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.
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.