Fishing Lines: Me and my pals are like penguins - it's down in black and white

Let me introduce you to some of my penguin buddies. First, Andy. An excellent fisher who has made videos showing others how to do it, he's one of those generous souls who will call you if he is catching so you can share his good fortune.

Even when times are tough, Andy approaches everything positively. If we have a blank day, his assumption is that it's bound to be better tomorrow. Top penguin.

I taught Mark to fish. A classic case of the pupil outstripping the teacher, nowadays he usually catches the biggest and the most fish. What makes him such an ideal companion is that he'll rearrange family commitments to join me. Wife's birthday? Sorry, love, going fishing. He's even sorted out his own fishing grounds, and generously shares them with me. Just last week, I caught a 16lb pike from his favourite spot. Prime penguin.

David is the man who gets me into places I could normally only dream about. With contacts in all the right places, he's so astute that he swims effortlessly through the turbulent waters of angling politics. He's by far the most erudite of my elite set, happy to discuss Nietzsche, Cicero or Harry Potter. An educated penguin.

Good-natured, unfazed by adversity and, best of all, loved by all things that bite and sting, Charlie is my darling in wild places. Mosquitoes, wasps and blackfly normally home in on me – but not if Charlie's onhand. Food penguin (rather him than me).

The oldest of my compadres is Clive, who's seen it all, done it all and these days, alas, is showing signs of mortality. But he's generally caught them bigger, fiercer and in wilder places than any of us and can tell wonderful campfire yarns about it all. Senior penguin,for sure.

John seems less interested these days in catching fish than observing them. He's undoubtedly the fittest of the group (runs marathons for fun). He's the one who climbs mountains, swims rivers, risks life and limb for his fish. At heart, he's a gentle soul who (he won't thank me for revealing this) listens to pan-pipe music to calm his troubled soul. Mystical penguin, maybe.

I never realised our affinity with the Spheniscidae family until I read about Synchronised Group Association in 'Little Penguins', a study by Australian researchers. They discovered that penguins make friends and team up with their mates when they go fishing.

Little penguins, the smallest species, cross beaches in groups of between five and 10 birds. (Being in a gang probably protects individuals from predators.) The researchers, from the School of Biological Sciences of Monash University, also found that these groups fish co-operatively. The academics claim it probably helps to share knowledge of feeding sites, but I reckon it's a bit deeper than that.

So how come I can see a close link with the penguins? Well, it turns out that only middle-aged penguins get together for fishing parties. Older and younger penguins, who are less likely to be good fishers, are never picked to be part of the team.

And youngsters in particular would be embarrassed by their elders bellowing out that traditional birthday ditty "Freeze a Jolly Good Fellow".

Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
world cup 2014
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street
sportMassive deal worth £150m over the next five years
Arts and Entertainment
Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins
musicHolyrood MPs 'staggered' at lack of Scottish artists performing
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
Germany's Andre Greipel crosses the finish line to win the sixth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 194 kilometers (120.5 miles) with start in Arras and finish in Reims, France
tour de franceGerman champion achieves sixth Tour stage win in Reims
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Analyst Consultant (Financial Services)

£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

Systems Administrator - Linux / Unix / Windows / TCP/IP / SAN

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider in investment managemen...

AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer

£600 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer JVS, ...

E-Commerce Developer

£45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Exciting opp...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice