Charlotte Gannet fishing with a hand spool in her kayak.

Catching fish with a hand spool

I put my index finger in one gill and my middle finger in the other. I place my thumb on the spine. I close my eyes and bent back the head of the mackerel. I hear a tearing sound, like the ripping open a seam of your favourite jeans.
The whole fish just went limp in my hands. I open my eyes and see a big red droplet of blood trickling down the left glass of my sunglasses. As I look down I see my kayak covert in blood. The same colour as my own blood. It is almost too much blood, I quickly check if I have any wounds.
I look at the silver coloured fish, so dynamic and lively as it was on the fishing line. So beautiful in the black coloured pattern on the back and the iridescent shimmering in the smooth scales.


Beautiful iridescent skin of the macerel

‘Yeah, that looks like dinner, gut it and fish for some more!’ Alexander cheers.
‘What?’ I look up from my dazed moment contemplating the fact that I just killed a fish. I overpowered another living thing, weaker than I am. I tricked it with a shimmering piece of plastic and a hook, pretending it was food. Food, the basic necessity for all life on this earth.
Ironically, I’m going to eat it as food. How can I not have feelings about killing a fish?


Killer kayaker

Recent scientific research has shown that fish do feel the pain of catching and when it dies of suffocation when out of the water. This knowledge changed my entire view of killing fish.
I used to catch fish and let my husband do the killing because I am a bit of a coward. But in a higher sea it is not possible to hand over a slippery fish, we tried and lost some good fish that way. In bigger waves, I would just remove the hook and leave the fish to die in my kayak. Now I know that is a horrible way for the fish to die.

Killing the fish is the most difficult thing to do when you think about it. It appeals to my conscience ‘Thou shalt not kill’. Taking a life to feed yourself. At home it is so easy, the fish is already dead and gutted when I buy it. It is neatly packed into some plastic. It is not even a fish anymore. Life has left the body, it is just flesh. But out here, I need to find my inner hunter, that ‘ eat or be eaten’ instinct. Although, I don’t think a mackerel will strike back and throw me overboard to kill me. Because it is not a big threat to human existence it makes an easy prey.
But if I choose to eat fish I better take the responsibility to kill it as quick and painless as possible. If that even exists.

But I don’t think it is sustainable to eat fish or any other animal every day. The planet can not cope with that.

I only fish with 2 hooks on my line twice a week, only catching what I eat, kill it swiftly and thank the fish for feeding me.

Eating the makerel after it is cooked in alu foil on the fire.

Eating the makerel after it is cooked in alu foil on the fire.

Charlotte Gannet

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  1. thecedarjournal on 7th July 2018 at 18:45

    I know how you feel. I fly fish and always feel horrible when for some reason I can’t return the caught fish back into the water properly. I only keep what I can eat. Where are you kayaking at these days? Vacation? Sounds nice where ever you are now or from the past.

    • All Exclusive Cruises on 7th July 2018 at 19:02

      Thank you for understanding! Fishing is very exiting when you are a human but life treatning when you are a fish. I’m still here in the Netherland. Thursday starts our holiday to Scotland. Can’t wait😃 Everything is packed and ready to go. How about you? Is the stress of the accident easing?

      • thecedarjournal on 7th July 2018 at 19:45

        Cool Scotland!!! Nice. Have fun. Back in Oud Alblas. Trying to recover but having memory issues. That bugs me very much. I will see the huisarts on the 17th. Hopefully it is temporary. Don’t want to forget how to paddle.

        • All Exclusive Cruises on 7th July 2018 at 20:09

          Ah, paddling is the best de-stresser I can think of. Being outside, lots of light and fresh air. A forward motion that puts my mind in a forward motion. A simple life connected with nature. I hope your huisarts describes 5 weeks paddling and camping in Oud Alblas!

          • thecedarjournal on 7th July 2018 at 20:39

            If they don’t I will self medicate.😂 5 weeks of only paddling sounds like the perfect medication!!! Light, nature, and water are all bonuses.😊

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