A squirrel prior to being fished.

I invented squirrel-fishing in south-east London back in 1984. It's a bold claim, but one that still awaits a heavily documented counter-claim complete with supporting photographic evidence.

The internet is not always a reliable source of information (!) but I have searched in vain for any published reference to squirrel-fishing that pre-dates the article I wrote for the
London Evening Standard's ES magazine back in the early 1990s.

The article suggested alternative ways for Londoners to pass their lunch-hours. Squirrel-fishing was one of them (along with bin bingo and a method of encouraging park pigeons to form swear words that could be read by passengers in planes passing overhead).

I have since learned that a form of squirrel-fishing occurs on university campuses in the USA but - again I say - when did this first arise? Can anyone prove it?

Gratuitous picture combining jeopardy, sex, and a squirrel.

I returned to the subject for a short piece that was broadcast on BBC Radio 4's much-missed
Home Truths in 2004. I had already written and read a couple of funny pieces for the programme, but this was the first to actually appear on a show that was being presented by the legendary John Peel rather than one of his slightly less-legendary occasional stand-ins.

Amazingly, you can still hear the original broadcast