Scrub your tackle
Giles Catchpole makes final preparations for his trip to Iceland
SO, ICELAND. ICELAND, eh? I should say so. Land of the geysers and the midnight sun and home to simply enormous trout. There may be a bit of fermented shark going on, too, I grant you; and a slice or two of dried seal blubber to be managed, but let us put those small trials aside and focus on the simply enormous trout. Actually, before we address the issue of the simply enormous trout let us look briefly at the whole seal blubber thing. I freely admit that I have never eaten seal blubber. I am not even certain that it is the blubber of the seal that we are expected to eat. I’m not sure that anyone eats seal blubber as a matter of fact. Or any part of the seal these days. It may just be one of those not especially elaborate jokes that locals enjoy playing on the more gullible sort of tourist. “Ah, for sure, sir, the testicle is regarded as the sweetest of all the sweetbreads. With a small glass of akavit, certainly. And down in one. It’s best taken raw, of course. That is the traditional way. Try one do, sir, they are delicious at this time of year.” And then they meet up in some dive bar round the back much later in the week and compare notes. “Did he really eat one, Janni?” “For sure! Down in one!” “And raw? No kidding?” “I thought he was going to choke at one point but he got it down in the end. Said it was delicious!” “OOUUUGGHH! That is awful, man. What are you going to try next week?” “Well, we have some Brits coming to the lodge so I have got a jar of pickled eyeballs from Olli. A hundred kroner says they will scoff the lot before Wednesday?” “Done, by Odin’s beard! You’re a very bad man, Janni, but a lot of laughs. See if you can get pictures this time. We can post them on the Seal Club page.” And so it goes, I dare say. Having said which I wouldn’t mind in the slightest if seal, roasted, dried, poached, pickled or dipped in chilli chocolate for all I care, became fantastically popular. There are far too many seals about, in my view, and if they suddenly became the cranberries de nos jours, I for one would be delighted; and if chewing on an indeterminate lump of seal is the way to get that particular ball rolling in the right direction then I am up for it. It can’t be worse than some of the stuff they served up to us at school. Actually, it might well have been some of the stuff they served up to us at school, now I come to think about it. However, back to the simply enormous trout. Or rather not back to the simply enormous trout because before you can pursue them in Iceland you have to have your tackle disinfected. Yes, I know. Ha! Ha! Having your tackle scrubbed. Very funny. The vet made exactly the same joke. Yes, the vet. Icelandic Customs require veterinary certification that your tackle – OK, that’s enough – fishing tackle has been disinfected before departure from the UK. This is all perfectly sensible actually and thoroughly sound preventative disease control. On the other hand it does require a vet with the necessary equipment or a degree of creative thinking. “Happy to help,” says the vet, “absolutely no idea how we are going to do it though. Toddle round midweek and we’ll see what’s to do.” So I applied my mind to the issue and the result was – TADAHHHHH! The Giles Catchpole Patent Tackle Disinfectinator! Five feet of four-inch pipe, sealed at one end with polythene and gaffer tape, stood in a bucket, takes 10 litres of one per cent solution of proprietary disinfectant. Stick all the rods in the top end and hold them in the solution by shoving a sponge down on top of them. Leave for the requisite period. Then empty the solution into the bucket and add reels, waders, boots and any other sundries that you might fancy packing. Even the vet was impressed. And she really does scrub tackle. It goes with the territory in any large animal practice. And she said that this was a lot easier. So there. So now I have the wherewithal to set out for Iceland and the hunting of the simply enormous trout. Watch this space. It may not be big enough, of course.
“The testicle is regarded as the sweetest of all the sweetbreads”