Family, friends say goodbye to their fishing chum


Pete Hodge from Puriton, Great Britain, loved catching fish in Somerset's River Huntspill, and when he learned he had a terminal illness in 2006, he continued fishing there right till the end. Hodge, age 61, died peacefully in his sleep this summer and was cremated in a coffin made from wicker to look like a fishing creel.

Hodge decided that after his death he wanted to help his fellow anglers continue to enjoy tight lines, too  so much so he arranged for his friend Justin Hooper, who runs a fishing shop, to turn his ashes into bait. Hooper honored his pal's final request, mixing Hodge's mortal remains with maize, hemp and soya to create 30 pounds of groundbait, which was rolled into balls and catapulted into the river Hodge fished for more than 40 years. Hodge's widow Caroline and daughter Sally were the first to propel the bait into the water, and it wasn't long before Pete's favorite fish, bream, were attracted to the spot to be hooked by his fishing friends.

"Pete always said that when he died he wanted the fish to gobble him up so he could swim up and down the river after his death," Mrs. Hodge said. "He put it in writing that this was what he wanted. Everything he wished for was done right down to the last. It was only right for us to carry out his final wishes."

Outdoor types often go out with unusual style.

When he died in 1997, Arkansas angler Howard "Rip" Collins, who caught the world-record 40-pound, 4-ounce brown trout, was dressed in his waders with his fishing pole in his hand and placed upright for viewing in a wooden coffin with a replica of his huge trout in front of him.

In 2004, Irish marksman Tony Mullan went out with a bang when his ashes were packed in shotgun shells and fired by friends at shooting ranges all over the world. Some of his remains also were incorporated into clay pigeons that Mullan's friends and family used at a remembrance shoot.

The widow of British shotgun expert James Booth also had her husband's ashes loaded into cartridges. Twenty close friends used the 275 12-gauge shells on the last shoot of the season, bagging 70 partridges, 23 pheasants, seven ducks and a fox.

What a way to go!