Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

Crazy little thing called fishing

Just how much does this thing we call fishing consume you and your life ? It's such a basic, primeval thing as a human being to on a hunt to gather food for your family, yet for so many of us this simple, essential act has become an obsession that essentially consumes our lives to the point where sometimes it's as if we can't breathe for the lack of room left inside our heads for anything else. How badly has fishing got you ?

OK, so most of us are not actually going fishing because we want to hunt for food and gather it for our families, indeed I don't even eat fish and I return practically everything I catch, but we are still just animals and we are still subject to basic human needs, wants and emotions. So some of us go fishing, and most of us here go fishing because we love it. Some of us might like it occasionally, some of us might want to go fishing more than we actually do or are able to, and some of us might feel fishing starting to spread its tentacles through our body and wonder what on earth we can do about it.

And some of us have already got this fishing thing so seriously that we worked out a long time ago that any kind of resistance is quite simply futile. I got it so badly so long ago that I simply had to find some way of working in fishing because I simply could not imagine doing anything else than spending all my time around fishing and/or the fishing world. Hell, scrap the word "imagine" and replace it with "I don't actually think I can do anything else". Anybody who knows me would attest to the fact that I was never going to be a lawyer or a carpenter - my DIY skills for one might best be described as "lacking", and me in a suit ain't great either.

I understand perfectly that many anglers just want to go fishing from time to time and have a bit of fun and then go home and not think about fishing much more until they go again. But I also understand better than most how some of us think of little else but fishing. I love my wife for example, but even I would have to admit sometimes to be "listening" to something she is saying to me yet actually be thinking about something fishing related instead. The skill you learn over time is to nod or murmur approval at just the right times to convince your loved one that you were in fact hanging on every word coming out of her beautiful mouth. Bad ? Nope. Honest..........

I understand completely how the whole fishing thing can feel like it's almost crushing you like a vice the hold is so strong. It starts to go way beyond simply going fishing and becomes instead all-consuming in its intensity. You find yourself on a quest to learn as much about it as you can but then you realise all too quickly that in fact you're never going to be able to learn all there is about a sport that is cannot be perfected anyway - and this either drives you mad or otherwise it only spurs you on more and more to see if you can beat nature anyway. Does your head spin a lot of the time with the stuff going on in there ? Welcome to the club. I used to get pretty wicked room-spins when I was younger due to head injuries I got playing rugby, but these days my head-spins are down to fishing and nothing else (ok, some pretty fine black metal always helps). And if you think that as you get older that fishing's grip might naturally weaken then think again..........

But perhaps things do change over time. I don't fish as much as I used to for a number of reasons, but of course I do spend my working life in and around fishing as a whole. I do know myself pretty well I think and I know my strengths and many flaws/weaknesses, and I know that these days I don't feel quite the same almost crushing need to go fishing practically all the time. Firstly I can't, but secondly I just think that my obsession with fishing has changed and evolved over the years. I used to literally have to go fishing almost as much as my body could take otherwise I would feel ill with longing, whereas these days I think I get my actual "going fishing" fix from less time spent actually doing it if that makes sense. I do of course recognise that a huge part of my life is spent working within fishing in various ways, so perhaps this huge amount of time in some way helps feed what is for many of us a physical need almost that we have to get out fishing.

But not for one second do I then obsess about fishing less than I used to, indeed if it's possible my thing for fishing just gets more and more consuming. I love meeting anglers all around the world and I love working out where they might be if you like on the fishing life cycle. It fascinates me to meet anglers who have that same urge or need if you like to spend as much time fishing as is possible, almost to the point of sod the consequences. I know exactly what it is like if that is any help. I remember being very conscious that I was missing six months of lectures at university because I was either going fishing, collecting bait or talking about fishing with mates. I knew full well that I was doing the wrong thing by not being a good student, but I was also aware that I could almost not help just having to go fishing as much as I physically could. I had to go. I could not do anything else but go fishing. Talk about getting very good at sleep deprivation.

Anyway, you all have a good Easter. Why don't you sit down at some point over the next few days and think about how much (or perhaps little) this whole fishing thing might have you in its grip. I do this fairly frequently and at times it can shock me how much of my (limited ?) brain power is assigned to thinking about fishing. Well I reckon it's something to be proud of because I can't think of a better thing to spend so much time doing. Cabin fever with over six weeks of east winds ? What do you think ? I've caught myself starting to obsess recently about something as vacuous as a lure clip. Come on spring, you know you want to..............

Henry Gilbey5 Comments