With the weather cooling a little to a more bearable temperature this time of year can be one of the most pleasurable to enjoy the sport of angling. Whether a newcomer or seasoned expert it is time to gather up the rods and reels and head off to those favourite haunts and test the water after the long hot summer. First of all you must have a licence to fish the intended waters or check your licence has not run out of course. Keeping safe when fishing is a subject we have covered before but it is best to be safe rather than sorry and following a few basic do’s and don’ts whilst out angling is only sensible. It is very easy to be lulled into a false sense of security when we are out enjoying the wonderful locations here carrying out our sport. The first and main point is that fishing alone is not advisable.
The reservoirs and lakes are often in very remote areas and it is not only the fact that intimidation or theft of personal belongings can be a problem but the banks are often very slippery and the gluttonous mud under the water is something that could become a real problem if you fell in. Unless you can definitely see the bottom and it is rock or stone then wading is something I would not advise. Wearing waders here can send your body temperature to dangerous levels very quickly and the age old problem of falling and the waders filling up with water has got to be considered. The sun may be shining but water is the same throughout the world and if you are on your own who is going to assist you getting out? Even when there are two of you falling in can still be a problem. Carry a decent length of rope with you. The natural reaction of anyone trying to rescue someone who has fallen in to the water is to go in themselves. This course of action would endanger two lives. Throwing a rope out from the bank is a sensible course of action in the first instance. It is also advisable to carry a spare set of clothing with you, just in case you do get wet, it could be a long drive home soaked to the skin!
Always carry a mobile phone with you, but make sure that when you arrive at your chosen spot that it is receiving a signal. All too often I have been fishing for a whole day and realised the phone has not rung only to find out that I have been out of signal range. If it is not receiving go to a point where it does and ring home or a friend and tell them where you are and how long you intend to stay. Do this even if you are not alone. It could save hours if you had problems and you were being searched for. Another potential problem although very rare Leptospirosis or Weils disease as it is known. It is something I have experienced and believe me it is a frightening and life threatening illness starting off with flu like symptoms. It is spread through rat urine and when litter is left lying around it is inevitable that some vermin will find it. The water washes over the litter and the water can be carrying the disease. So it is not advisable to wash your hands in the lake or river water and then touch food. I take food wrapped in either cling film or foil and hold the food by the wrapping. Also if you touch the litter to tidy up, without suitable protective gloves on the risk is high. So remember clear your own litter up and take it to a bin - this then may encourage others to do the same.
All this may seem at first frightening but being armed with some knowledge has got to be a good thing. We all know what a great place we are lucky enough to live in but there are problems with theft and it is not Utopia. Do not leave your car in a remote place miles away from where you are fishing. You would not do it back in the UK, so why do it here. It is always better to have your vehicle in sight. If it is not possible to keep your vehicle within sight then fish somewhere else. If a track does not look suitable for your vehicle then do not attempt to negotiate it. 4x4 vehicles have a distinct advantage but are not infallible when it comes to getting stuck and remember that the recovery companies here will not recover you from the side of a lake if you are off the public highway down a track so always carry a tow rope and take two vehicles if you wish to explore. When fishing in remote areas and strangers appear always try and speak. They are more than likely just interested in what you are doing, as some of the methods we use to catch fish are all new to Spanish anglers. You may also find out something new yourself. I have found out lots of interesting information about the venues I have fished by striking up conversation with local fishermen and women. A good tip is to go on an organised guided trip to start with, or join a club so you are amongst like minded people and can share information on venues and find some fishing friends who may come and enjoy the sport with you.
Copyright © Gary Smith