First mackerel

‘Can you remember your first mackerel and where you caught it?’

I tried to cast my mind back to where I had been. There are two fishings trips that I went on when mackerel might have been caught.

The first was on a glorified barge that went out into one of the slabs of water that the Dutch were claiming back from the sea. I might have been nine or ten and I guess it was one of the holidays we spent time in Renesse a small village cum summer resort that sits on the west coast of one of the islands down from Rotterdam a great swathe of sand facing out to the North Sea.

We sat on the black roof of the barge and dropped a line over the side but all I can remember are flat fish coming out of the watrer and there weren’t many of them.

Next it was a holiday in Cornwall staying near Polzeath. I was twelve or thirteen and we were there for my birthday and I was given a small cassette player and a tape of one double albums with all The Beatles’ singles on them. Stupidly one day we swam across the river Camel from Rock to Padstow and almost got washed out to sea and had to hold onto a buoy halfway across to get our breathe back and the next day we took a fishing boat out fom Padstow  and went fishing or the day.

As the boat pulled out of the harbour there were gannets in the air and they came down around the boat following us out until we a mile os so out and the lines went out. I can’t actually remember the catching of mackerel but I know that fish were caught and if fish are going to be caught in a place like that then some of them must have been mackerel. I caught a flurry of fish at the start of the trip and then there was an hour os so of catching nothing.

Whatever fish we caught were taken back to the cottage we were staying in and we had a go eating them that evening. We were given a small dogfish to take with us and its skin was tough and I am not sure we were able to eat any of it.

It would be another twenty years before I went fishing again and that was to throw a line over the side of a boat in Dunmannus Bay to haul in mackerel.


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