HE was one of the best and most well-known matchmen in Mid Cheshire.
Then he packed in competitive angling and fished the local waters for pleasure.
And then he disappeared from them almost entirely.
Tony Waterman has become noticeable by his absence. But he has not deserted fishing altogether, in fact he's closer to the sport in some ways now than he ever has been.
Tony is in charge of five fishing lakes on a 28-acre site called Estangs de Breton, just south of Rennes in Brittany.
He has taken French leave of British angling and is loving every minute.
'I saw the job advertised, applied, got it and am now about to start my third year. It's marvellous,' he said.
'The weather's better, the food's better, the social life is better and it's a slower way of life - and that suits me.
'The villagers near the site are magnificent people. Would you believe the kids will open the shop door for you? Over here you might get mugged.'
As a matchman, he won many local competitions and bigger ones too, including the Angling Times Winter League and the Burtonwood Trophy which, that day, was contested by 600 other anglers on the River Weaver.
For 25 years he was the man to beat. But he fished his last match about 15 years ago.
'It got too commercialised for my liking,' he recalled. ' I used to run matches for kids and then realised when they got to 16 they could not afford to enter the open-age matches.
'I discovered I wasn't enjoying it any longer. I did not used to just pick up a rod and go fish a match, I'd practise the venues.
'I'd come home from work and go straight out to practise. It was hard work and then it became too much of a chore and I wanted to get the enjoyment back so I went pleasure fishing instead.'
Now he and wife, Val, who live with their daughters Debbie and Laura at Harris Road, Lostock Gralam, are checking on the cross-Channel ferry times for the new season later this month.
Tony said: 'The lakes are full of fish and cater for holiday, carp and catfish anglers.
'Some just turn up, pitch their tent and fish for a week. They get away from their wives and return to their childhood for a while.
'The nearest village is over a mile away. It is flat and remote, but the fishing is good. The biggest caught last year was an 85lb catfish, over six feet long.
'I can fish whenever I want to and some of the parties want me to fish with them or show them how to catch the fish.
'The only qualms I had were about looking after people, but I've got used to that. They're always right - except where the welfare of the fish is concerned. Some of them are worth £1,000.
'I am in charge of their health, stocking and the water and I'm loving every minute.'
Tony, a retired Cheshire County Council foreman and ex-stacker truck driver, does have one regret, however.
He is an avid Witton Albion fan and will miss the climax to the season which could well involve promotion.
'I stay in touch and know how they've got on as soon as a match is over,' he said.
'I don't know whether we can win the league, but if it rests on the last match of the season I'll be back.'
* Anyone interested in booking an angling trip to join Tony Waterman in France can visit www.etangsdebreton.co.uk/