The Dog Wasn't There

Contributed by Donald Walker (copyright)

Rummaging in my tackle box I found a tale of yesteryear that bears a mention. This a tale from my match fishing days in the 1960s. Its Friday evening the day before the match and I'm just arriving at Rose Farm, a fishing venue on the Nidd, to peg it out for the following day. The parking was roadside and the entrance to the fishery was through a large gate past the farmhouse, across the farmyard. Past a barn and a stable, then beyond two fields was the river. As I entered the farmyard I looked out for the farmers dog. A ferocious mongrel. It usually lived in a kennel, to which it was fastened with a very heavy chain. Now I knew how long this chain was, and where to walk to be safe. Well there was the dog crouched in its kennel, it was just starting to growl. I knew it would do its usual so I was giving it a wide berth. With a vicious snarl, the dog hurled out of its kennel straight for me, to be brought to violent halt at the end of its chain. I swear the kennel moved six inches, a frightening experience for the unwary. The farmer appeared and assured me I was safe but to be off the farm by 9pm which was the arrangement he had with the fishing association.

Next morning we met at the parking for the match, where I warned the lads about the dog, and off we went down to the river. It was a lovely day, everybody caught fish. At the weigh in at 4pm I was placed third, well I didn't win them all. I'd had such a good day's fishing though, I decided to stay and fish on. Off went the lads leaving me to fish the whole match length on my own. As the evening progressed the fishing got even better, and I started thinking in terms of larger fish. So I changed to a larger hook and baited it with a big worm. Just two minutes later I hooked a larger fish and five minutes later I had it in my net. As I unhooked it I realised there was something strange about it; there was a large tongue sticking out of its mouth. On closer inspection I saw that it was a tail, belonging to a fish that was bigger than anything I had caught in the match. The fish I had caught was a pike, but how it managed to eat my worm whilst it had that tail in its mouth I just cannot imagine.

I looked at my watch. Oh my goodness it was 8.45pm, the farmer let his dog loose at nine. I would never make it through the farmyard in time. I packed up as quickly as I could, I had to try. It was ten past nine as I approached the farmyard. I looked in the kennel, the dog wasn't there, I knew I had a problem! I'd picked up a stick on the way and it looked like I was going to need it. Looking round the yard I suddenly spotted the dog, it was sat in the stable doorway with its back to me. The farmer must be in there I thought, so I quickly crossed the yard, keeping my eyes on the dog the whole time. When I got to the gate it was difficult to work the latch without looking at it. As soon as I took my eyes off the dog it ran across the yard and sank its teeth into my leg. The farmer running after the dog grabbed it round the throat and choked it to make it release me. He managed to re-chain the dog and took me into the farmhouse to be bandaged. It was my own fault I know, he had warned me. However, I took no chances, and called at a hospital on my way home, who gave me two stitches and a jab for my trouble.

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