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By Jonathan Steyn

An amateur, as derived from its Latin definition may be a person who engages in an activity for pleasure rather than remuneration: a devotee, a lover or an admirer of an activity. I feel no matter what I have achieved or the heights I may ever attain, I remain an admirer of carp angling and forever an amateur of this passion!

Angling has gone beyond a hobby or an entertaining activity, but more become a passion which is an integral part of my life and part of the life I share with Delene “Lee” Serfontein. This passion formulates a part of our lives that seems to be often a governing factor when planning out our time and balancing the challenges of a career whilst remaining social amongst our various friendship groups. When consideration is given to where this passion began and how it was harboured, I have often sat with appreciative thoughts of those who influenced this part of who I am and often thought of how different my life could have been in the absence of enjoying so many memorable moments at the water’s edge.

These thoughts of influence in my personal fishing, has brought the importance of mentorship and role-models in the sport to the fore of my opinion and the importance of it in the development of the sport, which going forward cannot be discounted.

From a very young age I found myself in love with fishing, from my first trout at age 6 to skipping on rock pools and catching their inhabitants down at the coast, where then further I hunted freshwater species until I found the niche of specimen carp angling. What defined me and the way I developed in this facet of angling was through my observation and attempts to emulate those in the industry (both locally and internationally) that I admired. These figures included the likes of Simon Crow, whose literature and background from his formative days, allowed me to draw parallels between him and myself, which kept inspiring me to push to the next level of my pursuits as a youngster and teen always aspiring to chase the levels my heroes had attained.

Looking up to a figure like Simon Crow allowed a youngster to build confidence in the rigs I knew he backed, the approaches he would instil and the mindset of the goals he wished to achieve. This motivated me not only in that I felt that he would approve of my emulation of his proven approaches but too I felt that I was on the right track in finding my confidence in development of my own ideals and expression of my angling. Local figures such as Gilbert Foxcraft too had such a major influence, being far ahead in his knowledge of the industry and which knowledge I pried for whenever I could, or to see his displays at fishing shows and seminars all through the mid 2000s, he enlightened and passed on vast amounts of information, which I severely took to heart.

Today I am an angler working with Fox International, as well as Sticky Baits UK and really attribute a lot of accomplishments to the effort put in by anglers sharing their knowledge and taking time to pass that knowledge onto a youngster like myself. As someone who believes himself to be a devotee of the sport, I am of the view that we never stop learning and to this day I look up to Simon Crow and even to an angler I deem a new mentor and friend in recent years, big fish man Kristoff Cuderman, who I discuss ideas and approaches with almost on a weekly basis, as I know I still have so much to learn and his effort to always impart knowledge once more highlighted the importance of mentorship and role-models in this incredible sport, irrespective of your age or experience.

Pensive of the role some great anglers played in my fishing I further have thought of the influence I have been able to pass onto fellow anglers in the industry. The importance of taking the time to advise and take an interest in a fellow angler has never been more prevalent to me than when reminiscing with good friend: Zac Bacher, who I was able to impart some knowledge to and help kick start his angling journey on an incredible path. I met Zac at Emmarentia dam in 2017, when a very polite and eager young lad came to ask about my session and from chatting on that day to fishing our first sessions together, we have developed a lasting friendship. I am proud to say I have been on a few sessions with him when he bested his PB and in fact was able to give him his bucket on his first 40lb+, which ironically is the same fish as my Mirror Carp PB.

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