Growing up in Cornwall developed a lifelong fascination with water,
fish and fishing. Initially it was the small stream that ran behind our cottage and the local farm pond. Later, it was the
trout in the nearby River Kennell and then my local reservoir, Stithians. When I look back my entire childhood was spent in
and around water. My mother, who had to deal with the wet, muddy clothes and soggy wellies would assert that more time was
spent 'in' than 'around'.
Fishing has always been a source of discovery and adventure for me. In the early sixties there
was little information available to an eager schoolboy and knowledge, skills and understanding were gained by trial and error.
There was no internet, no fishing forums and even the library was a van that visited every couple of weeks! I still recall
the surprise when I discovered a book in the library van that told me worm fishing for trout involved casting the worm upstream.
I had, by this time, become mightily proficient at the 'downstream worm' technique and despite my initial scepticism this
new pearl of wisdom was tried and found to have a lot to recommend it!
From the age of 16 I began fly fishing and spent many hours flogging the banks of Stithians
Reservoir, an exposed moorland water more akin to a Scottish loch with its granite boulder strewn banks. It was around this
time that I began to buy angling papers and magazines and I marvelled at the catches from the newly opened Midlands reservoirs
- 8 fish weighing 48lb from Grafham sticks in my mind. A stark contrast compared to my one, 1lb 4oz, fish for every mile of
A move from Cornwall to the Midlands and Art College in 1970 followed by a chance introduction
to a college lecturer who wanted to start fly fishing provided the opportunity to fish those places of which I'd previously
only read - Ravensthorpe, Pitsford, Draycote and later Rutland. (Oddly, I've still never wet a line on Grafham!)
In the late Seventies and early Eighties I 'discovered' North West Scotland, Sutherland and
in particular the Assynt area. It was, and remains, an angling experience that has shaped my angling interests
to this day - the pursuit of wild fish in their true environment.
The Nineties and the early years of this decade brought sea trout and salmon from West
Wales but now, almost in full circle, I have returned to the small streams that first held my fascination as a boy forty years
Small stream fly fishing for wild trout and grayling is not an easy pastime to follow, living
as I do in South Northamptonshire. However, with determination, an early start and ignoring the price of fuel, I can be fishing
the Border Streams in a couple of hours.
A life in fishing is a journey.
So much fishing, so little time .................. best go slowly.