Being newly returned to the world of fishing, I’ve been somewhat stunned by just how complicated everything seems to have become since I last spent time drowning maggots. I don’t know if it’s just that as a teenager I hadn’t got a lot of money, so things had to be kept simple, or if things have really become a lot more sophisticated.

I do remember a new phenomenon coming onto the scene just as I was drifting away, the ‘roach pole’. What I remember most about these new devices was that the owners got really wound up if you kept asking them to move their poles off the tow path so you could get your bike past. Mind you, not half as wound up as they got if you just rode your bike over the offending articles!

In those days I had two rods, a little fibre glass spinning rod that my dad had bought me when I was small and a ten foot carbon fibre ledgering rod, which I bought from Woolworths of all places, with the money I earned in a local factory during the school holidays. All my fishing was done with those two rods. My pride and joy was a Browning Carbon spinning reel, with a spare ‘match’ spool and a rear clutch, which was the envy of my mates and couldn’t be let out of my sight when the local yobs arrived to growl, “Seconds on yer rod youf?” in case it followed my dad’s best pike plug and disappeared, never to be seen again.

The rest of my gear had to fit into a small cantilever box, or the Sainsbury’s bag that carried any overspill. I mention all this so you’ll understand why it was that I could assure my partner that I was not going to take fishing too seriously. I was old school, keep it simple, and stick to the tried and trusted methods of my youth. Her step dad, Steve, assured her that he too fell into the same category; neither of us was going to take this too seriously, or get carried away with modern fashions. For some reason she was sceptical, so was her mum, but we were adamant that this was for fun and relaxation and would not result in our acquiring vast amounts of gear that a proper old school angler would rightly scorn.

Of course she was right to be sceptical; to start with the cost of good quality gear is proportionately much cheaper than I remember. I dusted off my treasured Browning reel and to be fair, it still looked the part, unlike some of the other reels I’d rescued from a forgotten corner of my dad’s shed, which looked very crude and toy like. Looks aside though, it’s just not in the same league as modern kit. It’s not fitted with the multitude of ball bearings that even cheap reels sport these days and having used it once I retired it in favour of a choice of three modern reels of which the most expensive cost just £25.00.

My collection of kit has grown beyond my initial modest intentions, my partner, needless to say, is not surprised. Steve and I travelled up to Newark a couple of weeks ago for a fishing sale, where I acquired a new chair, attachments for same, a landing net and composite handle for my son Jon (a bargain at just £6.00!) and another reel with three spare spools. Steve acquired a similar amount of new kit and then we both made the ultimate admission that we’ve got too much gear, we bought trolleys to move it all around on!