Thanks John...

Angling Times (UK) - - THIS WEEK - Kevin Wil­mot

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.

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