My disappearance from the waterside in the years since I halted angling seems so strange to me now. I used to enjoy it so much, particularly as my other interests tended to be at the violently athletic end of the spectrum, playing as I did rugby, football and cricket for assorted school and village clubs. Having the chance to grab my fishing tackle, jump on a bike and pedal for the 10 minutes to get to the local fishery and enjoy a few hours quietly sitting with a rod in my hand and looking at a float on the water was fabulous.
When I left sixth form college, “by mutual consent” as the football saying has it, following the first year when it was clear that I’d messed about too much in the first year to have any possibility of getting any A levels at the end of the 2nd, would have been the ideal time to relax in spring and summer evenings with my fishing tackle instead of working over some economics homework.
And since I was working, in a department store caf, I was earning and had more cash on the hip than I’d ever had previously and a day off during the week which would have been ideal to get out to the lake and have a few hours if not an entire day angling with the place practically to myself. Even better, as I was working in Guildford, shopping at the fishing tackle shop would have been easy and I could have had pints of maggots to drown. This was unheard of before I left education as our village did not have a fishing tackle shop apart from a very small part of one shop had a limited selection, and definitely no live bait on offer, and to journey into Guildford and back having been to the fishing tackle shop to get some would have taken a long time and was not worthwhile.
In following years, I worked for a huge utility company in Staines which had it’s own fishing lake and yet I never felt the urge to draw stumps for the day, get the fishing clothes on and have an hour down there after work. Even sillier, less than 50 yards across the road was the Thames which has some great angling that went entirely ignored by me, especially as by then I was paid really good money and had the opening to get some really fantastic fishing in the fishing tackle bag.
Later on, again I was employed by for a company that had it’s building right on the towpath, and very often on breaks a group of us would go and sit on the steps on a nice hot day and watch people angling, and as every alternate week saw my shifts terminating at 4 o’clock, it would have been very straightforward to get the fishing tackle out of the car and round off the day with a couple of hours angling. I may have enjoyed the job more too, thinking about it.
We know other priorities present themselves as you go through the years. After I left sixth form I found pubs in quite a major way. Ladies were never a problem of course, I don’t ever remember any throwing themselves at me and beseeching me to ravish them, so that generally would not have been a hindrance to deciding on a days fishing, but it just seemed that at that moment I’d put the fishing tackle away and forgotten about it.
That’s different now though. I do have the urge to start again, I have had my fishing tackle out to inspect and see what has to be updated, which is most of it, and I’ve been finding places to go and what I need to do in order to be able to go there, so hopefully I can rekindle some of the enjoyment from my younger days.