I’m am not truly happy unless near water. It must be a throwback to my ancient origins. Wilden Marsh Nature Reserve satisfies a need to mud plug, paddle and generally mooch around a variety of watercourses. I’m fascinated by them all, from fetid standing water to fast flowing rivers and brooks. I am not a fan of lakes, but I do like the coast.
A good deal of my free time in the 1960s was used fly fishing the River Usk at Abergavenny. My idea of fun was to scour the river for its most wily fighting trout. Fishing was one of many nature/country activities I was involved with during that time in my life.
Encouraged by my father, who really loved his fishing, I became the “Trout Hunter.” My father presented me with my first fishing tackle: an old and bent split cane Hardy fly fishing rod, reel, artificial flies, and a creel. I took to angling like a fish to water and soon became obsessed with the sport. My preference was fly fishing, but I’ve also done my share or worm dangling.
The attraction of fly fishing was the challenge of outthinking the experienced fish. I didn’t spin for trout; I enticed them with the right fly in the right place and at the right time. In the end, landing the same half a dozen trout time after time became boring, so I directed my youthful energies towards girls and other forms of excitement. I’ve not been attracted back to fishing since.
In the second half of the 1960s, I served a Factory Services Engineering apprenticeship at Cooper’s Filters Limited. I worked in a sizeable modern factory complex on the south bank of the River Usk at Llanfoist. I became even more involved with water in its various forms: flowing in pipes, through pumps, in the form of sewage, and within different manufacturing processes.
On many occasions, I went directly from work to the riverbank and fished throughout the night. I returned to the factory, bleary-eyed, straight from the riverbank the next morning. Such energy I had in those days!