The motto of the London Fishing Club is, “There is more to fishing than just fish.” While there is no question that the main aim of any of fishing trip is to catch fish there are other things which add enjoyment to our days in the field. The chance to be out on the water enjoying nature is a big part of fishing.
Another fishing-related activity many of us enjoy is the opportunity to have a shore lunch. A day on the water can make you pretty hungry so a break at the middle of the day to make lunch is a time-honoured tradition.
The lunch can be simple or elaborate. I have been on some fishing trips where lunch was a can of sardines or Vienna sausage. However the ultimate shore lunch is to cook some of your catch, assuming you have been lucky enough to catch something. The equipment required for a shore lunch can be as simple or elaborate as you wish. While many will vote for cooking over an open fire I prefer the speed, safety and convenience of a Coleman stove. Besides, in many areas fires are banned or fire wood is difficult to find unless you bring your own.
Utensils for cooking don’t have to be fancy. Most of my cooking gear came into my possession as my wife retired it from the kitchen. While it might not be shiny as it once was it still has years of service left in it. Flea markets are another great place to pick up frying pans, pots and kettles for the woods. A pair of leather work gloves is another handy addition to your cooking outfit. They allow you to safely handle hot pots and grills without burning yourself.
While dust tape may be the handy man’s secret weapon I believe that aluminum foil is the outdoor cook’s best friend. In a pinch you can fashion aluminum foil into a pot to boil water, make a small frying pan or simple wrap your meal and roll it around in the coals until it is cooked. Don’t skimp when buying aluminum foil, you want good heavy stuff.
An important part of the job after any shore lunch, no matter how simple or elaborate, is the cleanup. If you pack something in make sure you pack it out. There is nothing more discouraging than to walk through the wood to your favourite fishing spot to find it strewn with garbage from someone too lazy to haul out their trash. Most people I know are very conscious of the need to protect the environment but unfortunately a few bad actors can spoil it for all anglers.
So, when fishing season opens this spring, pack along your gear for a shore lunch when you head to your favourite fishing spot. Just add some pan trout and a few spruce needles in your tea and you will have a feast fit for a king.
Don MacLean is an outdoor writer and biologist who lives in Pictou County.