Work Party Members

Phil

Relaxing...

I moved up from South East London to Melton Mowbray, aged eleven and with the school summer holidays stretching endlessly ahead.

Chums were hard to find. No train spotters at the station. No bikes at the ‘rec. Around here, lads went fishing.

So started an interest that became all consuming – apart from the usual “lost years” as I discovered girls, beer, career and marriage.

In contrast with the forementioned, I approach my angling with a happy amateurism. I set myself no targets, keep no “personal bests”, seize not upon the latest “must fish” methods, and shun the shrill voiced angling evangelists.

Angling is my escape to a gentler world. And mostly I fish in blissful isolation.

Collecting, restoring and using old fishing tackle is probably part of the escapism. Cane rods, wicker baskets, quill floats, and centre-pin reels are like steam engines, Spitfires, and wooden boats to me…all redolent of slower and I think happier and freer times.

“Fettling” fishing tackle has become almost absorbing as fishing itself. Fly-dressing equally so. And when at home and not doing either of those, I am probably reading a musty smelling ‘baccy perfumed ancient angling tome while alternating puffs of pipe smoke and sips from a heavy whisky tumbler with Elgar playing softly in the background.

When time and work allows, I take myself off to fly-fish for wild brown trout or dace in small streams, crawl through nettle beds to ambush fat Chub with fly or bait, wait for my goose-quill float to slide sideways across the oil-slick needle-bubbled surface of a Tench swim, trot for Roach or ledger for anything that comes along.

Sensitive management of the aquatic environment is a subject that I’ll talk anyone to death about, and sea fishing is something a keep meaning to get around to, especially as good fish are like hens’ teeth hereabouts in France where I now live.

I am, probably, not a very good angler. I am, certainly, a very fulfilled one.

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