Between being two and four years of age I was in love with tractors. I had Tractor pyjamas, bed covers, wall paper… the lot! Every lunchtime in the summer, my mum and I would ride up to the farm on my toy digger, and have a picnic while watching the tractors work. One particular day, a chap gave me a ride in his Massey Ferguson, only to regret it five-minutes later when I was lifted out holding his dirty magazine from the side of his seat!
The tractor phase dwindled away, and as I grew older I developed an obsession for dinosaurs! The JCB stickers on my door were replaced with a big T-Rex munching on a Stegosaurus! Every night was spent watching Jurassic Park and The Land Before Time. I even used to have a crush on Sara the Triceratops! I spent hours drawing Dinosaur scenes, and in the playground at school we used to act out a specific dinosaur game instead of playing the usual ‘mummies and daddies’. I had a big T-Rex puppet, and on numerous occasions my mum has had to stop me from re-enacting battles with our pet tortoise George! However, the interest came to an end on a visit to the dinosaur museum at York. We walked in, and the first section was a huge robot T-Rex that roared and moved. Needless to say I was petrified, and cried the whole way round. That was the end of my dinosaur crisis!
However, being a geography student, I can confirm the climate in my bedroom has remained stable for the past 15 years or so now. The top of my wardrobe it home to a display of old centrepins, an ancient split-cane rod, and an Angling Times diary from 1960. The plain walls host numerous framed versions of my England shirts that mum has had framed with my international medals. Some are even signed by several of my angling heroes! The dinosaur magazines in the cupboard have been replaced by Match and Pole Fishing from as far back as 1996 (along with the occasional Nuts issue of course!).
In fact, there’s a little tale to tell here. On the World Champs, I always grab a big pile of magazines from my stash to read on the plane with the lads. One particular year the South African manager saw them in the van, and asked my dad if his lads could have them to read. My dad of course grabbed the whole lot and gave them him without thinking. The next day he returned saying, “My boys like Matt’s magazines very much… maybe not the fishing, but the girls yes!”
I’m sure every keen angler will agree there’s something about fishing that’s just a little more special than any other interest we have. Looking back, I’ve always been obsessed. I can remember when I used to tie all my rigs with line off the spools of reels, and would sit on the garage step for hours trying to use a hook tyer (Tom Scholey still has a little trouble with that now!).
My mum used to go mad at me for stealing spoons from the cutlery draw, which I used to saw up and drill to make pike lures. Now she goes mad when her scissors go missing, which always seems to correspond with the time I’m due a new pair of chopped worm scissors! I dug my past school diaries out from year seven and eight last night. The notes pages are full of diagrams of where I planned to feed my lines on the Erewash Valley Winter League that year! I find myself constantly drifting into different fishing thoughts throughout the day, no matter what I’m doing!
All anglers must get comments like, “Don’t you get bored?” and “I don’t know how you have the patience!” Personally, I’m not a very patient person at all. I’ve never really felt bored of fishing. It’s like a small fix we get as anglers, when we see a piece of water, drive over a river, pass a tackle shop or see a car with tackle in the back in our everyday lives. It might just be me who’s a bit weird, but I’m sure it’s not. Even our bin outside has a Sensas sticker on it! No matter how tired we are, how much beer we’ve consumed, or how nice (or sometimes rather not nice in my case) women we wake up next to, getting up to go fishing is magic. It’s the best feeling in the world. I love it!
Matt Godfrey is a three-times Junior World Champion from Sheffield and is sponsored by Sensas.