“to fish in troubled waters”

When you fish in troubled waters what you are doing is involving yourself in a dangerous situation in the hope of gaining some personal advantage. In other words, you hope to capitalise on someone else’s misfortune. When a country fishes in troubled waters, what it is attempting to do is to gain advantage from the political problems that the other country is having.

Here are a few examples. *Bela is fishing in troubled waters by buying shares of that software company. I understand that the company is in financial difficulties. * *Any country that interferes in Middle East politics is fishing in troubled waters. * *Many American arms companies have been fishing in troubled waters for several decades now by selling armaments to states that are potential sponsors of terrorism. * *The Prime Minister denied that his Government was fishing in troubled waters.

Origin: Fishermen believe that it is easy to catch fish when the water is “troubled” or rough. Some believe that the fish come to the surface at this time and therefore it is easier to catch them. Others argue that fish don’t “bite” any better in bad weather than in good weather. They feel that the bad weather drives away most fishermen and as a result the few that remain catch more fish.

S. UPENDRAN, The Hindu- KYE March 12, 2002

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