|Dave Fowler, Martin Roberts and the Lesser Spotted Bankswooper (Ballivus rara)|
On the first occasion I didn't have one, in fact I was a license virgin who'd never ever considered he'd be required to hold one at such a tender age let alone lose his unblemished criminal cherry by such an act of buggery.
Marched from the fishery I was then summoned to Brentwood Magistrates Court where the magistrate pretty much laughed the bailiff out of court admonishing for him wasting court time over such a paltry issue, then fined me £5 and awarded £5 costs.
Those were the days, eh?
That was 1974, though, and me just a teenager. Forty years on and things are rather different with non-possession or fishing during the close season carrying a maximum penalty of either shed loads of money or in the case of celebrities, serious career damage and ignominy in addition to shed loads of money.
Once bitten, though — twice shy. I may have come away relatively unscathed from my first punishment which was akin to having a ruler whacked rather lightly across the knuckles by a headmaster going through the motions of punishment but without meaning it, but I never forgot from that moment on the necessity of never fishing again without that slip of paper in my wallet. So, Martin was to pick me up at five, and, I applied for my license at 10 minutes to, took note of the reference number just in case, then, off we went to Warwick Racecourse ressy for a spot of fishing.
It's a pretty little lake, triangular in shape, and full of fish. Quiet and peaceful it is too.
A couple of lads on the far bank sharing the same swim fishing for carp were chatting away merrily...
"Oi lads...turn the volume down..." Shouts Martin.
We then proceed to talk across the bush dividing our two swims every bit as loudly as they!
There was nothing much to shout about in the sluggish early season fishing. A brace of crucians for Martin, a small tench for myself and a fair number of silver bream between us both. I did lose a good fish though. Pulling steadily toward the safety of the bush without ever deviating in its determination to go in the one direction only, eventually overpowering the light float tackle it got where it wanted to be, snagged firm, and stole my hook. An eel perhaps?
Then swooped in a master angler who proceeded to fish his chosen peg without a care in the world for bailiffs and their little pocket notebooks, court cases, fines and costs and whatnot. Didn't even have the wherewithal for the day ticket...