WELCOME TO the Tuesday blog. Tuesdays mean Steve Collett, the boss of leading online tackle retailers Harris Sportsmail.
Steve’s blogs focus mainly on match fishing but also delve into his styles of pleasure fishing and specialist angling. He also appears regularly in Angler’s Mail magazine.
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PLAYING SPOT THE ANGLER!
I HAD to have a little chuckle to myself the other day whilst popping out for a bit of grocery shopping.
Being a Friday afternoon the supermarket was packed, so I decided to take a front row viewing box in the coffee shop that’s now situated above the aisles of groceries, perfect for people watching and passing a bit of time, whilst the queues deteriorated.
After a few minutes I began to notice a pattern emerging around a few of the aisles. Middle aged men, men of a pensionable age, all staring lovingly at the cake-making shelves, with a certain pose that I’ll come on to later.
In the freezer section, the same mould of gentleman could be seen inspecting freezer bags of sweetcorn, then holding out fingers and thumbs as if they were trying to work out how much 100g costs.
So a glance back to the cake making aisle and again, a few lingering gents were perusing small bottles of liquid, and I wondered if these could be anglers. In fact I didn’t wonder, I knew they must be, so I made a note of loitering around the area myself when I finally got round to doing the shop.
It didn’t take long to confirm my suspicions as a guy of around 45-50 looked so out of place he just had to be an angler. Trying not to arouse suspicion, I too picked up a small bottle of this mysterious liquid, and heard the words “good for dyeing meat this, mate.”
I was right. I can spot a fellow angler a mile off, and it wasn’t long before another gent strolled up, but this one could throw me, he was that skinny he must have to run round the shower to get wet. It couldn’t be an angler, could it? No, unless he has a new method for catching carp with a cupcake base and some hundreds and thousands!
So do we stand out, can other anglers spot us, like some secret “fight club”? I know I can and here are a few dead giveaways.
Here is my guide to spotting fellow anglers, all in good fun of course…
The walk. Now this is a total giveaway that it’s a match angler, it’s the hands behind the back walk, slowly pacing, clasping one hand with the other like a speed ice skater, or like wearing imaginary handcuffs, seeking any form of H20 that comes into vision. He can spot a plipping roach from 500yards away; such is the trained walk/eye combo
The 1970s pornstar sunglasses. This one is becoming harder to tell, now they have comeback into fashion, but the old Optix style (polarized) show that this man handles maggots!
The suicide bridge jump. See a bridge, see a man perilously looking over it, he’s an angler, but to the rest of the world he looks like he is going to jump!
The shopper. As I discussed earlier, single man, festively plump, hanging around the baking section, something doesn’t add up, unless he is a fisherman. This common beast can also be found looking and purchasing strange sizes of Tuppaware, and single bags of 500g frozen sweetcorn.
The tan. This can have a few variations, including the “panda” where said 1970s polarized have been worn, the “go faster stripes” again due to dodgy eyewear, and the “perch belly” where a topless angler has been sat down for five hours, with a few rolls of extra insulation that provides a telling “perch” pattern when stood up!
The fishery café physique. This is the bane of all our lives, our chosen sport does not lend itself to eating a lobster salad with a vinaigrette dressing whilst fishing shallow at 13m. So a hearty 3,000 calorie breakfast takes its toll midway into the season. In fact a few years ago, I was eating that many fishery breakfasts my belly button got to my peg five minutes before me!
The pet store. Here you can find a man purchasing dog biscuits in bulk, but his clothes indicate he has never been near such an animal.
Poundstretcher. Here you can find the angler with numerous washing up bowls and trays that will never see the light of a kitchen.
Equestrian suppliers. Again a man who is usually larger than a shirehorse purchasing 5litres of molasses.
The airport in winter. Where the best bit of Halkon Hunt Goretex will have been given the once over in the washing machine, and proudly sported before jetting off to sunnier climes, and people look at you funny because you have your name printed on your own clothes like a naughty seven-year-old’s PE kit!
I could go on forever, and I think it’s quite nice that we are a distinguishable group, it shows a commitment, but it’s also quite comical, not only in angling.
The same could be said about train spotters, birdwatchers, and cyclists – it’s just a man thing!
Next time you’re out, spot a fellow angler but don’t necessarily use my spotting guide.
After last week’s big money madness a few large entry matches have taken place, but one that caught my eye this week was a reservoir in Northumberland. Where 47-14-0 of skimmers were needed to top the bill, and Nick Jose was just the man to do it, and in doing so smashed the match record on this natural stillwater. Catching over 86 skimmers to a 1lb on redworm and maggot, Nick caught steady all day to end up miles ahead of second place. A great result on a very tough water, and a well-deserved Angler’s Mail performance of the week.
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STEVE COLLETT RETURNS NEXT TUESDAY (JULY 30).
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