Tom Scholey reflects on a good day out, and a not so pleasant conversation.
I had a lovely day out last Saturday. For once, I wasn’t actually fishing. I spent the day at the opening of Sam Wildsmith’s new tackle shop, Mill Tackle in Heanor. There were a host of angling stars present, including Steve and Phil Ringer, Alan and Sandra Scotthorne, Lee Kerry, Ricky Teale, Matt Godfrey, Denis White, Tommy Pickering, James Dent and Andy Geldart. Although I obviously get out on the bank with a lot of these guys a fair bit, it was nice to catch up with them all.
I also got the chance to meet a lot of new faces too, in the shape of customers who were visiting the shop for the first time. It is testament to how hard Sam has worked that many (including Alan Scotthorne) left the shop saying it is the best that they have ever visited. Considering the fact that I have only known Sam for a relatively short space of time, he has been incredibly generous and helpful to me, and I couldn’t not give him a hand in return.
Every other angler who was there was in the same boat as me, which is a good sign of how well regarded the man is. Ricky Teale is a man of very few words, but summed up the situation perfectly. He asked me whether I was working, and I replied that I wasn’t, and that I was just giving Sam a hand. He simply replied “that’s how it works isn’t it.”
This public spirited attitude is fortunately very common in fishing, which is why it is such a pleasant sport to be involved in. I cannot count the number of anglers who have done me favours over the years, and I like to think I have helped plenty of people out myself.
As in all walks of life, there is a selfish minority in fishing who don’t look at things in such an altruistic way however.
By contrast to the extremely enjoyable day that I had at Sam’s shop, I had a not so pleasant conversation with my colleagues Jon Arthur and Joe Carass the other evening.
We were talking about anglers who owe us money, and all three of us have people who we have helped out in the past, who have effectively stung us, and are still to repay us.
I then went on a feature with a member of the England team, who recounted a similar story that had happened to him. It set me thinking about how common this actually is.
Afterall, fishing is a sport where money changes hands a lot- whether this be from winnings that should be split, tackle that is sold on credit, or money that is paid to enter leagues etc and never reimbursed.
I am obviously not going to name names, but it will probably comes as no surprise to you when I say that most of the people who have ripped one of the anglers that I have just mentioned off, are still going match fishing on a regular basis. Some of them are very high profile, sponsored anglers.
I simply cannot understand how these people think. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to work out that what they are effectively doing is stealing off their friends. If they genuinely can’t afford to repay what they owe, then I would understand it. In my eyes, if you have got the money to go match fishing then you can afford to repay your debts however.
The strange thing is, I know some of the perpetrators quite well, and despite what they have done I don’t think that they are bad people. They must just block their wrongdoings out of their heads and carry on as if nothing had happened.
In these tough economic times, a few quid goes a long way. I just hope that a few people who owe others money have a pang of conscience and think about this.
Follow Tom on Twitter: @TScholey