Fishing has always been there. Sometimes on the back-burner but nevertheless, still there simmering away for when I next need a hit.
For us all life is a roller coaster of love and loss. I’ve suffered the pain of loss many times now during the course of my fifty-three years. Cancer (my dad), suicide (my friend couldn’t handle lock down), overdose’s (17yrs old), heart attack (30yrs old) etc etc and on and on. Relationships have broken down; jobs have been lost. My cure. My solace. My constant has been fishing. My bolt hole is a river. Serenity in the arms of nature’s softly spoken language gives me my inner peace.
When in 2011 I wrote my first book – Terminal Chancer. It was both a cathartic process and also a message about pursuing what you truly love doing. Getting your life balance right seemed key. We can lose focus chasing trophies and forget it’s the process thats more important than the prize.
Fishing to restore balance and escape the babble
We seem to live in an age of the worried well, self-help and middle-class guilt. The great outdoors has been unveiled and re-branded like it’s a new thing. From wild swimming to forest bathing, it’s all been supposedly just invented. Who knew! The outside can be quite relaxing!
The cure is balance. The cure is pace. When I have fished a river beat from top to bottom methodically, I feel cleansed. Sounds over the top, and a touch dramatic, but it’s completely true. I’ve walked and watched. I’ve seen and I’ve heard. I’ve felt and I’ve touched. My eyes have widened, and my head has emptied. Cast and step all the way, into mother nature’s circuit board.
Finding a place to think is hard. Our senses are bombarded by other people’s news, sales pitches, thoughts and ideas the moment you open your eyes. Radio, TV, signage and the advertiser’s little miracle – our mobile phones. Keep scrolling and don’t you dare die. All this has led to the new phrase of the digital detox. Imagine that 20 years ago.
The River is my church – Fishing is my religion
The river is my ashram, my church and my rehab. All I need is time. It’s important you engineer enough for the stuff that matters. The phrase – Find what you love and let it slowly kill you, sums it up really. It is a quote from the singer Richard Samet “Kinky” Friedman.
Below is a letter featuring Kinkys quote, supposedly written by Charles Bukowski
My dear, find what you love and let it kill you. Let it drain from you your all. Let it cling onto your back and weigh you down into eventual nothingness. Let it kill you, and let it devour your remains. For all things will kill you, both slowly and fastly, but it’s much better to be killed by a lover. Falsely yours, Henry Charles Bukowski”
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Check the river levels and take your head to the river.
James Gilbraith is an Author and passionate salmon angler on his home river in Lancashire the Ribble. His two books “Terminal Chancer” and “Hooked on Hope” are well worth reading. Ive just read for the second time “Hooked on Hope” – brilliant stuff. Laced with colourful characters, anecdotes and great stories, I was caught laughing out loud in public. This is a great book for anglers or mere normal humans. It even comes with a soundtrack!