Chris Clark is one of the worlds best match anglers, he has won the world championships not just once but twice which is an amazing feat, and has spent a lifetime fishing. Chris continues to be at the forefront and is off to Sardinia on Monday to fish the Magrini international, so over to Chris….
Me: What are your earliest memories of fishing?
CC: When I was three years old watching my dad trying to catch a flattie from Bournemouth Beach which he seldom did. One of my early fishing memories was as a five year old trying to winkle out a wild brownie from the brook running through his Lordships neighbouring estate and then fleeing from the Game keeper, he caught me once and my ear was singing for days. Back in those days my rod was a World War 2 tank aerial!
Me: How did you begin match fishing?
CC: Strangely enough I did not take up match fishing until after I got married at the age of 22 which I suppose tells one something about married life, but it will be 43 years this time around so I must be doing something right. On my 25th wedding anniversary I was In Ireland practicing for the World Champs which I won two weeks later.
Me: You have won the World championships twice, how did you progress so far and how did it feel to win?
CC: Winning A World Championships does give one a buzz but out of the 22 World I have in my collecting it was a bronze Individual medal I won during October 2001 in France which I will remember fro the rest of my life. During early April I suffered from a very bad farming related accident spending two months in hospital when they rebuilt my right shoulder/arm and leg, I was even told that my fishing day would be over and that there was a chance I could remain wheelchair bound but I had different plans. Within three weeks of leaving hospital I had nagged the wife to take me to the rocks where I fished with one arm and my leg in a brace. During the summer I did all the physio as instructed plus a lot more and by the end of September I was heading to France for the World Champs where I won the bronze Individual medal while fishing with my leg in a brace and casting one handed, it is one of the few times when I have shed a tear when being presented with a medal. I have to thanks the board of selectors for leaving my position open when they could have slammed the door in my face, it really gave me something to fight for.
Me: You have fished all over the World, how do you prepare for matches in other countries?
CC: Very simple, a lot of homework, nowadays with the net it is far easier to get information on a venue but back it the good old days one was really relying on contacts and friendships around the World, I seem to know someone in most port of calls.
Me: You have fished in Ireland many times, where do you like to fish over here?
CC: For match fishing I like the east coast between Wicklow and Wexford but for pleasure fishing I would head to the rocky ledges along the west coast every time, you guys have some fantastic marks, green with envy.
Me: What have been your personal favourite catches over the years?
CC: A difficult one because I enjoy all forms and types of fishing but catching cobb in Namibia a few years ago on a light spinning rod was special, far more enjoyable than battling with a bronze whaler shark which just pulls your arms out of their sockets!
Me: You were a torch bearer at the London 2012 Olympics, what was that experience like?
CC: Running with the torch in my home town of Lymington in typical Irish weather was very special, I said at the time and I still believe it was better than winning a World Championship, I shall remember it for the rest of my years. I still have the torch which I ran with which no doubt will be passed down through the family in years to come and stories to match
Me: What would be your dream UK capture?
CC: Simple, my next fish, I always get a buzz when fishing even when catching minnows but I would love to catch a double figure pollack while float fishing from the Purbeck coastline , I have done in Ireland but never this side of the puddle.
Me: Do you ever do any fishing of the non saltwater variety?
CC: Yes, during the summer I spend many hours trotting a stix float down the Hampshire Avon for Chubb, roach and dace, I have also done both game and coarse fishing in Ireland and a few freshwater matches.
Me: And finally Chris, what are your hopes for the rest of 2014?
CC: I think to enjoy gook health and be happy and then the rest will just fall in place. We live in a changing world and you just have to adapt and sometimes move on but at the same time always remaining positive and happy.
Me: Chris thanks for your time and best of luck in Sardinia.
CC: Anytime Paddy no problem