Coarse fishing blogger Colin Mitchell is back here on the Angler's Mail website, taking a look this time at the naming of venues. It's hardly likely to lead to the scenario pictured... is it?
A GLANCE through the pages of Angler’s Mail a few weeks ago made me smile with a great deal of satisfaction.
I wanted to congratulate all of the anglers who had caught some fine fish and also to praise them. Every one of those anglers had named the venues from which the specimens were caught.
When someone says they have caught a fish from an ‘undisclosed river’ or, even worse, ‘a southern river’ it almost makes my blood boil.
I fully appreciate that some anglers put in a lot of time and effort to catch a specimen fish and they don’t want hordes of others tramping to the same venue or even swim. But why not name a river? One of the fish I saw reported was from the Thames. Good man!
Where’s the harm in that? Old Father is one of the biggest rivers in the country so it’s hardly going to have a deluge of other anglers. It would have been good to say upper, middle, lower or tidal but I will settle for Thames as this fish is now properly recorded as history.
Remember that this fish was caught by this angler. It doesn’t belong to him; he doesn’t own it; he doesn’t have a sole right to the venue! And by saying where he caught the fish he accepts all of that. Top man.
If anyone puts Southern river they could mean anywhere. And to be honest I think they are degrading their own catch… A big fish landed from the Thames is always worth hearing about but what if that same specimen came from the Adur, Arun, Hampshire Avon, Dorset Stour or one of scores more flowing venues and tributaries in the southern half of the country?
Of course that puts a whole new light on the fish. It could be better – or not as good as – a capture! Likewise the phrases ‘southern gravel pit’ or a lake somewhere in such and such an area!
The only reason not to name a venue is if there is a publicity ban; it’s tiny and couldn’t take extra pressure; or you are seriously worried about poachers. If it’s a club water and they are after members you owe them the decency to report the fish accurately.
The same as if the fish came from a commercial – like the club, the owners of these waters need people visiting to be able to keep them open. Being secret squirrel about your catches could actually backfire on you – and lead to the waters having to go private or even close.
And don’t hark back to the poaching argument to try and throw a blanket of silence over the venue. If a water has few visitors it is more likely to have a visit from fish thieves or illegal angling. A few anglers about, or even bailiffs and club officials patrolling because they know there could be angling taking place, will deter the people we don’t want on the bank!
Winding up the angling sheep
Let’s lighten up a bit now and I will tell you a couple of funny stories about fish reports and the trolls who wanted to follow the successful anglers.
First up the specimen hunter who really was so good that everyone wanted to know where he was going fishing. He did actually say but no one believed him… and some decided the only way to get to the truth was to follow him.
This guy got wise to what was going to happen so he dressed up in his wife’s clothes, drove her car out of his drive and the waiting anglers actually went off and followed his missus who had donned his gear and taken his car. Class!
I know another big name angler who actually watched the watchers watching him and when they were sure they had tracked down his venue – and even swim – they departed. He grabbed all of his gear and then went off to the real venue he was fishing on a regular basis.
It’s sad when angling gets to the above state of affairs as there are many waters around with plenty of good fish in them. It just takes a little time and effort to get rewards… and personally I would rather be looking for new places rather than waters everyone wants to be on!