Fish Stuff…

Gone Fishing!The Bankside Babble is named because of my love of Angling

Sitting by a stream, river, canal or pond with a fishing rod is very therapeutic and a great source of personal relaxation. Waiting for that Big Un can sometimes be a protracted game of patience. During the interim, between casting out and netting the fish, when not preoccupied with wildlife or nature watching, I tend to drift into thought about all manner of things. I eventually intend to include more details about fishing and my enjoyment of it.

A record 1.5m angling licences were sold in England and Wales during 2009 (source Environment Agency). I think that makes me part of a very large club. A group of people who hold that interest and lingering passion for angling.

“God never did make a more calm, quiet, innocent recreation than angling.”

(The Compleat Angler* – Izaak Walton 1593-1683)

The Angling Adventure begins: As a child, in the days when people let their children play and explore alone, I used to wander off to the nearby Blenheim Palace in search of Gudgeon and Sticklebacks from the estate lake and tributary.

With my broken split cane rod (some rings missing and only half a handle), my centrepin reel constructed out of tin, a selection of porcupine quill floats, a packet of hooks and some lead shot I would set off to the lake. Once there it was time to dig for worms then have a sandwich prior to dangling a line in the water. I’d sit for several hours watching the ducks, swans and coots swim by and usually I caught a few small fish to go in my jam jar. If the worms didn’t work, I’d try a small crust of bread from my Marmite sandwiches. During one visit I actually connected with the Big Un, a fish so large it was too big for my jar (probably a small Roach). From those days I was hooked on angling and have been a fisherman in one form or another and on and off ever since. 🙂

“When you’re a child, you see everything with a fresh eye; you don’t buy any acceptances, any handed down ideas. And a fisherman needs to be somebody who retains that innocence till adulthood, and I think in my case I had kept it intact. I saw the spectacle of nature at work withthe eye of innocence and found it very exciting, fascinating, lovable.” (Bernard Venables**)

*The Compleat Angler – Walton’s popular classic treatise on fishing goes far beyond techniques, as it embraces a life that values serenity and appreciation for creation. Some of the natural history lore is antiquated, but keen intelligence and good humor express themselves in a readable and enjoyable manner.

**Mr Crabtree Goes Fishing – Probably the most famous fishing book of all time after The Compleat Angler. Written and illustrated by Bernard Venables, this book has remained a classic since it was first published half a century ago. Mr Crabtree fishes for all species of coarse fishtench, barbel, carp, chub, perch and pike – as well as trout and grayling. In 2000 the book was reprinted as a facsimile of the first edition and published in the original paper and cloth-spine binding (I have a copy) – See article at The Independent.

Angling Trust is the representative body for ALL anglers in England.

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