Far Bank

Lost art of the fish­ing di­ary

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME -

FOR all the ad­van­tages mod­ern tech­nol­ogy gives an­glers, I can’t help feel­ing a lit­tle sad that we so sel­dom put pen to non-vir­tual pa­per these days.

Sure, we have blogs and end­less Face­book up­dates, but what of those more per­sonal, in­ti­mate mem­oirs we once kept?

A di­ary is some­thing quite unique. It is not writ­ten to flog tackle, col­lect ‘likes’ or even ap­peal to an au­di­ence. It’s your own per­sonal, blow-by blow ac­count of fish­ing. Mem­o­ries of good and bad days, along with lessons learned and, if you’re a bit geeky, metic­u­lously-gath­ered statis­tics and find­ings.

Look­ing back over the years, so many great fish­ing writ­ers nur­tured their craft through di­aries. Dog-eared books that ram­bled about baits, the weather and all the other things an­glers pon­der. But if that sounds rather whim­si­cal, it’s also worth not­ing that to this day spe­cial­ist an­glers love to record their fish­ing.

In­deed, from the likes of Phil Smith to Dr Mark Ever­ard, those who metic­u­lously log their ses­sions tend to be an­noy­ingly con­sis­tent.

My own di­aries sit hid­den on a shelf, to be taken down and re­vis­ited ev­ery so of­ten. Their con­tent ranges from amateur sci­ence to bad po­etry.

Mem­o­ries come flood­ing back and they make me smile and cringe in equal mea­sure.

I used to up­date these log­books re­li­giously and ev­ery trip would end with an­other ac­count. I would cut out ar­ti­cles, maps and draw­ings and stick them along­side my scrib­blings, along with notes on the con­di­tions and even the ex­act times bites oc­curred.

I sup­pose it all changed with the ad­vent of the blog, which took over as my per­sonal fish­ing record. A shame in one sense be­cause, much as I like blogs, they are sel­dom quite so hon­est or con­fes­sional as a di­ary. The mo­ment there is an au­di­ence present, there is al­ways some de­gree of cen­sor­ship. Whether it’s sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion, or opin­ions and ex­pe­ri­ences you’d rather keep to your­self, some of the most can­did bits get fil­tered out.

Has the true an­gling di­ary died out then? Not en­tirely. Chris Yates is prob­a­bly our great­est liv­ing an­gling di­arist, with some of his more colour­ful per­sonal records pass­ing into the sport’s lit­er­a­ture. As for the clos­est we have to a reg­u­lar ‘warts-and-all’ jour­nal piece with all the juicy bits and less fash­ion­able truths and opin­ions left in the mix, look no fur­ther than our own Des Tay­lor.

As for the fu­ture, who can say? I’d cer­tainly rec­om­mend any would-be an­gling scribe to start by keep­ing a di­ary. In fact, it was a sim­ple jour­nal that got me writ­ing reg­u­larly about fish­ing in the first place. But a di­ary is so much more than that too. It’s a plea­sure in its own right, bring­ing back happy mem­o­ries and im­por­tant lessons.

What a shame, there­fore, that the fish­ing di­ary has be­come a bit of an en­dan­gered species.

Fish­ing di­aries are a great way to store mem­o­ries and record vi­tal clues.

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