COLIN MITCHELLEvery Sunday we welcome 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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 Battle of the anglers


IT’S about time that anglers amalgamated and stopped separating themselves into warring factions.

Some match, pleasure and specimens anglers all appear to be hell bent on making it difficult for our sport to be regarded as one. And as someone who undertakes most elements of our great sport – including sea angling – I am sick of this. Why can’t we all just accept that we enjoy the same sport and all have two major aims?

The first is that we want to catch fish. The second is that we want to protect those fish and their environments. For as long as I can remember the various sides to angling have always cast a wary eye towards the other elements. Yet as someone who has found there is an open gate between all of our branches I just can’t understand why there has to be sniping.

Mind you, it doesn’t help when artificial barriers are created or one element decides it has more rights than another. Believe me, in no sport is everybody equal. But in angling we are as near as it is feasibly possible. Let’s just have a little give and take… even when we might think that the playing fields are not quite level.

For example, all anglers fishing commercial waters need a ticket. Match anglers pay a pegging fee. I’ve heard moans recently from match guys claiming they are ripped off. Woah, hang on…On many waters a pleasure angler might pay £10 for his ticket. That entitles him to fish all day from dawn to dusk in most cases. The match angler often pays a lesser pegging fee – maybe £8 on a £10 ticket water – and fishes most of the time from 10am to 3pm. Maybe that is not the best pro-rata deal, but the competition guys have still got a reduction.

I've not really missed not being able to use a keepnet.

I’ve not really missed not being able to use a keepnet.

Many commercials don’t allow keepnets for pleasure angling but obviously have to sanction their use in matches. Maybe that’s not fair?

From my point of view, I like putting my fish in a keepnet to see what I have caught at the end of the day but for the past five years or so my net has stayed in the garage for 99 per cent of my pleasure trips. I’ve not really missed it…Specimen hunters often want to bivvy up on waters for some time – and in all fairness they have to pay more for the privilege. Indeed, some clubs have pay-extra rules for night permits, even for members. So long as everyone abides by the rules – and we all have the same rules – where’s the problem?

Well, in my book it starts when a minority of anglers – match, pleasure or specimen – starts to believe they ‘own’ a water. One faction almost takes over at a fishery and – often by devious means – keeps the other anglers away. I know one water where the specimen guys bivvy up one after another to almost ensure that – except when a match is booked – they control the venue. Totally out of order. But I know another club that puts rules in place to ensure that over a season every one of their members will get a crack at all of the waters on their book.

No one can have matches one after another, no one is allowed to fish too long on any venue for a period of time – and pleasure anglers are actually helped to find the best swims via the club’s website. Brilliant.

I am sure that many of you reading know of other incidents where a minority of anglers from one of the above groups have made themselves unpopular. Tell us about it via the comment section below or via the Angler’s Mail Facebook page.

Together we will try to clamp down on those anglers who do not want to stand up for the real meaning of angling and the great friendships it brings.


Flood alert…

2 - Slacks formed by overhanging branches are another flood hotspot where many species shelter. Use a large bait dropper to introduce feed on the deck. It's a waste of time throwing it in - it will simply toll around in the current and drift downstream.

Flooded rivers need to be fished with care – but it’s interesting to wonder where the fish will be.

Total sympathy to anyone whose home or business has been hit by the recent floods.

Obviously, as anglers we will all be wondering what effect those floodwaters has had on fish stocks.

I don’t know if this is a pointer, but I have always fancied fishing a local stream and simply haven’t had the time to search out a likely looking deeper hole. With the extra water I thought the extra colour might help out on this venue which is never fished.

A very quick session produced a few dace and a gudgeon. Not much but it has made me think about just where some fish could now be living – including some local ponds which normally I would have thought too small but have been flooded into by nearby streams.

Maybe I am the eternal optimist but at least I now have some new venues to sample in the coming months. And there won’t be any bivvies or matches!


Related posts

Colin Mitchell’s blog last week

Floodwater fishing tips

Top 5 winter river tips






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