Of Dogs And Men

Despite notices declaring that our local club lakes are private property - Members Only, Trespassers Will be Decapitated - there are a number of folk who still insist on 'walking' their dogs around the water. Some of them actually transport their pets, by car, from surrounding districts expressly for the purpose.

No big deal, really, providing the animals are on a lead and kept moving. Inevitably, though, they are permitted, by their owners, to run free, stop, squat and leave deposits over the paths and vacant swims.

Now, I've nothing against dogs. In fact, some of my best friends are - come to think of it, most of my friends are, we've all reached that certain age - but to have to pick your way through a veritable minefield of canine excrement while laden up to the chin with fishing gear is not easy and you've only to put an unsuspecting foot wrong to ruin yet another pair of shoes.

Something had to be done, certainly, but reasoning with dog owners, our bailiffs discovered, had little effect apart from provoking some colourful abuse. So, Hubby was asked by the management to make up a few notices, for distribution around the lakes - large enough to catch the eye, in heavy print and reading NO DOGS. Brief and to the point but we're now waiting to see if anyone takes any notice - they probably will, take any notice and rip it up.

Shame we have to go to these lengths, when just a little consideration for others, a pooper scooper and a plastic bag, would suffice. And because of the notices it's doubtful that I will be allowed near the lakes again, even wearing a muzzle.

I recently had confirmed to me what I've always suspected. That one of the qualifications required to be a successful carp angler is to be ever so slightly mentally unbalanced. Going through my million or so photos, searching for one to illustrate an article, I came across a few that portray this disturbance in all it's glory. I showed them to a couple of fellow fishing widows who happened to be visiting at the time and was surprised to learn that they, too, were in possession of similar shots and were, occasionally, given cause for concern about their anglers' state of mind. They had been too embarrassed or ashamed to show these pictures to anyone and had hidden them at the backs of drawers but they were very grateful, they said, that I had come out because their relief, at knowing that they were not the only ones with dodgy members of the family, knew no bounds.

During what seemed like a group therapy session I was told of a carp angler who makes a habit of driving fifty miles or more, in awesome weather conditions, just to check out a 'new' lake - not to actually fish it, mind - just to assess the size and dietary preferences of the carp within it. He takes careful note of the surrounding trees and assorted shrubbery, chats up resident anglers, then mentally chooses a swim that he fancies fishing after he has had time to roughly calculate the number and flavours of boilies required for a couple of days fishing - and the type of rig appropriate to the venue.

During the consumption of several cups of coffee, we discussed the phenomonen further - I made a large pot in the end, heavy on the caffeine - and speculated on the likely reasons why our menfolk habitually bivvy up beside a lake in fog, snow, hurricane or blinding rain, allow their bodies to get soaking wet, first degree wind-burn or frost-bitten and still profess enjoyment.

Maybe it's to get away from us, we thought - but only briefly - no, it couldn't possibly be that. Clearly this genetic disorder is inherited - carried from the male side.