My formative angling years were initially spent being taken sea fishing on the River Mersey by two of my elder brothers. I got some coarse fishing tackle for my 11th birthday and began fishing a small local pond, 30 metres square and right in the middle of a golf course. Although one or two people showed me the ropes initially, I was mainly self-taught and it showed. The autumn and winter period of 1979 was a fishless time for me, though in all fairness it probably wasn’t the best time to be fishing on a tiny pond!
However, I persevered, and that tiny pond gave me my first fish in spring 1980, a 5 oz perch. This was to be my home venue for the next 10 years or so. The spring and summer of 1984 were memorable, Everton won the cup in May, and I left school in June and had the whole summer off with not a care in the world. I also started to get taken to more distant waters by a family friend, Les Woods, an excellent angler who taught me the most important angling lesson of all, that of confidence, and from then on my fishing just seemed to get better and better. The early morning sport I enjoyed fishing for small crucians using bread flake and the lift method that year was fabulous.
My 21st birthday gave me enough money to buy a car and I then started to travel further afield to either Cheshire or Shropshire to fish various rivers, canals and still waters. These trips involved a minimum 60 mile round trip and were carried out weekly for the best part of 20 years. Upon the birth of my first child I rediscovered sea fishing, simply for the convenience of the quick hit, especially those after dark mid week sessions in winter. The River Mersey at night has an addictive inky black atmosphere that has to be experienced to be appreciated. However coarse angling was still my main passion and I still made those distant weekend trips.
In 2004 a second child made those coarse trips more difficult, so plans were made, and in April 2007 we relocated as a family from Merseyside to Nantwich.
I now consider myself incredibly privileged fishing wise and have access to secluded picturesque lakes, almost exclusive meres and deserted stretches of river, and yet, hand on heart, I can say that nothing compares with the simple fun of fishing that tiny pond in 1984.