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HILARY HEMSLEY


can be damaged if shaken off the hook. Other fish that take feathers are whiting, gurnard and


even John Dory, Hilary said, adding: ‘It gives the children another idea of what’s actually down there and hopefully teaches them to respect what they are catching. ‘Throwing fish that they don’t want to eat back also teaches them there’s no point in killing for the sake of it because we have got to look after future stocks’. ‘African Queen’ also caters for many serious anglers and another of Hilary’s jobs is to keep tabs on what they catch. ‘Everyone knows the system and they call me over.


‘By the end of the day we know what we have caught and the percentage we have returned to the water. I do it just to keep an eye on the stocks and the quality of the fish.


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‘The more you know about marine life, the more you can protect it. ‘We do get involved in some sort of survey every now and then, when we have to record everything caught and returned and estimate the weight of each fish. Alan says that’s my job’. Hilary and Alan also impart of bit of local history to their anglers, pointing out where the chains used to be strung across the entrance to the River Dart to stop unwanted visitors from entering the port. And they hand out recipes for the fish caught. The pair like to fish broadside, which involves turning the engines off and drifting down with the tide side on to the waves. ‘It’s great for knowing how good your stowage is,’ Hilary said. ‘At the start of the year we always get caught out.


‘Stowage is always a problem


and I’m determined to cut down on unnecessary stuff but it doesn’t always work out that way.


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‘We used to be able to sleep 10 then it went down to eight and now it’s down to six because Alan’s nicked my little fore-berth for a workshop so all his tools are on hand if we need them This year, the couple invested in a local holiday chalet so their two children and four grandchildren have somewhere to stay when they come and visit. Add to this their passion for fishing and love of life aboard, it seems the pair and their distinctive Dickens Class II boat are well and truly settled in the port. Hilary said: ‘We used to take a BBC wildlife producer out in the boat and he would fish for about an hour and then spend the rest of the day taking photographs. He had been all over the world and seen some absolutely amazing places but he considered Start Bay to be the most stunning place in the world. ‘I agree. You really can’t beat


it’.• For more information visit www. theafricanqueen.co.uk Tel. 07885 246061 Interview by Ginny Ware


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