Drennan International's Jon Arthur (pictured below), in his match fishing blog for Angler's Mail, wonders why anglers are so vague...
AS A match angler and angling journalist I’m always chatting to anglers about venues, tackle and tactics. One thing that really leaves me scratching my head, though, is just how vague so many people can be when you ask them a question.
I know some people I know are deliberately secretive and evasive of my often-probing questions, but more often that not they’re not deliberately holding back; they simply don’t realise that their ambiguous answers are about as useful as a one-legged cat trying to bury a turd on a frozen lake (sorry, I once read that somewhere and had to use it!).
Take my recent forays on the Gloucester Canal for the recent Winter League Final as a perfect example. Getting information out of some of my own team mates has been a bit like getting blood from a stone. After a weekend of practice matches it’s not uncommon to ring around and find out how everyone caught. Vague answers like, “I fed a bit close in and had a few” mean absolutely nothing to me or anyone else. How much did you feed close in? What did you feed close in? Exactly how close is close in? You had a few what?
Similarly, don’t just say, “The bloke next door did OK” and leave it at that. I want to know what he had and why you think he had it. Was it five bream, 10 eels or 100 roach? Is it unreasonable to want a ‘bit’ more detail rather than leaving us hanging with such open-ended replies? Remember, these are people in my own squad and we’re trying to formulate a team plan here!
This got me thinking about other responses I’ve heard in the past. Quite often I will go to a new venue and ask regulars what I can expect to catch. “Ooh, there’s carp to 20lb,” can be a tad misleading when no one’s caught the one and only 20lb fish in the lake for five years and the average stamp is less than 2lb!
I’ve also lost count of the number of anglers that tell me the depth they’re fishing only for me to examine their rig and see how inaccurate they are. For instance, a very well known match angler once insisted he was fishing 10 inches deep for F1s. I looked at his rig and somehow this guy could miraculously still fit a strung-out bulk of shot between his 4in float and 6in hooklength!
An old work colleague of mine (Don’t worry, Tom, I wont mention who it was) once told me he was fishing caster shallow at 12 metres. Not only was he using a pole that I know measures up short, he hadn’t even got a 13m butt section in his hand! I reckon it was closer to 10 metres out if he was lucky.
It ‘might’ have been the same person who then told me, “I gave ‘em four pints of casters,” only for his best mate to tell me he’d only given him three pints… and a pint of that was all over his footplate when I looked down!
So, I suppose the moral of this story is, even when someone finally gives you a half-decent reply to an angling-related question, take it with some salt… but I’m not going to tell you how much salt; you’ll have to work that one out for yourself!
Jon Arthur, Drennan International