Why do anglers get so hooked?

The other day a friend asked me what a lascar was. Fair enough: it’s not a word you come across in everyday conversation. Perhaps he’d been reading Spike Milligan, where I last met it. A similar question struck me about the ‘unreasonable virtue’ which the American writer Mark Kurlansky sees in fly fishing. I have fished all my life and am no more or less virtuous that the next man. I searched for the answer in this book but failed to find it. It is hard to understand why it was published. True, British writing about fly fishing has become a lackadaisical, threadbare thing. Monthly magazines are full of accounts

How to spot good quality smoked salmon

“Try smoked salmon without the lemon – you might just like it!” says Lance Forman, the fourth generation owner of family salmon smoking business H. Forman & Son. Overlooking the Olympic Stadium, Forman’s smokehouse (cum-deli-cum-restaurant-cum-shiny-disco-palace) is the fishtastic Trump Tower of the East End. “In a restaurant,” continues Forman, “the plate arrives, and people often add salt to their food before they’ve tasted it. It’s the same with smoked salmon – people automatically squeeze lemon over it. But actually, that’s a habit that has sprung from eating poor quality smoked salmon which can be quite slimy. The acid in the lemon helps to cut through the sliminess – but good