John Hannent Other Stuff

9 Things You're Scared Of In The Bivvy - In The Winter...

As winter’s cloak sweeps over your fishing, it’s time to reacquaint yourself with the lonely life. And its perils…

1. The long winter nights

You know the score: 1. You’ve watched the sunset, even taken a couple of pics on your phone (which will be shit). 2. Had six cups of tea between standing by the rods looking inanely into the blackness seeing nothing (but telling your mate you heard one). 3. Eaten a curry washed down by a Stella that’s proved a little cold in the frost (but you managed). 4. Demolished a packet of Digestives. Then ravaged. 5. Facebook. 6. Insta. 7. Twitter. 8.YouTube. 9. eBay. 10. Gumtree and 11 & 12. Pornhub and 13. Consequently ravaged yourself and enjoyed the last broken Digestive in the afterglow. Feeling sleepiness wash over you, you 14. Fluff the Indulgence ready for a well earned kip; you glance at your watch; it’s a quarter past effing six. Repeat steps 5 to 13 (twice). Sleep beckons when the 18 cups of liquid caffeine have washed through your system, meaning six trips to part with your pee and the invariable stare into the gloom that goes with it. It’s now quarter past seven (you’re lasting longer Tiger) when the sleep consumes you. You awake to silence, no cars, no birds, no animals, no people. Is this the afterlife? No, it’s a gravel pit near Penzance at 11.27pm in January. The slightest noise means…

2. Visitors

On the long winter nights, a visitor at night can be the scariest thing in angling. You hear them approaching from 10 miles. A seemingly endless wait, with your mind full of ghostly apparitions and Frankenstein-like thugs, is ended by the light of a B&Q headlight flooding your plot (ALWAYS taking a long look at your rods) before a pimply face hooks around the side of your bivvy doorway, scarring your retinas with full beam enquiring, “ad much?”. The fact you’re under 6” of Thermaloft and 2 layers of Carptexx®, with a flat face like a cow-pat bearing the deep scars of the bag seams means nothing to them. They’ll wait until your now claw-like arm (remember point 13?) extends to check the time on your phone. At which point, grumbling, you prop yourself on your elbow, wincing into the beam and say, “Nothing mate, you angling?”. “No, just baiting up. Bye!’. Not only has your winter visitor condemned you to another few hours of insomnia, he’s just chucked 3 kilos of readymades over your carefully placed PVA Sticks (the 1” ones that we all use when we’re scratching) while you slept.

3. Running out of food

Ginster’s finest, Walker’s worst and McVitie’s Macaroons are all sitting in your gut, like a lead pillow. Yet still you want more. Their wrappers form a technicolour lining in the bottom of your rucky and repeated checks of all compartments reveal nothing but damp crumbs. The kebab house has long-since closed and your mug of Yorkshire’s finest looks lonely. A bag of boilies dances provocatively in the corner of your bivvy, like Salma Hayek in ‘Dusk ’til Dawn’. Don’t do it, Mad Cow disease at the very least, dusk ’til dawn in the bushes more like (not with Salma).

4. Rodents

Now, those crumbs…

5. Mosquitoes

The last of the summer’s hatch, or the first of next year’s, always finds itself through the mozzi door. Repeated clumps to the side of your head leave the assailant still whining around the comforts of your Tempest and your left ear ringing like Jimi Hendrix feeding back at the Café Au Go-Go. So much so in fact, that you miss…

6. A screamer

Is it elation? Is it happiness? Or is that a rush of extreme terror, the thrill of meeting the unknown? Anyway, when your mozzi-induced tinnitus ebbs to be replaced with the residual bleeps of your indicator relaxing into the wet grass like a spent gigolo into a Slumberdown, you pounce, panther-like, to sweep the 12’ length of carbon named after a gun into its battle curve, which it doesn’t assume. Several diminishing sweeps later you realise you’ve blown it. “Liner” you mutter under your breath, justifying your ineptitude to your invisible friend as you tread carefully in your Sealskins back to bed.

7. Wind

Let’s not go there. I’ve spent many a night with a digesting Ginsters and it’s not worth bringing up; although it may have helped.

8. Losing your torch

“I wear mine around my neck so I always know where it is”. Have you ever tried it? FFS, the head of the light takes on the proportions of a breeze block in bed and the intermittent flashing when one of your six sleep chins rests on the button constantly reminds you that, if you achieve shut-eye, the aforementioned source of illumination’s power source (isn’t rechargeable shit when it’s run out?) will be as flat as a witches tit when push comes to shove. You’ll be standing there in total blackness, swearing, with ‘LZTEP’ written across your cheek.

“It’s always besides my bed when I need it”. F.O! That it may be, but personally I’ve found that the first clutching swipe on the sound of the buzzer launches your torch, half a vessel of cold Rosy-Lee and, in my case, specs into the dank corners of your carp home where only rodents, languishing in the afterglow of point No.4 reside. I’ve never had a take at night which doesn’t involve the loss of a carefully placed shoe, torch, goggle or, worse still, lifejacket. And I’ve read the “How to strike a bite at night” section of Carp Fever umpteen effing times you know.

9. Back to point 1

The nine perils listed above will take you to around 2:15am. Start again from No.1 and you’ll be ready to leave, in the twilight of a frost morning, fishless, hungry, lightless and hoping your grumbling belly gets you home before it erupts. I love winter carping.

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