I heard a whisper the other day about a very successful match angler who’s been chalking up a lot of wins - and taking a lot of cash - on his local pool.
Apparently, his approach is that well honed he’s become almost impossible to beat. But even if I told you exactly who he was you wouldn’t have heard of him - primarily because he avoids publicity like the plague. Why? Simple.
He’s a benefits cheat who, according to what I’ve been told, hasn’t done a stroke of graft in the 40-odd years he’s been alive.
Seeing his name up in lights would alert the authorities and his gravy train would hit the buffers with an almighty crash.
It’s his back - isn’t it always in these kind of cases? - he claims is the problem. It’s so bad it prevents him from working, so he qualifies for disability hand-outs.
However, it doesn’t seem to affect him when it comes to hauling in energy-sapping hundred weights of carp on a regular basis.
Ever heard of a back complaint called ‘B*llshititus? No, me neither.
Well, the rest of the matchmen on the water have started getting more than a little fed up with Mr Work-Shy. Not, I should add, out of jealousy. No, they’ve had enough because what’s happening is simply not fair. And injustice, in my experience, is the one thing that rankles more than anything else.
Their frustration is, of course, entirely understandable. Why should they, as law-abiding members of society, be expected to not only help prop up these kind of scrounging leeches through taxation, but also contribute to his very cosy little set-up by way of their pools money. It must stick in their craw like a huge, unpalatable, choking ball of unfairness. It does me and I don’t fish there.
Imagine how you’d feel. While you’re at work grafting to pay your dues, this lowlife is perfecting his technique in preparation for the next contest. On your money!
Like a lamb to the slaughter, you duly turn up, pay your pools and then watch as even more of your cash ends up in his pocket. It’s enough to turn you into a Tory.
Depressingly, this is not the first time I’ve heard of anglers abusing the system. I bet you’ve all seen, met or at least heard of one near you.
But before I get a deluge of complaints, I should also make one thing clear.
I am not making sweeping statements about the entire disabled angling community. The deserving cases, those who can’t work and are forced to claim to survive, far out-weigh the false ones. It’s just that the minority of free-loading parasites can, and do, damage the reputation of the genuine.
The anglers on the venue in question have my sympathy - but only to a point.
The answer is staring them in the face. Name and shame this waste of space and be done with it.
To save you the effort, the number for the National Benefit Fraud Hotline is 0800 854 440. Go on, do yourselves, and the rest of us, a favour.