Popular general coarse fishing blogger Colin Mitchell is back with another exclusive piece for the Angler's Mail website. Do you agree with his thoughts on fish catches?
I’M TALKING fish this week. A 1lb 12oz roach, a 20lb carp, a 15lb pike, a 2lb perch, a 4lb barbel and a 2oz gudgeon all have one thing in common.
Do you know what it is? Come on, think hard…
Well, if you haven’t already guessed, they are all great fish. But if you listen to some anglers you’d believe none of the above are really worth catching, especially the carp!
Yet in my book – and I am sure that of many other anglers – all of those species and those weights are great.
I’ve caught plenty of those fish at weights less than the above and appreciated the catch just as much as when I have landed their bigger brothers and cousins.
Those weights that ‘really matter’
Why do some anglers put up an invisible barrier and claim all fish below a certain weight are not really worth catching?
You know, the carp has to be 40lb-plus nowadays or it’s not really worthwhile. Well, as far as these people are concerned!
A barbel is only worth a mention if it’s a double-figure fish… or maybe it has to be over 12lb.
As for roach, dace, gudgeon and other ‘lesser’ species – they aren’t worth a shout unless they hit record status, according to these guys anyway.
If I catch an 8-12oz roach in the local canal I’m well happy. In fact, if I catch roach of that size anywhere I can admire them, especially those in good condition.
I’ve never had a 2lb roach – been close on a couple of occasions. But believe me, any of that species that goes over a 1lb puts a big smile on my face.
Heavyweight carp and perch
I still believe a carp of 20lb plus is a great fish and commons, mirrors or any other type are all admired.
Of course I would like to catch a 30-plus pounder but I’m not going to rubbish every other carp in sight until I do.
As for perch, I got to a new best of 3lb last season and would love to crack that barrier this winter.
But I still look in awe at a perch of 12 oz-plus and wonder just how big it could grow.
I’ve never even seen a 4lb perch but believe me when I do I’ll be remembering it years after, even if I didn’t catch the fish.
Stunning little things
When I was a lot younger I and my pals used to catch monster gudgeon that probably shook the British Record. At the time we didn’t even know there was an official best for the species.
Some of those fish were HUGE! We actually used a landing net on them!
I loved them, I still do. Gobies, gonks… call them what you like but they are stunning little creatures.
Of course there are also those anglers who are obsessed with weighing their fish. Fine if they want to keep records, nothing against that.
But if they are once again weighing a fish just so they can then sulk when it doesn’t reach the target they had hoped for, why bother?
The weight guessing game
Perhaps even worse are those who ‘guestimate’ what a fish weighs.
Nothing wrong with that if you are good at weights and you want a rough guide to tell your mates or log the info in your mind for another day.
But how many anglers THINK they know what a fish weighs, pass on this detail and corrupt the information line with a wrong weight? There’s no need.
Match anglers always try to guess what weight of fish they have in their nets before the scalesman arrives.
Some are good at it. Some are atrociously bad. But they all make a joke about it because it’s part of the game and at the end of the day the true weight of a catch will be known.
It is important in a match but to a much lesser extent in pleasure fishing.
A fish is what it is. It is something you have caught, admire it, appreciate it and then slip it carefully back into its watery home.
WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON FISH WEIGHTS AND WEIGHING? Email to firstname.lastname@example.org You could get your views printed in top weekly, Angler’s Mail magazine.