My name is Joe Early and I am currently the IT Manager at FishPal Ltd and CTO of iWANTFishing. iWANTfishing is a small prototype project to test the fishing tackle industry with a new type of marketplace, which offers a better level of service than eBay or private fishing forums. My role with FishPal mostly covers a wide range of tasks and is my 9 to 5 job – everything from code writing, website updates, planning, market research, and technical support to staff.
My first love was computers. In 1998, I got a wonderful Compaq machine for Christmas, which had the brilliant Windows ME O/s. I was in awe. At that point, I knew I didn’t want to take up my father’s trade of being a plumber. Going to work every day with a lunch box and in the cold wasn’t for me. So, I did various computer courses as far as pre-uni. At that point, I ended up working in Software Testing and continued to do for the next 12 or so years until I fished in Scotland and got a rod broken by one of the Scottish Ghillies. At that time, FishPal was just the booking agent, but they were very helpful in the resolution of the issue at the time. A few months later, I received a FishPal newsletter and applied for the job within.
I am addicted to salmon fly fishing. I must get to the river and chase such a wonderful creature. I release everything I catch, so it’s all about the sport and being out in nature. As a child, I did a little fishing locally and came 2nd in a local club competition. Shortly after, I was a teenager and fishing took a back seat until my early 20s. I used to go working with my father and I decided I wanted to fish the river behind the hotel he was working in. It was just a small trout, but I kept fishing for a short time afterwards. But I didn’t get “hooked” until later in life.
99% of my fishing is done by fly fishing. I just enjoy fishing the fly a lot more than any other method. I do spin fish an odd time if conditions say so, but as long as the river is clean, I’ll fish the fly no matter the height. My favourite place to fish changes often, but I have a soft spot for the River Finn in Donegal – it’s a gem of an Irish spate river winding through the hills of Donegal. The availability of fishing in Ireland is good, but the runs of salmon have been on a downward trend, not only in Ireland but worldwide. So for fishing, I travel the length and breadth of Ireland, as well as Scotland, Sweden, and Russia. My most memorable ‘catch’ so far is a rather large salmon hooked in Sweden, which was estimated to be 30lb+.
When I visit new waters to fish, I use mostly my own instinct, but the vast majority of knowledge comes from talking to the local men who fish the river already. Only if I travel and have a short period on the water will I employ the services of a guide. Most of the time, I fish with at least one other, but I sometimes do like to get out alone and get lost in the moment, so to speak.
Outside of FishPal and iWANTfishing, I still go out fishing for fun, but I have been lucky in that I have been able to turn a hobby into a job that I enjoy. It’s a far cry from sitting in a glass box in a city and 2hrs of traffic per day. I also think it has definitely been a benefit to my technological career – many a Friday I have left the office with some issue needing to be overcome. While I’m out fishing, the solutions just come from nowhere, so it’s a great way to get lost in the moment and clear your mind, but then all of a sudden you have a solution to something important.
My advice to anyone looking to take up fishing is to simply get out there, as it’s a thoroughly enjoyable sport, and every angler is willing to help a newcomer. Adaptability and confidence are key in fishing. But even if you call to a stocked lake with no experience, you will soon be on your way to having a great day’s fun.
Be sure to check out the iWANTfishing website through the following link: