He is also a very keen angler, having come back to the sport in 1995 following a break of several years. In this regular column he will tell us about his progress as an angler – his thoughts about the sport, what he learns, the fishing trips he makes, the anguish, the humour, in fact everything he experiences as his angling career develops.
Pilgrim’s Progress – read it everyThursday!
Getting plastered. Have I finally hit the bottle? Have I given into the constant mocking, taunting and derision by fellow anglersregarding my fishing skills? Even Colin McHardy is at it (having apop at me, that is) in the July edition of Coarse Fisherman.(Mind, I give as good as I get so check out Coarse Fisherman for afull s.p.) Well, this week’s article is actually about gettingplastered. You know, that white stuff you mix with water and scrapeover walls and ceilings. Sorry to disappoint you if you were lookingfor me to dish the dirt on myself.
We have recently, at SICM, had a room conversion, which we did upto the stage of it needing to be plastered. My travels as anitinerant preacher take me to a number of different churches, and inone of them, a Stourbridge fellowship, about two years ago, I wasapproached by a plasterer, who offered his services, if ever I neededthem. So, with a memory that never forgets when someone offers to dosomething for me a call was made to Ken Whiteman, and a date was setfor him to come and view what we needed doing.
No longer a brother of the angle
Well, my ‘fame’ as an angler has certainly gone before me, and Kenwas well aware that I am an extremely enthusiastic fisherman. What Ididn’t realise though, is that Ken too, was an angler. In fact, Iliked his story so much that I thought it would make good reading.Ken is typical of so many anglers. He used to fish when he wasyounger, but for various reasons, was no longer a Brother of theAngle. Last year, however, he was working on a property that backedon to the local canal. It was a beautiful day, and as he lookedacross the reed fringed water, something stirred in his heart. ‘That’sit,’ he said to his son Gary, ‘I’m going fishing again.’ And that’swhat he did. Digging out his old tackle (it had been 20 years sincehis last trip) he set off for a local pool.
Pellets? What are they?
He told me he had the shock of his life. As far as the moderntechnologically-affected world of angling is concerned, poor old Kenwas in a time warp. I think it was the fact he was the only anglerpresent with a creel that made him think he was living in the past,certainly as far as tackle is concerned. He told me the story of afellow angler asking ‘do you fish with pellets?’
‘I don’t know what they are.’ Ken replied.
Leading the flock astray
Anyway, it takes more than a 20 year tackle gap to keep a good mandown and soon he began to build up knowledge and modern tackle. Ofcourse, when Ken, aided and abetted by his son Gary, came to the SICMMissions Centre to do the plastering, our conversation was fishing,angling and subjects of a piscatorial nature. I hope Ken’s Minister,Tony Stone, isn’t reading this, he’ll think I’ve been leading hisflock astray. Anyway, I was impressed with Ken’s renewed enthusiasmfor fishing. I guess you could say he is a born again, born againangler.
Certainly as a way of saying thank you, and also to encourage anew angler, I offered to take Ken fishing. I think in some ways it’sharder for someone coming back after 20 years than it is for someonestarting out for the first time. So, we checked our diaries and cameup with the second Saturday in June. Remember Ken has a proper job,not like me, so his fishing has to be done weekends. It’s a hardlife, you know, working one day a week.
We headed for the Island Pool
The day came round and Saturday afternoon saw us heading for theIsland Pool, which is where I am currently conducting my carpcampaign. I had in mind a peg that we could fish. Unfortunately, onarriving, the pool was the busiest I have ever seen it, with anglersin all the prime pegs. Mind, we did manage to get into a double swimthat offered the chance of some fish.
We didn’t manage to catch any monsters, in fact there was nothingthat even warranted getting the landing net wet. But, as we so oftensay, fishing is more than just catching fish, it’s about being out inthe fresh air and enjoying the complete package. A few small perchand roach graced the bank, and I went for tench, which unfortunatelydidn’t put in an appearance. But as you will see from theaccompanying photos to this article, Ken was happy with what hecaught. And isn’t that what fishing is all about really?
Don’t forget the older beginners
We often talk about encouraging young anglers, and of course, itis right that we should do so. But let’s not forget those who take upangling in later life. It can be equally confusing for them, andprobably doubly so. Because they’re older we may assume they havebeen fishing all their lives. It’s also probably easier to offer helpto a younger person than someone who is older in years, as we oftendon’t want to appear patronising or condescending in any way.
Then of course there is the category of angler that Ken Whitemanfalls into, those who are returning to fishing after a long break.This is probably the most difficult bracket to be in. Whilst theprevious two categories mentioned are both beginners, the returneehas a certain bank of information, but due to the vast technologicalinfluence on fishing in recent years, most likely feels bewilderedthe moment they step into a modern fishing tackle shop.
Take ‘your’ Ken fishing
Maybe there is a ‘Ken’ that you know. Why not take a bit of timeout and encourage him (or her). We need to do all we can as anglersto stem the tide of diminishing participants in our sport. If we all’win one’ then the number of anglers would double. OK, we may notalways get our favourite swim, but at least it will safeguard thefuture of our sport. And surely that can’t be a bad thing?
Next Thursday in ‘The Glorious16th’, I’ll be letting you know how the first week of my rivercampaign has gone. Where have I been fishing? What have I beenfishing for? Have I been catching?….For the answers, check outPilgrim’s Progress next week.The Reverend Stewart R Bloor
Sedgley International Christian Ministries
PO Box 1216, Dudley. DY3 1GW.
Telephone : 01384 – 828033
Web site : www.sicm.org
e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org