I have over 30 years angling experience both in Ireland and abroad having caught my first fish, a 2oz perch on the Grand Canal at the age of four. I was born in London and my father Peter, who has been angling all his life, decided when I was just 18 months to move the family from the hustle and bustle of the UK to Ireland, where he had been visiting as an angler since the 1960s.
It was during these annual trips to Ireland in search of the virgin coarse fishing it had to offer that my dad fell in love with the country and realised it was where he wanted to settle. After working in Fleet Street as a journalist for many years he was frustrated with the distances he would have to travel from the centre of London to get a bend in the rod. The move to Dublin made sense and living on the outskirts of the city in Shankill, you could within five minutes drive be in the heart of the countryside.
My father said my first fishing trips were when I was still a baby in my travel cot gurgling away on the bank of a river or canal as he would try and keep both the fish and I amused with a combination of toys and maggots. When I was old enough to climb out of the cot, I was old enough to fish and instantly fell in love with the sport much the relief of my father.
As mentioned my first angling trips were to the Grand canal and our favourite haunts were near Prosperous where we would catch super bags of bream at Digby bridge or do early morning sessions for the tench at Landenstown and Allenwood at the Bord na Mona factory.
The highlights of the year were our annual fishing holidays where we would head north for two weeks to Cavan and stay at Mrs Prior’s bed and breakfast on the shores of Lough Swellan. In those days you could leave your rods set up on the shore overnight, safe in the knowledge that when you got back down at 4am where the only movement in the vicinity of your tackle were the tench rolling over the feed in the prebaited margins.
Favourite haunts included Sallaghan Bridge where the Erne in its infacy would produce great catches of roach and the odd trout. Killykeen forest park on Lough Oughter always provided some good sport for bream while some of the smaller lakes did the business for the tench. It was on the winding river and lake system of Gowna where I caught my first pike and began my lifelong hatred of wasps when I got stung in the eye.
During my early teenage years my dad became more and more interested in game angling and I followed suit in the art of learning to cast a fly. From here our holidays became a bit more eclectic and took in a variety of angling experiences as we would divide our trips away with fishing loughs for trout and salmon, whilst visiting new areas of Ireland in search of coarse fishing.
I was very lucky as my father used to write a weekly angling column for the Evening Herald and through this he would get invites to fish some amazing places with some of the best anglers in the country. I learnt a lot from these trips and had the chance to tussle with some impressive specimens along the way. Some of the places I got to visit around the country were truly awe-inspiring and I feel very privileged to have cast a line some of the most dramatic backdrops Ireland has to offer.
After my mother passed away and I moved from home my fishing took a back seat for a few years as I concentrated on my work as a DJ and other things. Thankfully the fishing bug took hold again after a few lost years and over the past decade or so is stronger than ever.
It was during this time that I really got the specimen bug and the hunt for larger than average fish. This has seen me visiting yet more different waters and changed my approach to angling somewhat. After a few blinkered years I now know it is not the be all and end all of fishing, and I am just happy to be on the bank of a lake or river and away from the stresses of everyday life.
In 2008 I moved from Dublin to Sligo where I now live with my two wonderful girls Nik and Pippa. In 2010 I went back to college to study Fisheries Management which was a great experience and opened my eyes to a whole lot more than just catching fish.
I have been beavering away at some projects behind the scenes for the past year or so and these will hopefully come to fruition in 2014 and be revealed on these pages. Although my time spent angling has to be meticulously planned between family life these days, I do have some cracking fishing on my doorstep and life here is good.