Sunday, January 27, 2013

Blank..? We don't have a word for that in Poland

"And at 2pm, we will be meeting here for a barbecue," shouts Rado over the gale lashing across the Fens. "So bring along any fish you catch. And any swans...."

Some 46 anglers from five different nations turned out for today's Building Bridges fish-in on the Twenty Foot.  Organised by Rado - aka Radoslaw Papiewski and his colleague Pawel Nycz- under the banner of the Angling Trust and Polish Anglers Association, the day was the latest in a series of events designed to foster better relations between Eastern European anglers and those of us who grew up steeped in this country's angling culture.

Relations weren't the only thing which was thawing, as the temperatures rose after a fortnight when the mercury had rarely strayed above zero. Snow melt and heavy overnight rain had left the drain tea-coloured and rocketing through, with a brisk downstream gale adding insult to injury.

Yet while I'd resigned myself to the inevitable before I even got a bait into the water, the first thing which struck me about the Eastern European guys was they weren't going to let the kind of conditions which usually see me slinking off to a gravel pit get in the way of a good day out. Off they went with their lure rods, to give it a go regardless.

I gave it two hours, baits barely holding with five ounces of lead as debris picked up by the flow caught the braid and eventually cloaked the bait. I wandered back to the RV and bumped into Rado, along with Kelvin Allen and Mark Owen from the Angling Trust, and Tom Legge from Angler's Mail - the only angling journalist who'd turned out for the event.

Back they came, in dribs and drabs - still smiling. Smoke shrouded the banks as a sizeable barbie was fired up, with the smell of polish sausage soon making mouths water. No-one batted an eyelid as two swans sailed past Beggar's Bridge, let alone dived for the charcoal - Rado was joking about that, along with the fish.

While no-one actually managed to catch one anyway, the Polish Anglers Association is strongly promoting catch and release. Building bridges sums up what we need to do with these guys - break down some barriers, go fishing together and have a good crack.

You can't really fault that. It's a no-brainer. But next time, I'll be yomping off with a lure rod to have a bit more banter and get a bit more involved. Fishing is much more social to the Poles and Eastern Europeans, it's a get-together rather than lone wolves reluctant to trade information - which is how they see the natives. 

I met people today who live for their fishing as much as I do. One bloke, with a handshake like a vice, said: "English..? Good you come. We must fish more together."

I just hope conditions will be a bit better next time we meet up. As it became clear that everyone had blanked, I asked Rado what the Polish word was for blanking.

"There's no word in Polish for blanking," he said. "There's no such word. I'm very pleased, it's one of the best events we've had so far."

Nations represented included Poland, England, Romania, Lithania and Russia. One car-load came from Bridgewater, in Somerset. Another made the journey down from Liverpool.

Fishing in the Fens has so much on its plate at the moment, the only way we stand any chance of dealing with some of the big-picture issues is if we all get on with each other and stand up for what we all love - regardless of where we come from or the language we speak.

I turned out to be a winner in anyone's language. With no fish caught, there was a draw for trophies and prizes donated by the Angling Trust, Fox and the EA.

There were six prizes and my number was the sixth to be drawn. This means I was technically the third-best bait angler out of nine.

Looking at it another way, I've now got so good at not catching anything that the international angling community has awarded me a trophy for it.

I've also decided to re-invest my winnings by re-joining the Angling Trust. I might not agree with everything they do. But I've seen some of the best of it today, and met someone who's determined to make a difference when it comes to bridging the gap between cultures by getting us to fish together.

dziękuję Radowslaw and Pawel...

1 comment:

  1. Nice to see some people are doing positive things. Keep up the good work! It seemed to be a great day despite the lack of fish.