Is Angling going to the Dogs?

John Bailey

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My piece on ‘Concentration, Patience and Acceptance’ drew howls (there might be more puns coming) of laughter from those close to me who averred that I am just a grumpy old git whose patience is less than that of a greyhound seeing a rabbit. I’m about as accepting as a Rottweiler, and as concentrated as the dizziest of spaniels too, it seems. Well, that’s as maybe, and what has made me mad is today’s news that in terms of biodiversity we are ranked in the bottom 10% of all the world’s countries, and the worst of any of the developed ones. Can anything be any more damning than that, even conceivably, in any of our worst nightmares? No wonder there is a barely a skylark left and the last hare died two weeks ago.

This news was hot on the heels of a Radio 4 item concerning poo in Windermere. It seems that sewage is responsible for green algae and the dearth of kingfishers and wild swimmers on England’s biggest lake. Owners are even walking their dogs elsewhere – so I’m getting close to the title of today’s piece you see – but before I go there I’ll add that I’m conflicted on the whole question of where our Number Twos end up.

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Bailey (the spaniel) tries to take a bite out of a Norfolk pike

We have read a raft of reports detailing the quite outrageous number of untreated sewage releases into our rivers this winter, and there is no question that the harm done is beyond calculation. I just wonder if poo itself is bad, or whether it is all the rest of the nasties that we flush away that is the problem. I have fished rivers abroad where jobbies floated past me like conkers in October, and the fishing has been magnificent. Indeed when Ronda in Spain cleaned up its act, and stopped the entirety of the town’s sewage entering the river, the barbel population collapsed.

If you look back to old Izaak’s day in England, all our poo went into our rivers, and the roach fishing was better than it has ever been since. No, I can’t help feeling that it is all the so-called hygienic stuff that is a large part of the problem. A quick squint in my own bathroom cupboards reveals Dettol, Ocean Fresh Toilet Cleaner, Morrisons Thick Bleach, Harpic, Power Force Thick Bleach, Cillit Bang Power Cleaner and Domestos. They all promise to kill 99.9% of all known germs, but they kill a similar percentage of everything else when they make it to the River Arrow a couple of miles away.

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Orvis’ newest recruit!

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Red setters look stunning, but I’d say too bonkers to go fishing!

Not that I’m a huge fan of poo, especially on my shoe, and that brings me to dogs full time. My wife, it has been pointed out, now works at the Ludlow Orvis shop, where many of the customers are anglers with dogs they love as much as they do their spouses. Some customers are as happy to spend as much on a winter coat for their pooch as they are on one for themselves. The fishing dog has long been an institution, and rightly so, and they have long featured in my own angling life.

As a kid, I had Ted with me on the canals, just as Paul and Bob have Ted with them on Gone Fishing. (Good name for a dog it seems.) Then there was Paddington, my German Shepherd, who ate Spam, bread, sweet corn and maggots, with often horrendous results. At least he kept me safe when fishing the Wensum in the lawless city reaches of Norwich after darkness fell. Maddy, a spaniel, was celebrated as the ‘World’s Best Fishing Dog’ throughout the Nineties, and spent as many hours afloat on the Scottish lochs as I did.

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Bailey goes tench fishing

Then, a few years ago, courtesy of Ian “Ping Pong” Miller, Harvey, and especially Bailey, yes, BAILEY, entered my angling arena with explosive force. If ever any dog has loved fishing more than Bailey I have yet to meet him. Such is his unlimited, crazy enthusiasm for the sport, you end up believing in reincarnation, and that dear Bob Church has come back to earth to carry on doing what he always loved best.

Of course, I’ll pass on the all the usual advice like keeping dogs cool in summer, warm in winter, and well hydrated, but I’d counsel you to buy the right breed in the first place. I’d go for something old and biddable, but chances are you’ll choose a spaniel like everyone else. Be warned. Keep them out of the marginal reeds and rushes, because to a fish they are the exact shape and size as marauding otters, and your chub or your trout won’t stop swimming ’till it reaches the sea.

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Bailey the dog looks the most switched on of all of us

Watch where you leave a baited hook or you’ll never see it again… Harvey once ate three boilies hair-rigged on to three size 10s, with no discernible results. Careful how you cast with dogs about, I once took a Pheasant Tail out of Bailey’s ear while Pinger’s back was turned. Don’t let them dig up the bankside, unless you are short of worms. Don’t let them bite any fish you want to return. And don’t turn your back when the kettle’s going, and you get out the cake.

Otherwise, Orvis customers are right, and a fishing life without a dog in tow is no fishing life at all.



The post 'Is Angling going to the Dogs?' first appeared in Fishing Magic Magazine.

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steve2

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Pleased to say none of my clubs allow dogs on the fisheries, unless they are assistance dogs.
 

LPP

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My club encourages dogs - though not too many members actually.....
 

mikench

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I wouldn't trust a Rottweiler as far as..................; period. I wouldn't fish within a mile of you and any club which allowed such a dog would not have me as a member. If you need a hound like that you should not be fishing.
 

markcw

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I wouldn't trust a Rottweiler as far as..................; period. I wouldn't fish within a mile of you and any club which allowed such a dog would not have me as a member. If you need a hound like that you should not be fishing.
I would say the owners and not the dogs are a problem.
I used to take a friend's rotty for walks and runs, it would lick you to death if given the chance.
I have had more problems with yappy Jack Russel type dogs when out,
Don't join Lymm , they issue so many dog permits a year.
What's having a large dog got to do with going fishing ,?
On a couple of waters in the northwest if you night fish you are sometimes glad of a dog for company even if they are placid.
 
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markg

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Fleas, ticks, disease carrying, picking up crap, smell, expensive vet bills, yapping and barking noise, hairs all over the place, slobber. No thanks..
 
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mikench

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I'm gratified that The Rottweiler is in a caring and knowledgeable environment. A large dog such as that and say Mastiffs, Malamutes and Akitas need to be properly trained and controlled which isn't always the case. I was brought up with German Shepherds which my father bred at one point. We were always going to dog shows all over the place and as he often worked away, mum and I had to look after puppies. This fact was recalled yesterday at my mothers funeral. She told my Dad back in 1969 or so that either the dogs went or she did. I have had a Boxer, lovely dog but stupid and 2 English Springer show spaniels. Again lovely dogs and far more sensible and intelligent. Dogs make the best pets and most loved family's members when properly trained and cared for. They must know their place in the pecking order.
 

nottskev

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Dog owners invariably testify to the reliability of their well-trained dogs. But the figures for dog attacks on people tell us something slightly different. In 20 years, hospital admissions for dog bites have almost tripled, from six to 15 per 100,000 people, with around 8,000 admissions per year. Children aged under 14 make up a quarter of that number, which does not include bites patched up by GPs or in the home. Feeling uncomfortable around dogs off leads is entirely reasonable, and I don't want to meet any while fishing.
 

markcw

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When I was very young, still in pram and pushchair, The family had a Springer spaniel.
If my mum or dad went into a shop and the pram was outside with me in it, As you coul do then. The Springer would be on "guard" .
A " polite" growl kept people away from the pram.
The dog was not trained to do this, it must have just wanted to protect a small member of its " pack"
 

markg

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The nicest dogs I met were two Irish red setters my sister owned, she lived in Arlsford and I used to take one with
me on the Avon. He absolutely loved it, sat watching me fishing all day and followed it all intently.
 

steve2

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A 2021 study of fatal dog attacks in Europe during the period 1995–2016 placed the United Kingdom (with 56 fatalities)

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fatal_dog_attacks_in_the_United_Kingdom

More than 180 women have been killed in England since March of 2020, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said on Thursday, describing the violence against women as a national "epidemic."


I'm positive statistics for non fatal attacks by both men and dogs would show a similar gulf.

If I were as narrow minded and uneducated and decided to tar all men with the same brush (as have you with dogs) I would say I'm at more risk bumping into you on the bank than I am bumping into any loose dog.

However.....

Thankfully I engaged my brain and don't judge / pass comment based on what I think others will approve of me saying.

When out with my dogs they demand and enforce a reasonable space between me and anyone coming too close. (Sad but it's the age we live in unfortunately) Ignore that and on command they will follow a process. 1st visual warning (teeth, saliva) 2. Audible warning (barking growing, snarling) 3. You get you idea...

Only people with ill intentions need to fear my dogs. If you fear them then I know what category you fall into!
Reading this the last place I would want to be is near your so called trained dogs. It appears they have been trained to attack.
 

markg

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It seems to me after a report of a dog attack, often on a child the owners don't understand why it happened, they are always apparently the most placid of dogs and wouldn't harm a fly according to their owners, I hear this all the time. Sometimes these dogs just behave how they want, it may be out of character but no one has complete control of a dog in my opinion, they don't know what is going on in its mind, Personally I don't trust any dog, I don't want their dogs anywhere near me, for hygienic reasons as well, with 12.5 ridiculous million of them I cant avoid them, that is why I wont have any pet in the home, humans and animals were never meant to live under the same roof in my opinion. That won't be a popular view but my conclusion after observing it all over a life time, the pro's and the cons of it..
 
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