Work Party Members

Ian

...Angling is the ultimate balm for the soul.

I was born in the 50s, travelled the country for the next 10 years and finally settled in Derbyshire. That’s when I got the fishing bug. School holidays and weekends consisted of expeditions to the various local rivers and ponds – the Derwent in particular to fish for brown trout and grayling. My first rod was a 6 foot solid glass affair with a cheap Garcia Mitchell reel – I knew no better - but somehow I managed to catch a grayling on my first foray and was smitten. It’s still in the garage (the rod, not the grayling). Tickling trout in the many brooks tumbling down the hills was also a specialty. How carefree it all seems now – going out early, getting back late, cycling free and none of the modern paranoia we face with our own children today. Highlight of the early 70s was saving up to buy an Abu MkV match rod from Bennetts of Sheffield (which I also still have). Teenage years saw mad expeditions in beaten-up cars to far-flung locations such as Welbeck, the Welland, even the Royalty.

University years (London) restricted angling activities, but I then moved to Bath to do a PhD and rediscovered the urge. The Avon at Limpley Stoke and Bathampton were favourite waters through the late 70s and early 80s, the quarry mostly chub and barbel. Then work took over and fishing time dwindled. I stopped fishing in the mid 80s and my life was poorer for it, although it took me 20 years to realise it. I still don’t know why I stopped.

...Angling is the ultimate balm for the soul.

The 90s was a time for a mid-life crisis, the result of which saw a move to the Fens to live out the dream of building my own house and running my own business. As fate would have it, the house I rebuilt was situated right on the Old Course of the Nene. For a number of years I looked at the river, and it looked back at me but we never saw eye to eye. Then one July day in 2004 I took down the old MkV, threaded a line and baited a hook. Lo and behold, I caught a 4lb plus tench and the flame burned brightly again. Now I fish whenever I get the chance, and when I’m not fishing I think about it. Why did I start again? I think it’s a reaction to the material unpleasantness of modern times and a desire to reach out and touch the natural world, to connect with something real. I’m so happy sitting on a riverbank or by a lake, drinking in the sights and sounds. Catching a fish is always welcome, but it’s not the only reason I fish. Angling is the ultimate balm for the soul.

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