Is 107-year-old Bill the oldest angler in the world?

“I only took up pole fishing at the age of 100!”

Those are the words of 107-year-old William Ware, the oldest angler in Britain, if not the world, who this week revealed the secrets which still keep him fishing week-in, week-out, even after 93 years on the bank!

The cheerful character, from Walthamstow in East London, lives on his own yet still manages to tie his own rigs and hooklinks, as well as preparing his bait and tackle. Far from looking for an easy life, he intends to carry on angling for as long as he can get a lift to his favourite Maybrand Fishery in Romford.  William regularly gets stuck into a rake of carp fishing just feet from the bank with a short pole, having moved onto commercial fisheries around 17 years ago, after nearly 80 years on the rivers.   

The great grandfather told AT: “I fish with one length of pole and when I get one I stick an extra piece on to keep it out of the reeds. At my age I have to call somebody to help me with the net if I catch a good fish, because I’m not too good on my feet! I fish with all sorts of baits - cheese, corn, maggots and bread, depending on what I’m fishing for. Down the years I’ve fished a lot on the Thames and the Ouse, and I’ve also done some sea fishing - I once caught a 5ft long tope!” he said.

William confesses he now prefers stillwaters, where he enjoys meeting other anglers, and he cites the secret to his longevity as constantly ‘keeping on the move’.
“If you can do something yourself, do it, don’t let somebody else help you. I do my own cooking, wash it all up and make my own bed. Plenty of fishing also helps. It’s a very satisfying sport and it keeps my mind active - I’m always concentrating for the next bite. I’d like to fish for as long as I possibly can,” he added.

Charlie Brownlow is the bailiff at Maybrand Fishery and gives William a helping hand whenever possible. He said: “You have to be a strong character to be able to do all this at his age. At home he didn’t like Meals on Wheels so he cancelled it and started cooking for himself again! Once he gets dropped off he’s here for the whole day, and at the end of it people can’t believe how many he has caught!”

Do you know an old angler who still fishes regularly? Write and tell us via our letters page, or email