HAVE we forgotten?

A strange title for an item in this section... or is it?

I’m afraid I’m back on the same old theme, after having had a chat with a pal of mine who is one of the fast diminishing number of bailiffs charged with protecting our rivers.

We were mulling over the “old days”, not that my pal was older enough to have been around in what is generally thought to be the old days.

He was telling me about a time he was guiding a crowd of youngsters around one of the kids' outdoor centres we have in North Wales.

The children were from across the border where they lived in a city.

They were thrilled to see a sheep; jumping and gesturing wildly at the site of each one they encountered or spotted in the distance.

Unbelievable, I hear you cry!

Nearer to home, try asking your grandchildren how many wild animals or birds they can recognise, you may well be in for a surprise.

During the middle week of October, the end of our game fishing season, whilst walking the riverbank and attempting to persuade a fish to take a lure and failing miserably, I came to a gate with an adjacent stile.

As I approached, I disturbed a pair of grey squirrels who made for the long grass.

Behind them, a flock of dozens of hen mallards charged up an embankment, two llamas looked up momentarily from their grazing, as did a couple of sheep: amazing.

Unfortunately, by the time I had struggled to retrieve my phone to photograph them, the scene had dispersed. Kingfishers, dippers and wrens are regular visitors, as are the buzzards and red kites, often being harassed and attacked by irate crows.

Each and every one of these animals and birds has their place on this earth and each and every one is dependent upon its bounties.

The future of the planet and that of our children and grandchildren depends upon us looking after nature.

After all, it has looked after us for millennia.

How can we expect the younger generation to understand the importance of the environment, if they never “encounter” it? Fishing is one of the few hobbies that by its very nature means that participants have to engage with nature.

Whilst fishing, they actually become part of nature, if only for a short while.

I know that there are many arguments against fishing, but to me, they are all superseded by the necessity of anglers to become aware of their environment and in time learn to respect and protect it.

Your local fishing tackle shop will sell you a basis starter kit of rod, reel, line, hooks and floats for about £25 to £30 and what is more, they will be happy to give free advice on how to set up the kit and how to cast a line.

For those of you who may be put off the idea because of the need to “bait up” with worms or other wriggly critters, you will be pleased to learn that simple self raising flour and water mixed to form a firm dough will provide an excellent bait.

Just pinch off a small piece, just enough to cover the whole hook, and that’s it.

Casting out is as easy “as pie” with modern reels.

All you need is a fresh water pond or lake and away you go.

Just look at the joy on the young anglers face after having caught his first fish.