With the world and the vast majority of everyone on it currently struggling with the impact that Coronavirus has had, whether it’s home-schooling, the impact on work/life balance or even just being stuck in lockdown, it is times like these that the benefits fishing brings really comes into its own.
It’s no secret, when I was stuck in Central London during the first lockdown, and the timeline of the lockdown shifted from an initial few weeks to then months, with no end in sight, I really started to crave space and the outdoors. This was when my passion for fishing began to ignite again, like a phoenix rising out of the ashes. I had always loved going fishing, but living in the middle of London didn’t really lend itself well to the sport and meant that I had to take the sporadic opportunities to go, whenever I could. So lockdown was largely spent (when I wasn’t working) watching fishing videos on YouTube, if only to escape the reality that was being played out outside my window. We lived on a main road in London that was a key ambulance, police and fire brigade route, and just above a busy Tescos…so if it wasn’t sirens, it was food deliveries.
I’ve now spent large chunks of the past 6 months, when work or lockdowns permit, fishing my heart out and have found some huge benefits, below are a few of the bigger ones I have found.
Some people look at me with sheer bemusement when I tell them that I’m about to head out fishing and it’s either pouring with rain or freezing cold. However, in the time I have been in Ireland, I have also been truly spoilt with some fantastic days too, so I can’t complain!
But even when standing on a beach, in the pitch black with close to freezing temperatures. I still find a huge amount of stress relief. Whether it’s the soothing sound of incoming waves, the starry night skies which are often littered with shooting stars, or the joy of actually catching a fish or two, I find it almost meditative. I switch off, from every day stresses and focus on nothing but my fishing rod. It’s also nice to just to be outside; given the huge amount of time spent indoors this year, the fresh sea air is invigorating.
This one’s probably been the least expected benefit of beginning my fishing life here. The sheer number of people that I have met whilst out fishing is insane. Everyone has been so welcoming and I have gone from not knowing a single soul a few months back, to finding a nice group of people who I can call upon for a session. I spend most of my days conversing via a screen for work at the moment and it’s nice to be able to get out and see some people face-to-face, albeit with a dose of social distancing, of course!
Making friends has meant that I haven’t always been by myself when out fishing (which certainly helps on days when it’s slow going) and it’s also been extremely valuable in the exchange of knowledge and tips. I highly doubt I would be as far down the angling road without these pointers. Irrespective of trips and fishing opportunities, it is great to have met people who keep an eye out for each other and check-in. It isn’t such a solitary sport after all.
They call it fishing, not catching… this is very true but I am now a darn sight more confident when heading out these days that I will actually catch something, and I am now even in the fortuitous position where I am starting to target specific species. This means I spend a vast amount of time, when not fishing… researching the best spots, rigs, baits etc.
As with anything in life, this effort is needed to start delivering results… and the sheer satisfaction of achieving what you set out for is immense. It’s a slow game but with a very rich reward when it eventually pays off (at least I keep telling myself that in what feels like my eternal search for a Bass).
Much like the social benefits that I’ve gained from fishing, I almost overlooked this one at the start too. In the past 6 months, even with Covid restrictions, I have been able to travel to some very special places within the county. Given that some of the best sea fishing spots are well off the beaten track I’ve had a perfect excuse to explore.
It is a fantastic way to my new take in my new home, experience the sheer beauty of some breathtaking locations and more importantly… spend some quality time to take it all in.