When I was a kid I used to get dragged along to the local river each Saturday armed with Thermos flask, cheese and pickle sandwiches and fishing tackle.

Funnily enough, in those days I used to hate it and within 5 minutes of arriving I'd have left my rod by the riverbank and gone off exploring.

It wasn't till years later when I had grown up and had kids of my own that I really understood what fishing is all about... getting away from it all.

Scotland is renown for its salmon and trout fishing and for many years I travelled far and wide with my fly rod in hand. I was quite sucessful and enjoyed river fishing on the Clyde, River Avon and Black Cart. However, I fell into the trap of visiting fisheries which, although offering larger fish, gave less in the way of satisfaction.

I drifted away from fishing for quite a while until a number of my friends in work expressed an interest in starting a club out of working hours.

From this I made a couple of real good friendships. One of the guys was a prominent pike fisherman who had lots of local knowledge about where and how to fish. His enthusiasm was contagious and I found myself becoming more interested in course fishing, (to be honest I've never really liked eating fish anyway, so used to hand my catch over to friends and neighbours).

Course fishing in Scotland isn't as varied as it is down south, so we started to venture across the border at weekends in persuit of better sport. This we found round about the Carlisle area and I found that my fishing tackle was expanding week on week until it was a major expedition to go anywhere, (I'm currently at the point where my next tackle purchase is likely to be an estate car or landrover).

Some people object to fishing as a sport and say that it is barbaric. To be honest I find that view ill informed as all of the course fishermen I have met have a genuine interest in not only the fish, but their environment and the other wildlife found nearby. And always do their best to reduce their impact while enjoying the countryside, (something that cannot be said for others passing through).
There are far more destructive passtimes that everyday folk carry out on a day to day basis that contribute to the destruction of the natural environment and its inhabitants without them even being aware of it.