Colin Mitchell, our popular weekly blogger, is back to delve into why we should focus on the fishing - not the winning! If you like this blog, click the social media share buttons.
IS it all about catching fish…. or is it a whole lot more?
It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about in recent weeks for a whole lot of reasons. I think many so-called anglers and non-anglers just don’t get what our sport is about.
Match fishing is about being competitive – but to the many competition anglers who do understand our sport it’s a whole lot more than winning.
Big fish or pleasure angling likewise can be a bit competitive – but once again to those who appreciate fishing it means so much more than catching. Angling should mean more than just landing a finned friend or a specimen fish.
Yet recently I’ve seen so many things written and commented on about how important it is to catch the biggest fish or do everything in the book (other than cheat!) to land some of the biggest prizes in angling.
So now it’s time to balance the books and say what I think many anglers believe – our sport is great for many, many reasons other than the biggest and best.
Why match fishing’s great
In my match fishing days I loved to think I had a chance of winning (sometimes I did, quite often I didn’t).
Unlike many sports I was able to compete with and against some of the best in the world…and learn from them on the bank.
Fishing for teams often meant sacrificing individual glory for the side – but how great it felt to come back knowing you had scored maximum points for your team and backed up your team-mates.
But just as important was the fact I’d had a day on the bank, enjoyed being in the fresh air and still put thought into my fishing.
Even more important were the people I got to meet and fish with and against, many of them now long-term friends and acquaintances who I have shared many great memories and stories with.
Why I’m loving pleasure fishing
Now I am mostly back to pleasure fishing I have rekindled some friendships that were put on hold during my match days and when I was bogged down with loads of work.
I still go out targeting certain species and trying to get new personal bests but I just love a day on the bank in good company where you can fish, reflect on that day and the past.
It’s about more than just catching – even though at the end of the day I want really would like something that has bent my rod or pulled out my elastic!
If I do blank – and when you get to these colder days of the year that’s always going to be possible – I want to go home happy to have had a good catch up or have at least tried to enjoy the countryside, surroundings and pitted my wits against the fish (even if they have won).
Fishing for the wife…
Sadly I think there are a number of anglers who think winning matches is the be-all and end-all of competition fishing. The money is more important to them that taking part, trying and enjoying.
That’s why it was refreshing last week to see one of my mates admit that he goes all out to win – even when he knows full well that ALL of his winnings go to his wife!
He just loves his fishing. He loves winning. But he obviously loves his wife a lot too (she got quite a few hundred quid a couple of weeks ago when he had a real golden spell).
And it was great recently to catch up with a former work colleague I had not seen for more than 20 years – we’ve since had two great fishing trips.
We caught a few, I introduced him to new venues and he just loved every minute. He is a classic angler who just loves his time on the bank no matter what. He wants to catch but he appreciates the watercraft, scenery and every single fish he catches, even tiny perch and rudd.
Last week we fished together in the pouring rain – the weatherman got it wrong again! – and went home muddy and wet.
We both caught but to be honest it was just being out there in good company and enjoying the sport we love so much that made the day.
However my wife might not love me quite so much… after the wet gear that went into the boot or the muddy boots prints on the car carpets!