RE­TURN OF THE IDLER

Alarmed to hear of fel­low an­gling scribe Jeff Hatt’s long ab­sence from fish­ing, Dom Gar­nett hatches a plan to get him back on the bank...

Angling Times (UK) - - FAR BANK -

WITH the busy lives we lead, it’s per­haps un­der­stand­able some of us have a lay-off from an­gling.

Whether it’s work, the wife, or other hob­bies, things crop up. It’s a damned shame but it hap­pens – or doesn’t hap­pen as the case may be.

Even so, to hear that my friend Jeff Hatt hadn’t cast a line in anger for some months was a shock. His ex­cel­lent fish­ing blog Idler’s Quest drew a cult fol­low­ing of thou­sands at one point, af­ter all. So how could I tempt him back?

The prom­ise of a pint prob­a­bly helped. So did the draw of sim­ple tackle and zero prepa­ra­tion, not to men­tion the fact that he lives within walk­ing dis­tance of his lo­cal cut.

With my light lure fish­ing out­fit, it was easy to share a rod. This takes an un­selfish at­ti­tude, but is one of an­gling’s great un­sung plea­sures in my book. And so, in no time at all, we were putting the world to rights and jig­ging away.

A lack of early fish didn’t mat­ter as we had a proper catch-up and a good walk. In fact, one easy method is sim­ply to stroll along slowly, with the lure ‘trolling’ the near shelf.

One of life’s nat­u­ral mag­pies, Jeff al­ways has a wealth of new finds and projects on the go.

Through work and ex­tended fam­ily we share an affin­ity with the Pol­ish com­mu­nity, so we also prac­tised our sketchy lan­guage skills. We’ve learned a few tricks from Pol­ish lure an­glers too, a group Jeff agrees are still rather un­fairly ma­ligned, in spite of be­ing much bet­ter in­te­grated into the UK fish­ing scene these days. It was a few hun­dred yards be­fore the first bite ar­rived. I struck thin air, but it was a good sign. Jeff had the next bump and a cute perch to break our duck, be­fore a scrappy jack pike put a bet­ter curve in the rod.

A cou­ple of af­ter­noon pints tasted even bet­ter af­ter that, although I sus­pect these might have al­tered the pace of the fish­ing! Re­trieves got a bit more er­ratic and the lan­guage got a bit worse. The fish kept bit­ing, how­ever, with more perch and an­other pike. In fact, all we were miss­ing was a zan­der.

Best of all, though, Jeff was get­ting his fish­ing mojo back. Un­der the sim­ple premise of a walk to the pub, I had tempted him back to the fold. Time will tell if he re­dis­cov­ers his in­ner heron, but we’d had a great af­ter­noon and the moral of the tale is sim­ple – if you have a lapsed an­gling friend, you know what to do!

Our canals are bril­liantly ac­ces­si­ble places to roam.

The spoils of the cut – a jack pike for Jeff (above) and a wel­come pint (be­low).

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