My fishing as a child was dominated by summer trips to Watermouth Cove. Using small strips of mackerel to tempt garfish and pollack by float fishing in the gully.
This was the start of my fishing journey which has taken me down a path of lure fishing.
That path is what this post will be about.
My Fishing History
My Dad has always been into fishing along with many other sports so I was always going to be involved in some way.
As I said, most of my fishing as a child was spent with a float at Watermouth. We did the usual flattie fishing through the autumn and winter months as well but it was the summer I enjoyed the most.
Into my early teenage years I decided I wanted to go fishing with my Dad more. I stopped playing football to make time at the weekends.
I remember Dad taking me into Kingfisher tackle shop that was in Barnstaple, to get my first beachcaster and reel.
Lure fishing still wasn’t part of the plan and I wasn’t really aware of it back then. However Bass fishing did start to come into it. We started to fish the beach at night where we would pick up mainly bass and ray. Nothing big but that didn’t bother me.
We would also target whiting in the winter although usually end up with dogfish.
Without a doubt it was the beach fishing at night which I really enjoyed. Looking back that probably does have something to do with enjoying catching bass over other species.
Finding Time To Fish
Continuing to get older I began to fish with a friend. We would fish Clovelly regularly due to that being where he lived. Eventually we focused more on stillwater fishing and moved onto carp.
I enjoyed carp fishing and we did ok at it but I never felt that it was my calling.
I found carp fishing very expensive. Coming from a sea fishing background we rarely bought bait. We collected it where we could.
When I was float fishing Dad was catching mackerel to be used for bait. We walked (what felt like miles) to collect lugworm. We got stuck in the mug digging ragworm.
Going from that to spending a fortune on bait where you mostly just chuck it in the lake felt strange to me.
Smithy is still well into his carp fishing now but I started to look for alternatives.
Now, we’ve established I’m a cheapskate but time was also an issue. I was starting to run more now and didn’t want to be spending my time collecting bait.
Time spent collecting bait meant less time fishing or doing other things.
I could easily have stopped fishing altogether and for a period I didn’t do a lot of it. As I said, I was running more and I was getting pretty good at it.
However, I could use fishing as an escape. If I could find the time.
Finding Confidence In Something New
I’m not sure what originally got me onto the idea of lure fishing but I knew bass could be caught locally and once I learnt they could be caught on lures I was keen to give it a go. This would save me time and money if it worked.
Initially I used a bass rod, bubble float and small Red Gill lure after taking advice off the internet.
It took a while before I caught anything but when I eventually did I was hooked. Small as this bass was, I knew now that lures definitely worked.
Time To Up My Game.
During a summer where running became difficult due to injury, fishing stepped in. I added a dedicated lure rod and reel and although I continued with the Red Gill’s for a while, I did start to add more lures to my arsenal.
From there I began to catch more bass. They also started to increase in size.
A 7lb bass falling to a Savage Gear Sandeel dwarfed my bait fishing pb that was around 3lbs.
There was the occasional bait fishing session but lure fishing had now become my go to for the summer.
However at this point running was king, I was desperate for an England vest and to run a sub 30 minute 10k. Finding time to fish was difficult. I got out where I could but my priority was running.
I upgraded my rod and continued to add lures to my collection. Although I did seem to get into a bit of a bad habit of losing good fish.
Jumping Through Covid
During Covid and the release from the first lockdown felt like another jump for me. A 9lbish bass one morning followed by a 6lb fish a few days later gave me real confidence. The fact that it was the same technique at the same state of tide in the same area really opened my eyes.
It’s been since then that my passion for fishing has started to overcome my passion for running. I still love running but I guess I’m not willing to commit in the same way as before.
I don’t want to be travelling away to race at weekends anymore. Especially with 2 children at home. However a couple hours fishing doesn’t take the same time out of my day.
The Next Generation
Teddy is almost 5 and has taken an interest in fishing which I really like and want to encourage. I probably won’t drag him around lure fishing for the time being, it’s a lot of walking for a young child.
A tin of sweetcorn, 1/2 a pint of maggots, some ground bait and hot chocolate is all we need to go fishing. He has a 3m whip with a float on the other end. This enables us to catch roach, skimmers and small perch all day long. Hopefully making similar memories that I did when I was young and paving his own path.