Posting recently on salmon programmes on the telly, I also admitted I’m a big fan of Cyril Chauquet and his Fishing Adventurer show. F.A. does the rounds of the Sky digital channels (is it Discovery Real Time? Probably) and is well worth catching. I have two of Cyril’s adventures gracing my Sky+ and they are perfect fodder for my favourite end-of-Ten O’Clock News to midnight slot. I think I’ve watched both twice and they’re still there, holding their own against the Coronation Streets, Waterloo Roads and Wild At Hearts!
What I like about Cyril is his enthusiasm but also that he’s a bloody good angler. He is one of those true anglers who cannot walk past a marina or stream or other incidental bit of water without having a cast as he’s on his way to the main event. Usually he catches something.
Cyril’s trademark is jumping into the water himself at any available opportunity. Returning a fish? He jumps into the water. Landing a fish? He jumps into the water – while throwing his rod up in the air and then attempts to grab the fish in his arms and by the tail. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t and it certainly wouldn’t be for me in landing a fish you’ve spent a week trying to catch (ie a salmon) but it does make very good telly.
Last night I was watching the one where Cyril goes after the striped marlin of Baja California in Mexico. You feel for Cyril on the first full day which is action packed with several long, long fights with very big marlin but they always shed the circle hooks he is using at the end. This does put a question mark on said hooks although it’s hard to knock them too much when they can hold a 175lb marlin for over an hour, even if the hook hold goes in the end. In the past in the T&S office we have debated using circle hooks on salmon flies but the above question mark does settle the issue somewhat for me. I’ll stick with Sawadas and Salars, even if the latter come in odd sizes.
Anyway, what sounds like a good night on the Mexican ale and tequilas in one of those holiday beach bars with a palm-fronded roof does the trick in the end as a presumably hungover Cyril does get his monster marlin the following day. It is a quite stunning fish of 150lb and Cyril reacts in predictable fashion jumping off the boat and swimming with the fish as it recovers. He is absolutely elated (so was I for him, you can’t help but get emotionally involved, even as the viewer) and there is a superb volley of high-5s etc with the skipper: “I’m so happy!” .. “Congratulations,” says the skipper fishing Cyril’s baseball cap out of the Pacific Ocean with the tip of a boat rod.
And then, says Cyril, suddenly serious and with the flicker of a frown: “Are we gonna carry on fishing?” … “Why not says El Skipper, “We might get a dorado, or another marlin.”
And there follows a wonderful bit of a clearly exhausted Cyril-to-camera, slightly muttering under the radar of the skipper: “We might get a dorado, or another marlin … Jeez, we’ve just caught a 150lb striped marlin but now we’re after a bigger marlin, or more marlin, or a dorado, or more fish. What are we like – sick in the head?” It’s candid, and real and I think most of us can say we have been there. Meanwhile Cyril carries on wearily setting up his boat rods again as the titles roll. Respect.
(The other F.A. I have saved is the one where he goes to
Nunavik is it? in Northern Canada and catches some quite stunning Arctic char. Really like the wilderness hut they stay in with the stunning fish catches recorded in permanent marker all over the bunks: 10 char, four over 10lb, that sort of thing. Don’t be surprised if I get myself off there at some point because arctic char is one species I’d like to target out there in the arctic circle wilderness at some point. So there you go, one thing that could get me off the salmon rivers … )