Everybody talks about the weather, so why shouldn't we? Weather is important in our business, and bad weather generally brings trouble to outdoor sports. Tennis and golf matches and baseball games get called because of it. Football, true, is played in spite of it, but even football is less fun in the rain or the winter's snow than on a high, crisp day under the sun. Oddly enough, for this statistical age, there are no statistics available on what people do when their plans are suddenly changed by storms. A good many of us doubtless just pace the floor and now and again peer desperately out the window.
But not all. A sizable group of our readers are, like postmen, unstayed by sleet, rain, gloom of night—or even sunshine, as Give Gammon points out in his somewhat hilarious story of fishing in tropical Norway (page 76).
Gammon was introduced to us last year by our London correspondent, John Lovesey, who wrote: "Clive Gammon, the best angling writer in Britain, has come up with a good suggestion." Gammon turned the good suggestion into a good story, which we published in March and called A Dilly Day at Dingle. It had to do with three Irishmen: Des Brennan, no-good-boy Martin Flannery and John Jameson. It was Gammon's first published story in this country.
Gammon is a Welshman who was born in Swansea 37 years ago. His grandfather started him fishing on the old sea wall, for cod and flatfish. The Depression had hit South Wales hard, and the wall usually was lined with grim-faced men who took their fishing very seriously, not to say soberly. Elsewhere in Swansea a Gammon hero named Dylan Thomas was taking poetry very seriously, but not very soberly. Ultimately the mixture of poetry and liquor had tragic consequences for Thomas, but Gammon discovered in his own case that fishing profits if it is laced with a little Scotch.
September 25, 1966
Clive attended the University of Swansea and, in a way, majored in fishing there. He did a thesis on Izaak Walton, which was better than well-received. "Around 1950," he admits, "there were only two Walton authorities, and I was one of them."
Subsequently, Gammon taught English in the industrial city of Manchester (he didn't stay long—there was no good Wales-style fishing in the area). Back in Swansea, Gammon fished and wrote and wrote and fished. Except for his trips abroad, he has been there ever since. He now writes a weekly fishing column for the London Daily Express and a saltwater column for the fishing magazine, Creel.
"Traveling around getting fishing stories is the most frustrating job in the world. I am threatening to write a book that I will call, You Should Have Been Here Last Wednesday Week. But I haven't given up. In December I am going to the Red Sea for some big-game fishing, and I fully expect to experience icebergs and Atlantic-type gales."
Gammon mentioned a song, My Old Fenian Gun, in his Dingle story and he cites another, The One-Eyed Reilly, in his Norway piece. These reflect more than a casual interest. He has a vast repertoire of songs, English, Welsh, Irish, Scottish and American, that he will sing at the slightest provocation provided the scene is right—a cozy pub in the wee hours, never mind the closing. And the weather is always right for singing.