Mark Taylor has always enjoyed fishing but his best catch to date was netting two silver medals at the World Police and Fire Games in Belfast.
The 44-year-old Dungiven retained firefighter participated in the shore fishing competition (designated area) at Longfield Bank, Eglinton, which saw him up against competitors from all around the world.
“The way it works is when you arrive you get a number in an envelope and that stipulates where you fish from, which is called pegging.
“People say fishing is about luck, and yes that’s true to an extent in that you have to be lucky to draw a good peg but there is also a lot of skill and knowledge involved too,” says Mark.
In all, Mark was in competition, fishing for five hours, after setting up for an hour and a half.
“I didn’t see the time going in,” says Mark, who has been with the NIFRS for four and a half years.
“I hardly ate! It was quite stimulating, mentally, because you’re concentrating all the time.”
In total, there were 60 anglers, of all ages and from different emergency services from 10 countries including Canada, USA, Brazil, Iceland and Norway; competing for medals in three categories including individual and longest flat fish.
Mark won silver in both categories with 155 points, and a Flounder measuring 31cms.
“I was over the moon with the results because I hadn’t fished competitions for a while, so I was delighted,” said Mark.
“I was up against very good anglers and I wasn’t overly happy with my peg so, to come out with two silvers, just to be taking part I was over the moon,” he admitted.
Mark says he thoroughly enjoyed the Games, which he said “really were friendly”.
“I met new people and got to hear about their jobs, and it was just a great atmosphere,” said Mark. “My wife Tara, and the children came to the opening ceremony and we all really enjoyed it. What was nice was that I got to speak with RCMP officers from Canada and with firefighters from Australia, and you realise how we are all one big family. We save lives when we can and we all do the same job.”
Mark says he would love to defend his silver medals at the 2015 World Police and Fire games in America in Fairfax, Virginia. “It was a very worthwhile experience and it was really interesting to hear how other officers cope with their role in different countries,” said Mark. “There is the possibility of going to defend the two silvers; maybe go on holiday and go to the Games too but, we’ll see!”