‘The Concentration that comes with Age’

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The Wensum

I noticed these words in a recent post, and they got me thinking hard. Is it too far a leap to suggest that concentration all but equals patience, which in turn equals acceptance?

My point is that having a mind-set that copes with failure is a huge advantage if you pursue wild fish, especially.

Concentration, patience, acceptance are all necessary if you dedicate your fishing life to brown and sea trout, and perhaps to salmon, and even trophy coarse fish, above all.

That’s why I so liked Andrew Jackson’s recent comment to me up on the Warden beat of the Tyne. “Blanks don’t bother me,” he said. “Every blank day moves you further along to the day when you do catch.”

This reminded me of my ferox trout years. I first tried for them around 1978, stepped up the pursuit from 1984, and finally landed one in 1990.

I needed concentration (and patience and acceptance) on that quest, for sure, but did these qualities accrue with age I wonder?

After all I was not even in my thirties when this “feroxide” (to quote Chris Yates) struck me down.

Again, I have just been on the phone to “Whitey” Whitehouse, telling him about a carp filming trip I have returned from, which saw us blank for the whole three days.

“Blimey Guv,” says Whitey. “That’s nothing. Three years in salmon fishing, and you’re lucky to see a take, never mind a fish.”

Whitey, Andrew, me, we all began fishing as young kids when we caught nothing either, so perhaps concentration is not necessarily less to do with age than what you are conditioned to accept.

The three of us started our angling careers when there were no commercials or easy waters, and even canal gudgeon represented a triumph.

I hesitate to take this further, but I’ll throw it out there. Could all of us face the need to rethink our fishing in the future?

Many of us remember the trials of the 1970s, and I’m not sure if we are not enduring worse.

Where to start? Climate change? Cosmic shortages of everything? Dicey economics seeing rising inflation and deepening poverty?

Covid? Travel by road, rail or air ever more expensive and  problematic? A blind destruction of the UK environment, aquatic most especially?

Let’s not even mention the world, and the geopolitical mess we are heading for? A PM whose keynote speech is built around beavers?

In short, are the days when we thought nothing of driving 500 miles for a spot of salmon fishing numbered?

If we are forced to fish more locally in our futures, it strikes me we will need all the concentration, patience, and acceptance that we can muster.

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