I was hooked on this little article on famous writers on angling from Lit-Hub.com, a blog I follow (link below).
At one point in modern times, and maybe it still is, angling was the biggest participatory sport in the UK.
My own participation in it was brief and unsuccessful. I had an Uncle who owned a shop which sold anything he thought he could turn a profit on, and one day he bought a wholesale lot of short, split-cane fishing rods and boxed fishing reels preloaded with line. My mate and I bought a set each – we were about ten or eleven then – and not believing in instruction of any sort, headed for the tackle shop to buy bait, hooks and floats.
Our approach was similar to any kid’s approach to buying sweets from a sweet shop: we shopped with our eyes and asked what we could buy with the coins in our fist. We left with a pint of maggots in a plastic pot, and the most colourful of floats. We also bought mean looking catapults from the shop but with no intention of using them to disperse bait.
Over the course of several excursions, neither of us caught a thing. Whether it was hours spent by the canal, by ponds or lakes, casting near or far resulted in not one bite. But I eventually landed a fish though oddly it wasn’t hooked. Somehow it had tangled itself around the line and was secured tight. I pulled it in and it was a job getting it free. The maggot was still pierced on the hook. We let it go, as you do, just before a man on a bicycle arrived and asked to see our permits.
Permits? He was a water bailiff and it turned out we had been poaching all this time without knowing it. He sent us packing and that, I think, was the end of that little hobby.