A few weeks ago I tried my hand at fishing.
The site was a stretch of deep blue water off the coast of an island on the Northern Atoll in the Maldives.
The time, late evening, following a sudden, sharp monsoon shower that sent little needles of rain straight through the waters of the Indian Ocean.
The reason? Well, it seemed the perfect way to soak in an island sunset feeling like you were doing something when you were actually doing nothing.
Well, I wasn't anyway.
The trip started off hopeful enough. There were fishing lines, hooks and weights, a barrel of bait, my soaring confidence in my hand-lining abilities... how hard could it be, really?
You took a line, the helpful boatmen hooked me up (ok, I couldn't resist the pun), slid on some bait and I was ready to go, perched on the bow of the fishing boat.
Hand-lining is (supposedly) one of the easiest forms of fishing. You sit with a coil of fishing line in your hand and let it sink until it hits the bottom of the seabed. Then you reel it in by hand a couple of feet, jig the line up and down to let the bait mimic the movement of a little fish and wait for the bigger ones to bite.
And wait... and wait... but we'll get back to that.
The way it's actually supposed to work is that you feel the fish nibble on the bait (you actually do feel the tug... those pesky little fish kept stealing all my bait!) and they get caught trying to eat the lure, and voila! You quickly reel in the line with dinner attached to the end!
I believe the theory was sound. I definitely saw many others on the boat put it to practise and pull out some fine reef fish.
Alas, I definitely didn't have any beginner's luck :(
I did however, have a bucket load of beginner's false hope. Including numerous occasions of reeling in a tugged line only to find the bait cleanly snapped off the end by some fish who was definitely more experienced with this whole fishing contraption than I was. And one moment of pure joy when I felt something so heavy tugging at the end that I was convinced I'd landed a shark.
Needless to say it turned out to be one heavy piece of coral.
My poor fishing skills and terrible luck aside, the trip itself was a definite success. If for no other reason then the fact that it allows you a good hour or so of sitting in near silence, surrounded by the sea, listening to the waves lap against the boat while watching the sun sink slowly out of the sky.
Most resorts will also grill your catch for free so you can get that satisfied feeling of having caught your own supper.
If you fancy fish that's a little more exotic than plain grilled, the Maldivians do a rich tuna curry called Kandu Kukulhu, made with coconut milk, ground spices and pandan that is perfect for a lazy lunch that you can either sleep or snorkel off after.
Maldivians, unsurprisingly, have a fairly fish-heavy diet and other dishes that were recommended (but sadly not tasted on this trip) were the seafood broth called garudhiya and Maldivian "short eats" - fried snacks usually made from fish, onion, potato and dough - such as fish cakes or snacks similar to Indian samosas.
I did manage to try a very good tuna sambal at breakfast - made from tuna, grated coconut, onions and chillies... might be an odd choice to accompany your fried egg, but definitely a good one.
For both, the delicious Maldivian food and the unbelievably beautiful setting, I won't need much persuasion to head back :)
Check out a few more moments captured in the Maldives.
Named Best Blog for Food & Travel
Top 10 UAE Food Blogs in UAE