Chris Yates made the dreams of a lifelong fan come true after he returned an antique piece of tackle left on the bank by the angling icon.
The incredible story unfolded while Chris Johnson was enjoying the last day of the river season on the Hampshire Avon when he stumbled across an unusual bankstick that had been driven into the ground in his favourite swim.
Upon retrieving the tackle item Chris was still to realise the importance of his find but he soon it belonged to the angling great whose world famous television series ‘A Passion for Angling’ had been an inspiration to him.
“On reaching the swim I noticed two prongs sticking out of the ground,” Chris told Angling Times.
“I pulled the stick out and washed it in the river – which revealed the name ‘Chris Yates’ down one side. I knew by the bespoke quality of the stick that it wasn’t just any ordinary rod rest and took to social media to see if I could return it to its owner. I didn’t make the connection at the time that it belonged to the one and only Chris Yates!”
The pike fishing fanatic’s Facebook post was an instant hit with dozens of anglers and eventually it caught the eye of Robert Burt – the creator of the bankstick.
“Robert took my number and said he would pass it on to ‘Yatesy’,” Chris added. “A day later my phone rang from a ‘withheld’ number.
“I answered the phone and was greeted by that ever-so recognisable voice. After a brief chat I was shocked that he invited me round to his house so I could return the stick.”
During the meeting we shared a cup of tea and a chat about our fishing methods. Before I left he nipped upstairs and returned with a signed copy of his book, ‘The Lost
Diary’. I was almost speechless and felt so lucky to have been part of such a memorable experience.”
Overwhelmed by the generosity of Chris Johnson’s actions, Chris Yates commented on how true honesty can still be found in angling.
“My hazel fork stick is a beautiful piece of tackle and it would’ve been a huge shame to have lost it. It’s fantastic to see this kind of honesty and I applaud Chris for it. I look forward to seeing him on the river during the next season.”