Kevin Perkins is one of those anglers who sees the funny side of everything, and there are plenty of funny goings-on in fishing. But not everybody is able to convey the funny and often quirky nature of fishing. But Kevin can. He’s the Alternative Angler who sees that side of things that most of us miss because we’re too busy going about the serious business of catching fish and often missing the satire and laughs along the way.

Never mind smelling the flowers, don’t forget to take time out to see the satirical side of fishing life and grab a laugh along the way as well. So here’s a regular column from Kevin Perkins to remind us that life is for laughing at, or taking the p*** out of, whenever we can.


A couple of forum threads have recently jump-started my memory, but isn’t it so easy to look back through those rose-tinted specs and only store the highlights. Perhaps we all filter out the less pleasant, or more mundane occurrences.

The recent onset of wintry weather took me back to my early years, in particular, getting up in the morning. Living in a terraced house, we had the benefit of the neighbour’s alarm clocks on both sides to rouse us from our slumbers. Those solid and dependable wind-up Westclocks with their double chrome plated gongs would not gently coax you from the arms of Morpheus. No, such was the cacophony they created at the appointed time that you would literally find yourself launched out of the covers and running for the stairs before you knew what had happened. None of this modern namby-pamby clock radio, snooze button life we live now.

If one of the neighbour’s alarm clocks didn’t get you, the sound of someone raking the ash out of the grate and making the fire in their front room, in an effort to get the back boiler going and thereby warm up some hot water would usually suffice. This action wouldn’t heat up the house though, as we didn’t have the unheard of luxury of central heating. This was more than evident in the intricate frost patterns that used to appear on the inside of our (single glazed and draughty) bedroom windows.

The onset of a rubber fetish?
Not that getting out of bed was that easy anyway, what with the number of sheets, blankets, eiderdowns and usually coats as well that were piled on top, trapping you in close proximity to the now very cold hot-water bottle. The particular smell and feel of a hot water bottle has either started people off on a life of rubber fetishism, or turned them off the stuff for life!

When you did finally get down to the kitchen, you would normally find the oven door open, and/or the back two gas rings alight, in an attempt to warm things up a bit. Breakfast was either cornflakes with hot milk, or ‘proper’ porridge – none of that instant Reddi-Brek stuff. Fortified with stodge, you rushed off to the bathroom to get washed, shivering, and then dressed in freezing cold clothes, unless you had the luxury of a hot, freshly ironed shirt (put on over your vest, not allowed out the house without one!) before you ventured out the door.

Duffel coat and wellies
Now you were armed with the ultimate in adverse weather wear, the Duffel coat, proven against anything Mother Nature could throw at it. Teamed up with woollen gloves, Wellington boots and a bobble hat, you could tackle anything. The only other things necessary to complete the ensemble was two pairs of socks, and you had to make sure that you tucked your (usually home knitted, polo necked) jumper into your trousers. Thus equipped, you could cheerfully set off for some winter fishing.

Graham, not so snug in a Duffel coat, slips a 25lb pike back into Scotland’s Loch Lomond
As long as the weather wasn’t wet or cold! Wet weather meant soaking gloves, water that would run off your Duffel coat for a while, usually into your boots, until it started to seep through round your shoulders (this was in the days before fishing umbrellas were considered necessary. Those that were available were made of black cotton that leaked like a sieve, and had wooden poles that would snap at the slightest provocation). Those woollen gloves had a capacity of around half a pint of water each, and cold, wet hands were the last things you really wanted.

Did you ever get chilblains?
If it was cold, you didn’t fare too well in the Wellingtons. It didn’t matter how many pairs of socks (even the much-vaunted oiled, sea-boot variety) you pulled on, or how much newspaper you stuffed in them, the frost permeated inside and you spent the day curling and uncurling your toes to try and relieve the pain. The only relief came when you got back home to toast your toes in front of the now roaring fire. But you weren’t allowed to get too close in case you got chilblains on your feet (now, did you, or anyone you know ever, ever, get chilblains? Or is that just another of those urban myths we grew up with?). You will, no doubt, remember the times you stood just too long warming your bum by the fire and then desperately trying to keep the now red hot trouser material from blistering tender parts of your anatomy!

With regard to the winter sport in those far off days, I never remember it being that brilliant. No matter where I went along that flooded river I never found a slack like those favoured by Mister Crabtree. You know the one where he sits back a bit from the edge, with young Peter watching intently as he chucks in half a lobworm, the rod tip nods a bit, then “STRIKE!” and out comes a bream, chub, barbel, etc, etc. If I ever came across an eddy like that to fish in during a flood, it invariably contained leaves, weed, plastic bags and branches, which I dutifully cleared out so the next bloke to fish it would have a better chance!