I was staring in disbelief.
REGULAR readers will know that I like to try new waters, and the other day I had a chance to visit one that had been recommended to me a while back.
It was a club lake that allowed day ticket anglers and was stocked with a mixture of species, but most anglers fished for the carp.
The chap who told me about it said you had to decide whether to fish down the edge or out in the middle, because the fish sometimes fed in one area and not the other.
When I arrived, a few anglers were set up already, so as I passed the first pair I stopped and asked them if they had done any good.
“Not yet, but Ted’s had a few next door.”
In the next swim there were two chairs with their backs to me, and some luggage on the ground between them. The right-hand one was occupied by a man float fishing in the margins to his right.
The second chair was a lot smaller than the first, and in front of it was a carp rod set up with a bite alarm and bobbin, fishing off to the left.
“Any good?” I asked, leaving my stuff and walking towards them.
“I’ve only had one, but Ted’s had a few,” the man with the float rod told me.
As I got level with the smaller of the chairs, I got a surprise. It was like that moment in the Alfred Hitchcock film Psycho when the chair is spun round to show the mother he’s been talking to throughout the film has been long dead.
On the chair was a teddy bear, dressed in a child’s fishing coat and trousers.
I was staring in disbelief when the alarm bleeped and line was pulled from the reel.
The angler grabbed the rod and played a carp of about
4 lb to the net, and when he’d unhooked it he rested it on the teddy bear’s knees and took a photo of him with it.
I watched him put the fish back and went on my way as he wiped the slime of Ted’s coat and trousers, trying not to shake my head in amazement.
I set up in a swim further along the same bank, and hadn’t been fishing for long when the bailiff turned up for the day ticket money.
I’d put one rod out in the middle and one down the edge, but he said: “I’m gonna have to ask you to reel one in. We have a ‘one rod per person’ rule here.”
I mentioned about the bear, but he said he was a fully paid up member.
On my way back at the end of the day I stopped at their swim again, and the chap showed me Ted’s membership card, complete with his photo id.
“They voted him onto the committee one time,” he said “but he gave it up after a year. He couldn’t bear the long meetings.”