Article - Coarse

The journey there...a few  rambled words

By John, added on 19/03/2007

No doubt for many of us, going fishing provides a well-needed interlude to the normality of everyday life. Those precious few hours with rod in hand (please no sniggering at the back) always seem so limited, choked by the "live to work" mentality that seems to have become the norm, particularly here in the UK. In fact a hard, city living friend of mine once described his angling sessions as ‘like coming up for air’. I’ve always liked that description, besides conjuring up images of rising fish, it seems to sum up the contrast between the modern world and an angling trip well. It was reading Mike’s diary piece about a trip back to Britain that reminded me of it. Throughout the piece you could really feel the stress levels building up for the poor chap before ultimately the tension being released upon looking out across his lake. Enjoyable stuff.

Of course there are those lucky enough to live along different lines to us work-a-holic Brits. Perhaps having managed to escape to countries were the ethos of living is different or been lucky enough to find a lifestyle giving more time to pursue interests rather than money. If you are one of these people then I salute you. I guess at the furthest end of this scale are those who livings are made by their interest. From the outside looking in this seems like the perfect, ideal set up yet I expect it’s not all plain sailing...the grass is always greener as they say.

Anyway that all sounds far too serious, which was not the intention at all and I should return to the point. In fact I set out to write a few light-hearted words on the journey that precedes any fishing trip….


The ‘journey there’ must be common to all avenues of angler around the globe. I don’t care if your Lord & Lady Tootington, egg in mouth, conjuring a double handed around on a private salmon stretch, or ‘Kev and Jase’ on your way to a carp lake for a weekend, all anglers feel the same sense of anticipation and excitement on the way there. Whatever mode of transport is taken, walk, drive, row, fly (I can’t help thinking of Steve Martin in Planes, Trains and Automobiles) the period before the first cast should be a calm and cherished interlude.

Sadly in my case this is rarely so…..

Casting myself back a few weeks, having already hit the alarm onto snooze far too many times than I should, I was once again at the wheel of my old car, lake bound and trying to make up precious time.

Now I don’t know why, but I seem to be cursed when it comes to driving to a venue, every man and beast seems to want to delay my arrival. Whether it’s mums too young to remember the good work of David Prowse (tracksuits, hooped earrings, brand new buggy’s), more suicidal animals (domestic or wild) or other vehicles (tractors, learner drivers, optimistic chaps carrying planks of wood horizontally across the handle bars of bikes) it doesn’t matter, I will encounter one or more of them every time. I should know by now that it’s a law of the sod, part of the deal and one of life’s great certainty’s (akin to nurses and taxes…though I’ve only experienced the latter).

I guess I should welcome this extended time given to me and use it to collect my thoughts before arriving waterside. A chance to reflect on past trips, to consider conditions, suitable swims, tactics and to mentally check what gear I have remembered to bring (though anything forgotten won’t be remembered till just after it’s too late to turn back… to the those that have fed and watered me on the bank thank you). But at the time you often just don’t think this way. Every second lost is a hour of frustration to the angler on limited time. Such delays are worse if, like me, you are a stupidly courteous driver, sticking to the speed limit and laws of the road. An angling friend of mine drives to the contrary, yelling in a mock southern drawl;

"If I’m fishing, I’m on a mission!"

at anyone who dares impede his arrival. I have much to learn from him both as an angler and driver.

Or maybe I should walk.

Perhaps the key, as Mike’s diary piece showed, is not letting the frustration build to a level that it can’t be instantly erased the moment you first catch a glimpse of light reflecting on water. If you can manage this, whatever the delay, then you’ve clearly won. You’ve beaten the jaywalkers, that crazy cat, the herdsman moving his bullocks, the plank carrying chap on his bike and even the mad man shouting something about ‘a mission’ as he speeds past you.

So? Ok I was delayed on the way there again, did it ultimately make a difference to the fishing?

No it didn’t and it rarely does. Because the journey there is timed by a different clock, one that doesn’t count forward once you’ve arrived. Your then set free by ‘fishing time’, tracked on another timepiece entirely. Suddenly it’s your time, non work time, however you want to classify it, time to relax and enjoy.

What have I learnt then?

Ultimately there’s always a needle point in time* on every fishing trip that when reached, the journey becomes instantly insignificant..

But will I remember this the next time I’m delayed on the way there?

Of course not…

* (It normally coincides with the first cast touching down, after ‘setting up’ of course, itself worthy of a story or two)

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