On Friday of last week my brother Don and I went to our local reservoir for our first days fishing of the season. It was a pleasant day, calm and quite mild. We got to our destination at 0800hrs and having paid for our tickets we pottered off to our usual fishing spot. We had been fishing for, I suppose, about five minutes when another angler appeared on the scene and came over to have a chat with us. All quite normal, most fellow anglers will stop to pass the time of day and to enquire as to the state of the fishing and to get an idea off what fly or lure the fish are being tempted with ….or not, depending on circumstances. So having observed the usual social niceties the newcomer moved along the bank a few yards down from where Don was fishing and began to prepare to fish himself.
All perfectly normal and acceptable. This chap did not introduce himself and we had not met him before. After a few moments he began telling us his fishing life history: where he had fished his best catches, places to avoid, it went on and on. All the while, of course, Don and I were trying to concentrate on our casting and presentational skills and, of course, trying to catch some fish. Eventually our companion began to fish himself but the chatter went on ….and on …and on. In short he didn't stop, hardly taking the time to catch his breath. We were treated to his theory as to the best fly to use at this time of the season and a constant questioning as which flies Don and I were using. We then got advice on the weather and he shared his doubts with us that none of us were likely to catch a fish that day. One wondered why he had bothered to turn up since his forecasts were so pessimistic. However, turn up he had and we were the lucky recipients of his company and angling wisdom!
Time passed, and having heard Don and I talking to each other our "friend" began calling us by our Christian names. Very nice. The chatter went on and on. The dismal forecasts got more dismal with every half and hours that passed. I seriously began to think it was time to throw myself into the water and try and catch a fish by hand. I didn't voice my feelings but a few moments later having told us that we should all remain positive and try and make the situation a little humorous he actually asked if we had access to a wet suit. This, obviously, provided the humour he felt was lacking and he chuckled away whilst making similarly silly, and very humorous suggestions of a similar nature.
One of the joys of fishing is the peace and tranquillity it provides, yes, it is good to catch a fish but there are usually plenty of other things which contribute to the pleasure of the day. The bird life being one. Where we were has a very healthy water bird population and amongst them are Great Crested Grebe. They are fascinating birds and I can happily watch them for hours. When they dive beneath the surface of the water it is always a bit of a challenge to predict where the bird will eventually resurface. It is quite amazing how long they are able to remain submerged. Also, at the time of year in question, there is the song of blackbirds and thrushes and various other smaller resident birds to cheer up the day with. That is, of course, if you can hear them undisturbed. By now our new found companion, let's call him Wally, was still chattering away on subjects which he clearly felt he was an expert . I don't really know why the name Wally came into my head, but on reflection I think it fits just right. By now Wally was beginning to get on my nerves and I seriously considered moving to another area. I changed my mind feeling that if Don and I moved on Wally was just as likely to follow us, probably in the (mistaken) belief that we may know something and were off to a better spot.
All of a sudden I was into a fish which after a few minutes I was able to land. Wally became even more animated by this event. What fly had I used, how was I presenting it, did I pull it through the water slowly or with speed? The questioning was intense. Wally's predictions of doom regarding his chances of catching any fish became even more gloomy. Then, as things often happen, he hooked a fish. I went over and netted it for him reasoning, that if he actually got a fish, he might just shut up. No such luck we were now into the numbers game again, he was, he told us, very unlikely to catch a second or third fish and so on and so on. Don then got a fish and Wally hooked and lost another one. Sometime later I caught a second fish and the questioning from Wally began all over again. I'm afraid I had had enough, it was time to go home. Wally seemed quite surprised that I was not going to stay and try and catch three more fish which is the day limit for that fishery. Don decided to remain and I left him in the dubious company of Wally who was still rabbiting on. I wished him farewell and he said he hoped to see me again I smiled and thought I hope I am spared that delight. Well, you can't win them all !