STAY­ING POWER?

For ev­ery two fair-weather an­glers, another will hap­pily spend nights on end bivvied up. But is vir­tu­ally liv­ing on the bank a healthy thing? Dom Gar­nett badly needs a shower.

Angling Times (UK) - - MATCH NEWS -

ISHING is a time­con­sum­ing sport at the best of times, but have modern an­glers taken it too far? In the past I’ve viewed lo­cal ‘bank rats’ with a mix­ture of envy and baf­fle­ment. But more re­cently, I’ve bor­dered on a level of un­der­stand­ing.

Per­haps the real clincher is when you wait all day and night for a run, only to have a fish hooked and then come adrift in sec­onds. A part of you is in­clined to say: “Ok, I’m not leav­ing un­til I’ve caught a fish.” And so you find your­self, 48 hours later, net still dry, fam­ily won­der­ing where you are and an in­box ap­proach­ing melt­down. Be warned: it is a road that can lead to alien­ation, per­sonal hy­giene is­sues and piles.

So is long-stay angling a mark of de­ter­mi­na­tion, or sheer stub­born­ness? The ex­act def­i­ni­tion of a long or short ses­sion of­ten de­pends on your out­look, for one thing. To your other half, two hours can be a long time on the bank; to a spec­i­men hunter, it might barely be time to set up camp.

There are also pos­i­tives about

FHome from home: the wait be­gins. long stay fish­ing, how­ever. If your life is stress­ful, it can take sev­eral hours to re­ally tune out of the rat race. It is a lib­er­at­ing feel­ing to re­alise, all of a sud­den, that you’d to­tally for­got­ten about your daily bother and the hours on the clock, or found that rare state of peace through be­ing to­tally ab­sorbed in na­ture. Be­fore you badly need the loo, or wish you’d packed less bait and more solid food.

Per­haps my most ob­ses­sive spell of this kind of fish­ing was a whole string of carp ses­sions on the lo­cal canal. When the grass on your pitch wears thin and the lo­cals sus­pect you’re home­less and all you’ve had is a soli­tary bream, you sus­pect things might have gone too far. Nor am I alone, judg­ing by past con­ver­sa­tions with fish­ery own­ers. A week-long shared bivvy stint in mid-win­ter de­mands quite a spe­cial kind of ma­niac.

The in­sis­tence of ‘one last cast’ is a stan­dard fish­ing joke, but things can go fur­ther still. Re­tired roofer Peter Ralph hit the Angling Times head­lines back in 2014 when he lit­er­ally moved out of home to live on the bank, tak­ing a tele­vi­sion, gas fridge and the fam­ily dog with him. Amaz­ingly he did so with his wife’s bless­ing.

Call me fickle, but the prospect of liv­ing on the bank just doesn’t ap­peal. Fish­ing is meant to be some­thing you look for­ward to, not an aban­don­ment of ev­ery­day life. There’s only so much tinned food and lack of sleep one man can take.

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