The Scribbler

29 July 2010

You shall have a fishy

Filed under: food — The Scribbler @ 18:33
Tags: , , , ,

Fishing boat heading out on the Tyne

Fishing boat heading out on the Tyne

It couldn’t have been a better evening for my first ever fishing trip, organised by Lee and Beth of G&S Organics. Eight of us motored out from North Shields under balmy summer skies onto smooth waters, taking photos of familiar coastal landmarks from a new perspective.

Out beyond the breakwater and the piers marking the mouth of the river, feeling the gentle pull of the sea. At some unidentifiable point, still in sight of the coast, our crew powered down the engines and turned their attention to showing this fishing novice how to work the rod and reel.

My usual mechanical ineptness found me getting twisted up in someone elses line and getting my own rather tangled in my first couple of attempts, but the guys were on hand to sort me out and start me fishing.

Fresh mackerel in a bucket

First catch

It’s not long before one of the gang scores the first catch as Neil reels in a fine couple of mackerel. Their green and silver scales gleam in the bottom of the bucket.

At first I find it hard to tell the difference between the pull on the line of the lead weight and a genuine bite, and on a speculative reel in, find I’ve caught my first fish. Sadly they’re coalfish, small and not great for eating, so they go back in.

Around the boat everyone’s reeling in mackerel and it’s not long before I land my first genuine catch. I rely on a trusty helping hand to unhook them from my line, but soon I’m catching two or three at a time.

These are beautiful, slippery creatures that wriggle wildly, red gills flailing as we drop them in the rapdly filling buckets and haul our lines over the side for another try.

mackerel on a barbecue

Cooking the mackerel

As the catch begins to slow, we move on to another spot and Lee and Beth prepare our onboard feast. Cool boxes unveil bread, cheese, salad leaves, tomatoes, herbs and dressings as Lee gets to work chopping up a salad. Soon fresh fillets are sizzling on the disposable barbecues.

It’s an informal picnic, but when fish is this fresh it needs nothing more fancy. We’re soon licking fingers and lips, tasting the sweet, salty, delicious catch.

All too soon we’re stuffed and return to re-stock the buckets. This time I take on landing duty, unhooking the fish as Gary reels them in. The first one escapes my clutches and slithers around the deck, comedy style until I get the knack of a firm grip on its slippery scales.

Soon I’m unhooking and filling the buckets with relative ease, oblivious to the slightly messy process that leaves my hands covered in tiny transluscent scales that glisten like salty sequins.

Lighthouse at sunset

Heading home into the sunset

By now the boat’s surrounded by a bevy of gulls. Martin, from Northern Experience Wildlife Tours helps us identify herring gulls, fulmars and a couple of gannets both on the water and in the air.

As the sun starts to set, we raise our rods for the last time and head back towards the mouth of the river. We land our catch, transferring a fine haul of line-caught mackerel into cool boxes and re-discover our land legs after a fine evening fishing and feasting on the Tyne.


  1. Hi Michelle

    Enjoyed reading this. Glad you had such a great time. There can’t be much that’s better than eating freshly grilled Mackerel, drinking red wine and enjoying the view of Northumberland from the North Sea 🙂



    Comment by martin — 31 July 2010 @ 14:53 | Reply

  2. […] recipe Mackerel with garlic chilli and ginger dressingWith a freezer full of mackerel after a recent fishing trip, it was time to try out some home […]


    Pingback by First catch your mackerel… « The Scribbler — 2 August 2010 @ 19:36 | Reply

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