In his popular weekly blog, Colin Mitchell discusses why there's a lack of angling on TV.
THERE always appears to be someone in the angling world who wants to rant about the lack of angling on TV.
I suppose we have all been guilty of that at times. But to suggest our sport deserves more from the small screen filmmakers is ridiculous. To you and me, after our jobs and families, fishing is probably the most important aspects of our lives.
Anyone who doesn’t go fishing won’t understand just why our sport/hobby is so important to us. And that is one of the major reasons why angling will never be the subject of prime time TV programme – or at least not a programme that you and I would consider to be top notch to us.
Fishing to Joe Public is boring. They think we sit for hours, bored out of our brains and just hoping that a fish will be stupid enough to grab our hookbaits.
And they, along with TV producers, just don’t get the fact that angling actually enhances the lives of those who take part – and in general is good for the planet!
It gets us into healthy surroundings where we can admire country and coast. Angling makes us think about those places, look out for animal and plant life and test our brains with the selection of swims, hooks, lines, baits and how best to catch.
Without us many polluters would get away scot-free, the environment would be worse off and other countryside users such as ramblers might not have the nice places they would like to walk.
Match fishing, no matter how big the prize, will find it very difficult to enter a mainstream race against the likes of football, where most of the population are experts – or at least think they are – about players and tactics. Viewers would not have a clue about why a match angler has changed tactics or why he is doing something. And you simply can’t zoom in on a three or five-hour match and give it true credit.
Fish O Mania got mixed reactions to its showing on satellite TV. It could be a lot better – if it was presented more as a magazine programme. Phil Briscoe deserves massive credit for his block-busting Maver Match This with its bank account-filling prize kitty.
But even if he can get the top prize to £100,000 that’s not going to guarantee TV. Remember – many Premier League footballers earn that in a matter of weeks, some earn more than that in just one week. (And yes I agree those are obscene pay packets but I wouldn’t say no to them myself…).
Let’s bring out the characters who take part in these big money events. Anyone who has ever fished matches knows the people and the banter that is created. We need that human interest as part of any film – it’s also what the mainstream media thrive on.
Pleasure fishing could hit the target. Just look at the reaction Passion for Angling got from both public and anglers. Likewise John Wilson’s various offerings. In both cases these programmes took a leaf from Jack Hargreaves well-loved programme Out of Town, which began in the 1960s, and expanded on fishing to include the surroundings.
All three of the above could be likened to the current BBC Countryfile programme that has such high ratings. Why does that work? Because they report simply and with a smile on subjects people from suburbia might think they are not interested in. Fishing needs that approach too. A fishing programme, as daft as it may sound, doesn’t have to be all about fishing.
I’ve just been away for a few days, without my fishing gear, and obviously I couldn’t stay away from any water that was in sight. I learned about various walks, how certain venues were opened up, new fish populations, people who helped develop swims, who worked alongside other water users…and a whole lot more. Throw in watching a number of anglers from various countries catch fish on different methods and quite a few hours passed very quickly.
Now, to me, there were a number of great topics there that could make a very interesting country style – and seaside – programme that many people would be interested in. We would, obviously, slant it towards angling, but that gets us a spot on TV. And that has to be good for the sport…
Better than Robson Green who, I am afraid to say, has now lost my attention as he appears to do the same thing every week, just in a different country and with fish I don’t see lurking around many British waters…