Anglers, Non-Anglers and Brain Surgeons

I bet you’ve heard a friend describe fishing as “boring” or found it hard to explain to a work colleague why you love fishing so much, our National Regions Manager discusses the difficulty of explaining to non-anglers, just what it is that is so special about fishing.

The American nature writer and angler, Paul Scullery, once wrote “Calling fishing a hobby is like calling brain surgery a job” and that kind of sums it up for me. Non-anglers don’t understand. I have lost count of the number of times I have tried to explain to a non-angler why I love fishing so much, but it’s not somethings that is easily explained. Fishing is full of simplicity and full of complexity. It’s savage and gentle. It is the most individual of sports, yet it has been instrumental in gaining me my greatest friends. I even find it hard to understand anglers who have time for only one branch of our sport, when for me the diversity is part of the appeal. Lures for perch on the canal, a stick float trotted for roach on the river, a fly caught trout from a hill loch, the power of a conger from the depths.

This is the very bridge I walked across every day as a schoolboy.
You can tell a real angler a mile off if you stand near a bridge over a river. Most people just keep walking, some stop and see ducks, and trees and water. Anglers see fish. Sometimes invisible, imagined, hoped for fish, but fish none the less. Their eyes dance over the glides and the back eddy, their hand comes up and shades their eyes as they strain to see through the water. Like a child looking in a toy shop window they plan and dream. As a boy I had to cross a bridge over a river every day on my way to school and then again on my way back home. If I had concentrated as hard at school as I did as I stood looking over that bridge, then maybe I wouldn’t have a job at the Angling Trust now, maybe I’d be a brain surgeon !
John Cheyne,  

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