In his popular weekly blog for this Angler's Mail website, Colin Mitchell discusses a clash in with the locals. Ever had a run-in with a member of the public whilst fishing? Click the share icons above and let us know.
I’M ALWAYS very aware that as anglers we need to maintain a good public profile.
Sometimes that means going the extra mile. You know, things like smile at passers-by, make allowances for a few boats, pick up litter that’s not yours.
I plonked myself down last week on the lower Thames, that lovely stretch of river that belongs to the people; That’s all of us remember, thanks to the Magna Carta.
There were a few anglers about so I made sure I put a bit of space between me and the next guy although he did come along and have a nice chat as I was tackling up – All very friendly. There were a lot of walkers about, no surprise on a nice autumn afternoon and most had cheery greetings. There were a few people with well behaved kids and dog walkers who poop scooped.
Then came the woman who owned the river. Well ok, she admitted that she didn’t, although she acted like she did…
Her two kids ran up and down the concrete behind me, jumping of course every time they went past and just missing by inches my spare gear stored neatly behind my chair. I shook my head. Bad move…
Mrs “I-Own-it” came storming along and demanded to know if I had shook my head at one of her offspring. Well I can’t lie, I did.
With hindsight maybe I should have claimed I had a twitch a bit like that of QPR boss Harry Redknapp because she then launched into me.
She was ‘only going to be here ten minutes,’ to feed the ducks of course with a whole loaf of bread, right between me and the angler above me.
When I pointed out there was a lot of spare walkway below me; that sometimes people are considerate… well she told me in no uncertain terms that she pays her council tax you know! Not quite sure what that had to do with fishing, but each to their own. ‘Ok, Mrs’, said I very calmly, ‘so do I! I also pay the Environment Agency my licence fee so I can fish.’ I didn’t ask if she paid to feed the ducks. I was a total diplomat, albeit one with a bitten tongue.
Remember that at the start I had said nothing! I even tried to keep quiet (which I admit is very unusual for me).
She kept coming back down the bank as the two kids fed the ducks – and masses of seagulls appeared like something out of a horror film (remember it was close to Halloween!). Anyway in the end I had to turn my back. It didn’t work. So I just said I had nothing to say and carried on fishing. Of course by the time she went I’d had enough…it was also time for me to go as my head had already gone…
Meanwhile, I had started the session looking for bream on the groundbait feeder as the conditions looked just right. I didn’t get any, just a few perch that gave slight knocks to double red maggot fished mid river. Purely for a change I dropped my feeder a rod length out where the water was about seven feet deep and the tip went straight round with a nice roach. Handy! So I lowered it back in again and out came a decent perch, followed by a smaller roach.
As luck would have it – and this was just before Mrs Ownit arrived – I had my stick float rod made up in my ready bag. Out it came and out went two grubs on a 20.
Bang…a perch. Bang…a bigger perch. Bang…a roach. Well the banging would have continued until bonfire night if I hadn’t been ducked off. But you know the rest of the story already…