Sometimes you decide to go fishing and everything just feels right.
As you put your tackle in the car you notice that the air is pleasingly mild – too warm and the fish will be dour, similarly if it is too cold – somewhere in between is usually best.
As you drive to the lake you notice the roadside trees are swaying a little – just enough breeze to ensure there will be a ripple on the water to stir your quarry into action.
On arrival, there is not another soul around. You hurriedly pull on your boots, throw your bag over your shoulder and grab your rod. Crossing the field towards the water’s edge you notice a couple of fish move in the distance.
You stand on the bank and assess your options. The water has good clarity, but with just a tinge of colour to leave something to the imagination.
Another fish moves. Your confidence couldn’t be higher. You nervously thread up your rod and prepare for your first cast.
Social media has been linked to higher levels of envy, anxiety and depression in many sectors of society. I could imagine that anglers are no exception to this rule.
Based on my own feed of images and information on Instagram and Youtube, one could be forgiven for thinking that the catch of a lifetime should be a weekly occurrence for any decent angler or, at least, it only requires the purchase of one more piece of ‘essential kit’.
Too much time spent scrolling through your friends’ fishing pictures can result in the setting of unrealistic expectations for one’s own trips. Moreover, the desire to capture the perfect ‘trophy shot’ of your own to share, can distract from the multitude of other (perhaps more important) reasons why we go fishing.
Fishing has been described as ‘an excuse for being there’ – close to nature, in touch with the seasons, with time to contemplate and gain or regain perspective. In other words, there’s more to fishing than catching fish.
Certainly fishing alone is better than not fishing at all, but for many anglers (myself included) sharing time on the banks with friends or family is infinitely more enjoyable. As Christopher McCandless concludes in one of my favourite films ‘Into the Wild’, “happiness is only real when shared“.
If you’re a keen fisherman, you’ll know that it’s almost impossible to cross a river or pass a lake without pausing to take a look. Any body of water represents the chance of untold adventure. You ponder what lies beneath, scour the surface for signs of life, and contemplate where or how you would fish it.
On my family’s recent holiday to Florida there was a tempting pond in the most unlikely of locations that fell into this category.
The largemouth bass is North America’s most popular game fish – driving a billion-dollar industry and a tournament fishing scene with all the glitz and glamour you would expect of a professional sport.
After six months away from my family on a recent business assignment, we had planned a holiday to Disneyland in Florida to celebrate being back together. Whilst my wife and daughter were getting excited about the thrills and spills of the theme parks, I was looking forward to trying my hand at bass fishing and seeing what all the fuss is about.
I wrote recently about my first trip to Finland with Rock and Lake in 2016, a lot of fish were caught in beautiful surroundings and a truly wonderful family holiday was had. Whilst I failed to connect with any of the larger pike that Lake Puula is reputed to hold, it had been my first experience boat fishing big waters for predators and I loved every minute of it. A return trip was promptly booked for summer 2017.
Brought up in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales in the North of England, I am a country boy at heart, but have been living and working in Russia on and off since 2007. Whilst the big city has plenty to offer my daughter, who was born in Moscow in 2012, I am keen that she has exposure to the great outdoors and, with luck, develops and interest in nature (and maybe even fishing).