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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee