‘All men are equal before fish.’ Hold on to that thought

2013-02-16 00:00

I SPENT some time catching up with an old friend who recently holidayed in South Africa after being out of the country for a few years. Her initial comments about being back were less than complimentary.

Discrimination is rife everywhere. It is especially common in a country so beautiful that people have spent decades fighting one another for the right to claim it as their own. As a woman, I cannot deny that I enjoy mulling over a juicy piece of gossip. I have enjoyed more than my fair share of judgmental criticism.

While any and all discrimination must be classified as wrong, limiting it to discriminating against those people who choose to wear Crocs is certainly a lesser evil.

We all have a penchant for discrimination, although an angler’s discriminatory insights are typically limited to the clothes worn by other anglers, tackle or choice of boat. The line, as it were, is cast by the fact that we all share a common interest and not by the colour of our skin or what percentage of the population our education places us in.

We are regularly bombarded with all things political and the absolute last thing that we want to have to deal with in our down-time is politics. For some reason, however, political overtures seem to be inescapable whether they arise from an accidental slight or a selfish decision to put ourselves first.

Herbert Hoover once said that “All men are equal before fish”. The average person is unable to differentiate between different species of fish. Fish are similarly unable to distinguish between us. To them, humans are all the same. We pose a threat to their survival and their environment, whether we are fishermen or merely casual passers-by. To us a fish is just a fish. To a fish, a human is just a human. When there is no distinction, there can be equality. While it may be easy to hold on to this logic while on the water, we are often unable to remember this lesson when we go home.

If there is one thing that fishing has given me, it is a fierce sense of loyalty to the beautiful country I hope to be able to call home forever.

Fishing allows us to meet people and see places that we might otherwise never be exposed to. It teaches us to be flexible and to adapt to the dynamic conditions that we find ourselves in. It teaches us to be accepting not only of the rank odour of slimy rotting bait but also of each other.

If you are one of those who would rather leave politics to the politicians and get on with some fishing, then why not get in touch with Rakesh Naipal, chairperson of the newly formed Unique Anglers Angling Club at 073 972 9000.

Unique Anglers hosted its first club outing at Albert Falls last weekend. It proved to be a hugely successful start as all 25 members were in attendance. This club offers male, female, veteran and junior anglers the opportunity to put politics aside and go back to the basics of having fun.

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