Men bond through shared activity; woman through conversation.
Yes, I know - that's a cliché. It's a stereotype. It's lazy writing and potentially prejudicial. Never-the-less it remains true. Or at least broadly true in my personal experience, and personal experience is, as I understand these matters, what a blog should generally be about.
It's why, I would contend, men the world over are invariably found in their spare time gathered in groups near chess boards, domino tables, sports pitches (playing or collectively cheering their sides on), pelotons, cliff faces, boats, classic cars, allotments and, of course, river banks.
It's not that we don't talk to each other. It's just that we prefer the talking to be a secondary activity. We get together to do something, and it is through that shared doing, and the conversations that take place around that shared doing, that we bond.
It's what makes fishing with friends so special.
Now, I should confess that this is a subject on which I am definitely no expert. Nine times out of ten I fish alone, appreciating after a week at work the opportunity for a little solitude and concentration - a moving meditation as my wife likes to call it.
But a few times a year I arrive at the river or lake with friends, focused on fishing but also greatly looking forward to the opportunity to catch up after many months apart.
And so it was that three of us spent a fine cool day at Stockton Reservoir this week, trying everything we knew to coax carp from the water on a surprisingly hard day.
Not many bites, not many fish, but still a blast from start to finish (the day starting at 9am with a lakeside brew and bacon sarnie, and ending at approximately 2.30am with the consumption of the very last drop of a 30 years old Edradour single malt which my friend and I have been sharing together, dram by dram, for many a long year).
Once the brew was boiled and the bacon fried, our sleeper rods went out first, a boilie and pva bag attack with balls of groundbait fired over the top. This combination secured Richie his two carp of the day, both around the 4lb mark.
His second rod was set up for the waggler while I, still suffering with a long-standing elbow injury which makes a problem of repeated casting , opted instead for a margin pole down the edge. This eventually secured me my one carp of the day, again around the 4lb mark - not huge, but perfectly capable of pulling a terrific amount of elastic from the pole and putting up one hell of a fight.
Finally, my brother, arriving late as ever but just in time for a beer-and-pie lunch, settled on the waggler attack, fishing luncheon meat just off a shelf about 10 foot out. Plagued initially by a series on unhittable twitches (there are plenty of crucian in Stockton, and lots of roach - either could have been responsible), he then hit into three successive big fish - each of which, to his enormous chagrin, did him in the fight.
He did finally manage to land one, again around 4lb. And then, fishing into the dying light after a short but fierce shower, he finished with a flourish, landing a second at almost exactly 10lb. Wet gear was thrown into bags, a dark lake was bade goodnight, and off we rode into the murk to find light, laughter, good food and ale.