My recent sessions on the R. Stour have been fish less - not without incident; but the barbel are not particularly co-operative. So with time to waste (specimen hunters, of "The Richard Walker era", call it controlled impatience) I have found myself with a chance to "have my mind wandering" about things, in my own company!
|November 1981 - my first 20lbs pike|
If I had the first inkling that this capture would lead to a life of such obsession - I don't suppose I'd change a thing!
My fascination with catching "specimen" fish goes way back into my distant past. The "Mr Crabtree" comic strip and Bernard Venables column being right at the start of my angling journey. Neither mum or dad were in the slightest bit interested, so it was driven by my own search for knowledge/success. Being the (eldest) son of two teachers ensured that my reading and writing skills were going to be of a reasonable level - access to the school/Dacorum DC libraries ensured that books were always accessible. I read as much as I could - Dennis Watkins-Pitchford (aka BB), Dick Walker, Fred J. Taylor and so many other country folk of that era; I was fortunate enough to spend time with some of them, if not fishing we'd share conversation about various aspects of country life. I really have been a very lucky guy to have lived where and when I have. I enjoyed the best music that the UK has ever experienced/produced and have been a part of the "new dawn" of specialist angling (I even served on the Executive Committee of the National Association of Specialist Anglers) and was the NASA Chiltern Regional Organiser. My 18 year break ( August 1993 - May 2011), into birding, coincided with the rise of communication technology and was to be directly responsible for my being able to set a new Kent year list record when, in 1999, I recorded 263 species - I have never done things by halves! I have always been driven by trying to push myself beyond the comfort zone of "ordinary". I have never wanted others to show me something that I should be able to see for myself. Of course I have missed out - my stupid ego has been responsible for as many lows as highs, but I'll survive. I've just got home, after a sixth successive blank on the R. Stour. I realise that I'm struggling, I'm not as good as I'd thought I was - yet nothing will change the way I approach my challenges, or detract from my enjoyment when I succeed.
(I read the North Downs & Beyond post - Solipsism - I had to look it up on Wikipedia and now find myself completely head-f**ked) - discuss?