Our popular general coarse fishing blogger, Colin Mitchell, is back exclusively for the Angler's Mail website - and here he takes a look at fish weight and numbers estimates.

YOU know the old sayings that fishermen always lie about the size of their catch or the one that got away…?

Sometimes they ring true. Other times they couldn’t be further from the truth.

Ask any match angler about the truth of the scales at the weigh in and they will immediately point the finger at a fellow competitor who in their opinion tells lies!

Many matchmen are notoriously bad at guessing what they have in the keepnet ready to weigh in. Some others deliberately tell porkies!

But unlike the old sayings, the actual catches in the nets usually weigh a lot more than what the captors predict!

So it’s a bit strange that when it comes to individual fish the guesses go in the opposite direction.

If they're not actually weighed then they're just guessed!

If they’re not actually weighed then they’re just guessed!

I’ve lost count of the number of times I have seen anglers estimate the size of their fish well above what it actually pulls the scales to.

In fact estimating the size of catches or individual fish is something that really annoys me.

I’d rather not put a weight on a fish than have it remarkably wrong.

I’d tell you I had a nice roach, perch, bream, carp rather than be way out (sorry!) with an estimate.

My usual plan is to give a very rough guide to the weight, and admit that it is an estimate, or if I really want to know it goes on the scales!

I usually keep count, so I know..

MUCH of the time nowadays we all pleasure fish venues where keepnets are not allowed so it can be very difficult to know just how much you have caught in total.

Take last week when my mate John and I fished a local lake that contains a whole mix of species and all of differing sizes.

I had carp from 8oz up to about 7lb-8lb; some lovely net roach, a decent bream, a few skimmers, plus goldfish from 6oz to just over 1lb. It is very difficult to give a total overall weight in this type of instance.

I do know I had 50 fish. I usually try to keep count, especially in the colder months when I like to have a decent idea of how many I have landed.

And like most times on a session like this I got to 40-odd fish and decided I was only going home when I hit the half century – and got the prayer mat out that they didn’t stop feeding!


I had some cracking netter roach and 50 fish in all.

Now John didn’t see all of my fish and only clocked them from a distance, except for a few I landed when he was visiting my swim.

He thought I might have had close to 100 lb. I thought nearer 50 lb. See the discrepancy over weights already?

But if you average out the weights of all the fish I landed then it would probably be over 1lb because of the numbers of carp in that total (they mostly went from 2-4lb).

Going on that basis and what I felt in my heart and head with second thoughts as I drove home, I had around 60 lb or just over.

It doesn’t really matter! I had 50 fish from a stillwater on a cold, windy day in the middle of winter, including my biggest fish which was a cracking ghost carp.

That to me makes it a fantastic day out – in fact a couple of the roach made my day!

Here’s one that got away

NOW back to stories of the one that got away…

Well ok, nothing got away when I went on the river earlier this week. I didn’t even get a bite!

The river was carrying a nice touch of colour although it was pushing through quite a bit.

Despite the strong wind howling over the fields I managed to run a heavy alloy stemmed stickfloat through lovely.

River floats-2

It was great to get the river floats out for some trotting.

Well…I thought it was lovely, the roach, dace and chub thought otherwise!

There were only three of us along about a mile of river. None of us caught.

I think the fish were there but just didn’t want to open their mouths in the bright sunlight, despite the touch of colour.

I might have got a bite if I had nailed a bait to the bottom and sat there like a gnome.

But I loved running that stick through as it made a nice change to stillwaters.

Now I have a new challenge: to return next week if the conditions are right and to catch a fish. Any fish!

That would make my day too…


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