An angler who suffers from an illness that can cause him to fall into a deep sleep at any moment has hired a team of minders to prevent him from dropping off during big matches!
Nottinghamshire’s Phil Hunt has suffered with narcolepsy for almost a decade, and the disability has caused the keen matchman no-end of problems, with his rivals being forced to save his life on numerous occasions after he’s fallen into the water after nodding off on his seatbox.
He has also been unable to fish conventional long pole tactics, and has smashed countless sections after dropping them as he doses off. Problems have also arisen at the draw bag and weigh-in.
Phil told Angling Times: “Narcolepsy is a complex illness. Technically, you can be asleep with your eyes open while having a conversation, yet moments later you’ve forgotten all about it.”
“I always write my peg number on my hand at the draw, just in case I’m actually asleep. Once during a big match at White Acres I tipped all my fish back before the weigh-in, it was a lot of fish too. All the anglers around me looked on in disbelief – I can only assume I was actually ‘asleep’ when I emptied my net!”
Despite the multitude of problems, Phil is determined to stay competitive in the sport he has loved for over 50 years, and to that end the Crown Inn AC member has now acquired the services of an assistant to keep him awake during competitions.
“I’ve won hundreds of trophies at club level and been involved in Fish O’Mania qualifiers - the desire to win is still burning brightly, but I need help to keep going at that level,” added Phil.
“The floating pole is my number one tactic these days as the bites are so vicious that they wake me up if I’ve dozed off, but a lot of venues don’t allow the approach. I just wish they understood I need to use it because of my disability.”
One of the men who helps keep an eye on Phil is Paul Slater, and he admits the task helps keep him and his fellow club members on their toes.
“He does struggle to stay awake but everyone thinks it’s great he still gets out fishing and we are more than happy to give him assistance if and when it’s needed,” said Paul.