Over the past few weeks, Matt Taylor has spent far more time on a riverbank than on a football pitch.

The West Ham United midfielder is a keen fisherman who, when he was not at home or on holiday with his wife and three children, spent his summer break hooking fish of various sizes at home and abroad.

While football is now back at the top of his agenda following West Ham's return to training this week, Taylor admitted to enjoying his time pursuing his second sporting passion. Last month, Taylor and two friends drove for ten hours to Le Lac Fishibil in northern France, where he caught a 48lb grass carp, among others.

WATCH MATT TAYLOR ON WEST HAM TV

"I really enjoy my fishing and I was lucky enough to manage to get a trip to France," Taylor told West Ham TV on the first day of the Hammers' pre-season trip to Cork in the Republic of Ireland. "I really enjoyed it and I think it is something I'll be making into an annual holiday.

"We got some nice fish, as well, which was good, but it was nice just to get away with some friends. It was a social road trip as much as a fishing trip so it was really good and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

"I've always fished at home but I'd never been to France. I got the opportunity to go this year and I took it and will definitely be doing it again. It's something I really enjoy it and my friends do too. The even better thing is that I try to take my son as often as I can and get him into it."

Matt Taylor

Matt Taylor with the 48lb grass carp he caught in France

Concentrating on his day job, Taylor said he and his team-mates were enjoying being back out on the pitch after a six-week summer break.

"We're into the start of pre-season and it was good to starting touching the footballs again. When you come away, it allows you to focus on the first part of pre-season, which is obviously the most-important part because it is when the fitness and conditioning comes into its own.

"I'm really happy to be back with the lads and we've got a good game coming up on Sunday which we're all looking forward to."

West Ham are staying at the Fota Island Resort a few miles east of Cork city centre - a complex that has everything the players and backroom staff need on-site, including first-class pitches, a gym and swimming pool.

"The facilities here are wonderful. The hotel is really nice, I've used the gym and the pitches are wonderful. The match on Sunday gives us something to look forward to and something to get fit for.

"The thing abour pre-season is that we have a lot of games in a short period of time, so obviously you need to train and get ready for them, but also hone your skills on the pitch. That's what the aim is.

"We'll have a couple of sessions a day, some of which will be physical and some football-based so it'll be a case of gettting the balls out, getting fit and getting that camaraderie back in the squad as well. The banter is flying about because we've got a great group of lads here."

To watch Matt Taylor's West Ham TV interview in full, including his views on the Club's new signings, click here.