‘A dawn scene on the West coast of India’
When Sean first asked me if I’d like to write some stuff for this site I was pretty chuffed. I’ve always enjoyed writing about my fishing as it happens, so I’m grateful for being given this platform from which to share my passion with you. I’m just a regular dude that loves his fishing……plain and simple. I was also very fortunate to be picked to take part in the BBC2 fishing show – ‘Earths Wildest Waters – The Big Fish’. I just rang a number advertised in the back of the ‘Anglers Mail’, filled in a form and got lucky!
Travelling and fishing my way through 6 different countries with the BBC and being a finalist in the show was the top angling experience of my life so far. It was a real whirlwind adventure, truly once-in-a-lifetime stuff. It tested me as an angler and as an individual. Having a camera pointed at you all day long can be tough at times though, I can tell you. But a small price to pay for the incredible opportunity. It was a really amazing thing to be a part of and I’m very proud of everything that was achieved.
‘The Big Fish’ may well have been reality TV but I don’t think you can really get the full picture from 6 short episodes. After all, it was a carefully crafted and edited piece of televisual entertainment. With this in mind, for my first article I thought I’d introduce myself to you all properly, give you a chance to get to know me a little better – a bit more background. It’s a good opportunity for me to explain what it is exactly that makes me tick as an angler and tell you what you can expect from my articles.
‘A massive King Salmon caught for the cameras during filming of ‘The Big Fish’
I have been fishing for around 30 years, since I was 7. It’s in my blood. My Grandparents introduced me to the practice and were mad keen fisher-folk themselves. At 84, my Gran still is…..bless her! My wife and I take her on a fishing holiday every summer.
It was from here that my life-long passion grew. I was always fascinated with my Grandad’s tackle shed at the top of the garden and clearly remember often following him in there as a small boy. The old fashioned quill floats, antiquated reels and hand painted lures were objects of wonder to me, firing my imagination and curiosity. I guess, in essence, this is why I started.
I’m a total fishing nut and consider myself a true all-rounder of the sport. I have experience in coarse, game and sea fishing. Bait, lure and fly. In freshwater and in the salt. I love all types of fishing and don’t profess to be an expert or know it all by any means, every day out is an education. That is why fishing is the perfect life-long hobby, you are always learning. There is so much variety and so many different techniques, I fail to see how anyone could ever get bored with it.
‘Bent into a Black-Tip Reef Shark in the surf’
I would consider myself an eternal optimist as well, I think you have to be as an angler. I like to keep my fishing simple, not wishing to over complicate things. This, I find, instills confidence which is another necessity for us anglers. You have to believe, otherwise what’s the point in sitting it out waiting for that fish of a lifetime?
I like to think I am in tune with the environment, always keeping an eye on the seasons, weather patterns and tides. From years of experience I am able to pick a specific venue or species to match the conditions and time of year that offers the best chance of success. I’m not one to flog away at something if conditions are not favourable as there’s always something on the feed somewhere. It is said that variety is the spice of life after all.
There is not much to beat the feeling of hitting the water just before sun-up, with the mist rising and the wildlife awakening. It’s the connection to nature and the room to breath after spending too much time working in the concrete jungle as much as it’s about catching the fish themselves. I find the romantic notion and art form of fishing a truly beautiful thing.
‘A beautiful Rudd taken from a farm pond close to home’
My fishing year is as varied as the species of fish available to us themselves. The winters will see me targeting pike, perch, roach, grayling and chub in freshwater. Then as the spring arrives, bringing some warmth with it, I will switch my attention to the tench and crucian carp populations of my local ponds and lakes. There’s always time for a few days after trout too.
As summer passes, I will seek out mullet and bass along the coast and in our estuaries. There’s always the odd diversion for a few sessions on the smooth hounds and rays as well, not forgetting light tackle fun with the mackerel, gars and scad.
As the days shorten and autumn approaches then cod and bigger bass are the number one fish on my mind. By now, the rivers are getting their first flush of water after the summer and really come to life as well. This almost brings us full circle as my attention turns back to the roach, perch and bream populations on my favourite tidal rivers. Being based in Brighton, most of my fishing is done in Sussex and the surrounding areas.
‘A pristine Perch from a stream in West Sussex’
It’s hard to put into words why I fish, but I guess it taps into a deep rooted evolutionary thing that just feels right. As far as my memories go back I’ve always fished, it’s just what I do. I’m driven to fish and when I’m out there doing my thing then the troubles of the world feel a very long way away. The element of the unknown is another powerful driving force in my fishing, it’s the unseen monsters and the endless curiosity that motivates me to keep on going. It’s the thrill of the chase and the hunt but also there is an element of escapism to it.
As anglers, we spend an extraordinary amount of time, money and effort to create a set of circumstances that culminates in that moment of connection with your quarry. Your float sliding from view or your fly being engulfed by a leviathan and the ensuing battle. It makes your heart pound in your chest and the adrenaline course through your veins. It’s a buzz, that’s what it’s all about!
Then there’s the endless locations that are available to fish. Fresh water or salt? Running water or still? At home or abroad? I love the beautiful places that fishing takes me to. Previous to ‘The Big Fish’ I have been fortunate enough to travel all around India, Australia, Central America and parts of Europe to fish. Travelling with fishing rods is an amazing way to make friends and have some incredible adventures along the way.
‘Misty morning on the river’
It is these adventures that I wish to tell you about. In my first set of articles I will re-live my Indian angling adventures with you. Having made 3 extended trips to this incredible sub-continent and being a keen photographer I have some crazy stories to tell and some beautiful images to share with you. I also wish to tell of my seasonal fishing antics back here in the UK too, I’m busy predator fishing in freshwater at the moment.
Now that you know a little bit more about me as an angler, I look forward to sharing my passion and angling adventures with you all in the future. For those of you braving the weather and conditions out there at the moment then be lucky and tight lines! Until the next time……