Stacks Image 6371

I was about fourteen when I realised that I was unlikely to make anything of myself.  I had always done pretty well at school but suddenly found myself struck down by an overwhelming lack of motivation. My teachers despaired. Well, most did – a couple seemed to actually warm to my new found laid-back self.

Since then I have become the king of procrastination, turning an unsuccessful hand to many a trade. White van-manning, financial controlling, pumping people’s petrol - the list is long. Nothing has ever quite fitted though, and all I have truly felt inspired by has lain in the natural world. Birds, butterflies, reptiles, fungi – and, of course, fish.

Circumstance led me to Dorset. Fortune had found me a perfect wife who was also something of a career girl. I was fine to drift along in her wake. Then illness ended her career and we shifted our lives. We could no longer afford a mortgage or much else come to that and instead found ourselves in a little cottage in a west Dorset valley where we collect wood, grow vegetables and sew up the holes in our socks. We are very happy for it.

Suddenly I was a full-time writer, and having found a novel from somewhere I wrote the fishing book that I never meant to write - The Idle Angler. My days as The Idler angling correspondent had left me better equipped to talk fishing than I had actually felt able, and fortunately Jon and Rose at Medlar were in agreement.

To idle successfully one must not simply be lazy. Idleness is a state of mind, it is about shaking off the constraints of time and modern society. It is being. Absorbing, feeling and seeing. Being lazy takes effort and avoidance whereas idleness is the release of that part of our self within which we feel most at ease and most content.

For an Idler, fishing is, of course, the most perfect pursuit . . .

'Why do people become obsessed with coarse fishing? This book is an attempt to explain - and largely succeeds . . . There are skills to be imbued - how to read the water and other wildlife; the thrill of the hunt; the sense of escape from everyday worries; and deep companionship with angling friends and the natural world. There's much to enjoy here . . .' - Fergus Collins, BBC Countryfile Magazine