IF I told you I’d gone fishing last weekend with a 3.9 metre rod and half a litre of maggots most of you would think I was bonkers.


How far to you cast…. in metres, yards… or even in old skool “rod lengths”!

There again I would probably also have got strange looks if I had said I’d been on a 27 foot long pole and fed 2lb of groundbait.

Angling stands out from most other sports and hobbies in that we still deal mostly in both imperial and metric weights and lengths.

It’s being going on for decades now but it is still crazy.

Why are pole measured in metres yet rods in feet and inches?

Maggots still come in pints (or measures if Weights and Measures people are watching). Yet we no longer buy groundbait in pounds. I was going to say we buy it in kilos but some of the bags no longer hold quite that much…

Line was often given in both metres and yards but is now metres – although most of us still class our swims’ depths in feet and inches.

How far do you cast? I still cast yards rather than metres…although when pole fishing I give the distance in metres!

Of course being anglers none of you are confused by the above, are you? I will bet most of you are just the same in your weights and measures.

But when it comes to fish weights nearly all of us stick by good old pounds and ounces. When the old National Federation of Anglers changed their match weights to kilos and grammes there were quite a few of us who though we were being robbed.

Come on, 500 gr does not sound as good as just over 1lb when you are looking for valuable team points in big events!

And it’s a bugger to convert precisely to pounds and ounces from grammes to try and impress your mates.

Metric fish are smaller than imperial ones – I know, I know, there are the same weight, but in reality they just don’t sound it!

So much choice.... but hook decisions can really matter.

At least hooks sizes are standard….. or are they?!

Thank goodness hook sizes are standard with 22, 20, 18 etc. Although there again you do get big and small sizes of each hook!

It’s true, isn’t it? One size 14 isn’t always the same size as another brand, and I am not talking purely about the size of the wire it is made from.

One size 14 might be just right for two maggots whilst another from a different manufacturer might need three or even four to look right. Surely that can’t be right.

Oh, nearly forgot, you can also fish with lines of a certain breaking strain or of a certain diameter. I actually use both guidelines when choosing main line and traces.

Newcomers to angling need to be taught the basics, just enough to get them fishing and catching a few fish.

A bit like would-be footballers given a pair of boots and told you score by sticking the ball between the sticks. Have a park kick around and forget the offside rule (even referees have trouble with that!).

Angling needs to make tackle guidelines a lot simpler otherwise those hoping to take up fishing and progress might just think there is far too much to learn.

Good anglers never stop learning about the sport. They soak up the knowledge and experience like a giant sponge.

Those who just want to go fishing and enjoy need to do so without having to become an even bigger sponge. Oh, and without being given some new offside rules…



A wise weather decision…

REGULAR readers will know that – for good or bad – a lot of my fishing trips are planned around the weather forecast.

Last weekend was no different. Showers forecast for noon and then a deluge at 3pm. Easy then…waterproofs, brolly up at lunchtime and pack in just before 3 pm.

Sure enough, around 12.20pm there were a few showers, a bit of hail and the brolly did its job, even if I did have to hang on to it in the strong gusts of wind that were not forecast.

At 2.50pm – believing that the forecasters were probably a bit out with their deluge timing – Music Mike, Mitchell junior and I packed up and headed for the car.

The guy next to me started smiling: “Going home when the weather is so nice?” he asked as the sun shone through broken clouds.

I warned him about the deluge and said it was probably due about 3.30pm. He laughed.

We hit the road and just before 3.30pm were just going onto the motorway when the sky went dark and it pelted down with a mix of rain and hail.

We smiled and breathed a sigh of relief. The bloke who fished next to me probably wishes he had listened to my advice about the Met Centre weather app…




Our Sunday blogger is  coarse fishing all-rounder Colin Mitchell. 

For many years Colin was a senior Angler’s Mail magazine staff man and he has enjoyed a long, interesting journalism career.

He understands match fishing, pleasure fishing, carp fishing – the lot.

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Last week’s Colin Mitchell pleasure fishing blog 






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