Fishing lines: Blonde babes and salmon, here I come

What does the name Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall mean to you? A champion of the organic movement? Country living? The Good Life with bad hair? Master chef, with emphasis on the offbeat (badger burgers for breakfast, slug soufflé for supper)? Especially the latter.

Imagine, then, my apprehension at being invited to join the great man on a fishing trip to Iceland, the land where they eat seal blubber, puffins and thousand-year-old eggs.

I have never cast a line in Viking country. Several of my well-heeled friends do so regularly, though their accounts tend to major on the price of alcohol, with beer at £10 a bottle. This may reflect their desire to keep the angling potential secret; it may be they know my love of après pêche.

Persist in asking about the fishing, and they say the weather was too hot or too cold. So why do they keep going back every year if it always means fishing in 6ft of snow, or with Hurricane Thorbjarnardottir blowing?

If fishing is the prime industry, can the angling really be so rotten? It sets a chap wondering: could they be feeding me a load of old Reykjaviks? So I did a little research. Imagine my surprise to find that information on the places where we are angling, the East and West Ranga rivers, was prefaced with words such as "incredible", "wonderful" and "extremely successful".

Last year was terrible on the West Ranga. A mere 728 salmon were caught, which was 1,800 fewer than the previous year. Locals agreed that with another year so bad, it would scarcely be worth wetting a line. (I ought to add that in Scotland, most rivers would be ecstatic to have produced 700 salmon.)

So the Icelanders built pyres and offered prayers to their Viking gods. They also released a lot more young salmon. And by all accounts things are back to normal this year. There are oodles of salmon everywhere. And this is prime time. No wonder my so-called mates have been keeping schtum. I rang one and casually asked if fishing was any good on the East Ranga. His reply - "How the hell did you wangle your way to the best fishing in Iceland?" - confirmed that this could be some trip.

My only worry is regarding Hugh F-W. He doesn't strike me as a man who, given the choice, would seek out the easy life. It's unclear whether this is one of those luxury trips every journalist dreams about, with ash-blonde maidens scrubbing my back when I return from a hard day hauling out salmon - or if I'm going to be shivering away in a flimsy tent, Hugh yelping with delight when he finds a rotting guillemot.

Icelanders reckon a delicacy of the country is soured ram's testicles. It's said to be a seasonal dish. I can only pray that we're travelling at the wrong time of year. However, you just know that Hugh will be eyeing up every passing sheep. I think I'd better pack a few Pot Noodles.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk