If you were to ask me what it is that I truly love about fishing, what defines me as an angler, and what is the central thing about it that keeps me coming back for more, then I’d be at a loss. Where would I start? How can it be explained? Can such a question about such wide ranging and all consuming passion be reduced to a neat equation and packed into a nutshell seemingly too small to contain it?
You’d have the same problem too, no doubt. Though there are broad distinctions between the three main disciplines of fishing - specimen, match and pleasure - the first two are proper callings, even professions, for those who excel and have the drive and ambition, not to mention the spare cash required, to rise to the top, but the third, and by far the largest discipline of all, seems hardly a discipline, at all.
Hmm. Well I’ll put myself firmly in the third ‘discipline’ for a start. I do fish primarily for big fish, but not the biggest of all, so I’m something of a specimen hunter but not a truly dedicated one. I do like to catch a lot of fish and refine my techniques in order that my catches are increased in frequency, so there’s something of the match angler in me too, but not so that I’d ever frame in a contest, except by sheer luck of the draw.
Now, there’s something less than pleasing about the term ‘pleasure angler’, isn’t there? It’s almost derogatory, suggesting as it does, an angler who is less than serious about it. A dabbler, a tyro, a tinkler or a trifler, and worse, a ne’er do well. Well, they’re not me! As a suit of clothes to stand up in, not one of them fits, and so I can’t wear possibly wear them.
No, I’m serious about what I do. Too serious by half at times, staying up half the night thinking about rigs and hooks and lines and things, and then going out to the bank at odd hours to try my ideas out against the great fish that I dream of catching by them, during the other half of the night, whilst fast asleep.
However, I do derive a great deal of pleasure from it. I love the challenge of trying my damndest to improve and refine my approach, my techniques, and my tackle, so that the pleasure of it is increased by my improved catches. So, my enjoyment of angling is in the serious, but pleasurable business, of doing it at the best of my ability.Just recently I caught my first ever canal carp. And what a fish it was! Tremendously powerful and amazingly agile, it had me in knots before I finally banked it. It wasn’t a big carp by any standard, but that feral fish goes down in my memory as one the three best captures I have ever made in a lifetime’s fishing.
It required a lot of planning, a great deal of hard work, many sessions of very exciting fishing to eventually find, and all the hard-earned skills gained from a career’s experience after it was hooked, to land. It was one of life’s defining moments for the committed and determined, but elated and extraordinarily happy angler that I was that night. Yes, that’s it! I’m a ‘serious pleasure angler,’ one who gains enjoyment from his earnestness.
There, I’m happy with that. It’s all neatly packed in that nutshell, and describes me very well. And, I’d guess it describes the majority of us, if not all, including the professionals and the specialists, because ultimately, all of us derive our pleasure from our seriousness, and our best catches, from both.
If you wish to contact me directly, then be my guest