Fishing MATTERS! I have decided to share my hopes for Fishamo, we are a group united by angling and I think that some recent negativity has given good reason for me to share what our collective vision, I think, should be! It’s not a heavy, politically laden, idea its a simple dream, an ideal and I hope that this isn’t a dream that only I have and it is an idea that many of you who consider yourselves part of the Fishamo family can share and get onboard with!
Ok, so let me start this blog by telling you a story, it’s a story that will be familiar to many of you, it’s a story about a kid, a stick and a fish!
A weird thing called fishing:
This particular kid was a bit of a loser really, he had a group of, in general, loser friends and hung around all day getting muddy and dreaming that he had a girlfriend with his other loser friends whose imaginary girlfriends were all equally as beautiful! It was the 80’s and that’s kind of what kids did back then! Anyway, one day this kid and his friends went to a local lake, just messing around, and saw some local anglers catching small carp.
It looked like fun, but they had tackle that was way out of reach of his 50p per week pocket money… none the less, he wanted to give it a try. This, he thought, was something new, something exciting, something he had never experienced before. Sadly, the old men with the fancy tackle were generally dismissive, they chased the kids off, grumbled at their questions, shouted at them when they played close by!! The kid’s mom was encouraging of his interest in fishing, but there wasn’t the money to spend on a fishing rod for a ten-year-old, let alone the money to pay for a licence and all the other kit required. It looked like this kid would never catch a fish. The kid’s dad, on the other hand, knew something. Something he was not letting on yet!
Fishing Against the Odds:
The solution that the kid and his friends found, was to tie bits of found fishing line to the ends of sticks, beg, borrow or steal fishing hooks from local anglers and, if we couldn’t also beg some maggots, we would dig up worms with our bare hands! We used twigs or match sticks for floats, and we caught, mainly, small Perch. They were happy and innocent times, one day, the kid found himself alone… maybe his friends were not allowed out to play that day, or he just wanted some alone time, none the less he was alone. He cast his makeshift fishing rod into the water like usual and waited.
Dutifully the twig dipped under and a small perch was on! This time though, the kid had not tied the line on tight enough to the stick and the fish got away, leaving the stick float just inches away from the bank. Hooks were too precious to waste so the kid leant out to retrieve what he could…. as he did, the water moved and the tale of the hugest fish he had ever seen swished below the water, centimetres from his hand!
To the kid, this was a monster and, terrified, he ran home, leaving all his kit behind him! He never stopped running, past all the anglers on the lake, passed some of his mates who had now come out to play, passed his mom who was doing the washing up at the sink, past his dad who was watching TV, to his room where he slammed the door behind him, his heart still racing, he vowed he would never fish again! But then, a strange thing happened… as his heart slowly began to beat at a normal rate again a wry smile grew on his face, he WOULD fish again, he would catch that monster fish and be a hero!
A newly discovered heritage:
Of course, that kid was me. That fish, probably just a small Carp, probably not even double figures. But fishing and thoughts of monsters that lurked just out of sight had taken hold on another kid’s heart. The secret my dad had been keeping from me was that I came from a fishing family. My dad was just waiting for the interest to become a passion before he told me. In fact, I came to learn that my dad’s mother’s name was Allcock of the famous ‘Allcock’s’ fishing tackle family and my great grandfather had been a rod builder! I had lived my whole short life in Redditch, a town made famous by angling and hooks and I had never realised my own links to this sport until it, excuse the pun, truly got its hooks into me.
Becoming an Angler:
The rest is history. Angling grew more and more into my passion. Eventually, I began writing about it. Then, through twists and turns of fate, working in it and, ultimately researching it a PhD level with the University of Worcester… But how does this story illustrate the Fishamo manifesto?
Why fishing matters:
Fishing is a thing that unites human beings. Sure, there are other things, train sets, knitting, flower arranging… But we are united by Fishing. My life’s work has become about reminding people that fishing matters for some and is a passion for those people. What we do has the power to forge a friendship, start adventures and inspire a child to become more than ANYONE ever thought he could be! What we do is important and we must keep it going. Even if, as a united group of thousands we can succeed only in inspiring one more person to catch a fish and become passionate about the magic of angling then we have achieved our goal!
Angling is a lifestyle:
Fishamo is MY dream, forged, ultimately, by a single day, the tail of a single fish and the stories and legends and pride in my sport that followed! And we want YOU in the Fishamo family, because angling matters, because, by standing up and saying… ‘Hell yeah, I believe!… I believe that fishing transcends all the fancy tackle and high-tech tactics… it is more important than the biggest fish and the most exclusive syndicate!’ then YOU are doing your part to make fishing a great thing again! Something that each one of us can be proud to be part of… Angling is a lifestyle, not a sport!
A family, NOT an organisation!:
There are organisations out there working to represent anglers interests in parliament and politics and we need those organisations, there are organisations out there representing the angling industry and those people who rely on angling to make a living and there are even organisations out there who represent the places where we fish, ensuring that they remain open to us for years to come… Fishamo is a group of anglers united by a common passion! When I designed our logo, I worried a little that it might be too socialist, a bit too ‘Left-wing’! But I think even the most right-wing anglers amongst us can appreciate that we are united by this one thing.
A voice for Anglers Like YOU!:
Fishamo is working to give you, the anglers out there a voice. Through providing a blog that you can contribute to, by providing Fishamo.live where you can share your YouTube videos, through providing regular fun competitions and a community through our Facebook group! I am hoping to provide tools for YOU to do your part to represent angling in the best possible light! PLEASE use those tools for good! Let’s work together to promote, evangelise, and represent angling it is the right thing to do and that, my friends and fellow anglers, is the Fishamo Manifesto!