10 things you are secretly scared of
The seemingly innocent happenings that scare the crap out of you. Here's John Hannent's ten favourites...
1 Making a tool of yourself on a new water
Whenever you set foot onto a new water, you're always conscious of the fact that you're new and want to be 'accepted' in as fast a time as possible, with no hiccups. It doesn't always happen; casting up trees, falling in, driving in, casting over others... It all happens, especially when you don't want it to. I recently went to a water I'd always fancied but never got stuck in on. I'd convinced myself that with limited time a bait boat would be the way forward (yeah, I know). I got the rods out, dropped a rig into said vessel and sent it on its lonely way to the snags. Halfway there it decided to take an abrupt left turn straight onto the snags. At this point I noticed all the regulars standing together drinking tea watching the new boy. To cut a long story short, I had to wade out, in my pants, to get the boat and its contents. Sickened with the fact that I'd resorted to radio-controlled cheating, and somewhat embarrassed, I slung the boat to the back of the swim and cast two baits in to the trees, traditional-like!
2 Needing a dump
As the sun crests through the morning clouds, illuminating the awakening pond, that Stag 'Dynamite' chilli suddenly seems like it wasn't such a good idea. You've endured the 'processing' for the past two hours and the noxious by-products and now it's time to deliver. Bite time is shite-time. You know that as soon as your grots are around your ankles that Neville is going to tweet into life. Pant-fulls, hood-fulls, smear-back and shoe-full are all to be avoided.
3 Getting caught beating the bishop
Nah, it's not rising to Yates-like stardom by extracting a Redmire myth at record weight, it's being caught extracting your own baby gravy while in the confines of your man-dome. Session anglers especially will have answered the curious "have you had anything?" with a fizz of flies and trying to touch your knees with your nipples on the side of the bedchair until awkwardness subsides. But did he see you? Of course he did. Worryingly, why did he stay? (Reference: Peter Regan, Savay)
4 Getting questioned on "why you fold your reels handles in?"
Those few words immediately expose you as a poseur, a Clarence, a pompadour du fromage, a twat. I'm sorry, but the answer of "it looks nice" doesn't get you off the hook. "I'm the result of a same-sex marriage" may see some sympathy (rite!) and "I haven't unpacked them yet" will just see you laughed at, more! Truth is, there is only one reason that, through the passages of time, has been lost because it does, in fact, look nice. And that reason is? I'm not telling you, work it out for yourself.
Some of the things anglers do to their fellow man has to be seen to be believed. From the old 180-degree rotation of the upright bivvy, recasting rods, tying on the wrong rigs to the burning stool in the swim, there's been some horrors. I remember many years ago hurtling to hit a (real) take, sweeping the rod up into it's test-curve only to find my reel handles had been hidden.
Christ, what would you do! Play it, weigh it, look after it, photograph it; all with an audience. While the Dave Lanes of this world can probably do it with their feet while they roll a fag, 'avin one out of the local pool... Christ, that's traumatising.
7 Hooking something you shouldn't
Have you done it? It may be a motorboat, an animal, a car. Every now and again you'll slide you size 8 in to something you shouldn't (there's parallels here I won't explore). My worst was landing an angry heron through the mist in Holland. Dealing with an angry pterodactyl at 5 in the morning is no mean feat. Other friend (both of him) have hooked dogs tongues, juggernauts and cyclists.
8 Having to go in for it
There's no boat, there's no mates, there's no chance of you getting that throbbing hook load out of that snag unless you go and get it. While it all seems quite straightforward, suddenly you're on their territory, in their backyard, in an alien environment... And everyone is watching you. From the second you gasp as your plums enter the freezing waters to the moment 20+ pounds of angry carp rises from the depths, it's trauma. And it's worse under torchlight.
While we all know they don't exist, on a frosty still night when something 'untoward' happens, we all doubt our beliefs. I've fallen for Brides in boats (sailing boats off their mooring), whispers in my ear (birds) and the worst being headless horsemen. Dean and I were in an advanced state of refreshment one night at the 'Graveyard'. It was 'one of those nights' and we suddenly heard the feint but unmistakable thundering of hooves on the road. Remembering the tales of a horse and cart that had apparently perished in the lake many years ago, our eyes widened. The hooves got louder and louder until, on seemingly getting to the lakes, they stopped completely. We slept uneasily that night. It turns out that a horse had escaped a field, ran down the road and left the road near the lake. But others had far better stories of the Graveyard.
While the UK countryside offers little to fear in the way of wild animals, it can seem very different as night falls. On the Continent however, you're subject to everything the imagination can suggest. Bears, boars, beavers, boas... The list is endless. For instance, on a trip to the island at Rainbow Lake, we were visited every night by a rather large coypu. Not wanting to relinquish all my bait to the yellow-toothed beast I decided to show it who was boss. I decided to give it a stiff prod with my landing net pole. Expecting something of the build and consistency of a rabbit, I was somewhat surprised to feel the pole flex against something more akin to a Rottweiler! It just looked at me with distain and happily fed on my particles all week.