Hooked by a man obsessed: fishing lines

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The Independent Online
Keith Elliott's holiday in India continues. His wife has taken a second opportunity to tell the other side of a fisherman's tale . . .

THIS is a warning to all women who may be thinking of marrying a keen fisherman. I did it 10 years ago. And I should have realised what I was letting myself in for. The signs were all there.

On our first date Keith invited me to one of his favourite spots for a quiet day's fishing. The weather was perfect and I'd asked my glamorous girlfriend Susanna, a shapely blonde actress, to join our outing and picnic. As the day wore on we relaxed as we watched Keith play one large tench after another. He was obviously a talented angler, never taking his eye off the float and never missing a bite. And completely unaware of us draped behind him improving our topless suntans.

There were further clues as our courtship continued. His sister's idle comment, that he had missed her wedding because he was in the finals of a fishing match in Denmark should have struck a chord. But I rationalised it away.

On reflection, I should have seen red flashing lights when I hurriedly had to rearrange our own wedding date, because it clashed with his annual sea fishing competition off Southend pier. Ever accommodating, I recognised the importance of a man's hobby and I didn't want the marriage to get off to a bad start.

Nor did I protest when I was given the task of carrying his fishing tackle on honeymoon to the Maldives. We went snorkelling and fish-spotting off coral reefs every day. We fed frenzied fish with small pieces of bread, and of course indulged in a spot of romantic moonlit fishing.

And so life continued and we started a family. Our fishing trips together gradually slowed to a stop, but Keith carried on fishing, and in all weathers. I was a familiar sight on the snow- covered banks of the Ouse during the winter league matches, pushing a pram, heavily pregnant with another child, delivering hot soup and sausage sandwiches to my frozen fisherman.

Now we have two lovely daughters who adore their dad. And under his tuition they have turned into pretty good anglers. They can beat all the local lads. Often you'll find Keith and daughters surrounded by admiring and incredulous young boys as our girls haul in one perch or roach after another. Right now they don't really like boys that much, but I suppose that'll all change in years to come.

I'm not sure they will want to marry a fisherman, though. Fishing is a hobby that takes over your life and home. I have fishing rods in my wardrobe and enough stuffed fish dotted around the house to start a natural history museum. It's a losing battle to maintain a feminine touch.

But my mother always warned me that a man needs a hobby to keep him out of mischief. And Keith is always telling me that I'm better off to have a man who fishes than one who chases after women or spends his evenings in the pub. Trouble is, it takes him all over the world. But I sleep easy remembering that first date, when a big fish distracted him to the exclusion of two near-naked women.