GOLDEN MEM­O­RIES

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JAMES PORTER, VIA EMAIL

When we were in our early teens, my friend and I used to spend most of our week­ends fish­ing. We used the most ba­sic rigs, of­ten just a hook and a few split shot, maybe a float if we were feel­ing ad­ven­tur­ous. I re­mem­ber in­her­it­ing a glut of well-used tackle from my grandad and feel­ing so for­tu­nate to sud­denly have so many fish-catch­ing op­tions even if it made lit­tle dif­fer­ence to our haul. My friend and I are now in our midthir­ties and have ac­quired ca­reers, wives, chil­dren and inches around the waist. Af­ter nearly 20 years we have de­cided to go fish­ing to­gether again. I col­lected my rod from my dad's garage and sud­denly re­mem­bered some­thing of just how nim­ble I used to be, how easy it was to hop over a fence, walk for miles, crouch for hours. Of course, I was phys­i­cally fit­ter back then, but also less ob­structed in other ways – my think­ing was clearer. I vis­ited my lo­cal tackle shop to buy a float and re­alised that I was in the wrong place for clar­ity of thought. I was shocked with just how much equip­ment was on of­fer. Maybe this has al­ways been the case, but I did won­der how easy it might be to be­come too pre­oc­cu­pied with kit, par­tic­u­larly for a novice as I have re­mained. I wor­ried that I might spend more time in the tackle shop and less time at the river's edge rem­i­nisc­ing with my friend – not catch­ing fish. Strangely, the most plea­sur­able mem­o­ries I have of fish­ing are those of the sheer hope and mis­placed an­tic­i­pa­tion of a bite, a state of mind you need vir­tu­ally no tackle for. Sadly, my grandad died last year and not only did I lose him, but more grad­u­ally through the years it seems that I lost most of the tackle he gave me. I know my grandad would not have minded be­cause what has never been mis­placed is the mem­ory of one mag­i­cal oc­ca­sion when he and I went fish­ing – and caught noth­ing. But still, not for all the tackle in the world would I trade it.

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