More than a few of you will remember the innovative Screaming Reels TV series of the mid 1990’s presented by Nick Fisher, in fact the series is still shown on satellite channels now.
I worked with Nick on a couple of the series episodes as well as on his radio show Dirty Tackle and recognised instantly the genuine passion he has for all things fishing. What I didn’t realise at the time was his equally consummate passion for food and more so if you can catch it and prepare it yourself. Nick eventually teamed up with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and they now work under the famous River Cottage banner, producing a series of River Cottage Handbooks.
Nick’s latest work is a sea fishing book called, not surprisingly, Sea Fishing, but its format is different from traditional books and looks at sea fishing from a layman’s point of view and is all the better for it.
River Cottage Handbook: Sea Fishing is a hardback, split in to nine chapters plus a directory and index with a total page count of 256 pages. It’s well illustrated using large numbers of high quality colour photos and easy to understand descriptive line drawings of knots, rigs etc. It is also available on Amazon via the Kindle Store so can be downloaded to a Kindle or iPad or similar tablet.
The information chapters break down in to When to Go Fishing, Where to Go Fishing, Fish You Might Catch, Tackle and Kit, Bait, Fishing Skills, Fish Preparation Skills and Cooking Fish.
This River Cottage Handbook is written in Nick’s easy to read simplified style but packed full of invaluable information, tips, tricks and good advice that will get you catching all manner of sea fish. Nick asked me if I’d read through the final draft of the book prior to the file being sent to the publishers, and though I’ve been sea fishing now over 50-years I learnt some good tips from it too, so its not just for the wannabe sea angler, it’s for all sea anglers.
I particularly like the Fish You Might Catch chapter with each common species having a table listing its season, likely location, the best fishing method and importantly its conservation status. The written information then goes in to detail on how to find the fish, how to catch them and eating them. It’s a detailed reference, but one that is quick and easy to read for specifics when targeting a particular species.
Another that stands out in this River Cottage Handbook is the Fishing Skills chapter. The rig descriptions are concise and simple, perfect for the newcomer, with other sections on striking and playing fish, releasing fish, killing fish humanely for the table and looking after the catch prior to eating, all necessary skills so often ignored.
As someone who’s had to learn to cook on a daily basis quite late in life I also very much enjoyed the chapter on cooking fish. In it are many of Nick’s own recipes for fish you and I commonly catch such as pollack, gurnard, mackerel and bream, plus it covers how to make ceviche, prepare a good fish batter, how to barbecue and bake correctly, how to make a good escabeche and also a great fish stock to pick out just a few. What I also appreciate is that most the ingredients used I’ve already got on the shelf, I don’t have to go and spend a fortune on fancy herbs and spices in some expensive exotic shop so often quoted when watching some of the recipes given by top named chefs.