A cardinal error often made by top flight football teams is to take lower league opposition for granted. The results can be ugly.
It's only Carlisle (or whoever) they think (often in the glory that is the FA Cup 3rd round) - how hard can that be? So out come the second string players, with less than 100% focus, a lack of preparation and an attitude problem. The result is often (pleasingly) an early goal from Carlisle (or whoever, other lower league teams are available) and a panic-stricken manager throwing the big guns on in a desperate bid not to become the latest big-name cup casualty. All rather pleasing really.
I mention this in a post about fishing because the same phenomenon applies in many walks of life, including angling. Underestimate the opposition or the challenge in front of you and they are perfectly capable of giving you a good kick in the pants.
Not that I realised this as I drove off to Bishops Bowl fishery for the first time in many months, thinking: "after a few months of hard fishing on the rivers, it'll be nice to put a bend back in the rod and bank a goodly number of decent fish - some carp, bream and the speciality of the house, tench."
Ahem. You see what I'd done there was fall for the old 'commercial = easy' line. Even on the most over-stocked carp pool this isn't necessarily true, but on one with more sensible stocking levels it can be far from the case. I was about to (re) learn that lesson the hard way.
I turned up at Bishops and popped down to the Marshes fully expecting, for whatever mad reason, to bag a fish a cast. After three hours of 'Division 2' angling (and I'm being seriously generous to myself there) I'd got no more than a couple of small carp on the bank.
My casting was all over the place, my feed was being scattered to the wind, I'd tangled a couple of feeder rigs, and I'd bumped a couple of modest fish off the hook with cack-handed playing. Floats were either broken or in a tree. I'd even managed to spill piles of bait around me. If it could be cocked up, I'd cocked it up.
In the end I got my act together, settled on one spot and one tactic, and managed to string a few fish together. But in common with aforementioned overpaid football players, I need to seriously buck my ideas up before next weekend's replay.