Our kids grow up in the heart of the city. Fishing is not something they do on a daily basis. Or ever, actually. We decided to change that. In the south of Belgium we were introduced to the ins and outs of angling by Dany from Rivéo. And loved it!
Dany Marchand shakes our hand firmly and explains how he grew up in both La Roche and Zaventem, in Flanders and Wallonia. We nod. We believe him, given the fact that he’s perfectly bilingual. He gets in his car and makes wild gestures. So we follow him to our destination: a pond in the woods around Hotton.
Bait and hook
We’re easily impressed: the only thing he needs to do, is show his gear. He explains how bait works (‘I use worms from England and Italy) and demonstrates his telescopic fishing rod. As soon as he puts the worm on the hook, the kids look away. Not a pretty sight, they seem to think, even if the worm is from Italy.
Catch of the day: mom! Apparently there’s great joy in fishing for humans as well. But Dany wants them to fish for fish, so he explains how to move around with their fishing rod. They hardly sit or Felix says, slightly surprised: ‘I caught something!’ And yes, it’s true. A medium big carp looks at us in bewilderment. We’re all very excited. ‘This is your first catch!’, we shout, ‘are you proud?’. ‘No’, he says philosophically, ‘I think it’s sad for the fish.’
Pike and empathy
Empathy can be a burden, especially during fishing. Lucy asks: ‘Is the fish in pain now?’ ‘Well’, Dany says, ‘fish are coldblooded, so his experience of pain is different from ours. But I have never been a fish, so I don’t exactly know how it feels for him.’
He has hardly closed his mouth or Mirtha and Louis shout in excitement: ‘Yes! We caught something!’. Mirtha ‘s so enthusiastic, she pulls her rod to quickly. It ends in the tree. While Dany tries to get it out, we hear Lucy talking to her catch. ‘Easy fish, easy.’ It’s a pike, according to Dany.
It’s a Dany!
Each and every fish is unhooked and put back in the pond immediately. Lucy gets lucky again but, as it turns out, ‘It’s a Dany!’ she giggles. Her angle ended up in the shirt of our teacher, after she moved it a bit to enthusiastically.
Dany asks Mirtha if she wants to kiss her fish. ‘Nooooo!’ she screams in horror. Instead, the fish gets a pat on the back.
Not long before our anglers feel completely at ease: they catch a fish, put it in the fishing net, remove the hook and throw it back into the water. As if they have done it their whole lives. The pleasures of angling? We totally get it.