So why does a cold beer or iced G&T taste infinitely better after a long day out on the river or ocean?
This is a question I’ve been trying my best to answer for over 40 years.
One doesn’t need to fish to enjoy a frosty ale. But it certainly seems to help.
Seldom do you find a couple of fishing buddies sitting around a cold box sipping sparkling water. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but I’ve never seen it personally.
Perhaps it’s just easier for normally honest people to exaggerate after a couple of “dops”. In my experience that would make sense, given the number of patently obvious fibs to be found expounded around the camp fire, and the incredible ability a released fish has to grow in size and fighting prowess as the evening progresses.
Good fishing destination managers are well aware of the pre-requisite of having well stocked pubs and coolers, along with an endless supply of ice. All of which is often easier said than done in hot remote areas around Africa, but without which, even a good days fishing might be irrevocably ruined.
Under normal circumstances, we will be on location half of any given year filming our angling TV shows, so we’ve been lucky enough to enjoy some of the most splendid sundowner locations on the planet. If you’ve ever spent an evening on a sandbank in the Zambezi River, or a houseboat at Lake Kariba, watching the setting sun slip slowly below the horizon in a blaze of orange, you’ll know what I mean.
Then, there’s the majesty of a live-aboard yacht on the open ocean, or a sandy white beach on a private Island, the Kalahari, or the Okavango Delta. These are all spectacular experiences in their own right, but somehow they just wouldn’t be quite the same without an evening tipple.
Even a jaunt to our local Midlands Trout waters often requires some lubrication for maximum success. A happy ending around here probably means dropping into Notties Hotel for a cold one on the way home.
Talking about this landmark watering hole, the Tops Corporate Challenge fishing event, held here annually, is certainly an indication of how the lines between actual fishing and sitting around the pub discussing it, may blur somewhat. These two pastimes then are certainly not mutually exclusive by any stretch of the imagination.
Without the traditional glass of Brandy and Coke making an appearance on the banks of our many fine dams and rivers, Carp fishing would probably slip into obscurity entirely.
Bass angling is a serious business for those who practice it. The boats used have large engines and move at high speed from one place to another, so cold box lids need to be secured at all times in order to avoid nasty accidents or loss of bottles.
Many ski-boat clubs along the length of our coastline have great settings overlooking the ocean and vibrant pubs where members congregate over an ale of an evening.
Recreational fishing then seems to be inextricably linked to enjoying a few drinks responsibly with like-minded friends and family.
None of which helps me understand exactly why that beer tastes so good after a day’s fishing.
But what the hell, I’m just going to keep at it until I find the answer.