ANGLING attracts people from all walks of life, and for often very different reasons.
Yet one trait that binds us all is our love of bankside camaraderie, epitomised so perfectly by the inimitable Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse in their superb Gone Fishing series. But how do you rate as an angling buddy? Why not put a brew on and find out...
High on any list of qualities has to be a willingness to share the enjoyment. Anglers who insist on hogging the best swims or feel like they have to constantly catch the most or biggest fish can be draining. Angling can be a team effort, after all, and two brains are better than one.
Close angling friends might spend countless hours on the bank – but what else are you willing to share? If you forgot your lunch or a key bit of tackle, would your mate come to your rescue? This cuts both ways, because nobody likes a freeloader!
High-quality banter is so often the oil that keeps any friendship working, and laughter is as good for you as fishing. But do you know how far you can push a joke? Like tea or coffee, we all like our mickey-taking at different strengths. Which brings us on to our next point…
Culinary and tea making
Particularly relevant to long-stay anglers, nothing encourages tactical discussions and general waffle better than a decent brew. Not all friends are equal when it comes to putting the kettle on, however, or supplying things like biscuits and mugs! Of course, those with culinary skills can claim even more friend points here. After all, who doesn’t love a good fry-up on the bank?
Good and bad habits
If you share a vehicle, or even a bivvy, with another angler, you quickly pick up on any quirks they might have. Nobody is perfect, but certain traits can be deadly. Whether it’s doing foul, gassy burps or snoring at a volume to wake the dead, anglers with annoying habits can stretch your patience to the limit.
Angling can require hope and perseverance at the best of times. Not every trip is a red letter one, but how do you respond when the chips are down? Are you capable of staying upbeat, even when things look grim? Whether we’re cheerful or dour by nature, it’s amazing how much our moods can rub off on others.
If you discover a new hotspot or a deadly new bait or tactic, is there anyone you’d share it with? Granted, you might not want to tell all and sundry, but the sign of a true friend is a high level of trust. Could you safely tell your best angling mate a snippet of key information without the risk of it reaching more people than BBC news?
Gillie and photographer
Whether it’s helping to land that monster fish or taking a cracking photo, a loyal friend can be priceless when it comes to capturing those priceless moments on the bank. Bumping your mate’s potential PB or taking the world’s crummiest pictures are not liable to make you popular, especially in the modern era of social media.
TAKE THE TEST: ARE YOU FRIEND OR FIEND?
1. You meet up at your local venue, only to discover that your pal has forgotten their bait. What happens next?
A You steadfastly refuse to share your own. Tough luck, isn’t it?
B You grudgingly offer a handful of maggots or boilies, joking that they’ll face an extortionate charge.
C Without hesitation, you share your supplies. That’s what friends are for, right?
2. Your swim fizzes with bubbles, when you hear a call from the next swim. Your mate could use a hand netting an awkward fish. Your next action is to…
A Pretend you didn’t hear.
B Trundle over, eventually, muttering some curse words on the way.
C Reel in and dash across to help without a second thought!
3. After a hearty breakfast, you hit the road in a mate’s van. After a few minutes, you feel a bit gassy. You decide to…
A Let rip violently, along with a laugh worthy of Sid James.
B Wait for a few awkward moments, before letting some gas escape with a sheepish apology.
C Grit your teeth and wait until the next stop.
4. One evening, your friend tells you about an incredible swim where he’s just caught a new PB. In your head, you are preparing to…
A Fish it immediately, before gassing to anyone who’ll listen.
B Let your mate have first dibs, but plan to get your fill before long.
C Keep it completely secret and offer your congratulations.
How do you rank?
Mostly A: Even the ducks don’t like you. It’s probably a good job you like your own company.
Mostly B or a mixture of A, B and C: You’re not the worst of friends, but it’s probably your turn to put the kettle on.
Mostly C: Mr Dependable! You’re a friend truly worthy of the name.