I have been thinking about writing a general blog on my thoughts on angling for some time and now I have the ideal opportunity. Why? I hear you ask. Well, I woke up at five thirty last Saturday morning with a sharp pain in my chest which quickly tuned into an excruciating one and I was clammy and sweaty and began to lose my vision. By this time my wife and son were getting worried and urging me to get into the car and they would take me to A&E. That was all very well but I couldn’t move! Gradually the pain started to ease and I went downstairs and got in the car and soon arrived at A & E to find it mercifully quiet. For those of you who think I should have called for an ambulance I can only think that you haven’t had to do that recently, I would still be waiting!
Anyway, they triaged me and quickly took some blood tests and did an ECG which showed that I had a problem so I was admitted and the day was spent in taking tablets, having injections and blood tests and more ECGs. I was kept in overnight and transferred to the area specialist unit where I still am. I am much better but they are keeping me under observation and are going to do an angiogram some time. All I can say is that if you are going to have a heart attack don’t have it on a Bank Holiday! The emergency system still works but many of the other staff are on holiday and when they come back to work on Tuesday there is the Bank Holiday backlog to deal with!
So that is how come I have time to write about not going fishing, because I haven’t recently!
The catalyst for this particular blog was a discussion on a Facebook forum about how nice it was to go fishing now that the weather had improved and Spring was springing and it didn’t matter too much if you blanked or not. It made me think about my angling journey and how anxious I was to catch fish when I first started. I was lucky and did catch every time I went out and surprised myself with my first carp and some lovely tench and was really happy. How easy this fishing lark is, well until the day I got my first blank. Doubts set in, what was I doing wrong? How come I wasn’t catching in the same swim where I was pulling them out only a few days before? I was depressed and full of self-doubt and seriously thinking about giving up as I was just wasting my time. I chucked my gear in the shed and got on with other stuff.
It wasn’t long before I got the urge to go fishing again so I got my tackle out of the further recesses of the shed, checked it over, found my rough treatment hadn’t harmed it and went fishing. I had a good session and caught some nice fish so normality was restored. Some weeks later I blanked again and this time I took it better, it was one of those things that happened from time to time. It was about this time that I started to read angling books on Kindle unlimited and devoured one a week, books by matchmen, specialist anglers, carpers, etc. etc. and I began to understand just how many branches of angling there were. There are also some anglers who can only be described as eccentric in the finest British tradition. They don’t fish in the close season, even where it is allowed, they only use traditional cane rods, seek out waters that no-one else knows about or look for wild carp that have not interbred with modern strains, the list is endless. They talk about their lives and their friends and being in the country more than going fishing and what they catch.
This idea is not new, Arthur Ransome wrote a weekly column on fishing for the Manchester Guardian in the nineteen twenties and he was an expert at writing a weekly column on fishing without mentioning casting a line on the water! His articles were made into a book with the title “Rod and Line” which is available secondhand cheaply. Reading it nearly a hundred years later it is rather old fashioned, middle class and quaint but overall still as relevant today as it ever was.
Another guy that writes about fishing is Fennel Hudson. He is one of the eccentrics that I mentioned and has gone through the stages of living and working in the country, moving to the city and joining the rat race then having a breakdown and moving back to the country to find tranquility. He wrote about this in a journal and has written other books and has his own website. He is another one who writes about the pleasure of being out in the countryside and not just what he catches. In one of his stories he takes this to extreme when he and his friends stay in a lodge next to their secret carp lake and spend the whole week without wetting their lines! Needless to say beer was involved!
These guys and others have helped me come to terms with blanking and seeing the bigger picture that it is not all about catching but is about being there and enjoying the environment, the flash of a kingfisher, carp cruising on the surface, moorhens and coots calling to each other, the robin that perches nearby comes and eats your maggots when you throw him some. The list is endless and not to be found sitting at home vegging out on the settee!
So, where does this leave my blog? Well, it actually gives me more to write about and gets away from the same old story of “went fishing, caught some fish, went home” which can quickly become boring. In fact I already seem to have started by writing this one in which I don’t go fishing at al! I just hope that you will come with me on the rest of my angling journey wherever it takes me.