For many years Colin was a senior Angler’s Mail magazine staff man and he has enjoyed a long, interesting journalism career.
He understands match fishing, pleasure fishing, carp fishing – the lot.
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WEIGH YOUR CATCH PROPERLY – AND HONESTLY!
YOU take great care to catch a fish, you admire it as only an angler can and then return it carefully to the water.
In between those actions you hopefully unhook it carefully, probably on an unhooking mat, take a picture to remind you of the success, and ensure the specimen does not suffer during as short a time out of the water as possible.
But do you weigh the fish? And if you do, how much care do you take to ensure the weighing process is pretty accurate?
I will bet that many anglers guess the weight of their fish, feeling that they know from experience what each species will weigh, based on just a cursory glance at the specimen.
And that annoys me intensely when they then claim to have caught a certain weight of specimen.
I have no problem with the angler who admits to guessing the weight or says it was “probably” about a certain pounds and ounces, or kilos and grams.
But when an angler claims he has caught a personal best without weighing the fish, or offers up for publication or public show a fish with a given weight, without saying it was a guess, I am not impressed.
Fish, particularly specimens, are prized captures. They are also a good guideline for all other anglers to follow.
Over the years I have seen, witnessed, weighed and photographed countless fish of many species. I’ve had to shatter people’s dreams by putting their captures on proper scales – although to be fair I have also made some anglers happier by showing their fish was actually better than they thought!
Many anglers can guess pretty accurately the weight of a fish or net of fish. But there are also others who haven’t a clue, even with years of experience under their belts.
It doesn’t happen so much nowadays but people offering up pictures of fish which are quite clearly nowhere near their stated weight is the action of cheat, even if they didn’t mean to mislead.
But the only people they really mislead are themselves. What is the point of claiming a 2 lb roach if it wasn’t weighed?
I have had three roach at 1 lb 14 oz. It would have been easy to claim I have passed that magic 2 lb mark. The truth is I haven’t – but I am well happy with those three specimen redfins.
I’ve had a carp of 23 lb 12 oz on a short evening session. It was weighed and I loved it. I would still have had a big smile if it had fallen short of 20 lb.
On one red letter day I had five bream all over 8 lb, the best 8 lb 8 oz. They were weighed. If I hadn’t put them on the scales and had them witnessed I would have wondered forever just how big they really were. I would also have missed out on an official venue record.
I also had a call years ago about a ‘record carp’ just after Chris Yates had landed his 51-pounder. The carp went 43 lb on tested scales that I took to the venue. But the captor was still delighted, as indeed he should have been.
Then there were the calls to witness the then record bream being landed virtually every week in the mid 1980s by Alistair Nicholson from Oxfordshire. These were fish up to 15 lb – not the best now, but totally and utterly amazing fish, and specimens that had been caught by design.
These slabs created angling history. I was proud to be part of it by seeing and taking pictures of just some of them. Their size was mind-boggling.
So the next time you want to report a fish for print, or display it on line, even on your Facebook page, please weigh it or admit that what you have given is an estimate of the weight.
You owe it to other anglers, to water owners, clubs and, most of all yourself, to record your own little bit of history with some degree of accuracy.
COLIN MITCHELL WILL BE BACK WITH HIS POPULAR PLEASURE FISHING BLOG NEXT SUNDAY.
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