Green Fishing - A Pink Brit Story

Published on 12/04/2011 in Expat Life

Justin as instructed I have visited the fishing persons on the pier at Los Christianos harbour in Tenerife and enclose a report for “Eye on Spain” readers as requested.

I firstly donned my fiendishly clever disguise to fool the locals. I had observed them, from time to time, at Los Christianos ferry terminal, carelessly giving off noxious emissions all over the place, which is making a major contribution to “Global Warming” in addition to gassing polar bears.

This cunningly clever disguise consisted of:

1. A pair of well-worn bright green plastic ‘croc’ type Jesus sandals.

2. Grey knee socks with “Plaid” type embroidery around the top.

3. Stained, low-slung crutch type, Khaki knee length shorts. (with turn ups)

4. Union Jack type football shirt. (with UP MAN U on back)

5. Very large dark brown sunglasses.

6. Grubby linen handkerchief with clever knots tied in each corner. (firmly fixed to balding pate with green/yellow nasal mucus)

I have been complimented on numerous occasions on the amount of trouble I go to, to blend into the background with native Spanish people. This is in addition to my remarkable ability to make them understand every word I say.

Fishing in SpainI put this ability to melt unobtrusively into the background down to the jolly old Army training closely, supervised by a very manly and rough lance corporal, and early morning cold baths supervised by Matron at boarding school. The stiff upper lip was very handy to fight back the tears brought on by the excruciating pain of strained buttock muscles brought on by unusual forms of exercise behind the ammunition sheds, and matron’s unusual and unique medical examinations.

My linguistic ability I put down to skilfully shouting very loudly in “Spanglish”. This is the secret to communicating with Spanish type natives. For some reason it also seems to calm down their excitable nature, as they stop what they are doing and admire one in a sort of dumbfounded open mouthed kind of way.

With hands thrust deeply into my pockets jingling my car keys and quietly humming “Rule Britannia” to myself, I sauntered down, incognito of course, and blended in casually with 50 or so very suntanned natives. They must be deeply loved as they thoughtfully brought their wives and screaming children fishing with them.

Their wives are so keen they carry massive picnics and other worldly goods, wrapped up in gaily coloured tablecloths, on their heads. I have to agree with Justin that the amount of energy and therefore pollution being pump into the atmosphere by these fishing persons is quite extraordinary. I watched their antics closely for a while as I drank deeply from a can of Newcastle brown ale, which I fortunately secreted about my person as part of my medical kit to fight off the dreadful dehydration, which is common in these tropical parts.

Our brave “Eco warrior” Justin’s suspicions back on the Costa in his little safe workstation are correct. I too could not help but notice that there were no fish piling up beside these fishing persons despite the frantic efforts they were making to throw, what I presumed was bait, into the sea to attract them. The fish are certainly attracted to the pier but shortly after they nibble the bait they become like maddened beasts and try to leap out of the water with, if I did not know better, what looked like silly grins on their faces. Shortly after they then fall asleep and can be seen floating belly up in the tide happily blowing bubbles.

Purely as an observation on my part, I also noticed that the landing area seemed to be full of very fat Russian type dancers suffering from severe dehydration. I knew they were Russians because of their ability to get back onto their feet after attempting difficult Russian Cossack dance moves, which seemed to involve substantial falling down outside the little Spanish ‘Refrescos’ establishment, thoughtfully supplied by the ferry company.

They also appeared to own their own gigantic lorries as well, which I am sure was very convenient if you wanted to practise your Cossack dancing in the back whilst on the move. They were very fortunate to be able to stave off the dreaded dehydration sickness by consuming vast quantities of vodka and ice and burning the surplus bait they bought from the very dark skinned fishing people by setting fire to it. Quite a spectacle at night I am sure.

As if their suffering was not enough these poor people now found that their only means of escape from the pier had been destroyed by the Cossack Russians hurling their cocktails, named after some chap called “Molotov”, in gay abandon into their open boat setting it ablaze. Meanwhile the officious uniformed firemen, using their little short rubber hoses, belaboured these unfortunates about the head rather than use their inadequate equipment to quell the flames of the now aromatic raging inferno.

Lookie lookieI was shocked at the frenzy with which the fishing persons, who appeared to have very dark sun tans indeed, were expending fighting off these officious looking fireman in uniform, who were shouting things like “Go back to Mauritania and take your rotten Ganghja weed with you”, though in broken Spanish of course. Matters were not helped by the arrival of several very large men with even blacker skin pigmentation and short hair cuts, carrying sunglasses in small shoe boxes, and continually opening their coats to presumably ‘expose themselves’ at people with the terrifying words “Looky. Looky, Boss. Cheep price here today”. To no doubt emphasise their manly parts, they had hung gaudy watches and items of cheap jewellery on the inside of their coats thereby creating quite a spectacle when they ‘flashed’.

Well! The poor fishing people must have been distraught to have sexual perverts exposing themselves to their wives as well as the brutal violence inflicted on them by crazed firemen, with short rubber hoses, and by now exhausted Russian Cossack dancers falling screaming into the sea. I once considered fishing to be a harmless pastime not warranting such needless violence and contamination of the sea by what appears to be poisonous fish bait. It all seems a trifle excessive, and it should certainly be stopped if only for the sake of the poor innocent drugged fish.

On approaching a native fishing person, I was delighted to discover that he understood English and I no longer had to shout at him, discreetly of course, in my fluent Spanish. The poor chap seemed most grateful to me for speaking to him quietly in English. His delight was so great that he experienced a most moving religious experience as he dropped to his knees blessing me for “Sanctuary” and thanking my holy mother for her benefits. I know for a fact the chap has never even met her.

I decided that as he was listening closely to me, now would be a good time to broach the subject of improving the efficiency of his fishing. He was fascinated by my proposition and listened most attentively, whilst I struggled with the uniformed chaps with the rubber hosepipes who wanted to run off with the delightful fishing type persons to a little black van with iron bars on the windows. Whilst the firemen here do have some quaint customs, if they want to put out fires they would need longer hoses for a start and stop shoving survivors of the conflagration into the back of little vans with barred windows.

Now unable to see my fishing person for the cloying aromatic smoke coming from the huge bonfire of the fish bait and spending a lot of time lifting tired but smiling Russian dancers out of the fire, I took my fishing person under the dark tunnel leading to the posh hotels in Las Americas to teach him the error of his ways.

I now established how many fish this chap caught in a year. It turns out that he catches approx 6 ‘Kilofish’ in 6 months. I must say that Kilofish’ are a new type of breed to me but who am I to doubt the sun tanned chap. He spends up to 48 hours per week fishing. Therefore by simple deduction he spends 24 hours each season to catch each ‘Kilofish’.

I respectively suggested that instead of getting up early each day, making a packed lunch and quietly tiptoeing out the door so as not to upset his wife and children, then driving down to the harbour to stand in the hot sun all day throwing foul smelling fish bait into the sea, fighting off Russian Cossack dancers and perverts wearing gaudy raincoats for hours at a time, he should stay at home.

Now here comes the cunning part of the devious scheme, which I know Justin, with his highly efficient engineering skills, will appreciate.

The fishing chap now stands at his back door each day in the blazing sun and threading a grub or maggot on his hook, regularly casts it to the bottom of his garden. His wife and children who never see him, will be so pleased that he has not gone fishing they will ply him with sandwiches, sticky buns and lots of hugs and kisses.

This at one fell swoop gives them a purpose in life other than carrying all their possessions to the harbour in a tablecloth on their heads to see him. He will also save a fortune in petrol as he is not going anywhere by car and will not leave any non-biodegradable rubbish behind to warm up the polar bears. If it gets too hot he can step back into his kitchen and fish in the shade drinking ice-cold beer from his own fridge. He can also chat to his neighbours at the same time and become an upstanding member of his community.

After he has done this for 23 hours he can then, with the money he has saved, buy a few litres of petrol and drive down to the harbour and spend the 24th hour catching his fishy quota, of one “Kilofish”, for the month.

As Justin can calculate the energy saving here is immense and in addition it will free up the roads for more tourists to drive about in, there will also be more space for the Russian Cossack dancers to practise on the ‘Roll on Roll Off’ ramp, there will be no fires for the fireman to extinguish and the perverts will have nobody to expose themselves at so they needn’t bother coming down. This will also keep the native who owns the “Refrescos” establishment in business enabling him to close early on Wednesdays and cut back even more on his own noxious emissions.

Everyone wins.

Written by: Stephen Reid

About the author:

I am an Irish story teller but not the type that would immediately spring to mind. Whist I tell Gaelic stories as part of my repertoire I also tell contemporary stories and short funny stories. I have been doing it now for nearly 7.  See my website at

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