If you’re a fanatical angler, chances are that over the years you’ve built up your own little collection of hangers on, social drop outs and misfits that accompany you regularly on ventures to the coast. It’s amazing how a hobby such as angling can have the power to unite all manner of individuals who find themselves sharing the same enthusiasm for that common purpose within the sport, whatever that might be. The banker and the bricklayer have have little in common other than their fondness for what lies beneath the ruffled waters found where they pass some time together, but even with this unity that we can all probably relate to, do things always go according to plan? As with any human coupling in life, it’s not unusual for friction to develop over the course of time with spats and disagreements common place when things don’t go the right way.
But just what is it about the people we fish with that rubs us up the wrong way and what are the characteristics that leave us shaking our head in disbelief, frustration and sheer wonderment on a regular basis?
I’d pop the kettle on at this point.
Everyone will know ‘Have you got’. You’re there putting your rod together on the beach, contemplating the evening ahead. You hear him alongside you rustling in his seat box, catch some frustrated mutterings on the wind and then it happens. “Have you got any shock leader?”, comes the call. It’s all too familiar and you instantly remember the string of recent sessions when it was bait elastic, link clips, headlamp batteries… The list goes on. Yes, this pal, usually the one with plenty of time on his hands to prepare for a session too, is always lacking something and strangely, it’s always you who provides it.
Much like ‘Have you got’, ‘the presumptive one’ knows how prepared you are and that you’ll likely have all of the angles covered in your shared enthusiasm for our fishy friends. Knowing that a lengthy walk to the mark is involved, he presumes you will have scales, a net and plenty of leads on board, so takes advantage of the situation by considerably lightening his own load. Top tip- if sharing a lift, when you arrive at the mark do the decent thing and lift your companions rucksack from the boot of the car. Just why does it feel like it’s stuffed with feathers? Chances are, because your partner for the night is ‘the presumptive one’.
Following a particularly late session the night before, you wake with a cloudy head and your limbs ache. The two mile walk to the mark and the four hours of winching dogfish in fuelled only by a squashed Snickers and a can of Monster was never a great idea and after three hours sleep and your bodies reluctance to lie in, you think it’s a good idea to head out to the car to take the kit out that remains where it was left (bad practice but admit it, we’ve all been there). You’re confronted by a scene reminiscent of a teenagers bedroom with energy drink bottles and half eaten pasties squashed and trodden in to the passenger footwell. A boiled sweet is stuck to the upholstery and for the second weekend on the bounce, you find yourself removing all evidence of ‘the messy one’ from the motor before the wife rises from her slumber.
This guy is good, at least in his own mind. He spends a lot of time tinkering with his reels and regularly boasts of the latest spool bearings he has imported from the States, reputedly used in the moving parts of NASA space vehicles. He has honed his cast over the course of time and the term ‘over head thump’ is blasphemy. He stands poised at the water’s edge, the drop from rod tip to ground sees the lead perilously close to the deck and you look on from a safe distance. He swings his terminal tackle away beautifully and executes what appears to be a graceful cast. But no one told the lead as it travels through the air like it’s easing its way through thick treacle and plops down with a reluctant splash some fifty meters from where he is stood. He turns back towards the beach and you make brief eye contact. You want to comment, but he is happy with his effort. Or is he? Twenty minutes later you also realise that he has taken both of your lines out. It’s going to be a long session.
This guy is as enthusiastic as anyone and you’ve shared many a successful trip together. But there could have been so many more. Larry will plan your shared adventure in finite detail with you and you’ll be looking forward to your scheduled session that coming weekend. And then it happens. You receive a call, text message or voicemail explaining that Larry can’t for whatever reason make it. The reason seems inconsequential and it seems that even Larry is struggling to convince himself what it might be.
This is one of the easiest guys to identify. The cost of a ninety minute drive to your chosen mark could be considerable, depending on your motor of choice and splitting the fuel cost of said trip is the done thing to do. At least it should be. ‘Fresh air for fuel’ guy possibly doesn’t even drive himself, but his avoidance skills when it comes to covering diesel costs do not go unnoticed. Test his steel by casually pulling in to an Esso station en-route to your mark and watch him squirm.
Note also how Fresh Air Fuel guy can also turn in to the messy one!
The racer is a sly character and as much as you’d like to believe that the pair of you are sharing every aspect of your fish-seeking mission, you couldn’t be further from the truth. The racer is always first out of the car and has his holdall over his shoulder before you’ve even got to the pay and display machine. That mark that you both like to fish- have you ever noticed how he gets right on it every time? Lightening fast speed and good preparation are the racers secret and ensure he never ends up on the duff mark.
It’s coming to the end of the session, you both have work early the following morning and you agree to wind in at 10.30pm. You stand gazing at your rod tips for the remaining twenty minutes of the trip, willing a final cast fish to make an appearance before clocking the time, picking up your rod and making that last retrieve. But wait. Where is the guy who travelled to the mark with you and spent the evening in your company? He’s gone, vanished in to thin air. You turn your headlamp up a notch to do a sweep of the beach, momentarily concerned for his wellbeing. But there’s no need to worry, the apparition has taken care of himself and is already undertaking the cliff path, totally oblivious to whether or not you might have broken your ankle on the rocks in the dying moments of the session.
You’ve taken a look at the tides and realise you have the time to shoot down the beach and lift a few lugworm. You make mention of this to your pal who you’re planning on heading out with that coming weekend and all of a sudden they are strapped for cash, time is short and the request is made. “grab me half a pound whilst you’re there”. Said with such a casual tone, they care not for your back and your time, they likely imagine that within a short space of time you’ll be picking several pounds of prime lug worm off the top of the sand without breaking in to a sweat.
You’ll notice that the Would Be Bait Digger never offers to return the favour. I wonder why?
But these are the characters we choose to fish with and I dare say we have all been guilty of one of the above from time to time. There’s possibly even those reading this now who are pointing the finger at this very author for one or more of the above.
But would we change anything? Maybe. Will it ever happen? Not likely!