Colin Mitchell, our popular weekly general coarse fishing blogger, is back to ask was angling so much better back in the day - or is it just nostalgia?
WITH the average age of anglers getting older it’s perhaps no surprise that there are a lot of fishing memories posted on Facebook.
Everyone looks back to some amazing stories from their time in fishing and reminisce about the good old days.
But were they really that good? Yes the memories are great – but was everything else in the world of angling so much better back then?
I have been as guilty as the next ageing angler in my memories of the past but let’s have a look at reality…
Tackle is better now than then
First, tackle has never been so good. If you’d mentioned lightweight but strong carbon poles a couple of decades ago you would have been laughed out of court. In fact if you had been able to say just how good these poles would be, the spares you would get and how much you would have to pay you could have ended up in a straight-jacket.
And it’s the same with rods, reels and virtually every other piece of kit you want – you can get everything you need for any type of fishing and all for a fraction of the price we used to have to pay.
I accept that some of the cheaper gear obviously isn’t as good as the top of the range tackle – but it’s still brilliant, especially for the cash you are asked to part with.
Hooks, line weights, feeders…you name virtually any accessory and they have all improved beyond our wildest dreams and there is now so much choice that selecting what to buy is usually the most difficult part of entering a tackle shop.
Bait is the same. There are rows upon rows of pellets, boilies, additives, flavours… so much that your own mouth starts watering.
And no longer do we have to buy a whole selection of rod licences costing us a fortune to fish different areas of the country as one now covers us everywhere, and soon for three rods!
Commercials mean catching fish
Love them or hate them commercial fisheries have also opened up a whole new world to newcomers and regular anglers.
Last week my mate John and I were sat on the banks of a £10 day ticket venue less than two days after solid ice had melted. I caught so many fish I would have been a total idiot to moan about the quality of sport. And John, who battled on bravely through a strong blustery wind on the waggler, caught quite a few and had loads of bites.
Granted there had been a rise in temperature and there was colour in the water, both things helping our cause. But both of us remembered that it’s not that many years ago when we wouldn’t have even looked at a stillwater and thought about fishing it in the winter time. Lakes were for summer.
Now I will tag on to the above that our changing patterns of angling and the vast amount of new waters made available to us has left us with another bonus. It’s a fantastic legacy that has yet to be fully exploited.
Old venues sometimes thrive on neglect
Most of us have forgotten about many of the venues we used to fish – mostly canals and rivers that have been neglected because of the commercial boom. And some of these venues have thrived on the neglect.
Many of you will have already heard about some of the fantastic sport that is being enjoyed by those river anglers who have returned to their roots. But I have also heard reports of fantastic fishing on some canals and navigations around me, places even I haven’t ventured onto for years.
One stretch, always noted for a few chub, has been throwing up massive chevins for those who have ventured onto what were always noted pegs. Another stretch that was usually ok for a few fish has been producing big bream and specimen roach.
There’s a section of canal around two miles from my house that was never fished much but I have fished it in recent years and had decent sport. Recently a group of anglers needing a change of venue decided to give this stretch a go and they all had nice nets of roach.
The world of angling has always been full of surprises and memories are always golden. But I’d rate the current time very highly if you want good gear, a massive selection of venues and plenty of fish.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? Email your views on old or modern fishing – or both – to Angler’s Mail magazine. Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org