Over the last few years as a member of The Osprey Specimen Group I've been fortunate enough to meet quite a few very talented anglers. Through them I've learnt a hell of a lot, from obvious things like new rigs and baits, to working a venue, and pushing the whole way you fish to get better results.. even visiting the angling shows has proved it can have benefits.
Besides seeing any new tackle innovations, you can listen to lectures from the experts, and if you want, you can get up close and personal with your 'heroes' at the stands, and ask them those all important questions directly!
So when visiting the shows with fellow Osprey members Bob and Gary I've had the chance to chat with a few of the guys who've turned our 'hobby' into a full-time career.
One in particular, is Martin Bowler, who in recent years has been doing his bit at the shows to promote his growing catalogue of top angling DVDs. And with Bob being an old friend of his, we always stop and put the angling world to rights!
I was also lucky enough to catch up with Martin on the River Lea, at the well known Fishers Green venue in Essex a few years back, where he was fishing in preparation for one of his articles in Angling Times. It was great to think that there was I, sitting on the bank of my local venue, having a chat with this top angler! As an added bonus, when his rod arced round, I was able to watch Martin play, and land, a cracking 12lb+ barbel!
In all these meetings Martin has always been friendly, open, and willing to answer any of my queries.. all in all a very approachable bloke.
So as my circumstances have changed now, what with taking over The Sunday People's angling column, and always trying to bring you guys something new in the blog, it was time to put my journalistic cap on and have a proper chat with the man!
Of course my first try of getting in touch, and he's busy, so I leave him a message, and within the hour there's a reply.. sorry I'm not around, but I'll give you a call next week.. great stuff!
As good as his word, I'm sitting in the office and the mobile rings, 'Hello Clive, it's Martin'.
I ask the obvious, and go into how much I enjoyed 'Catching the Impossible', and 'A Fish for All Seasons', as did most of us, 'Yeah, it was great to do it.. and to get it finally finished!'
'Impossible was four years in the making, and I then went almost straight into 'Seasons', which took another couple of years to put together! So with the filming of my latest venture 'Seeking Shadows' now being a year down the line, I've been out there filming for nearly seven years'.
That sort of commitment takes its toll, and Martin went on to say he was going to be enjoying the following week away from fishing and in the company of his wife.
'I learnt so much from working with Hugh (Miles), but on this latest project I've invested in a lot of my own filming equipment, and now I have a lot more control over how things are done, so usually it's just me and the cameraman out there.
We chatted on, and Martin was even gracious enough to ask how the writing was going for the column and blog, and it was great to say how much I was enjoying it, especially getting the responce from the readers, that makes it all worthwhile!
But time was marching on, and I was supposed to be working, so with a quick exchange of where we'd been fishing, and what we'd caught recently, it was time to sign off, and I finish by asking Martin how 'Seeking' was going, 'Yeah, well mate well, caught a few fish, so far we have filmed 30lb+ pike and 40lb carp, but just give me a call and I'll keep you up-to-date on how its going'...
...I certainly will mate, I certainly will!
Remember Martin has lots to look at on his own site, go to www.martinbowler.co.uk