When I was very young my dad used to take me fishing. He knew a gorgeous riverside pub where we could legally fish from the riverbank and with on tap (literally!) refreshments we would spend happy hours watching the water. I don't actually recall catching any fish but having had a sometimes dubious relationship with my now late father, these are some of my happiest memories of him. My memories of our one and only sea fishing trip when I was about 7 are less happy with quite rough seas that day. I was though the only person who caught anything that day!
My own children have had to make do with fishing for crabs - lots of fun but not quite the nuanced and relaxing activity enjoyed by proper anglers! You can see my youngest below being taught crab-catching skills by his oldest brother. (Headphones on because he's autistic)
Recently I rediscovered a love of kayaking and after playing with an inflatable bought myself an ancient fibreglass craft from that well known auction site.
A friend who also paddles invited our family to their lakes to spend a bank holiday on the water with them and their children. (Yup - they own lakes apparently.)
We had an amazing time and learned more about how our friends came to own the lakes and how they manage and keep them with the help of a local angling group.
At the end of the day, just as the sun was setting, we were offered the chance to have a go at "proper" fishing. My husband used to sit by the canal as a young lad but that was a long time ago and he was never really shown what to do or what equipment to use.
With just a few tips from our lovely neighbour much to his delight my husband soon got a bite! Under instruction he reeled in large common carp and then of course posed for the obligatory photo before letting the fish gently back into the lake to swim away.
His smile was amazing - he was so pleased to have been given this opportunity in such beautiful location. We can't wait to go back so we can all have a go.
Of course not everyone has a friendly lake-owning neighbour on hand with the correct equipment and knowledge to help start you off but maybe you know someone who can at least help you start your fishing adventure? A neighbour, friend or workmate?
Our local angler's club holds open days where people of any age - children and adults- can go along, borrow equipment and be taught how to fish. The experience members offer advice on where and what to buy equipment wise so this is a great way of enjoying a taster experience without having to spend a lot of money potentially on the wrong kit.
Another good way to help you take up fishing is to visit an outdoor, bait of fishing shop. Most will have everything from fly fishing rods to carp reels for sale and there is bound to be someone with knowledge of products, best locations and the local rules who can start you off.
No stores locally? Try searching online and find an online store or site offering free advice on fishing in the location you are hoping to start in. Rules vary for canals, rivers, lakes and the ocean so make sure you have the right licence and are fishing at the right time of year to avoid adversely affecting fish populations and potentially being fined. You also need to know when to throw fish back depending on size.
Some people keep fish they catch to eat, others like to admire them then set them free. Everyone can enjoy the relaxation of sitting by water admiring the view, the quiet and maybe a chat with other anglers. It's the perfect antidote to our hectic often screen-based lives.