Etiquette? What’s that?
This week, I’m somewhat fed up… What has happened to ‘on the bank etiquette’? When I was a youngster, you watched another angler respectfully at a distance, until invited forward, or crept stealthily into a position where conversation was possible only when you had made eye contact, and it certainly didn’t begin “…alright mate, caught owt?” as you blundered into his swim…

There were cardinal sins too; breaking the skyline was punishable by death (well, a damn good rollicking), casting over another angler’s line…well, that was death, and shouting, or running, resulted in a swim, propelled by irate matchmen. It seems to me that all sense of good manners has gone out of the window after the last couple of weeks I’ve had… Don’t get me wrong, I’ve absolutely no problems with a polite approach, a prelude of small talk leading to the question of whether I’ve indeed been fortunate enough to tempt a piscine opponent, indeed, I even enjoy meeting like-minded anglers, but some people need to have a long hard thought about how they act on the bank.
I go fishing for the relaxation, (yes, it’s also work, but it’s not hard work is it?) solitude, nature, and just occasionally, a few fish. I do not hit the banks to get drunk, stoned, or generally disturb every other angler within a five hundred yard radius. If you do go fishing for those reasons, that’s fine, that’s how you enjoy your angling then so be it, I fully respect that, but I’ll not intrude on your party, if you don’t intrude on mine.
So, what has incurred my ire this time? I love fishing close in, under the rod tips, and as a result, consider myself fairly stealthy, sitting well back from the water, often in the cover of a bush, or behind screening reeds, so you can imagine my dismay, when last week, with fish so close in I could see their backs out of the water, that an individual marched up to my peg, loudly demanded I answer his query, then proceeded to stand right on top of the fish, feeding ardently within inches of the bank. “Bloody hell, there’s fish here!” he bawled. I replied that I was aware of that, I was actually trying to catch one; “Well, you might have to wait, they’ve just swum off!” I noted several bow waves as the fish scarpered… we had words, and I explained that I wouldn’t even contemplate doing what he had done were I to approach another angler, as not only did I consider it impolite, it wasn’t good angling practice either. “I’m really struggling further down mate, I was only trying to see what you were doing….” AAAAHHHH!

Later in the week, a different venue, a different day, a different idiot. Sitting quietly beneath my shelter, I heard (or rather felt) someone thudding along the bank behind me. Two anglers, both ‘adults’ came running past, in the quest to find a suitable peg, and get there before anyone else, despite the fact that no other anglers were present. Sliding to a halt, one asked the usual question, and I replied that I had surprisingly caught a carp, and lost another, and that I thought that fish were coming on to the feed; a big mistake. “Over here mate! He’s catching, we’ll drop in next door!” I was aghast… They ran back to their Mercedes, slammed open the boot, and hurriedly dumped the contents of the car in the next peg. A crate of Stella, some suspicious packages of herbs were noted, and after a minute or two, once the tackle had been widely spread and the bivvy had been unfurled, one returned to my basecamp to ask if he could borrow a MALLET! AAAAHHH! (For the record, I don’t own a mallet, and consider that any angler that does, should stand before a mirror, part his hair, and check whether ‘666’ is tattooed there).
This pair of anglers made enough noise between them to scare every fish in the area, (you wouldn’t have wanted them in your camp in the ‘Walking Dead’, that’s for certain, you’d have no chance!) and as I’d caught, and completed my tasks, I thought that the best option was to pack up and return to the van. As I did, I noted their first cast, straight over the lines of the much bigger angler on the far bank, and noticed him snatch up his rod as the alarm sounded, and lift into what he thought was a carp. He wound in, with a brief look of confusion, before he realised that he was pulling against the now screaming chump on my bank who was convinced he had a fish on… The other angler shouted a warning, and reeled in before cutting their line; he laid down his rod, wound his other one in, and marched away from his peg, in our general direction, clearly intent on doing harm…he was what normal sized people call ‘a big unit’, and looked clearly able to wrestle dinosaurs, crush rocks, and generally hurt people with his just ears…. badly. I shut the doors, started the engine, and slowly drove away; in my mirror, I could clearly see one angler being lifted by his collar, (it may even have been his nipples) and the other one locking himself in the Mercedes as The Hulk raged about their incompetence; I regret to say I felt nothing but smug…

So, just to finish this week’s rant, I’m seriously considering the purchase of a paintball gun. It’s a superb way to deliver boilies at range, but be warned; if you dare to ask me for a mallet, or break my skyline I WILL gun you down…


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