When people mention angling legends, many names come to mind but one person who always gets a mention is, John Wilson.
John Wilson is possibly the UK’s most well-known angler ever, not only by anglers but non anglers as well. I’ve been in many conversations with folk who do not fish and yet they always refer to John Wilson.
Born in 1943 John Wilson lived in Enfield, London where his fished the river lea. He opened his fishing tackle shop in Norwich during 1971 but not before having careers in hairdressing, the merchant navy and printing.
I hear many angling stories of John Wilson fishing the river Wensum from the majority of anglers you meet on its banks. John Wilson is best known for his television programmes which covered coarse, game and sea fishing. With ‘go fishing’ probably being most popular.
John has fished many locations across the UK and worldwide including the river Nile, Zambezi, river Fraser and the river Ebro. The target species are varied from pike, perch and carp to exotic species such as sturgeon, sharks and catfish. He has been one of the pioneers of angling travel, his programmes coincided with an upturn in angling holidays and overseas fishing trips, something we take for granted these days.
John Wilson has also written plenty of books passing on his many years of experience, which all generations of anglers continue to enjoy and learn from. Some examples being John Wilson greatest fishing adventures and where to fish in Norfolk and Suffolk.
Starring in television programmes and writing books aren’t the only things John Wilson has done as he contributes to magazines, newspapers and attends shows and events at tackle shops.
I was once luckily enough to catch John in my local tackle shop when there were no special occasions, and he helped me out with some terminal tackle selection. He didn’t have to but he was kind enough to do so.
In the last two years John Wilson has attended the Norfolk carp show doing book signings and rig clinics both being very successful.
In 2004 John Wilson was voted by readers of the angling times the greatest angler of all time. A wonderful achievement on its own but 2009 saw john Wilson receiving an MBE in the queens honours list. In 2010 John Wilson was elected to the international game fish association’s hall of fame.
Sadly 2013 saw John Wilson move to Thailand for many reasons but losing interest in UK fishing being the hardest hitting.
Being named as one of the ten most influential anglers in 160 years by The Field magazine, writing many books and attending hundreds of shows and events are brilliant reasons to be classed an angling legend.
However, I think his ‘Go Fishing’ television programmes, being the catalyst for thousands of people to start angling, is my reason for putting John Wilson into the Angling Gazette Angling Legends Series.
His TV show not only pulled in over 4 million viewers in it’s peak, but was directly responsible for many youngster, from non angling families, taking up the sport.
Go Fishing prompted an upsurge in angling, something we really could do with again now.
John Wilson is one of the most influential and exciting anglers for any generation and he deserves the honour and recognition of being an angling legend and an MBE he certainly deserves it.
I’m happy to put forward John Wilson as a real Angling Legend.