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My name is Matthew and I've been fishing for twenty nine years.

As with most it started out as fun, something my Dad got me involved with although he was always looking through his binoculars pointing out different birds to anyone who'd listen. I lived in a village then and about a year and a half later I was allowed to go to the local canal or a friends mill lake on my own and fish until dark. Soon most birthdays and Christmas presents were fishing related.

At eight my interest just got bigger. I started fly fishing in Northumberland and even went to the Greys factory at Alnwick, I got and still use a lovely little Hardys favourite. My brothers would sometimes join me but usually to hunt frogs or make rafts. I don't think anyone one then really new what was happening to me but I think I had an inkling.

I couldn't and still can't drive or walk past any water without stopping to have a look. Family holidays would be camping or youth hosteling trips in this country or France. I would soon make my way to the water and either fish or watch others fish. By this time I would go to the post office and could even read Richard Walkers article while actually cycling home.

I was now building up a collection of largely useless tackle but I still craved more. When I started work I used to do split shifts. I would take my tackle with me and fish a tiny stream for dace on either the fly or trotting a float. By now the family was starting to get slightly concerned. I used to get questions about what I wanted to do with my life. My reply was I don't care as long as I can go fishing. When I was Nineteen I went away to University. A sad time for my fishing. I didn't go at all for about a year and a half. Although I did pick up some other habits that were far less wholesome. In an act of desperation I Jacked it all in and got a blue collar job and went fishing again. Thank goodness for fishing.

I didn't and still don't earn much money but I would buy second hand or cheap tackle. I think the lapse of that eighteen months sent me a bit ( more ) crazy. At one stage I was taking my seat box, two bags, rod quiver, two float rods, two poles, two whips, a carp rod, a feeder rod, a bomb rod, a lure rod and carrier bags full of bait every time I went fishing. I would even take three different types of landing net head so that I would have the right tool for the job. Even with my tackle barrow it would take two journeys to the swim before I had even started.

I think this is when I had to admit that my fishing life was getting out of hand. Fortunately I have pulled myself back from the brink and now only take equipment that can be easily carried to a quite spot on the river and I can sit with my binoculars and camera while blanking but still smiling. Fishing is the best influence in my life that I have control over and it has helped me through many a tricky situation.

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