Fishing Lines: June is busting out all over my wall

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The Independent Online

My daughter has just turned down the chance to raise money for charity and become notorious at a stroke. Her university's drama group are planning a charity calendar and, in keeping with the modern idiom, the group's leading lights are to appear naked.

She turned the chance down, not because she didn't support the charity but "because I may be prime minister one day, and the pictures would come back to haunt me". You have to admire her confidence. But her modesty has spared my blushes too. It means I can choose a more angling-oriented chronicle for 2006 without being labelled a pervert (for displaying the drama group's efforts) or unsupportive (for not doing so).

So, which one to choose? Well, the Ludlow publishers Merlin Unwin have produced a boxed version (£12.99) with a tear-off daily page carrying fishy pictures, wise words ("A well prepared ice fisherman is a successful ice fisherman") and record days (on 13 March 1923, Doreen Davey set the British spring salmon record with a 59lb Wye fish).

For real anoraks, though, the answer might be a calendar by Van E Cochran ($19.95, around £11.50, from This shows a large photograph of an old lure for each month. For the whole of February, you can gaze at a very rare Kimmich Special Mouse, still in its original box. Even for me, this may be a bit hardcore.

My favourite so far is the limited edition by the US company Zebco. The work of "the well-renowned, top European photographer Oliver Portrat", it was shot on location in such classic places as Lake Nasser in Egypt and Spain's River Ebro.

This may sound a little dull. But the publicity blurb claims: "It is rapidly becoming the fisherman's Pirelli Calendar of the future", which gives you a better idea why the 5,000 copies (at £12.99) are proving rather popular. Though each month features a spectacular Nile perch, Wels catfish or rainbow trout, every picture is spoilt by a large-chested woman elbowing her way into the shot.

It must have been very annoying for Oliver. Imagine: you've caught the whopper you wanted, the light's just right, the fish isn't flapping around - and along comes some skimpily clad wench to spoil your carefully composed picture. I can only surmise the women were keen anglers who became over-excited and tore their clothes off at the sight of such finely scaled fish.

The Women of the Great Outdoors, a £9.99 calendar available from, are most definitely not fishergirls, despite their claims. For example, June is a woman clutching a salmon claimed to be 40lb, but if that weight is correct, she must be 15ft tall. For March, Sasha lounges around in not very much "in a crystal-clear river near Sitka, Alaska"; but the water temperature must be perishing, and how come she's not covered in three million mosquito bites?

Then again, this could be a subtle dig at our obsession with records and size, or to say that fishing's about more than catching fish. Or am I missing something? Maybe I should stick with the naked drama group.