top of page

Importance of healthy eating on the bank - by Martin Dorman

Oh what a Poor 2008 I had!


Firstly can I wish all fellow NAC members the very best of luck for 2009.
Unfortunately my 2008 was a very poor season, due to being out of the UK at the best times for eeling – basically I was only home when it was cold ! So apart from a few late season carp and tench I did not catch anything much to talk about.

          My only contact has really been reading the NAC magazine; as by the time the November ‘social’ Meeting had arrived I was abroad again. I really must try and attend March / April’s A.G.M., if I am home, if nothing else so that I can check out these new all singing all dancing indicators of Mr McConnell’s.

          So, I was thinking about what article I could produce as I had caught little, not had chance to try anything new out or even had enough trips to notice any trends or patterns in feeding/behaviour (by the Eels anyway).

         It suddenly occurred to me that I have never, in my considerable fishing literary experience, read an article on bankside nutrition and cuisine. I racked my brains hard (which didn’t take long!) and could recall no TV programmes - other than Huge Furby Chuffingstall killing a jack pike from a nearby river - about how a celebrity chef turned up and cooked healthy meals for a private Carp Syndicate or an Open Match (I hereby retain all rights on this idea) and thus improved the Nation’s health yet again. So I thought I would give everyone my own take on this subject, one very close to my heart.

          Firstly and foremost it is still possible to have a nutritionally balanced meal on the bank with very little effort and occasionally without even having to take any kind of stove – so there are no excuses for eating badly in the outdoors. All foods, as we all know, can be broken down into the constituent parts they are made up from and what ‘Food Groups’ they fit into.
Vitamins – these are essential for various bodily functions and health. Some more of the well known ones are as follows:
          Vitamin ‘G’ – this is probably the most important vitamin and can be found in sufficient quantities to give your R.D.I. ( Recommended Daily Intake ) in such food stuffs as pork pies, bacon, chips, crisps and various take-aways in general.
The technical Latin term for this vitamin is ‘Grease’. Medically this is required for the ‘greasing of one’s lungs’. This is known to operate in tandem (probably by enzymes or some such) with Vitamin ‘N’ (or ‘Nicotine’ in Latin) to allow large quantities of spittle or flem to be expelled in a healthy regular fashion.

          Vitamins ‘B’ and ‘C’ are very closely related and can be found in quantities sufficient to meet your R.D.I. in the excellent foodstuffs they take their names from; bread and chips.

Vitamin ‘L’ is needed, in reasonable amounts, to facilitate awareness – for example after three days of no bites and towards the end of a session when one needs a ‘pick-up’ that caffeine cannot provide. It has a well known side effect of ‘euphoria’ if taken to excess, but this can also affect the Inner Ear / balance faculty. Vitamin ‘L’ only became popular in the 1970’s and is found mainly in liquids bearing the Latin name ‘Lager’.

          Obviously fruits have high levels of various R.D.I.. I always recall the traditionally made 1970’s ‘pop’ called ‘Bing’ (from ‘Silver Spring’), made from only the best quality ‘Bingberries’ – just as granny would have made it.
          Apart from Vitamins, for your body to function correctly with a good blood pressure (to stop those arteries flopping about), it also needs plenty of the chemical Monosodium Glutamate (or M.S.G.). This is becoming harder to find in the modern world’s love-affair with unhealthy / unprocessed food. The few places selling this essential element now tend to be ‘pound shops’ where packets of instant noodles can be purchased, often as cheap as ten packs for a pound in cash. Usually the cheapest give the best chance of obtaining your R.D.I.
          Also I have read that several Chinese Ingredient Shops are seeing a gap in the Health Food market and those ‘Asian Tigers’ are leading the way yet again by stocking Food high in M.S.G. for the more discerning shopper. Usually found in the packets with no English words on, a skull and crossbones symbol and where the packaging is rotting are the best to go for.

          If you are very lucky and shop around, you might even be able to find food stuffs with the R.D.I. of Vitamin ‘M’ (Latin – Melamine).

          The last important food group is that which helps you to stay awake for longer and to allow suitable loss of concentration to help the biteless-time pass quicker. This consists of two food groups often found together, but now not so readily available as in the health-conscious 1970’s when they could be easily found in all food and were (probably) the reason why Britain was a lot ‘Greater’ then – as shown by the TV series ‘Life On Mars’.

          Colourings and Preservatives have had a bit of a bad press and amazingly it is even considered a good advertisement if the product does not contain a sufficient R.D.I. of so called ‘E’ numbers. The ‘E’ actually stands for Excellent foodstuffs and the gradual phasing out of these ‘E’ numbers is already been medically proven to be turning us into a nation of people with normal attention spans, able to sleep and concentrate properly – that’s what happens when you mess with nature. I only hope the Government sees sense and starts giving out free sweets for school kids (like they used to with milk in about 1887) so that they can enjoy the nutrition offered by such foodstuffs as ‘Space Dust’ and blue Smarties.
          Now we all know the essential foodstuffs for healthy living on the bankside, one must learn how to be able to obtain these foods in adequate amounts for our R.D.I.

If the procurement and lugging around of a stove is too much, then there are two other methods of getting nutrition.

          Firstly you can order in a takeaway, but ensure that they deliver; to avoid disappointment. It helps if you are fairly near a town or large village for this. The best method I have found is another useful close-season tactic, this is to leave the marker–rod and/or echo sounder at home (plenty of time for that old nonsense when you start your fishing session) and prioritise the collection of take away menus (both that deliver to you and collect only) nearest to your venue.

This will give you plenty of time in the Close–Season to make the essential preparations ready for Opening Day i.e. which ones deliver, is there an extra charge, do you get a free bottle of Pepsi for orders over a tenner, which ones are cheaper – especially checkout the ‘bargain meals’ in case you are expecting guests for dinner in your swim- fishing need not delay your ‘networking’ but your guests might need to bring wellies.
          This preparation will avoid the tragedy which befell me last season when my club lake opened (April 1st ) where the one and only local takeaway was duly rang by yours truly ( on day three of a very quiet session, when bangers ’n’ beans were not going to ‘cut-it’), only to find to my horror that the number was unobtainable!

          I later found out that it had closed down during the winter. You see; use the Close Season time wisely and you won’t be disappointed. Secondly, you can take your own food to the bank in the form of a packed lunch or frozen food. The packed lunch offers a good chance of obtaining all your R.D.I.s’ as long as you ensure you do not put any fruit or salad in.
           To be a ‘salad dodger’ is now seen as a criticism in today’s mixed up world, but do not listen to hear-say and just ensure you take plenty of bread, greasy meat and crisps. Cap this off with a high-sugar drink such as a ‘Fat-coke’, Lucozade or one of the new high caffeine drinks and you have a nutritionally well balanced meal.

           On day sessions I much prefer the options that the frozen food selection can give.

My top tip is to wrap up your extra large family pork pie with your lagers and hey presto – perfect food every time! The choice is endless really; pies, pasties, bakes, lager, cider and even Alcopops (to encourage the young to take part in fishing of course).

            If you are lucky enough to have a stove then you can create your own culinary heaven on the bankside. Stoves can be brought for anything from under a tenner for a butane single burner (in winter you occasionally need to stuff the can down your jumper to warm it up!) all the way up to a ton or so for something Delia Smith would be worried about damaging.
          The more expensive ones use a mixed gas cylinder so that it’ll still go in winter, usually. The best cooking gear is the non-stick pan sets that Argos occasionally sell – this is because you can clean them on the bank with your leftover drinking water and don’t run the danger of, next session, finding you have left them in the dishwasher. The best canned food is from either Morrison’s, Nettos or Lidl. Here you can find all sorts of palate tempting delicacies such as all-day breakfasts (several varieties), Bangers ‘n’ Beans, just beans, chilli beans or err…low fat beans. There are other varieties available such as Curries, stews, rice for desert etc. but these do not always have the same R.D.I. of Vitamin ‘F’ – for keeping the Sleeping Bag warmed up during use.

           De-hydrated noodles are useful as an emergency foodstuff (especially if brought very cheaply – see earlier notes) and are best left in the bottom of the food/cooking bag until they have expired by at least two years and are a last resort after the dog-level blackberries, near your swim, have all gone. 
            At the same time we must not forget hygiene as we are all aware of the dangers of Weil’s disease and the extra problems caused by a dodgy tummy when fishing.

            I always carry a pack of hygienic wet-wipes with me to wipe my hands before eating or even making myself a drink. Usually it’s best, before using a wet-wipe, to drop it on the bank whilst you hit a run and/or leave it to dry in the sun before use. This ensures you do not taint your hookbaits.
            Also I have tried leaving my extra large family pork pie at the bottom of the un-insulated food bag, until day five of a summer session, to ensure it is nice and sweaty and high in Vitamin ‘S’ – Salmonella.  

            I hope you have enjoyed my suggestions for eating healthily on the bank. It’s a varied and fascinating subject that we should all treat with the seriousness it deserves and the very best of luck to you all for the forthcoming season.

Martin Dorman

bottom of page