Wednesday, 8 June 2022

On World Ocean Day - bass hunters.

Cap'n Cod beating his way home from the Runnelstone Reef.

On #WorldOceanDay, lets not forget that our fishermen from Cornwall along with thousands of others around the world along with the 'cow-boys' who fish off the Breton coast - all pit their wits and skills in the enduring battle between man, the fish they chase and the elements. Though these days increasing bureaucracy and legislation must seem even more insurmountable than the heavy swell these single handed fishermen often face.

This article, courtesy of Paris Match, tells one such story, one that is repeated all around the oceans.

"Alone aboard small boats, about thirty men perpetuate angling off Finistère. Where the earth is dying and the ocean is rising, the saying warns: "Who sees Ouessant, sees his blood, who sees, Sein sees his end." But, under the leaden sky, this broth bristling with reefs is so rich in plankton that it attracts some 130 species of fish, including bass: the Holy Grail.

It is a formidable, shapeless, unpredictable sea. A sector where it is not good to venture when one has a bad heart. The Iroise Sea, which bathes Finistère, obeys nothing and no one. The waves of the Atlantic end their mad race there by mixing with the tidal currents. “Between the Ile de Sein (see the web cam below) , Le Four, Ouessant, Pointe Saint-Mathieu, Cap de la Chèvre, Pointe du Raz, everything is nothing but a garden of thorns on a medieval sea that would defend itself against the intruder. 

So speaks Olivier de Kersauson. The intruders here are the men: around twenty angling fishermen throwing themselves into the broth every day, armed with a line and a hook. Alone aboard small overpowered boats, they risk their necks for one of the most sought-after fish on the French coast: the bass. It's spectacular fishing, a furious ballet where the man confronts the animal "fairly", tiller wedged between the legs, throttle in the left hand and simple rod in the right hand. From the coast, tourists watch the rodeo. "They're cowboys," tells us an old Breton woman out to air her hair. Swell cowboys. Welcome to the West Lighthouse."