My name is Sam Hubbard, I’m 22 years old and a self-confessed angling addict!
Based in North Yorkshire, I’ve recently joined the Angling Trust in the role of Angler Engagement Officer following graduation from university and would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself, my motivations and add a little about my own angling.
Coming from a completely non-angling background, my earliest memories of water & fish are from family day trips to the River Wharfe on Bolton Abbey Estate aged around 5 years old. Many happy hours were spent on warm days curiously wandering the margins with toy nets scooping out minnows, bullheads and crayfish for closer inspection. Furthermore, peering down from bridges over a local canal and seeing the shimmers of silverfish shoals basking beneath the surface film greater sparked my curiosity as to what more existed hidden within this other world of life. The curiosity and subsequent draw to water continually grew and aged 7, after reading through various fishing books borrowed from the library, a visit to a nearby tackle shop was finally made.
With guidance from the shop owner a cheap 6ft fibreglass Shakespeare rod & reel was acquired along with some basic terminal tackle and maggots. The local canal was the destination, heading specifically for a bridge where I had seen the most fish life previously. That session resulted in many errors, tangles and canal boat issues but eventually a maggot was suspended in the water for long enough for the float to dip successfully connecting with a stripey perch which even to this day made the biggest impression out of all the fish I have caught.
A few more perch followed that same afternoon leaving a feeling of primeval deep satisfaction that I have been trying to emulate ever since!
Fast forward some years and my angling developed rapidly on a steep learning curve acquiring more tackle and exploring local venues within cycling distance and occasionally further afield when the offer of a lift was available. Methodically, I was ticking off new species as I caught them but not especially targeting individual specimens or accurately documenting personal bests at this point.
In my early teenage years, the biggest transition occurred when I made the jump from fishing predominantly still waters to tackling bigger rivers in pursuit of chub, barbel and other flowing water species which I had not previously encountered. Subsequently, I developed a much more targeted and analytical approach to my angling by learning to properly read a river, having better understanding of the effects of seasonal change, weather, time of day and flow conditions upon individual fish species and strategically utilising this knowledge to catch larger specimens by design!
Nowadays, I would describe myself as an all-round angler who fishes by design for different species from all venue types letting seasonal conditions largely dictate my focus with subsequent goals of enjoying as wide a variety of sport as possible plus learning new angling techniques as opposed to solely having a desire for just increasing my personal bests.
The magic of angling is so unique with how it manifests its grip and from my near 14 years in the sport I can say first-hand that the deep foundation of this grip remains consistent regardless of changes in life circumstances. While there have been many times when I have not been consistently able to go fishing, the instinctive draw to water never leaves; constantly occupying the mind eventually becoming impossible to ignore!
There truly is something in angling for everyone regardless of situation. Critically, you can change the dynamic at any point to suit yourself and keep things constantly fresh due to the endless varieties of techniques, venues, species and other variables; something no other sport allows in quite the same way!
The positive work of the Angling Trust has long been a source of interest & inspiration to me having been a member of the organisation long before securing a job with them. It means a lot for me firstly to have the opportunity of working with the Angling Trust as I am driven to extending the opportunity of accessing this incredible sport to as many people as possible. Hopefully, I can help them to at least appreciate if not genuinely derive similar benefits to those I have personally gained from my own angling journey.
I’m also looking forward to playing a role in representing the sport at a national level and working to demonstrate the high levels of integrity and passion within the angling community as a whole! As a relatively young person in the sport, a critical objective of mine is to increase youth engagement with angling because having been through years of school and university, disappointingly the number of similar age anglers encountered I could count on just one hand. This is a situation that reflects widely around the country and desperately needs to change.
My interest in water and the general physical environment largely directed my academic pursuits throughout school and university leading to me completing a Batchelors of Science degree in Physical Geography. I conducted my final-year dissertation project around fisheries and water quality and would now like to explore my passion in a professional setting. The Angling Trust will allow me to do just that with immense opportunity to meet and network with many likeminded individuals who all share similar values with the sport’s best interests at heart.
I also greatly look forward to developing my knowledge regarding contemporary fisheries situations for the distinct geographical regions of England whilst engaging with local communities & stakeholders through our face to face regional fisheries forums.
Furthermore, I welcome the opportunity for active digital communication with angling communities through contributing to the Angling Trust’s social media platforms, delivering important updates, messages and ultimately working to maintaining a sense of critical unity between different branches of the sport.
It’s an honour to be involved and if you happen to see me at a future Fisheries Forum or trade show please do come and say hello!