Friday Funny - Coarse Karma

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Friday Funny - Coarse Karma

As a young (almost teenage) lad heading out for one of my first solo sessions at my local commercial fishery, I was full of excitement but also a little nervous of fishing alone.

I reached the lake bright and early on a Saturday morning, after cadging a lift from my mum. This is the only way to arrive at a lake for maximum street cred. Cheers mum, you’re a legend. Anyway, I was surprised to find that there were only two pegs left. One was near the car park and had a lovely island to fish to, but the other peg was over 100 yards away on the other side of the lake in a shallow and narrow swim which never seemed to do very well. At this stage of my coarse angling development I had just about mastered fishing a small method up to the island, so I was happy to grab my gear out of my mum’s car boot and make the short trip to the peg.

Happy that I was able to get on a half-decent peg despite the busy banks, I set about the usual military process of setting up my method rod, soaking my pellets, tying hooklengths, and sorting out my keep net and seat box. I must have been half-way through setting up and I could feel my heart beating with excitement when I was startled by someone yelling at the top of their voice behind me.

“What the bleep are you doing, you bleep bleeping bleeping bleep?!”

I turned around to see what could only be described as Grant Mitchell and Andre the Giant’s love child. He was shirtless, red in the face, and bellowing various insults which shattered the peace and tranquillity of the 2-acre lake. I was in shock, and as he tried to communicate the issue he had with my fishing through a barrage of inventive swear words (some of which I added to my vocabulary), I stood stock-still in silence. I was well aware that other anglers were beginning to turn their attention from their floats and tips to focus on the Dave vs Goliath drama that was playing out in my swim.


Now, through the shock came a real fear that this tattooed and topless giant was actually going to bite my head off and mush the rest of my body between his hands, rendering me into perfectly proportioned cubes of meat that were ready to use as bait. I managed to make out that he wanted the swim I was setting up in. I looked back to see his car boot open in the car park and his engine still running. The rules of the lake stated there was no booking or reserving of pegs so I knew I was entitled to the swim because I had arrived first via chauffeur-driven mother wagon.

I had to make a choice: stay and argue my point and potentially end up as bait, or pack up and run to avoid the tears and a potential beating. No other angler wanted to help because they were enjoying the show too much. The decision was made for me as soon as he reached for my landing net pole and chucked it behind him. I was off, and quickly. As I packed up my gear, I was fighting back the tears and felt pretty scared. Throughout the whole process, which involved two trips back up to the other available swim near the car park, this grizzly bear of a bloke was watching me closer than you’d watch a dog biscuit when surface fishing.

I finally moved all my gear but felt like giving up, ringing mum, and getting a lift home. As I passed each of the other anglers, they kept their gaze firmly on their floats or tips. I felt lower than a rattlesnake’s belly in a wagon rut.

I tried to compose myself and make a positive out of still being on the lake, even if my new peg was rubbish, but I could see the ‘steroid superstar’ sat in my original swim, laughing and triumphant. He was on the phone and was setting up very slowly and noisily. I wished I had been on steroids because I would have loved to have smacked the *bleep*. I half thought about calling the owner but with a heavy sigh I accepted my blanking fate and started to fish. To be honest, I still felt nervous and intimidated and my heart really wasn’t in it.

Over the next 5 hours (until my mum came to pick me up), I was fortunate enough to witness the funniest and most fitting example of ‘coarse fishing karma’ I have ever seen, even to this day. I ended up spending most of my time watching what was going on in that swim when I should have been trying to catch fish myself.


First, his keep net had somehow managed to free itself from his seatbox frame, leading to ten minutes of swearing, which could be heard over the whole lake, while he prodded around with a landing net until he eventually snagged it and reattached it more securely. The disturbance had dispersed any fish in his swim so even the hungriest of F1s or carp would have sussed something wasn’t quite right and done the off. I chuckled to myself and instantly felt more settled and less scared, even smug at what turned out to be just the tip of his karma iceberg.

Next, the whole top section of his rod flew off on his first cast. I almost burst out laughing until I remembered he was seven times my size and seemed to have no conscience regarding the threat of violence against teenagers. I remember looking around the lake and catching other anglers smirking to themselves, too. He finally sorted out his rod situation and placed it on his alarm, which was set to the same volume as the average music festival, and then set about sorting his pole.

He had his sections laid out behind him and was just attaching his rig to his connector when he received a phone call. He grabbed his mobile and laid his top section on the floor. During the course of this expletive-filled conversation, his top section started gliding across the water’s surface in front of him. Because he was deeply engaged in conversation, he hadn’t noticed that his bait had been in the water near his feet. A fish had taken it and was now making off with his top section.

Upon noticing this, the bloke grunted and started another barrage of expletives. You’d be a millionaire if you installed a swear jar in his house. Slowly, the pole made its way to the island before turning on its end and totally submerging, despite him casting his rod out to try and catch it. He was an angry, frantic mess and during his pacing and attempts to retrieve his top kit he managed to stand on another section of pole, completely crushing it. This only whipped him up into a worse frenzy.


Due to the commotion, the owner of the lakes came down. He was clearly friends with this mentalist and after some chatting he managed to calm him down, after which The Incredible Hulk was convinced to fish with just his rod. The owner finally left, and the bloke settled into a steady if impatient rhythm of casting his bomb around, and occasionally onto, the island.

About an hour from when I was due to be picked up, I had managed to catch a few F1s and a nice 6lb mirror – a result I was chuffed with. Then I heard a huge “CRACK”. My attention switched to the source of this noise and I was greeted with the sight of my nemesis almost falling off his seat box. His mainline had snapped clean through as he attempted to pull his snagged rig from the island in front of him. I remember packing up while feeling very content and thanking the fishing gods for not letting me blank, but also for inflicting a series of comedic punishments on that bloke.

I lugged all my gear back to the car park in one trip and, as a delicious parting shot, the Environment Agency van rolled up in the carpark to check licences. I was pretty much packed up, but I showed my licence and noticed a distinct silence from behind as I did so. Mr Angry made no attempt to produce a licence and I honestly feared for the safety of those officers if they asked him to show one.

Sure enough, as I was ready to set off I could hear the all-too-familiar swearing-based rambles of a crazy man who clearly didn’t own a fishing licence. As I pulled away in style, I had a smile from ear to ear which only grew wider when I heard tales at the tackle shop of a proper nutter who had been caught and fined for not having a fishing licence.

The moral of this story is ‘treat other anglers as you wish to be treated and respect them all’, which is also the motto I try to live my life by.

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