I CAN clearly remember the day I suggested to the editor my plan to accompany John Wilson on a shoot for the third series of his popular ‘Go Fishing’ television programme.
“Sure, go ahead, give it a try,” was said editor’s reply. “But you won’t get very far – they don’t allow anyone anywhere near them when they’re filming.”
Being a somewhat feisty 20-something, after the editor’s reticence I was doubly determined to make it happen, and three months later I found myself making my way over to Worcestershire with photographer Bob Atkins after weeks of painstaking negotiations with John and programme producer Peter Akehurst.
In truth, John owed Angling Times a favour. We were huge supporters of his programmes from day one, agreeing that they captured everything that was – and still is – good about angling.
It was to prove an enlightening day, if not without its frustrations. John, not in the best of humours owing to low water and bright conditions making the River Teme barbel almost impossible to catch, nevertheless made us feel welcome. Bob got his shots, I got my feature, and that day a friendship began which was to last more than 30 years.
Our relationship came to a sudden and shocking end two weeks ago. I can still hardly believe John has gone, but he has left a mark on angling that will never fade. Thanks John. Let’s hope there are no cormorants or otters on that big lake in the sky…
Nearly 30 years on from when we first met, I presented John with a farewell bottle before he left for Thailand in 2013.