MANY PAST GLORIES
I've had a four-year break from our sport as the carer of an elderly parent. At 65, I ponder how angling has changed during my lifetime. Where commercial fisheries now dominate, we see fish of a size, and in numbers, that we could only dream of in my youth. All caught using bait, tackle and tactics which had yet to be pioneered. Fishing within a 25-mile drive from home, I frequently held up to four club season permits or syndicate memberships at any one time. And I believe that my results stand proud in comparison with modern captures. I banked a creditable tally of carp to 31lb 12oz, pike to 15lb 8oz and tench to 8lb 2oz from gravel pits and estate lakes during the 1970s and 1980s, and carp to 24lb 6oz, pike to 19lb 8oz and tench to 5lb 5oz from the River Medway during the 1990s. As landscape and natural history photography took up more of my time during the 2000s, I returned to my angling roots. I banked 4lb chub and 5lb bream from the River Eden and perch to 2lb 6oz along with some beautiful rudd from a small, deep 19th century farm brick pit. I'll continue to follow my own path now that I'm fishing again and I've recently joined Penshurst AS. Their four stillwaters along with several miles of the upper River Medway and the River Eden are just a 15-mile drive from home. This is Ideal for short morning, afternoon or evening sessions which I can fit around managing land that was originally my great grandfather's smallholding.