Imagine how it must have been before pollution and ruthless commercial fishing enterprises reduced the world's fish stocks to our current worryingly low levels. The Grand Banks off Newfoundland must have teemed with silvery fish and it would have been the same over The Dogger Bank in the North Sea. Rivers like The Tay and The Esk would have sometimes appeared to be boiling with fat, healthy salmon.
To be a fisherman in days gone by must have been a life punctuated by moments of splendiferous glory when the "catch" was bountiful - exceeding all expectations. And that's how it felt for me at 11.15 am this morning. I had set out with the intention of bagging just one more of the sneaky, unloved parking enforcement officers that plod our streets but ended up acquiring not one or two but three more of the vile creatures.
It happened rather by chance. Avoiding Hunters Bar, I had parked up on leafy Marlborough Road in Broomhill. Once this was the home of the athlete Sebastian Coe. I remember literally bumping into him in "The Broomhill Tavern" years ago. "Sorry", he half-smiled after I'd spilt his drink.
There was a white Ford Fiesta van up ahead near the corner. As one stormtrooper came sauntering round the corner, two others got out of the van just as I was locking my car. They greeted each other and as I approached, it was clear that they were conversing about their four missing colleagues. I wasn't expecting to speak but the words just tumbled out of me as I drew level with them. It was as if my subconscious was working ahead of me.
"You're talking about those parking officers who disappeared? I think I know where they might be."
Their body language changed immediately. "Where? What? Who?" Whether or not they were thinking altruistically about their colleagues or the £100 reward for information, I wouldn't like to say.
Anyway, two minutes later they were all sitting in my car and I was driving them back towards our house as I spun my yarn more intricately - like a spider preparing to snare unsuspecting flies. I told them that my next door neighbour was a bit of a nutter and that I had heard him talking to people in his cellar area. I said that I thought one was called Mohan.
"Mohan? Mohan Lal! I trained with him," said one of my new acquisitions.
I found out their names. The two African gentlemen were called Victor and Okwonu and the rather pretty young woman whose uniform looked two sizes too big for her was called Jessica. She reminded me of a former girlfriend with similar grey-green eyes. That summer. That hayloft. Like yesterday.
We parked up on the secret back lane that runs past the bottom of our garden. Cunningly, I said it was our neighbour's garden. I begged them to keep quiet as we passed the vegetable plot and the compost bins, under the apple trees and across the lawn towards our decking with the little door to the underhouse at the side. "Shhh!"
I had the key in my pocket but I pretended I had retrieved it from beneath a rock. Quietly, I unlocked the door to reveal all four of the captives asleep on the camp-beds that I had generously bought for them in Barnsley. I noticed that Robert was coughing and wheezing in his sleep.
After a moment of incredulity, Victor and Okwonu rushed down into the secret room while Jessica hesitated outside.
"It's you isn't it!" she concluded looking deep into my eyes like a girlfriend testing her lover's fidelity, so I gave her an almighty shove and she also tumbled into the underhouse. Rapidly, I slammed the reinforced door and relocked it before you could say "parking enforcement officer".
I whooped with glee and allowed myself a little jig on the decking..."And if seven green bottles should accidentally fall there'd be five green bottles hanging on a wall!" I'd bagged three of the blighters! Now that's what you call a successful fishing trip.