Friday, March 6, 2015

Fishing the Roman Empire.

Other than Alaska, where it is one of the main motivations for the trip, I have not done much fishing while traveling.  A lot of the places I visit are long settled areas where years of cultivation, industry and over harvest have had their unfortunate if predictable results.

But here and there I find odd little areas of overlap.  Places where Roman ruins and impressive fish can co-exist.  Here are a few from my travels....


For almost the only time in my life I had violated my travel code, which specifies no cruise ships and no bus tours.  I had a chance to go with my son.  It was an organized tour and in any event Egypt is something of a special case.  The country is effectively spread up and down the Nile valley making any travel other than by boat a bit impractical.  And the group was of mixed age.  Some could have done more afoot, others not so much.

But I am stubborn.  Having decided to pass up a side trip to Abu Simbal (son had by then had his fill of temples anyway) I tried to organize a one day fishing charter on Lake Nasser.  The target:  Nile Perch.  These are practically speaking the biggest fresh water fish you can catch on hook and line. How big?

This qualifies as "fishing the Roman Empire" because Aswan was more or less the southern boundary of Roman Egypt.  I had a series of email communications with a delightful guy named Peter Bailey from an outfit called African Angler.  And we got close, very close to making it work.  At that point in time you had to go through a rather silly permit system and I got the impression that a few extra dollars would have made the paperwork problems vanish.  But if the money could have been managed the time table was pretty tight, so we passed up the chance.  I still get interesting email updates from African Angler, they have soldiered on through trying times in the Egyptian tourist economy.  I wish them all the best.  Maybe someday......

Above is the Tyne river in Northumbria.  I go each spring and excavate at a Roman fort site along Hadrian's Wall.  This is where the Wall crossed the river. The Tyne is also the best salmon fishing stream in England.  Not Alaska, mind you, but scenic and if you have the time and the permit probably a fun place to fish.  It has been fished for a long time.  Excavations at Roman sites in the area show a variety of fish species represented by their bones.  Eels, sturgeon, and of course, salmon.

This spring I will actually get to Italy.  No excuse for not being there sooner.  I was not even thinking about Italy and fish but then I saw this picture:

Wow.  A 280 pound catfish caught in the delta of the Po river!

For more on Romans and fish (also birds, game, grapes and so forth) drop in and visit Moose and Hobbes

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