The Bailiff and the Pickle Onion


Several years ago in a town in the county of Derbyshire flowed a river full of big trout, some well over 8lbs in weight. It was a no fishing area as the river flowed through a public park which was heavily bailiffed. One of the reasons the fish grew so big was the fact that local folk fed them on a daily basis.

I guess it’s part of some folks human nature to bend the rules and one individual that I was aquainted with decided that the trout were fair game. To fish with rod and reel was out of the question as within minutes it was sure your collar would be well and truly felt.

The banks of the river were as you would expect, grass lawned and impecably kept. Folk in the summer would sit and picnic and this is where our Jack the lad got his idea from.

He would spread his large grey mac on the grass and have his own private picnic which usually consisted of a good pork pie plus a jar of pickled onions and a few gherkins thrown in for good measure.

He also carried a handline. On it was a large lead weight plus a size six hook loaded up with huge lobworms. When the coast was clear he would launch the lot into the river and the wooden spool of line would be hidden under the grey mac. The line was very thick and as the fish took the bait it was dragged in very quickly, hidden under the coat and despatched with a smack on the head from the lump of lead pipe hidden in his pocket. After landing several fish he would gather them up inside his coat, wander up the town and sell them on in a small back street pub.

Success was his until his fifth foray on to the private river. One of the local bailiffs  had got  suspicious and on this day Jack soon realised he was being watched even before he had landed a fish. Putting his best silly head on he stood up, swung the tackle around and launched the lot half way across the river. He then took off his shoe and tied the line around his bare ankle.

The bailiff was on him like a flash and began to read the riot act. Jack mumbled and began to laugh in a demented fashion. At this the bailiff began to realise our Jack was not quite the full shilling and in a friendly manner ordered him to remove the apparatus from the river.

As the tackle left the water the lawman looked at the business end to see a very large onion impaled upon the hook. Anger now turned to pity and the now friendly soul told Jack he could stay for the rest of the afternoon but not to come back anymore with hook and line.

Just over an hour later Jack was on his way up the town with three trout over 4lbs each. He purchased his pint of ale and sat displaying his catch to the prospective buyers.

The door opened and Jack began to wince somewhat as the ‘friendly’ bailiff had entered the pub and was heading  Jacks way. ‘Bloody hell mate, did you catch them on a pickled onion,’ he asked. Jack replied, ‘No sir I caught them on a big lob worm….I caught you on a pickled onion!’ The man turned and left the pub without uttering another word.





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