Now I imagine that by now the majority of the very few visitors who ever see this site have already opened a new tab and are well on their way to reading about the latest scientific discovery or sharing a new LOLcat, but if you have managed to keep reading this long, then I’m going to assume that you are at least curious and as such will now unleash a full-on fishing nerd, nostalgia-trip, salvo! You’ve been warned run run run whilst you can!!!’
So then… how better to start than with Izaac Walton? OK well yes there probably are quite a few better ways but this’ll have to do. Walton is regarded by many, as the godfather of modern fishing, he was amongst the first to transcribe his angling techniques for pursuing different species in his much celebrated book “The Compleat Angler”, which was first written back in 1653 but he kept on adding to it for the next 50 years of his life.*
Many of his techniques are still applicable today, well OK not all of them in Thailand (more on that later) but its still relevant if you happen to be pursuing grayling or barbel at dawn on a winding misty English river.. ahh sigh… which with quite a bit of sadness I have never really got to do.
But Im not looking for sympathy, you see I had the good fortune to grow up by the sea in Plymouth, so it was inevitable that my first taste of fishing (at about 12 years old) would be at the seaside and more specifically on Plymouth Hoe (thats not a funky street jive name for something else, its a place, no really I kid you not!).
My next door neighbour’s daughter’s boyfriend was obviously out to make a keen impression on her and was exceptionally good to me, and in all seriousness I truly appreciate what he did. He was also a keen angler and whilst i never got to go he noticed my interest in his fishing trips. One summer day, out of the blue he gave me an old 6ft red spinning rod, reel, and a whats more a tackle box of floats weights hooks and trace etc. From that moment on I spent every possible spare moment fishing for mackerel, gar, pollock and wrasse off the rocks and at my then favourite place , West Hoe Pier. (when I wasn’t untangling line and hooking myself that is)
From those great days of sitting on rocks in the rain, my ambitions of catching the big one grew and that meant that I had to look further afield from that little pier, and so I upped the ante and began to fish out at sea in Plymouth Sound. It was such a small boat that if it rolled in the waves and you looked straight down towards your feet you could see the bow of the boat! My how I was seasick the first few times! But I got past that and my sealegs did my proud. Never really did catch any monsters though! 😦
I also never really stopped fishing my favourite spots, but as travel opened up to me I did come to appreciate fishing in all it forms, and whilst I have never yet made barbel or even a chubb my quarry, I did spend time on English lakes after the elusive carp and hard fighting tench. Coarse fishing to me was a wonderful change, and was so much more about the experience of being surrounded by nature, I enjoyed the solitude.
Izaak Walton once remarked on why he kept adding to his book “Angling may be said to be so like the mathematics that it can never be fully learned.” and how right he was, because nothing in all of my experiences had prepared me for fishing in Thailand, it is a truly a world away.
But I think I’ll save my impressions on fishing in Thailand, as well as my favourite spots, tips and tricks for my next post. For now I’ll leave you with a few choice quotes from Mr Walton
As no man is born an artist, so no man is born an angler.
Doubt not but angling will prove to be so pleasant that it will prove to be, like virtue, a reward to itself
Rivers and the inhabitants of the watery element are made for wise men to contemplate, and for fools to pass by without consideration
You will find angling to be like the virtue of humility, which has a calmness of spirit and a world of other blessings attending upon it.
No man can lose what he never had.
(*thank you wikipedia)