Growing up as a teenager, I always knew there was something significantly different in me to my brothers and sister, a bit of a wild side, something stirring within, I was definitely different alright. The most significant point to where it all started was when I was about 14 years old, when I ran away from home. Why? Who knows, I probably thought I was badly done too. But looking back now I was no more badly done too than any of my other family or friends at that time, or was it just the start of the rebel coming out in me?
I never really returned home, I moved in with my older sister who was always there for me, although she didn’t agree with me leaving home, it was better I was there than somewhere else, and at least my parents knew where I was for a change!
That’s when it really started……
Not going to school, knocking around with the wrong crowd, as they say, but it was always in me so the crowd fitted my criteria to be honest. I started fighting, getting into trouble, and hanging about outside the school I was supposed to be attending! Even when I left school officially, I was still hanging around out there, the teachers used to say, ‘Bloody hell mark, your here more now than when you were supposed to be!’. Getting chased by police, all the things you shouldn’t be doing at that age. Then the punk rock era really took off back in the late 70s, and as you would expect, I had to follow suit being a rebel of course.
Although they were some of the best times in my life, they definitely left a scar on me; criminal records for fighting, stealing cars, criminal damage, drugs. Probably every drug known to man rolled round my system somewhere at that time. In and out of prison, and generally being a rebel to the cause!
For the next 10 to 15 years my life was all over the place, no stability, no money, no life to be honest, relationship breakdowns, marriage didn’t work out, no jobs, a complete mess. I moved cities in the end, and things really started to change in my life. I started working, met some nice women, and generally things started to look up, and to be honest, it needed too or god knows what would have come of me!
Then I started fishing again, which was probably the most significant thing that could have happened to me. I did do a bit of fishing in my younger days on the canals around Yorkshire, the Leeds and Liverpool canal, and a little pit that was close to my home so there was always something in me that liked fishing. But taking up carp fishing was the breakthrough point in my life, just getting away from it all and fishing and reflecting on things, and that was obviously what did the trick for me. I finally started to put my life in order, and now I wouldn’t ever look back.
But sometimes fishing is just fishing, you need to push yourself even more in fishing, push the boundaries a bit, push yourself to another level and you get more enjoyment from it knowing that you have succeeded in your quest! Yes fishing isn’t for everyone, but to me it changed my life literally, and probably over night from the first time I went carp fishing and caught my first carp which was about 18 years ago now.
Taking on the role of field consultant at Beechwood Baits gave me an even bigger push again in my angling, and even more encouragement to try harder again. I did use the customery baits on the market, as we all do at some point, and did well, but it wasn’t enough for me, I needed get to the next stage in my angling, and a new focus. So meeting Gav (the gaffer) was the perfect opportunity to take it to another level, also helping other people in their quest too, not just a company who mass produces baits for profit but for people who really care, just as I do.
Since I starting carping, obviously my life has changed, and now I’m in a secure, stable relationship and have 4 loving children, a granddaughter and secure job. In a nut shell, life couldn’t be better!
From rebel to carp angler, who would have guessed!
Thank you for reading this and I hope it puts something into perspective of how fishing can change lives as it did in my case.