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14 Apr 2016
by Ian Chillcott
'Just get on with your own fishing and enjoy the journey'
Whilst some get fishing, a lot don't, and others are always quick to judge someone else's angling. Our hard-headed columnist Ian Chillcott says we should just get on with our own fishing

I am constantly amazed at what other people think of what I get up to, but more to the point, how disparaging they can be if it doesn’t fit into the picture they have of what I should be doing. Look, I know that sounds a little confusing and maybe my lack of schooling has contributed to that problem, indeed, that schooling issue is most definitely a direct result of my love of fishing… in all its various forms. I’m not just speaking about the fishing part of my existence here, because this can occur in any walk of life. Let’s take a look at the non-fishing fraternity first.

In my experience, the people we hang around with, be that loved ones or friends and acquaintances, either get the fishing thing or they don’t. There never seems to be any middle ground, and they either think you are a complete dick or you are simply doing the things you want, but they never want to get into conversation about it for fear of losing the will to live. The latter is just fine and dandy, but the first example never ceases to puzzle and astound me.

I have a mate (no, honestly, I do) who thinks that fishing is the most boring waste of time that has ever been invented. The fact, as I have tried to explain countless times, that we spend our free time in the countryside, appreciating nature and chilling is completely lost on him. He is in his mid-forties and says that life is too short to waste on such a stupid pastime. Sure he is entitled to his opinion, but then I remember what he does during in his downtime… he plays bloody bowls! And whilst I cannot for the life of me see what is so interesting about rolling a ball up and down a well manicured lawn, he seems happy and that, at the end of the day, is all that really matters.

However, wives seem to be a completely different proposition. I am a very fortunate man, in as much as my wife understands my fishing, is pleased with the joy it brings me and, if I was being completely honest here, rather likes having her own company for a couple of days or so without things being broken and messed up around a house that I was never designed to live in, in the first place!

Over the years I have seen men’s desire to go fishing practically beaten from them by wives that don’t want to have a fish as competition for their man’s attention. He is allowed to go out on a Friday night and get completely wasted, as long as he comes home of course. That seems to be fair game, but when he wants to go to the lake, set a couple of traps and chill for a while she loses all rational thought and turns into a multi-headed hydra! It almost seems as if they wish it was another women taking his attention away from her, because then it would seem she would have something to compete against. But how in hell’s name can she possibly make herself as attractive as a carp on your unhooking mat? Scaly lingerie and a roll around the Tesco wet fish slab may be a start, but I can’t help thinking that is not going to do any good either!

People just don’t understand that fishing is so much more than catching fish

I come from a family that don’t really understand fishing, and just as importantly, never really understood my desire to go running. As a kid I loved both and carried out each with just as much gusto. My father often asked me what the hell I got out of getting up at silly o’clock to either set out on a five mile run or a ten mile cycle ride to fish. Many times I tried to explain and many times I failed to get the response I wanted. He just didn’t get it, and in all honesty, still doesn’t. In those days running meant that I won all the races at school and it didn’t take long to find out that chicks really bought into that sort of thing… bless ‘em! And the fishing side of things funded my courting activities because I was able to sell the trout to my neighbours for a very healthy profit. I guess at the end of the day it was simply about the fun I was having, and nothing has really changed to this day.

However, there are still people around in the angling fraternity that don’t seem to get the fact that we all walk our own individual path, and their reaction to the things we do should have no bearing on what we want to get out of life. For me, it’s fun, but just the other day I was wondering if that word actually has any meaning any more. I believe that because I have been writing now for almost twenty years, that others think that all I want to do is fish for big fish. For the record, I could think of nothing more brain destroying than that, and as with everything in life, there are simply hundreds of fishing avenues to explore.

I lost a very good ticket the other week simply because all the carp I wanted to catch are now dead, and as sad as that is, I needed to move on. The only other ticket I have is for a water in the Cotswolds so it was there that I was headed for the foreseeable future. Thankfully the management shut the water down once spawning started, so I decided to head off and fish a water for which I have had an invite for a number of years. And a mighty good time I had there too, with several fish being landed. They are old and that’s what is so exciting about the place, and although the biggest fish I caught was a mirror of 21lb, I could not have been happier with the outcome.

You really do have to feel sorry for the wives when they have to compete with carp like this

Unfortunately I had to re-enter the real world and the first carp angling person I spoke to was positively raging about the fact that I had lowered myself to fish for such little carp. Maybe raging is the wrong word, but he was totally perplexed about me fishing for “little carp”. Later on that day I was speaking to someone else and he was of much the same opinion. For all the world it seemed that it was an entire waste of my time.

Look, we all want something a little different from our lives, and I am no different. If I want to catch a big carp then I will find one I really want to catch; conversely if I want to catch some smaller or older fish then I will do just that. It doesn’t make anyone a better angler simply because he has caught a cartload of big carp, but it will make you a better person if you learn how to have fun and enjoy yourself along the way. Only my opinion of course.

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