There are probably a few reasons why I set up the Evocative Angling blog last year; I wanted to share my angling experiences on a broader scale and a blog shared through the internet is a great platform to achieve that. I think when I started writing about my catches years ago I enjoyed the fact that people who couldn't get out and fish themselves could read my blog and really feel captivated, like they were part of the trip too. People would tell me they would pour a cup of tea or coffee for their morning break at work and the narrative of the blog would take them away from their workplace and into another world of fishing and adventure. I soon realized not only did this give other anglers a lot of pleasure, but also how much us sea fishermen have in common. It seemed very much like deep down we are this prehistoric being with the necessity to hunt, survive outdoors and be at one with nature.
We have to ask ourselves some very basic questions: Why do we crave a fire outdoors and feel so contented staring into the flames while listening to the inferno crackle? Why do we feel such contentment and enter an almost trance like state while sheltering in a cave watching the rain hammering down? Why do we feel so wonderful and optimistic about life as we watch the sun rise as it warms our faces and the sky changes colour? Why do we derive such joy from being out in nature, seeing all life's creatures around us? Why do we gaze so intently at the stars like our ancestors did so full of wonder? My conclusion is that man hasn't changed much in 10 million years, there is still a primal necessity to do what we did at the beginning of our time on this earth. It's ingrained in us and to tell the truth I don't understand people who don't like fishing, it's like they are living life in black and white or without imagination, those poor souls.
My first memory of fishing was being on Boscombe Beach in Dorset watching my dad fishing for bass in some horrendous December weather. I marveled at this 18" biceped man with no neck, a track suit and some Nike Cortez trainers as he put ragworm on a hook, cast out and caught these mercurial silver fish. It was so atmospheric, the spray from the sea, the ferocious wind and rain that I couldn't help but daydream. A lot of 4 or 5 year olds would have been crying to go home at this point, to me it was the best thing in the world and I really couldn't fathom why mum didn't want to come with us. He'd share his mints with me and share a joke. All fathers and sons should share the magic that is fishing together.
Next I was out in Gibraltar on a cricket tour with him and he was catching bream using clam as bait off a rocky mark on the Mediterranean. My next memory was fishing off a pier in Madeira and catching tropical fish with him opposite the Canberra that was in dock.
We then began an annual pilgrimage to Herm Island in the Channel Islands for a week or ten days each year. There we camped and I watched him catch plaice, conger eels, wrasse, pollock, bass, bream, mackerel and garfish. My brother and I even had a few fish there too as little boys, dad was always retackling us up as we'd always snag in the rocks and ignore his advice.
One of the most enjoyable things was probably bait digging, we had a real sense of purpose grabbing the worms for dad as he toiled in the morning sun and he always made us feel we were integral to getting the worms. I remember him getting trapped on the tidal island of Putrinez with his friend Mike Battison for 6 hours, they was hell to pay with my mother when he got back to the campsite. He made his token apology pretending it was an act of nature that had meant they had fished all day, he winked at me when my mother wasn't looking and told me about all the fish he'd caught.
I then had this break from fishing which lasted from my mid teens until I was 27. I have no idea why I didn't fish, but I guess girls and other sports had something to do with it. I had this craving to go and fish my local beach one day, I had never fished it before and didn't know anybody else who fished locally, but I gave it a go. I had 7 fish on my first night and was addicted. My next session I went to target bass and had two bites touch ledgering and 2 sizeable bass, was there anything better? I began reading everything I could about angling and watching everyone who was regarded as a decent angler and trying to learn.
Whoever said it takes a lifetime to be a good fisherman was probably right, it's one of these most complicated sports, but regarded by the masses as a simple eccentric hobby. I gradually began to learn and improve. Years later I am still studying it and being educated by experience.
Taking photos seemed to come naturally to me, it made so much sense to take a camera fishing and capturing all of the light I was seeing at dusk and dawn. Through the night can sometimes be the most beautiful time, everything is so subtle and captures the imagination. Fishing is so good for the mind, I find I am so alive with thoughts and you notice things you probably wouldn't in the usual walks of life.
The obsession that is fishing took that hold on me and has never let go since. I began to look at my family history and this reaffirmed by belief that fishing was a very natural occupation. My great grandfather form Orkney had been a fisherman, it was how he made a living along with crofting, it fed the family and gave them long lives. He'd come back in his small boat rowing through the Scapa Flow when my father was a boy, the craft would be full to the gunnels with herring and other species, he'd often talk about killer whales and sharks being attracted to his catches while he fished the open sea. I looked into the family more and it appeared every generation of the Kennedy's had fished right back to 1490 where I found a crown charter decreeing the salmon rights to a son (John Kennedy, Constable of Aberdeenshire) from a deceased father(William Kennedy, Constable of Aberdeenshire) on his deathbed to a river in Aberdeenshire. It made me think, did I ever have a choice in fishing? Or is it just in my blood and DNA?
I hope you enjoy the blog guys.
Facebook: Evocative Angling