“My thirst for truly wild fishing is as keen as ever.”
Those are the words of Robson Green, who this week was unveiled as the face of a new high-street tackle brand. The Geordie actor, whose Extreme Fishing programme will return in February, will lead Dunlop’s foray into the angling world in a venture that will see its products go on sale at the Sports Direct chain of stores.
Like most things he’s done, including antagonising some coarse anglers, Green is honest about how things have turned out.
A self-confessed “ugly caster”, the 47-year-old is openly surprised his fishing show — “the most natural thing I’ve ever done” — is soon to enter its seventh series.
We spoke to him about his busy schedule, his preference for eating his quarry and bringing fishing to the masses.
AT: What are you up to, fishing-wise, at the moment?
RG: “I’ve just come back from finishing off series seven. I was out in the Middle East, in Dubai, then we went to Tanzania in search of enormous Nile perch, then Zanzibar, the birth place of Freddie Mercury, so we did a little bit on that. I was also on Rubondo Island, where we were charged by a bull elephant.”
AT: Why have you become involved with Dunlop?
RG: “Like the Extreme Fishing series it was completely unexpected. Dunlop approached me and said will you be the face of our brand, because Extreme Fishing is so popular and reaches an extraordinary demographic, and obviously Dunlop are associated with excellence and quality. It’s an honour and a privilege. I’ve never said I’m an angling expert, my casting action is quite ugly, but the fish don’t seem to mind.
AT: You have always preferred to eat what you catch, have you had more experience with coarse fishing recently or do you intend to?
RG: I do understand carp fishing, and I’ve eaten them in Thailand, but no, I find some methods of angling inactive and I like mine to be more active.
AT: Have you been surprised by the enduring popularity of Extreme Fishing?
RG: “I know when it first took off a lot of people thought ‘what’s this guy doing?’ but it’s just turned into an extraordinary adventure. It doesn’t celebrate the complexities of fishing, but focuses on who you are with, where you are and what you are after, and when you have all three you have angling alchemy. We show the fun side of fishing.”
AT: How much more mileage is there in the format, are there still plenty of ‘extreme’ locations to visit?
RG: “Fish tend not to reside in ugly places. There are many locations that you and I will not have heard of, and many are absolute havens for many fish. At the moment there are over 200 countries on this planet and I’ve only visited a quarter of that.
“It’s the most natural thing I’ve ever done in my life. I’ve been an actor 28 years, faking sincerity, but I don’t have to fake anything when I’m fishing, it’s really from the heart.”
AT: Do you have a favourite memory from your time filming the show?
RG: “Cuba. Bonefishing on the fly. I thought salmon fishing was the most unreal fishing activity, but then I hooked a 6lb bonefish. It took off, stripping 150 yards of line of my reel, right to the backing, then snapped. The place and the people are also so colourful in all respects.”
AT: Do you see yourself as an angling ambassador at all?
RG: “Not at all. Other people do, but I don’t have an objective view of myself. With fishing I just live the experience, I genuinely enjoy it. I’m just someone who loves what they do.”
AT: Do you have a favourite method of fishing or species of fish?
RG: “Using a six-weight fly rod, catching a trout on the fly. Nothing beats it.”
AT: Is there anything that annoys you about fishing itself or the politics of the sport?
RG: “I joined the Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall campaign (Hugh’s Fish Fight, which aimed to reduce wasteful fish discards). I just think don’t kill a fish you’re not going to eat.”