Why we girls pull fish better

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The Independent Online
My husband Keith has gone to extraordinary lengths to avoid the embarrassment of being beaten by me again at fishing. You see I've discovered how easy it is to catch fish. And no matter how hard he tries, he'll never acquire my skills.

Fishing is a sport to Keith, although he calls it his hobby. And he doesn't enjoy being beaten at it, like most competitive males. To women fishing is a gentle art form. Many years ago (before the days of Keith) I caught my first salmon in 10 minutes. Doddle I thought. And off I went to tell the macho Italian boyfriend. He was miserable all week, thrashing the river day and night, not catching a thing. This heralded the end of a promising friendship.

You see it takes a strong relationship to withstand the ego-bashing a woman can dish out with a rod. It started out fine for Keith and I. He loved to encourage my skill and share my success. (I'm sure my first pregnancy resulted from his excitement at my winning a fishing match). But motherhood is a hindrance if you want to go fishing all day on muddy riverbanks.

As Keith likes female companionship, he took my girlfriend's mother instead. She usually beat him too, so he started to go fishing alone, and annually took himself off to Ireland for one week in May. After five years of this pilgrimage to a hotel with only one phone, I began to get suspicious. This year I was asked if I would like to come. Curiosity got the better of me and off we went.

Actually Currarevagh House was idyllic, and full of jovial fishing folk. I loved it and the fishing. But I beat him again at dapping, the very essence of fly fishing, using live mayfly. It soon became clear to me that the women in the fishing party were all wiping the floor with the men. One Irish lady not only caught 12 fish in a day, to her husband's none, but she did this after breaking both arms three months earlier and giving birth. Foreign men pursued us down corridors desperate to know the secret of our success.

Well, I'll let you into it now, but it won't help you if you're male. You have to have lots of female hormones called pheromones. This helps you to be patient, intuitive, cunning, organised, extra vigilant, tenacious, in tune with the rhythms of nature, manipulative and exuding some intangible sexual attraction. Sounds flaky, but it works a treat with fish.

Keith must be aware of this because he sits writing, surrounded by pictures of women fishing. They're not wearing anything sexy or posing provocatively. They are standing with a rod in their hands, concentrating. This obviously inspires him. Perhaps he's trying to tune into our wavelength.

But it's not ours he should tune into - it's the fishes'. Nobody knows why fish will go to one attractive hook and not another. It must be the biorhythms around the hook and line, some forcefield of attraction. Anyway, Keith is out in Outer Mongolia pioneering for his sport, his only competition fitter, younger men. Let's hope he doesn't blank this time. But I'm ready with my theory, just in case.

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