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...
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).