Popular angling blogger Colin Mitchell, in his weekly blog for this Angler's Mail website, takes a look at the nastier side of social media. Share the blog with your friends via the icons above.
I’VE looked on fishing as a great sport, hobby and pastime enjoyed by a great big family of anglers.
Over the decades I’ve dangled a line I’ve made some brilliant long-term friends and many acquaintances who have also proved to be nice people to talk to about all matters fishing – and more!
Whether it was the early coach trips to new venues, or fishing in club matches and big team events, one thing has stood out – anglers know how to be sociable, have a laugh and enjoy themselves.
Sadly the advent of social media appears to have brought out a dark side to anglers…one that does not do our sport any favours.
Things like Twitter and Facebook have been good for angling because they’ve given everyone a direct link to their heroes and experts – and obviously to Angler’s Mail too!
Green-eyed monster of jealously
It’s never been easier to read or ask about catches, problems and garner brilliant tips.
But it also appears it is too easy to stick knives into people for no apparent reason.
Maybe it’s the green-eyed monster of jealously but some ‘anglers’ go over the top when it comes to putting down others, whether they be just normal pleasure anglers, big fish experts of highly rated matchmen.
Taking the Michael is something that’s part of angling and great for a laugh.
But when it gets more serious with vicious verbal or written attacks on individuals that’s out of order.
If you have a genuine gripe do it in private with who it concerns, not in public view.
‘If you’ve got nothing nice to say, say nothing!’
Maybe the haters should take heed of the phrase: ‘If you’ve got nothing nice to say, say nothing!’
And don’t jump in with both welly-clad feet unless you are sure of your facts!
For example: the other week I wrote about some anglers coming down the bank and shattering the peace and quiet by hammering in banksticks and I got stick for being anti-carp angler.
First, I go carp fishing myself. Second, these guys were not carp anglers.
However, I don’t like anti-social or anti-fellow-angler behaviour and as far as I was concerned setting up in the manner these guys did was just that!
Some good anglers, guys I know have thrown most of their lives behind promoting the sport and helping newcomers any time they can, have recently had a right bashing on Facebook.
Luckily they are hard skinned and have shrugged it off – others might not be so resilient to this heartless behaviour.
Weights of fish on social media
Why attack someone because he is a carp angler, matchman or successful big fish hunter?
I’ve sometimes questioned the weights or places of capture of some fish that had been shunted onto social media – but I’ve done it in private, with my mates.
I can’t prove that any of the details of these captures were wrong – fish can look a totally different weight in pictures – so I won’t give a public opinion.
If someone has lied about a weight or venue they are only really fooling themselves. They know they didn’t catch what they claim for where they claimed.
Angling should be using the power of social media to spread good stuff about our sport, to help and encourage others, to pass on important information.
In Ireland they have set up a poaching-watch Facebook page where they name and shame people who kill fish against the rules.
Sometimes they do with picture evidence; other times they just report the facts they do know, like poachers spotted in certain areas.
Now that is a good use of social media.