Fishing Lines: Who was that masked man anyway? - More Sports - Sport - The Independent

Fishing Lines: Who was that masked man anyway?

Most anglers are content just to catch something with fins. In fact, they will usually settle for something vaguely aquatic, so the average fisherman who catches a newt or two will be mightily pleased.

Not so the specimen hunter. He is not content with snatching out tiddlers. He's even dismissive of bigger-than-average fish. He wants the biggest one in the pond.

To call these people obsessive is an understatement. Most are secretive, furtive loners with a personal hygiene problem. Though they see themselves as a higher life form in the fishing world, their communication skills are slightly lower than a bag of cement. This is because they fear a careless word could lead others to their favoured areas. Some even park their cars miles from where they want to fish, in case it leads others to their hot spot. One even carries a set of false numberplates that he changes when he parks.

Pike-fishing on the Norfolk Broads, I passed two anglers wearing (I'm not making this up) masks. They imagined themselves so famous that they didn't want anyone recognising them.

Camouflage is their favourite style. In fact, they like it so much that every fishing accessory is camouflaged, from clothing to tents, binoculars, underwear and even buckets. One who lives near me has a dog with a camouflaged collar. It's even possible now to buy a camouflaged garter, though such anglers rarely marry, and if they do, it doesn't last long.

This obsession with everything camouflage fascinates me. If they wander away from the spot where they are fishing, how do they find it again? They could be searching for days, especially as today's really sophisticated camo outfits can change with the seasons.

Their lives revolve around PBs. It stands not for paranoid bampot but personal best, and it means their largest fish of a certain species. They will go to extraordinary lengths to better their PBs. And here's a funny thing. Once they have caught the biggest pike, carp or bream in a certain lake they try to catch it again, a few ounces bigger. When a specimen hunter tells you he has caught eight carp over 40lb, what he almost certainly means is that he's caught the same carp eight times.

Personally, I'd rather chew my own foot off than spend all my days chasing the same fish, especially as the capture of a large fish bestows on you the privilege to name it. Almost every big carp in this country now has a name, whether it's Mary, Strawberry, Benson or The Peach. This anthropomorphism has extended to other species such as pike and barbel. Soon every big fish in the country will have a name.

It's not for me. But it's clearly for Grahame King of Watford, who has just caught a 21lb 3oz record barbel from the Great Ouse. You would think he would be hugely excited. Maybe he is. But Grahame already holds the record with the self-same fish, nicknamed The Traveller, which he caught last year weighing 21lb. And 18 days before that he set the record again, with - you've guessed it - The Traveller.

I'd like to say that he needs to get out more, but you can probably guess where he would go and what he would do.

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior QA Engineer - Agile, SCRUM

£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...

Marketing Executive - West Midlands - £28,000

£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive (SEO, PP...

Retail Business Analyst

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our retail client ...

Senior C++ Developer

£400 - £450 Per Annum possibly more for the right candidate: Clearwater People...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week