How it all began for me. Tell me yours.

MunchMyStump

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1978. When I was a kid. I first started fishing with my dad as most of us do. He was not an accomplished angler and the tackle was really was poor quality, rod eyes held on with tape, line that was rotting and don't even go there with quills and rusty hooks... I persevered for years, going along with all that I had been showed by my dad.
I caught the odd fish and despite the tackle and knowledge limitations I still really enjoyed fishing.
Then along came Leo. Leo was a little older than my father but his hobby 'was' fishing. He saw me trudging home one day with my bare minimum gear and asked how I had got on, we lived on the same street and had often said hello whilst passing. I said I had not done too well and I was getting really fed up. I was only 10 at the time and had no income at all. Leo offered me a job, car washing his and his wife's cars and mowing the lawn. If I did this then I would be able to at least buy some maggots instead of trying to dig out worms and afford the bus fare home or face a 3 mile walk home! Brilliant!!
He would drop off that weeks angling times after he had read it and I would be looking at the adverts at all the new tackle, wishing I could save enough to get at least one rod and reel but the prices were way out of my reach. I cleaned those cars and mowed that lawn week in week out for a year, Leo went off fishing and I felt a bit sad that he had never asked me to go with him.
Before you knew it my birthday came around and the penny dropped. There were several huge packages for me to open...
New rods, a new reel, a box, floats, shot, hooks.... Everything I had been hankering after was there! Turns out old Leo had been holding out on the cash payments for the cars washing and lawn mowing and had banked the surplus putting the deficit toward all this new tackle. My parents had chipped in, grandparents and extended family also chipped in and finally I had a decent set of fishing gear! I remember the rod bag being so big that even with the strap fully adjusted it was still standing on the floor when I tried to carry it lol. Shakespeare13' float and a 9' ledger rod, a Mitchell match reel with 2 spare spools, bank sticks and even a proper rod rest! Wow... My mind was blown!
I have proper stuff! Not Winfield pre packaged stuff that I had grown up using.
Now you have the gear, you need to get an idea of how to use it said Leo.
Every other Saturday we would have a day out and these days taught me so much as to be invaluable. As time and teaching went by I was slowly catching him up, sometimes in front, sometimes I had the bigger fish but I was always learning. "Show me and I shall learn"... At the age of 16 the fishing petered out, Leo was not a well man and our outings became very few and far between. I still washed his cars and mowed his lawn, not because I needed the money, I did it through love and respect.

In the years we fished together I never beat Leo. We could say "biggest fish" or "most fish" ... First Perch or even dead bloody dog.... You could bet your life on him winning.

He formed my later life, the calmness and knowledge without arrogance.

Munchy
 

drw

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Loved that ! I loved Dave Spences stories from his early days as well one day I hope to post mine !
 

Alantherose

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1978. When I was a kid. I first started fishing with my dad as most of us do. He was not an accomplished angler and the tackle was really was poor quality, rod eyes held on with tape, line that was rotting and don't even go there with quills and rusty hooks... I persevered for years, going along with all that I had been showed by my dad.
I caught the odd fish and despite the tackle and knowledge limitations I still really enjoyed fishing.
Then along came Leo. Leo was a little older than my father but his hobby 'was' fishing. He saw me trudging home one day with my bare minimum gear and asked how I had got on, we lived on the same street and had often said hello whilst passing. I said I had not done too well and I was getting really fed up. I was only 10 at the time and had no income at all. Leo offered me a job, car washing his and his wife's cars and mowing the lawn. If I did this then I would be able to at least buy some maggots instead of trying to dig out worms and afford the bus fare home or face a 3 mile walk home! Brilliant!!
He would drop off that weeks angling times after he had read it and I would be looking at the adverts at all the new tackle, wishing I could save enough to get at least one rod and reel but the prices were way out of my reach. I cleaned those cars and mowed that lawn week in week out for a year, Leo went off fishing and I felt a bit sad that he had never asked me to go with him.
Before you knew it my birthday came around and the penny dropped. There were several huge packages for me to open...
New rods, a new reel, a box, floats, shot, hooks.... Everything I had been hankering after was there! Turns out old Leo had been holding out on the cash payments for the cars washing and lawn mowing and had banked the surplus putting the deficit toward all this new tackle. My parents had chipped in, grandparents and extended family also chipped in and finally I had a decent set of fishing gear! I remember the rod bag being so big that even with the strap fully adjusted it was still standing on the floor when I tried to carry it lol. Shakespeare13' float and a 9' ledger rod, a Mitchell match reel with 2 spare spools, bank sticks and even a proper rod rest! Wow... My mind was blown!
I have proper stuff! Not Winfield pre packaged stuff that I had grown up using.
Now you have the gear, you need to get an idea of how to use it said Leo.
Every other Saturday we would have a day out and these days taught me so much as to be invaluable. As time and teaching went by I was slowly catching him up, sometimes in front, sometimes I had the bigger fish but I was always learning. "Show me and I shall learn"... At the age of 16 the fishing petered out, Leo was not a well man and our outings became very few and far between. I still washed his cars and mowed his lawn, not because I needed the money, I did it through love and respect.

In the years we fished together I never beat Leo. We could say "biggest fish" or "most fish" ... First Perch or even dead bloody dog.... You could bet your life on him winning.

He formed my later life, the calmness and knowledge without arrogance.

Munchy
Wonderful mate, thanks so much for posting that :love:
 

Markywhizz

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Really enjoyed reading that Munch. I started when I was 11 or 12. I had an uncle who fished a lot and he took me for my first trip. I caught a small perch ledgering and I was over the moon.

I had a couple of school mates who fished regularly with their dads and it inspired me to get myself down to Woolies for a Winfield Young Anglers outfit. The three of us used to fish together. There was a square man-made pond behind Elland fire station which provided free fishing, primarily for the firemen but they used to let others fish it. We never got thrown off anyway. We used to buy a packet of fags to share and sat there fishing and smoking. We used worms from the garden and float fished with a heavy line straight through. I then progressed to ledgering with the top off a washing up liquid bottle as a bite indicator. We never caught anything but I thought my mates were experts because their dads taught them how to fish. We all gave up fishing when we were about 14 because we discovered go carts. We used to build them out of old lawn mower engines or bits of Honda 50s and the like.

I never fished again for 30 years. When I gave up drinking 10 years ago I went to Decathlon sports to buy a treadmill. While I was there I found myself in the fishing aisle and it inspired me to take it up again. I bought two Capelan reels and a feeder and a match rod. I then went to our (now closed) tackle shop and bought some terminal tackle and a folding stool and off I went. After almost a year of fishing the local reservoir and literally catching nothing at all I went to a local farm pond where I started catching. Having been about to give up it turned me around and I really got into it. Then I discovered commercials and club waters and the rest is history as they say.
 

Jimpanzee

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That was a fantastic story and read Munchy!! Nicely warmed the cockles on a cold morning..

My Grandad got me into fishing when I was 14 during the summer holidays. We went float fishing on a local lake and I don’t think we were there more than a couple hours, we blanked but I was hooked.

A couple of days later my Nan & Grandad turned up to the house with a Kingfisher float fishing starter kit. Me, My Dad & best mate ended up going to a lake nearby the following Saturday and all took it in turns to fish. We all caught and we were all hooked. We all kitted ourselves out and would fish at least once every couple of weeks, all of my paper round money would go on fishing gear.

When I was 16, my old man was quite ill and was diagnosed with Leukaemia and was fairly unwell for quite a while (he’s fine now) and fishing fell off the radar. I didn’t have a way to get to fishing nor did I have much desire to do so, without my Dad so I started to play and watch football at weekends instead and didn’t fish again until recently.

The main factor in getting me back into Angling was family walks along the Thames. It kept bringing up memories of fishing when I was a teen. I’m hoping to get both my Grandad & Dad out for a trip this summer, even as a one off for old times sake.
 

Silverfisher

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I’m told I first fished on a family boating holiday on the Thames when I was about 7 and my first fish was a bleak but I have no recollection of it. First session I remember was on a trout lake on holiday in somerset when I was 11 where the owner let me and my cousin fish any method whilst my grandad fly fished. I blanked and rather embarrassingly my then 4 year old cousin managed a couple skimmers! Was hooked from there though and when we got home we’d regularly go to a local lake over the next couple months that I fished regularly right up until a couple years ago when it went syndicate. Cant remember the exact first session or what the first fish was but it would have been a roach, perch or maybe a rudd. First session I clearly recall was on the pond in the village I lived in at the time where I had half a dozen perch for about a pound in a couple hours after school.

Fished that local lake pretty much exclusively until I was 13 that I recall when I had my first go at sea fishing with a bit of mackerel and doggie bashing and first go at river fishing on a holiday to the broads where I distinctly remember how much more beautiful the fish were than what I was used to. The following year at 14 I started to branch lot more with being introduced to commercials and the Thames, had another broads trip and started doing a little more sea fishing and through the rest of childhood I mostly fished lakes and commercials with the odd river or sea session.

Then when I reached 18 sea fishing picked up quite a lot with a bit of an increase in river fishing as well but was probably still an even split of my time between them and Stillwaters. Then by about 23 I sort of reached where I am now with river fishing being my main passion and filling most my time with sea fishing and Stillwaters mostly just fulfilling my closed season fishing.

Through it all whilst my dad and uncle have played big parts my grandads been my main tutor and fishing companion and to this day fishes with me on probably 4 out of 5 of my sessions.
 

Neil ofthe nene

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I was an angler before I ever picked up a rod.

Born and brought up in north London to non-angling parents I was lucky enough to spend my summer and Easter holidays in a small village called Kilconquhar in Scotland. The one grandparent still living ran the village shop and post office and lived with my aunt and uncle. Mum and I would travel to stay with them for the longer school holidays.

My grandfather had lived an interesting life and was a great story teller. As a child I would sit at his feet and listen to stories of his exploits as soldier (WW1) and policeman but most enthralling were his fishing stories. Many involved poaching and some were taller than the Empire State Building. I didn't know the difference. But by the age of seven I was an angler, those stories had created a passion that has never died.

My first rod was bought at Ladybank Auction. A regular Friday (I think) night's entertainment where the double act was my grandfather and the auctioneer, Sandy Green. The rod was a short two piece, the butt being split cane and the tip fibreglass. In all probably seven foot long. My father took me to the hardware store in Leven that doubled as a fishing tackle shop. I was bought a reel, line and some size 6 hooks as I recall. I dug worms from the chicken coop in grandfather's garden and I was then set loose to roam the local roads and fish the small trout stream just outside the village. I somehow doubt a seven year old would be allowed out like that today.

So I fished each summer and Easter for the next five years without getting a bite. I must have been an angler in spirit to have kept going. Of course the sun always shone, it never rained and I loved every minute of my escape from Tottenham's backstreets.

At the age of twelve I caught my first fish. Strictly speaking I would be trespassing if I entered farmer's fields to fish and was chased off a few times. So my favourite "swims" were the few road or track bridges that crossed the water. I could hang over the parapet and see trout sheltering under the bridge. I would swing a lobworm by hand to get it to land under the bridge. Then one day the magic happened, the line started to move by itself after the worm had been in the water for a while. I struck and a small flounder was hoisted onto the grass verge. I ran the mile and a half home proudly bearing my catch. That holiday as I recall I went on to catch twelve small trout. All returned alive.

The rest, is history.

And this was the spot.
HPIM2068.JPG HPIM2069.JPG
 

RedhillPhil

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I had the classic start. Living with my indulgent grandparents in Worksop aged about 7 or 8 (me, not the grandparents). Opposite the house was the Chesterfield canal ( this was after all Canal Road). Garden cane, black thread and a bent pin. I declared war on the Sticklebacks. Eventually Grandad realised I was serious and so was matched off to Ken Ward's to get proper kitted out. No-one else in the family was interested in fishing, I've no idea where it came from but I've been at it ever since save for a break between 1980 and 1992 when I was on the breeding programme (late wife was a professional classical singer and often away).
 

Dave Spence

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Great story buddy and total respect to you for carrying on with the mowing and washing after you had the gear, it is respect and loyalty that appears to be sadly lacking nowadays. My own early years are well documented on here so I won't bore people by posting them again. Suffice to say that, from an angling perspective, I had a privileged upbringing.
 

Zerkalo

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Great story. I can't really remember mine but I went fishing with my dad and brother from a young age. I had a 'toy' rod and earliest memories are we used to go camping next to the Warks Avon and as a toddler I would try to catch the minnows down the edge. I also remember the swingtips my dad used to use at Earlswood and Kingsbury Water Park while I was given a float rod, one of those green fibreglass jobbies. I can keenly remember seeing a Dragonfly which seemed the size of a cricket ball at Kingsbury, and my dad getting stung in the eye by a wasp, but as for catching fish I can't really remember. I do remember all my dads rods getting nicked from under the caravan when we was on holiday once.

It all started properly for me around age 13 when my dad asked if I wanted to join a fishing club. I quickly had a pole and a seat box bought for me so I could fish canals with the club and the rest is history. We went fishing every Sunday so every Saturday I would walk to the tackle shop on the Coventry Road in Birmingham with a tenner and buy my bait and a couple of floats/hooks and go home to prepare my rigs. We learnt all sorts with the club.
 

mike fox

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Sorry mods, couldn't resist a plug after Chapter 1. ;)
As a seven-year-old boy walking through the Shimming’s Valley from Barton Lane in Petworth, Sussex, one afternoon in the summer holidays, I peered over the stone wall of a narrow-arched bridge into the clear waters of the meandering brook below. My reflection shimmered in the ripples of the water as it flowed around some large stones that broke through the surface. Under the bridge it was only a few inches deep, but the bed of the brook sloped off into deeper pools as it widened out downstream. Under the overhanging branches of an old oak tree, a series of stepping stones had been randomly placed, crossing the brook from bank to bank. A short distance from these stones, on a wide bend, I spotted an older lad perched on a wicker basket on the edge of the bank and holding a fishing rod. I watched him with great interest. He was regularly swinging in small fish on the end of his line, unhooking them and then dropping them into a long net that was stretched over the edge of the bank and out into the water, secured by a stick at his feet. I was intrigued by what he was doing and wandered down the bank to ask what he was catching. He grinned, and said proudly, “minnows”. They were only two or three inches long, but to me they looked huge. He swung another into his open hand and showed me before unhooking it and placing it in his net. I asked, “What do you do with them all?” and he replied, “I let them go when I’ve caught enough”. I was fascinated and couldn’t stop asking questions. I asked him about the bait he was using, the gear he had and where he had got it all from. The fisherman, who was only a few years older than me, answered with enthusiasm and didn’t seem to mind my persistent inquisition. After a while I left him alone and walked back along the stream towards the bridge. Pausing at the stepping stones, I sat on the largest one nearest to the bank and peered into the water once again. I noticed a movement and saw something on the bottom which looked like a fish, but it wasn’t the same as the ones the fisherman was catching. It was mottled brown in colour and had a small body and a large, flattish head. No sooner had I seen it than it saw me and disappeared under another large stone. I lifted the stone and it swam away at great speed and was gone. Underneath the stone I had just picked up were several creepy-crawly insects wriggling about. Some looked similar to the prawns you could buy from the fish shop, only a different colour and much smaller. There were also little hollow sticks about an inch long attached to the underside of the stone. One had a small head poking out from one end. I poked it with my finger and it broke in half, and inside was a maggot thing that looked not unlike those the fisherman was using to catch the minnows, but it had a black head with little legs behind and a whitish body. There were some other horrible-looking creepy crawlies that I didn’t want to touch, which fell off back into the water. Intrigued by what I had discovered, I eventually put the stone back where I had taken it from and walked home. I remember going home that afternoon, my head spinning with excitement, wishing I could do the same thing as the fisherman was doing. I couldn’t wait to tell my mum and dad of my new-found interest and what I wanted to do during the holidays. The next day couldn’t come quick enough, and as soon as I could after breakfast I went back down to the brook. My home was only a few hundred yards away and it only took minutes to be on the banks again. Disappointingly the fisherman was not there, so I just sat on the bank all alone, once again gazing into the water. I had my wellies on this time and paddled into the shallower parts, walking upstream to where the water was coming from. I had to work my way around the deep parts by clinging onto the bank grasses and reeds, trying to prevent my wellies from sinking too far down into the soft mud. Under the bridge I ventured where it was darker and cooler, having to bend right over to get underneath. “Boo!” I shrieked, just to listen to my echo bouncing off the arched brick sides of the bridge. Gingerly clinging on to the damp, slippery sides, I picked my way through to the other side and saw a length of barbed wire straddling the banks close to the water with bits of dead weed and rubbish trailing down onto the surface. I climbed over it, pushing the dangling branches of the overhanging trees to one side. Even though it was summer and quite warm out in the open sunshine, here it was dark and spooky, with very little bankside vegetation growing where the sun couldn’t penetrate the trees. I picked up stones from the bottom of the brook as I walked, but found fewer and fewer of the little grubs and crawly things. A bit further on an old tree had fallen from the bankside and was lying across the brook. It looked as though it had been there for many years and it was covered in damp moss with toadstools growing out from its uprooted base. I sat with my legs astride the fallen tree trunk for a while, just looking around, and noticed that the water began to get a little deeper on the other side. I sat for a while longer, watching and listening to the birds singing and the leaves on the trees rustling in the wind. Patiently I waited, I don’t know what for. Then something happened which startled me so much that I scrambled off the tree and out of the water as quickly as I could. I saw a huge black snake-like thing swimming towards me up the brook from where I had been walking. It seemed to be as long and as fat as my right arm. I could see its mouth opening and closing, and its eyes appeared to be fixed on me. I began shaking with fear and clung to a tree on the relative safety of the bank. I knew what this was – an eel. I had heard that they would eat anything they could find that was edible, and I imagined that included me. I didn’t hang around much longer, but ran off into the warm sunshine of the open fields, up the hill and home for my dinner. That evening I told my dad what I had seen and he laughed, reassuring me that an eel wouldn’t eat me, and that I should try to catch it. He told me people in the East End of London ate eels in jelly, and that if I caught it I should kill it and we could eat it. I really didn’t fancy eating it. I did want to catch it, but how was I going to do that? I didn’t have the equipment the fisherman had, and I didn’t have any money to buy a fishing rod and reel. But that wasn’t going to stop me. With a lot of imagination and a little help and encouragement from my dad I set myself up and made my own very first fishing rod. It consisted of the longest bean cane I could find from my dad’s allotment, net curtain wire eyes, string and a thin bent nail. I screwed the curtain eyes into the cane and threaded the string through the eyes to the thickest end of the cane, where I tied the string to the last eye. I didn’t have a reel, but it looked the part anyway. Using my Cub Scout skills to tie knots (a granny knot), I tied the bent nail to the other end of the string, and I was all ready for my very first fishing expedition. For bait, I could pick up worms from under rocks and leaves I found on my way down Barton Lane, putting them into a jam jar for safe keeping. Dad told me they would work. The next day, I couldn’t get to the brook fast enough. I collected half a dozen big fat juicy worms on the way – it would be easy to slide these up the nail and over the chunky knot. I was so excited. Overcoming my fear of eels remarkably quickly, I returned to the fallen tree where I had seen that massive snake-like thing. It was of course nowhere to be seen. Once again I straddled myself across the tree. Then I baited the nail with a worm and dangled it over into the deepest area of the brook I could reach to. I sat and I sat and I sat, for what seemed like an eternity, although it was probably less than an hour. I had no perception of time at that age, but what is time when you are only seven? I hadn’t seen anything resembling a fish or and eel, but I wasn’t too bothered and it didn’t deter me from trying other areas around the tree. I gave up trying after a while and ventured a little further up the brook beside another fallen tree stump that lay submerged along the nearside edge. Impaling another worm on my bent nail I dropped it down into the water close to the tree. I waited for a short time, watching the worm wriggling on the bottom of the brook in the clear water. A nervous feeling of trepidation came over me as I waited for something to happen. And then, suddenly, it did. An eel appeared from nowhere, then slowly moved toward the worm and sucked it in; it even swallowed the nail. My heart must have missed several beats. I yanked my rod into the air as hard as I could and the eel came with it, shooting out of the water at what seemed to be a hundred miles an hour. It landed just behind me, still attached to the string. Finally letting go of the worm and nail, it wriggled off into the dead leaves and twigs that littered the bank, eventually falling back into the water. I stood there shaking like a leaf with excitement. The elation was beyond anything I had experienced before. Even though the eel was smaller than the one I had seen the previous day, I was jubilant that I had caught it; well sort of, it had only just got away. Shaking from head to toe, with sheer joy this time instead of fear, I ran home to tell mum and dad of my achievements. After that it made no odds to me what the weather was like; every day I would be itching to get back to the brook and explore more of it. Through field and marshland, under and over bridges I would trek, sometimes staying away for several hours before doing my best to remember to go home for lunch or tea. Occasionally I would be late and get a bit of a telling off from mum and dad, but secretly it didn’t trouble me, as I was getting used to it. The success of my first adventure spurred me on for many days to try to catch more eels from other areas of the brook. I did manage to get a couple onto the bank, but more often than not the nail would pull from the eel’s mouth, leaving it to disappear panic-stricken back into the freshly-disturbed murky depths. I gave that method up after a while as it didn’t work as well as I had hoped, and concentrated on the other species that inhabited the water. Not having a proper fishing rod at the time, I would paddle in my wellington boots in the shallow pools learning how to find those little fish with flat heads, and soon found that they were called bullheads. I learned to catch them by creeping up behind them and cupping my hands together, then slowly sliding my hands into the water and quickly clasping my fingers around them. I could catch three or four in a session, but more managed to escape than I caught. The fun part was in the stealth of lifting the stones and then pouncing before they realised something wasn’t as it should be. I soon learned that the best conditions for catching were dull cloudy days rather than bright sunny ones. I didn’t think they could see me as easily on cloudy days as I didn’t cast so much of a shadow. Once caught, I would put them into a jam-jar of water and watch them swim around. They were funny-looking things with sharply-tapered bodies and two large wing-like fins behind the head and they didn’t look like proper fish at all to me, but I found them fascinating nonetheless. I always put them back after a while to swim away, believing that I could catch them again another day. I would repeat these expeditions at every opportunity available to me, after school, during the school holidays and at weekends. I would explore the brook all the way up to the Horsham Road, where it became nothing more than a shallow ditch with a narrow trickle of water. This was the Hampers Green end, and I didn’t go any further because of the troublesome reputation this estate had – I was told not to play with the Hampers Green boys. North Mead, the bit in the middle, was OK though. Occasionally I would meet up with Martin, a school friend who lived there, and we would both go down to the brook and do some fishing, but Martin wasn’t as enthusiastic as me and I always ended up much wetter and more splattered in mud when I was with him than when on my own. We spent more time throwing rocks and bits of dead wood into the water to see who could produce the biggest splash and get the other one the wettest. But it was all great fun and always in good humour and we never fell out over a good soaking. One time Martin fell into a bed of stinging nettles and he wasn’t very happy, but I laughed my socks off, which didn’t go down too well at all. It wasn’t long before he got the last laugh though. One day we were walking towards a stretch of the brook we wanted to fish, but couldn’t get to it from our side because there were too many trees and bushes. The only access was on the other side of the brook, through a field and across a large bog. As we approached the bog the ground began to get wetter and softer. My discerning friend announced he would go first and I should put my feet in the same places as his as we moved across the marshland. There were clumps of grass with firm root systems within stepping distance of each other, which made the going quite easy at first, but then they too became wetter and softer. Instinctively we increased our speed, thinking that if we went faster, less weight would be put onto these clumps of grass. It turned out not to be the cleverest idea in the world. Martin managed to hop to the safety of dry land, leaving me behind. My right foot slipped off one of the grass clumps, plunging me into the cold, wet bog with a distressing gloop. I sank right up to my thigh, and my left leg was at 90 degrees to the right with my wellie slowly filling with cold, muddy water, and I was stuck fast, not being able to move at all. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I began to panic, thinking I was doomed and would be swallowed up by the bog and drown. Naturally Martin found this totally hilarious – I couldn’t make out if he was soaking wet from his efforts to get to dry land or whether he was wetting himself with laughter. Eventually, being the Scouts that we were, we managed to get me out using fallen tree branches as a makeshift pulley system. My relief at getting out alive soon turned to frustration as I realised that my right welly boot was somewhere down in the depths of the now stinking bog. Deciding that we couldn’t continue our expedition smelling like fresh farmyard slurry and me with one boot, we decided to go home. But how were we going to get back across the bog? Martin had a brilliant idea. “We could always walk around the bog instead of going through it,” he said… We squelching our way back home, totally plastered in mud yet again, and mum was understandably not terribly amused. She sighed, “Oh no, not again! Take those trousers off outside.” One other event will always stick in my memory. Every summer the last field before the Horsham road magically turned into a cornfield. For most of the year it was just like a desert, with clumps of grass sprouting from the old ruts and clumps of soil left behind by the previous year’s harvesting. I could always take a short cut directly across the field to the stream when it was in this condition, but when the field was freshly ploughed and the new crop was being sown, I had to walk around the outside, as I was always told to. But in the height of summer, when the corn was growing, the trek around the perimeter of the field was worth every extra step. I would see field mice scurrying from the surrounding grass banks into the corn and emerge again with their mouths full of fresh seed. Skylarks soared high in to the sky. I would hear them at first, then peer into the bright blue sky with eyes squinting in the sunshine, trying to spot them. It was always very difficult to see them to begin with, but eventually my eyes would focus and there they were, tiny dark silhouettes fluttering in an infinity of open space. Sometimes at the end of the summer, I was lucky enough to see the corn being harvested, and when it had been cut, a huge flock of lapwings would converge in the middle of the field, picking off any edible morsels left behind by the combine harvester. It was a magical time of year to be out and about with so much activity going on in the countryside. A buzzard occasionally perched itself on the top bough of a dead oak tree that had been struck by lightning many years ago. I didn’t see any field mice around when he was about, or any other little animals, as even the rabbits, of which there were many, scampered off to hide in their burrows beneath the hedgerows. This was a long time ago and my recollection of exact timescales has become somewhat jaded, but my memories of this and many other adventures at the brook will remain with me for the rest of my life.
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dave brittain 1

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This is more of a life journey and covers the learning curve in development from being a kid to developing as a match angler. If you're interested read on but be warned it is long and may be better saved for bed time reading where you want something to help you fall asleep :)

For me it started in the mid 70's when my Nan and Grandad bought me a Woolworths fishing outfit with a 5ft 6in two piece solid glass rod. There used to be an old quarry called Aycliffe quarry that had filled up with water and was full of roach, perch and pike. I remember my Dad taking me in the middle of winter on the bus and catching absolutely nothing but that never curbed my enthusiasm.

The summer of 1976 was something else, I was 11 then. Two of my friends, Kenneth Hudson and Andrew Clarke, who were a few years older than me decided in the summer holidays we'd go fishing at the quarry which was a 4 mile walk and spend the entire summer holidays there trying to catch fish. Clarkey had an old white 9ft solid glass spinning rod he loaned me which was much better than my 5ft 6 rod and armed with some Glading Platyl 3lb line which was much more suitable than the 10lb rope that came with my spinning reel we were set. Bait for the 6 weeks was bread and worms dug from my Dad's leek trench.

During our exploits we met Catweasel, (Joe) and Psycho, (Ian), his side kick. Joe was a match angler and keen to help whereas Ian was a frightening proposition with a wonky eye the type who looked at you, but you didn't know if he was looking at you or your mate when talking, the type your parents made horror stories about to stop the kids wandering too far from home. He was actually quite a nice bloke but for kids our age Psycho was apt as he was bloody scary.

We used to marvel how Joe fed maggots, flicked his insert waggler out on his 13ft Abu Mk 7 using a Mitchel Match and then strike with another fish on as his float slid away. Now there was a new game, we all had to go and buy some insert wagglers and get some maggots and a catapult so that we could be like Joe and catch fish after fish. Don't get me wrong we'd been catching on bread and worms but watching and being entertained by Joe who loved the attention had set the standard, we now wanted to be match angers, just like Joe.

The next Saturday morning saw us boarding the first number 16 bus to Darlington with our savings to find Adam's tackle shop in Duke Street. Armed with 1/4 of a pint of maggots, a rubber cupped maggot catapult, a couple of insert Drennan Onion floats and maggot bag we were now set. We were going to empty the lake :ROFLMAO:

We still didn't catch as much as Joe and while Clarkey and Ken fished I patiently sat behind Joe asking 101 questions while he patiently answered them and explained what he was doing and why. It became a routine, I'd go and fish and then go and watch Clarkey and Ken before going back to Joe with more questions. On the long walk home, I'd often get a friendly beating for catching more than Ken and Clarkey as they were both bigger than me but I took it with the knowledge that tomorrow I'd catch more fish then them again which was fun as I'd rib them and then get another duffing for winding them up but we were kids and there was nothing malicious. Besides we had nothing else to do.

That Christmas I got the best Christmas present ever, a 12ft Intrepid Deluxe Match Rod and Match Reel, Ken also got a new 13ft Match Rod and a Daiwa Reel that had a red plastic block built onto the reel stem that used to knock the bale arm over. At around the same time a 40 peg pond had been built and Aycliffe Angling Club had been formed and the lake had been stocked with the fish from the quarry which had been closed due to safety concerns. they also had crucian carp, chub, bream and tench plus a junior match section so now the ball was set and a new chapter began.

The junior matches were great, prizes for everybody and what's more some of the seniors helped us giving advice so everybody caught. That year came and went but the highlight for me was catching a 3lb 6oz Tench which was weighed and witnessed as the new club record fish. I was made up much to Ken and Clarkeys disdain.

The next year saw us regularly catching the 16 bus to Darlington, popping into Adams for bait and then getting the bus to the Humperknott Estate which went within 1/2 mile of Darlington Dam on the River Tees, the beginning of a new adventure. We didn't have a clue what we were doing fishing bubble floats and flies for the trout and grayling and a new invention to us the swim feeder not to mention trotting maggots with an Avon in the Dam pool which came later.

Sadly around this time Ken and Clarkey had discovered girls and being younger I was left to my own devices and ended up going fishing on my own, however it wasn't long after this I met Peter Wheatley who was almost old enough to be my Dad but was happy to take me under his wing and help me develop fishing skills.

Peter took me everywhere, he was also good friends with Dave Taff Taylor, who captained Aycliffe Acorns and before long Dave also took me under his wing, introducing me to match fishing in earnest entering the North Durham Winter League which was fiercely contested with Aycliffe Acorns being the team to beat.

Being 16 I'd bought a Puch Grand Prix 50cc rocket that would frustrate the hell of of the Yamaha FSIE owners, possibly the fastest 50 cc bike at that time when unrestricted. This allowed me to travel on my own and go and watch anglers fishing Yarm on the Tees. I'd also started working at GEC with Alan Le Patourel a 19 yr old superstar in the making and with Help from Alan and his mentor Ken Golightly the learning curve continued.

In preparation for my first ever winter league saw me in the back of Taffy Taylors van traveling to my first ever open, a sell out 156 peg match on the River Swale at Thirsk. Taff drew well while I'd drawn below the peg tipped to win the match in barren water while the peg above had bushes galore hanging in the water for the length of his peg. Chub heaven I thought as I walked past it, gutted as I look at the bare bank I had to contend with, however Peter had given me some good advice and had told me if I started on cheese there may be the odd chub hanging back and if I was lucky I may snag one on my first cast which may get me the section by default if I could add other fish.

I managed to get two in the first 20 minutes and lost one which came off the hook, adding a few roach, dace, chublets and minnows, I was happy when I weighed about 6lbs to beat the angler on the flier above me who hadn't done his peg justice. Getting back to the draw it was an Aycliffe Acorns 1st 2nd and 3rd as Taff had won it with 8lbs odd, Dennis Lovelass was 2nd with 7 lbs odd and I'd managed 3rd ruing the chub I lost that would have won the match. The bonus was 3rd had got me about two weeks pay and enough money to buy a Mitchel Match and that was how I became hooked on match fishing.

At 19 I joined the RAF and a new adventure began fishing venues I'd dreamed of, the Trent, Witham, Welland, Nene, then spending 2 years in Germany fishing Dutch venues due to the Green Party ban on fishing in Germany at the time. The heavy feeder fishing skills I'd learned on the Trent were put to good use on the River Maas furthering my knowledge and experience but all part of the apprenticeship.

In 1991 I left the RAF and joined a newly formed team called Imex, later Greys Imex and this bought new adventures and venues, such as the Stainforth and Keadby Canal plus a return to the Trent which paid dividends. After breaking up after considerable National success the core of the team reformed as Darlington Angling Centre with some new team members and went from strength to strength but sadly the Nationals were now in decline and team fishing was changing.

In 1999 I sadly left my native North East and relocated to the South West, abandoning the 156 peg winter league matches and 80 to 100 peg plus open matches on rivers to start a new adventure on Commercials which were becoming more popular with new fisheries springing up all over. This was the start of a new adventure with Team Sillybait.

The hard work I'd put in learning and developing my skills was rewarded in 2006/7 after a number of good seasons when I was asked to join Shakespeare Superteam. For match anglers of my generation there were always 2 teams who were held on a pinnacle that set the standard for others to follow and that was Barnsley Blacks and Shakespeare Superteam, so to be asked to fish for them was one of the highlights of my angling career.

Unfortunately in 2008 I was asked by my company to work in Korea for two years and as a result, match fishing got put to one side. Returning back to the UK in 2010 saw me travelling up to the Trent every week for the Div 1 national with Shakespeare. That winter saw me travelling to the Wye every week for the winter league and dogged by the stresses of trying to juggle a high stress job, fishing and family not to mention a worsening back condition I decided to call a halt on match fishing and took a 6 year break which I spent fly fishing a sport I enjoy as much as I do match fishing.

Coming back to match fishing in 2019 a lot had changed however in January of 2020 I had to knock it on the head again due to a re-occurrence of my back problems, in fact I didn't think I'd match fish again.

Post covid, after a years break and a lot of reflection, I'll be giving it one more go. I've never fished more than one day a week apart from odd hoildays and festivals as I've always tried to maintain that balance of family, job and fishing. 2021 will see a new adventure and return to match fishing balanced with a bit of fly fishing, golf and family time with my wife. I can't take it as seriously as I used to as it's too easy forget why we go and what we actually enjoy about it.

Hopefully I haven't prattled on too much and some, particularly the match anglers will be able to relate to what got you started, the apprenticeship, the journey, how it evolved and where it ended up. For me it's all been about the learning curve and quest for knowledge and knowing there's always one more fish to catch and so much more to learn. For those just starting their journey, just enjoy it and learn as much as you can, from whom you can.

Where it all started, a life times passion.

First fishing rod.jpg
 
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The Runner

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When I was a kid the family had a seaside caravan and in the summer of 1964 I was messing around on the beach as usual with a couple of friends when we found a tin with some ragworm in which a fisherman must have left behind at the foot of the cliffs. Friend ran back to his caravan and came back with his dads rod. He then proceeded to catch a little flounder and I thought it was the greatest thing. It was my 9th birthday a couple of weeks later and was already getting a bike from my parents but I must have been pestering quite well as my uncle gave me a rod and reel.
The same uncle a few years later introduced me to proper draught bitter, so all in all he had a lot to answer for...

The odd thing is it looks like I must have fished before this as when I was clearing out my parents house, among the boxes and boxes of old photos there were some of me aged 4 and my sister fishing with handlines at Eyemouth harbour and posing with a coalfish each but I have no memory of this whatsoever.
 

chefster

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This is more of a life journey and covers the learning curve in development from being a kid to developing as a match angler. If you're interested read on but be warned it is long and may be better saved for bed time reading where you want something to help you fall asleep :)

For me it started in the mid 70's when my Nan and Grandad bought me a Woolworths fishing outfit with a 5ft 6in two piece solid glass rod. There used to be an old quarry called Aycliffe quarry that had filled up with water and was full of roach, perch and pike. I remember my Dad taking me in the middle of winter on the bus and catching absolutely nothing but that never curbed my enthusiasm.

The summer of 1976 was something else, I was 11 then. Two of my friends, Kenneth Hudson and Andrew Clarke, who were a few years older than me decided in the summer holidays we'd go fishing at the quarry which was a 4 mile walk and spend the entire summer holidays there trying to catch fish. Clarkey had an old white 9ft solid glass spinning rod he loaned me which was much better than my 5ft 6 rod and armed with some Glading Platyl 3lb line which was much more suitable than the 10lb rope that came with my spinning reel we were set. Bait for the 6 weeks was bread and worms dug from my Dad's leek trench.

During our exploits we met Catweasel, (Joe) and Psycho, (Ian), his side kick. Joe was a match angler and keen to help whereas Ian was a frightening proposition with a wonky eye the type who looked at you, but you didn't know if he was looking at you or your mate when talking, the type your parents made horror stories about to stop the kids wandering too far from home. He was actually quite a nice bloke but for kids our age Psycho was apt as he was bloody scary.

We used to marvel how Joe fed maggots, flicked his insert waggler out on his 13ft Abu Mk 7 using a Mitchel Match and then strike with another fish on as his float slid away. Now there was a new game, we all had to go and buy some insert wagglers and get some maggots and a catapult so that we could be like Joe and catch fish after fish. Don't get me wrong we'd been catching on bread and worms but watching and being entertained by Joe who loved the attention had set the standard, we now wanted to be match angers, just like Joe.

The next Saturday morning saw us boarding the first number 16 bus to Darlington with our savings to find Adam's tackle shop in Duke Street. Armed with 1/4 of a pint of maggots, a rubber cupped maggot catapult, a couple of insert Drennan Onion floats and maggot bag we were now set. We were going to empty the lake :ROFLMAO:

We still didn't catch as much as Joe and while Clarkey and Ken fished I patiently sat behind Joe asking 101 questions while he patiently answered them and explained what he was doing and why. It became a routine, I'd go and fish and then go and watch Clarkey and Ken before going back to Joe with more questions. On the long walk home, I'd often get a friendly beating for catching more than Ken and Clarkey as they were both bigger than me but I took it with the knowledge that tomorrow I'd catch more fish then them again which was fun as I'd rib them and then get another duffing for winding them up but we were kids and there was nothing malicious. Besides we had nothing else to do.

That Christmas I got the best Christmas present ever, a 12ft Intrepid Deluxe Match Rod and Match Reel, Ken also got a new 13ft Match Rod and a Daiwa Reel that had a red plastic block built onto the reel stem that used to knock the bale arm over. At around the same time a 40 peg pond had been built and Aycliffe Angling Club had been formed and the lake had been stocked with the fish from the quarry which had been closed due to safety concerns. they also had crucian carp, chub, bream and tench plus a junior match section so now the ball was set and a new chapter began.

The junior matches were great, prizes for everybody and what's more some of the seniors helped us giving advice so everybody caught. That year came and went but the highlight for me was catching a 3lb 6oz Tench which was weighed and witnessed as the new club record fish. I was made up much to Ken and Clarkeys disdain.

The next year saw us regularly catching the 16 bus to Darlington, popping into Adams for bait and then getting the bus to the Humperknott Estate which went within 1/2 mile of Darlington Dam on the River Tees, the beginning of a new adventure. We didn't have a clue what we were doing fishing bubble floats and flies for the trout and grayling and a new invention to us the swim feeder not to mention trotting maggots with an Avon in the Dam pool which came later.

Sadly around this time Ken and Clarkey had discovered girls and being younger I was left to my own devices and ended up going fishing on my own, however it wasn't long after this I met Peter Wheatley who was almost old enough to be my Dad but was happy to take me under his wing and help me develop fishing skills.

Peter took me everywhere, he was also good friends with Dave Taff Taylor, who captained Aycliffe Acorns and before long Dave also took me under his wing, introducing me to match fishing in earnest entering the North Durham Winter League which was fiercely contested with Aycliffe Acorns being the team to beat.

Being 16 I'd bought a Puch Grand Prix 50cc rocket that would frustrate the hell of of the Yamaha FSIE owners, possibly the fastest 50 cc bike at that time when unrestricted. This allowed me to travel on my own and go and watch anglers fishing Yarm on the Tees. I'd also started working at GEC with Alan Le Patourel a 19 yr old superstar in the making and with Help from Alan and his mentor Ken Golightly the learning curve continued.

In preparation for my first ever winter league saw me in the back of Taffy Taylors van traveling to my first ever open, a sell out 156 peg match on the River Swale at Thirsk. Taff drew well while I'd drawn below the peg tipped to win the match in barren water while the peg above had bushes galore hanging in the water for the length of his peg. Chub heaven I thought as I walked past it, gutted as I look at the bare bank I had to contend with, however Peter had given me some good advice and had told me if I started on cheese there may be the odd chub hanging back and if I was lucky I may snag one on my first cast which may get me the section by default if I could add other fish.

I managed to get two in the first 20 minutes and lost one which came off the hook, adding a few roach, dace, chublets and minnows, I was happy when I weighed about 6lbs to beat the angler on the flier above me who hadn't done his peg justice. Getting back to the draw it was an Aycliffe Acorns 1st 2nd and 3rd as Taff had won it with 8lbs odd, Dennis Lovelass was 2nd with 7 lbs odd and I'd managed 3rd ruing the chub I lost that would have won the match. The bonus was 3rd had got me about two weeks pay and enough money to buy a Mitchel Match and that was how I became hooked on match fishing.

At 19 I joined the RAF and a new adventure began fishing venues I'd dreamed of, the Trent, Witham, Welland, Nene, then spending 2 years in Germany fishing Dutch venues due to the Green Party ban on fishing in Germany at the time. The heavy feeder fishing skills I'd learned on the Trent were put to good use on the River Maas furthering my knowledge and experience but all part of the apprenticeship.

In 1991 I left the RAF and joined a newly formed team called Imex, later Greys Imex and this bought new adventures and venues, such as the Stainforth and Keadby Canal plus a return to the Trent which paid dividends. After breaking up after considerable National success the core of the team reformed as Darlington Angling Centre with some new team members and went from strength to strength but sadly the Nationals were now in decline and team fishing was changing.

In 1999 I sadly left my native North East and relocated to the South West, abandoning the 156 peg winter league matches and 80 to 100 peg plus open matches on rivers to start a new adventure on Commercials which were becoming more popular with new fisheries springing up all over. This was the start of a new adventure with Team Sillybait.

The hard work I'd put in learning and developing my skills was rewarded in 2006/7 after a number of good seasons when I was asked to join Shakespeare Superteam. For match anglers of my generation there were always 2 teams who were held on a pinnacle that set the standard for others to follow and that was Barnsley Blacks and Shakespeare Superteam, so to be asked to fish for them was one of the highlights of my angling career.

Unfortunately in 2008 I was asked by my company to work in Korea for two years and as a result, match fishing got put to one side. Returning back to the UK in 2010 saw me travelling up to the Trent every week for the Div 1 national with Shakespeare. That winter saw me travelling to the Wye every week for the winter league and dogged by the stresses of trying to juggle a high stress job, fishing and family not to mention a worsening back condition I decided to call a halt on match fishing and took a 6 year break which I spent fly fishing a sport I enjoy as much as I do match fishing.

Coming back to match fishing in 2019 a lot had changed however in January of 2020 I had to knock it on the head again due to a re-occurrence of my back problems, in fact I didn't think I'd match fish again.

Post covid, after a years break and a lot of reflection, I'll be giving it one more go. I've never fished more than one day a week apart from odd hoildays and festivals as I've always tried to maintain that balance of family, job and fishing. 2021 will see a new adventure and return to match fishing balanced with a bit of fly fishing, golf and family time with my wife. I can't take it as seriously as I used to as it's too easy forget why we go and what we actually enjoy about it.

Hopefully I haven't prattled on too much and some, particularly the match anglers will be able to relate to what got you started, the apprenticeship, the journey, how it evolved and where it ended up. For me it's all been about the learning curve and quest for knowledge and knowing there's always one more fish to catch and so much more to learn. For those just starting their journey, just enjoy it and learn as much as you can, from whom you can.

Where it all started, a life times passion.

First fishing rod.jpg
Ha! That’s not a post Dave -it’s a Book !!!😂
 

G0zzer2

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I fell in love with fishing by reading Colin Willock's book Come Fishing With Me, from the library. That would be in about 1951, when I was 9.

I bought a hook and some line - it was silk line (nylon hadn't been invented) which you had to grease up with Mucilin after every fishing session. My rod was literally a five-foot stick of bamboo, and I cycled many miles to Tydd Cut several times before I caught my first fish - a foulhooked bream about half an ounce.

I used to go to see an elderly lady, a family friend, on a Saturday, and sometimes Johnny Green was round there, watching TV. He offered to take me fishing, and we went on a bus to Kings Lynn to buy a hollow metal rod, which was probably previously a tank ariel. Within two years it had corroded through and I did it up with a piece of bamboo down the middle and Elastoplast round the outside. Pretty useless really.

I went a time or two with Mr Green, but usually had to cycle myself. Sometimes it took me 3 hours cycling for two hours fishing, then back home. My cycle cost 10/- (50p) secondhand and of course had no gears. For years my best catch was three roach from Blackdyke Bridge on the North level. After I left school and got a job I gradually added pieces of tackle, fished my first adult match in October 1958, and weighed in 15.5 oz. Joined The Blacksmiths Arms club, and started fishing their matches, concentrating on small fish rather than bream, because it gave me more consistent results. Got into the Wisbech National team at 19, in 1961 on the Gloucester Canal. Bryan Lakey was on our bus, also fishing his first National.

Frankly it then took me 15 years to learn what I could nowadays learn in three months, but we had to make everything ourselves - even things like waggler attachments weren't available. Feeders were not available. Nor were any instructional videos (they hadn't been invented). Apart from books only Angling Times was available as reading matter, and that had no instruction articles.

20 years ago I bought a copy of come Fishing With Me, but I'm really scared that when I read it, it won't bring back the original feelings I had, so I've never opened it.

I've never stopped matchfishing since I started, but had to drop out of National teams when I went to Angling Times, as I reported on all the Nationals.

My father wasn't interested in what I did, and I didn't latch on to anyone special to travel with. If I had I think I would have been better much more quickly.
 

chefster

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My next door neighbour had 2 lads my age, and they were all mad keen anglers , his name was Sid Russel👍And he used to take me everywhere with them, I was about 12 at the time ...He also belonged to a local club who fished every where, nearly always a coach in them days , so us boys would tag along, and fish on the end of the match ... When I was 14 I joined the fishing club at the factory where my dad worked, and a few of the blokes took me under their wing, took me in their cars, or again a lot of the matches were on a coach in them days 👍......I think it took me about 2 actual seasons to win a match, I had 6-2-0 of gudgeon on the Oxford, I fished for the club in the winter league, and fished quite a few local opens .....Then as you do discovered girls and alcohol 😂came back to fishing when I was about 22,Apart from a five year lay-off 17 years ago, due to alcohol problems I’ve fished all the time ..I actually stopped drinking over 11 years ago , and apart from family, it’s my passion👍
 
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The Landlord

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Not a very interesting introduction to fishing for me. Dad was never a coarse angler, although he did used to go to sea in his mate's fishing boat at weekends.
My first outing was when I was about 19, sitting in the pub one night & a mate asked me if I fancied joining him at Birkenhead Park lake. A borrowed rod & box saw me catch a tench of around 1lb after half an hour. From that moment, I was hooked. A trip to a local tackle shop to purchase a seatbox & basics was followed by some second hand rods & nets from another bloke in the pub. Every weekend was then spent at local ponds at around 4am until lunchtime. Never catching much but I loved it all the same.
It wasn't long before we joined a local club, Cammell Lairds AC who had the luxury of a coach! This involved a trip out every fortnight to the Trent & Mersey, Weaver, Montgomery Canal and various other venues. While my fishing ability improved, the lad who first took me, stopped fishing for whatever reason & our lives drifted apart. I managed to win a couple of club matches & was asked if I fancied joining the match squad. The club took over my life for a while (I was still single then). I became Match Secretary & was responsible for organising the venues for the coach trips.
Then it got serious - Winter League time!! My first foray into pole fishing with most of the winter league venues being canals. Over the next couple of years, I didn't do too badly in the winter leagues & managed a section win, a couple of 2nd & 3rd's. We also entered a team for the National....The Witham one year & the Middle Level the following year. Stuggled on both, with the venues being too far away to get any practice in.
In 1989 I met the missus who already had kids from her previous marriage....obviously with setting up house & everything that goes with it, fishing took a back seat apart from the odd pleasure session. If we had a UK holiday anywhere, I'd try & find somewhere with fishing on site but in reality, I was out of fishing for practically 20 years.
In 2014 we bought a canal boat & spent every weekend on that, moored on the Shropshire Union near Chester. I started getting the bug again & would be up at 5am, fishing from the back of the boat....one hand on my pole & the other hand keeping the white Wolf from jumping in after the ducks. Then life changed again & we bought the pub in 2015. We sold the canal boat & for the next few years, my life was completely consumed by the pub with no time off at all. We'd been doing up the pub in stages and I was there all day & every day.
A couple of years ago, a couple of customers (mates as well) got me back into fishing some local commercials and I was hooked again. Bought a job lot of tackle off one of them, joined my current club & I manage to get out once or twice a week these days. Just wish I had time to fish matches but the hours that matches are held don't fit in with my working patterns.
One thing this lockdown has thrown up is the opportunity to fish a couple of MD events & a couple of club matches!
 

Cobweb

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A bit of a different and shorter story from me. Apart from the occasional trip with some mates to catch something for tea in the channel, and the odd trout session for a similar reason, my first sojourn into course and carp fishing started for me at the tender age of 37 when a lad (Dave), who later became my stepson, took me out for a bash at some float and leger fishing. Dave had been fishing since he was about 8 years old and was pretty accomplished. To my astonishment I actually caught some fish that day float fishing. I'm still not sure whether the maggot on my size 20 hook stunned the roach into submission even to this day, but gradually, over the next few years, I started to acquire some basic skills and improved my catch rate and fish sizes under Dave's tuition. Eventually I started to sojourn on my own by joining a club and walking miles of riverbanks looking for and finding good holding spots and fishing them when Dave was at work on a Saturday. For me the fish size didn't matter that much and I loved float fishing for roach or chub every week. I found this totally relaxing, and a great way to start the weekend away from work. On Sundays Dave and I would go for what are now referred to as match sized carp on a club water. Later I had a few carp sessions - Dave was quite keen - but I never really took to the idea of hanging around waiting for a big lump. Dave passed away at the end of 2002, but I continued to fish, now being firmly hooked. By 2003 I could actually increase my fishing trips as, following my second MI, I had a lot more time on my hands having stopped working for a living. I persuaded one of my drinking pals (after a few)to come fishing regularly for some fresh air and relaxation. That started another happy bankside companionship which lasted for 18 years until sadly Bob to passed away around 6 months ago. I can't see me ever giving up on this great hobby of mine which never ceases to offer me different challenges every time I go out. I've also enjoyed the social aspect of fishing very much and delight in the interest many members of the public have in what I am doing - particularly the kids who seem amazed when I net one (me also)

I definitely want to be out bankside again and hopefully before my 70th birthday which is now only 6 weeks away!
 
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