Well, the big bang as far as I'm concerned.
A dusty field in North Essex, sometime in the summer of 1974.
My mum pulled onions, picked fruit and sorted potatoes in those fields, along with a group of other women.
We played in the bits of woodland, an old rusty tractor and built dens. You know the score.
But today was different. My mate going to show me how to fish. I remember this with perfect clarity.
He had a gold coloured solid glass spinning rod with an American style closed face reel. They were better " because they don't tangle ".
I had a bamboo cane ( but you know that didn't you ? ) a perch bobber float, cork coloured apart from the orange top with white border.
Ted's pond was a little irrigation reservoir full of roach, perch and what somebody said were bleak ( I don't think they were ).
What I remember mostly clearly was that after my mate packed up I carried on, missing bite after bite as those tiddlers struggled to get the oversized hook in their mouth. I finished with five roach and perch and I was....yes, hooked.
At the weekend, we got on the train to go to town to get maggots ( " quarter of whites please mister " ) and some floats and hooks. The station was barely two minutes from the shop so we could be back on the same train we arrived on ten minutes earlier.
" A packet of Model Perfect size 10s please " my mate said.
" What you fishing for " said the tackle shop owner.
" Little roach " was the reply.
" You don't want size 10s, you want 16s " he said.
We took the size 16s, moaning as we walked back that he wouldn't give us size 10s.
Down the pond with the small hooks and five fish turned in to twenty or thirty. Mow how did that happen ?
Forty seven years later the fire in my belly burns as brightly as ever.