Angling ringtones bring harmony to the riverbank
By Alan Hamilton
IT COULD go down in history as the
fisherman’s greatest contribution to world peace.
In the world of angling, silence is still deemed a virtue. By contrast, the
mobile phone that springs to life with Crazy Frog or Nelly Furtado’s Promiscuous
Girl is a form of public nuisance that speaks volumes about the ignorance and
inconsideration of its owner.
Which is why Richard Hewitt, a keen fisherman, collector of rare tackle and the
owner of Salmon Reel, a company that specialises in mobile phone ringtones, has
decided to reproduce the sounds of Brass Perfect, Fortuna and Zane Grey.
These are not rock bands — indeed, they are no more than a collection of clicks
and whirrs — but they are music to the ear of the discerning angler. They are
the sounds of some of the finest fishing reels ever made, each boasting a
lovingly crafted mechanism.
The sounds were recorded in the museum of Hardy in Alnwick, Northumberland,
where a vast collection of vintage reels is on display. “Hardy is unquestionably
the most famous reel manufacturer in the world,” Mr Hewitt said. “We chose those
three as our premium sounds because of the quality of their check mechanisms and
He also offers the Field, the Silex Major and the Angel, the latter a model
currently in production that has a much softer sound than those of the older
reels — so soft, indeed, that you might not even realise when your phone is
Mr Hardy had the idea of harnessing the soothing and satisfying tones of a fine
fishing rod in action when his daughters showed him how far ringtone technology
had advanced. “One of the motivating factors was my irritation at mobile phones
and the way ringtones are so intrusive,” he said.
When Izaak Walton wrote in 1653 of “those nimble little musicians of the air
that warble forth their curious ditties”, he was talking about birds, being more
than 300 years ahead of mobile phones.
He would have been horrified by the present-day sounds with which the
inconsiderate angler can rend the placid air of the riverbank.
Many ringtones can be downloaded free, but Mr Hewitt is charging between £3 and
£5 for his via the internet, with some of the proceeds going to the North
Atlantic Salmon Fund, a conservation body.
Salmon Reel’s other ringtones include the songs of the sparrow, lark and crow,
the sounds of goats, sheep and rustling woodland. There is also a selection for
the keen equestrian, who can be alerted with the sounds of a neigh, a trot or a
Controversy rages over which is the world’s most irritating ringtone, although
Crazy Frog has topped the polls more than once.
Other strong contenders are the one that replicates Maria Sharapova’s primal
scream on the Centre Court at Wimbledon, the one of Oliver Hardy announcing that
Stan Laurel has got him into another fine mess, and the excruciating recording
of Bob Hope and Bing Crosby singing Hoots Mon.
In China a current favourite is a ringtone featuring the ranting of a football
commentator who almost launched himself into orbit with an overexcited summary
of the Italy-Australia game in the World Cup.
But according to industry sources the most popular ringtone in the world remains
the simplest: the sound of an old-fashioned telephone ringing.
When Walton wrote that “God has two dwellings, one in heaven and the other in a
meek and thankful heart”, he might have added, “and in a phone that purrs like a