Saturday 25 August 2012


Fishermen, it seems, are like the rest of us after all. Smilers and snarlers, grinners and grouchers, half-full, half-empty. Bank holiday Saturday apparently meant competition fishing at Gnosall, and we lost count after about 30, including a fair number along the visitor moorings. I can't imagine why fishing in the canal should have different leagues for men and women, like most other sports except equestrianism, yet there wasn't a woman among them.

I don't really get fishing, except for food. However, each to his own, and I'm quite happy to exchange courtesies with members of homo anglens. I understand it's the polite thing to cruise slowly, but not too slowly, down the middle of the cut, though I've little idea why. Not too far to the right, not too far to the left. But there's no pleasing some, especially those who thought the competition organisers should have got a court order banning boating for the day on this stretch of the Shroppie. Smiles and greetings were generally the order of the day, but some were distinctly unimpressed by the sight of Erin Mae. Particularly the one who sent a shower of something after me. Gravel? Bait? Not quite sure. And I may be mistaken.

So we pulled up at Gnosall, and chatted about fishermen and other pleasant topics with David, a continual cruiser on NB Tom Bombadil. He's on his way from exciting times on the River Nene to tranquility on the Llangollen, and had some good stories to tell – as well as a sad one about a GRP owner who lost the top of his cabin from being too bold under a bridge when the river was running. Perhaps we'll see David again later as we've tied up in Gnosall for the night. But I shan't be fishing. The only lines I've got on board are bow lines, stern lines and centre lines.


  1. I'm told that the fish are near the bank, or for the chaps with the really long rods, lurking in the shadows of the offside bank, so keeping the boat to the middle disturbs them the least. The speed I think is so that not too much mud is churned up so the fish can see the lure, tempered with get past so we can get on with it! Either way someone will choose to get the grumps! I find that 98% of people respond at least civilly to a smile and a g'day, but there will always be the exceptions. As for the gender issue, I think fishing is a kind of outdoor shed, where men go to get away from the missus! But we have seen a couple of ladies fishing from their boats, but never on the bank.

    1. I like the outdoor shed idea. Has Mike never done it?!?

      Since I posted we've actually seen some women fishing, but I think all of them were in a family party of some sort, out with the kids in the last days of the holidays.