WELCOME TO the Tuesday blog. Tuesdays mean Steve Collett, the boss of leading online tackle retailers Harris Sportsmail.
Steve’s blogs focus mainly on match fishing but also delve into his styles of pleasure fishing and specialist angling. He also appears regularly in Angler’s Mail magazine.
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THE SCALES OF INJUSTICE!
HOW many times have you lifted your net out after a match, carried it over to the waiting scalesman, and, with an idea of say 30-35 lb already in your head, you are left aghast when he shouts out ’20 lb 10 oz’ then as you return your fish to the water.
Somehow you feel cheated, and during the drive home you feel cheated – you probably have been, not necessarily by the scales man but by the scales themselves. It’s happened to all of us, and only a few weeks ago happened to me, but being a gob on a stick, I demanded a reweigh, and here is how it went:
I had caught steady all day, and I am known to count all of my fish – this was no exception. I had caught 257 small roach averaging an ounce a piece, and one “bonus” redfin of 6 oz. So with my finest Carol Vorderman dress on I reckoned I had 20 lb – or at least somewhere in the region of 16-18 lb and judging by the day’s proceedings that would give me a framing place.
So I sat on my box fairly smug waiting for the moment of truth, and when it arrived my shiny net of silvers were put on the scales… 12 lb 9 oz he said, quickly turning to return them to the water. Whoa, hold your ‘orses! I want them weighed again, take them out the net, zero it, and do them again.
A few groans and moans later, we were ready to weight them again, and in a few minutes I was going to be A) embarrassed at being such a cry-baby tit, or B) a hero to all under-weighed men.
Luckily it was the latter as my re-weigh went 16 lb 12 oz. Now this may not seem important to some of you but the section had a few 12 lb and a few 13s, so I could have been well down after all of my efforts and a good day could have turned into a bad one, with dead cats strewn around Leicestershire having felt my left welly.
Then there are the “ounced out” poor buggers – only this weekend I saw Grant Albutt fish an awesome match, weigh in 37 lb 3 oz and beat the next poor sole who had 37 lb 2 oz. While Grant would have been delighted, spare a though for Duncan Biddle on the next peg who would have had blood coming from his eyes on the way home, I would have.
But with the boot on the other foot, I would have been proud of my angling exploits and my extra section point, it really is swings and roundabouts, but with so much money at stake these days, can there be such a margin for error?
If you don’t already know it there are a few “sportsmanlike” tricks of the trade to boost your weight with the scalesman and they do work, having my own fishery I decided to experiment with weightlifting dumbbells of 10 lb.
I put 20 lb in the first net and weighed them on digitals after zeroing, and they weighed surprisingly accurate at 20 lb 3 oz, not bad.
I then put 10 lb in one net and 10 lb in the other net and had two weighs, as this is a common practice to squeeze out a few more ounces. Now this was not a surprise – 10 lb 3 oz first weigh, 11 lb 1 oz second weigh giving the grand total of 21 lb 4 oz. Is this water? Fish slime? Bounce? I don’t know, but there is definitely an anomaly, and I shouldn’t give this away, but I will always try for two weighs – I have seen the advantage, as will most anglers who have been around the block.
In the specimen world, digital can prove to be temperamental as last week I caught a well-known fish at 29lb 14 oz. The weight did not bother me as it was a beautiful fish, but a week later, and only yesterday, this same fish has come out at 36 lb and 34 lb, all using different scales.
I know I would rather mine weigh heavier, but did they diddle me or have they diddled the other anglers? Was I to be disappointed that it didn’t go the “30” or were they miss-informed? Who knows, but it’s made me bin my digis and go old school again.
With speci-style fishing we can change our scales, but It’s just one of those things we have to grin and bear in matchfishing I think, as it is definitely a case of swings and roundabout, you will get ounced, and no doubt someone will ounce you. But I wouldn’t be afraid of asking for a re-weigh, I do every morning on the bathroom scales!
It’s been a funny weekend this one; if I had my specimen hat on I would say the sharp movements in pressure were to blame, but there were still a lucky few who caught fish, and one lad in particular had a weekend he will never forget as his name will go down in angling history.
An amazing feat, and with a cracking weight from a natural water, I am sure he will still be buzzing this morning, and that man would be Mr Peter Marlow, from the mighty Leicester Sensas who put his name on the Division Two national trophy this weekend with 50 kilos of bream. Young Peter, there are not many with winners medals- well done pal, you’re well worthy of this week’s Anglers Mail performance of the week.
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