COLIN MITCHELLIT’S time for our must-read Sunday blog. Every 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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WHAT’s your favourite fish? Odds are that most anglers will say carp…but quite a few will name barbel or roach.

But let’s be honest here, most of us probably like catching all sorts of species. I certainly do.

I don’t care if it’s a 3lb tench from a local lake, a 1lb perch from the canal or an 8oz roach from flowing water. In my book they are all worthy fish. Everything you catch doesn’t have to be a specimen or one of your favourite species to make it a memorable fish. Where you tempt a fish, when and how all add to just how good you rate that catch.

Colin Mitchell, our Sunday blogger.

Colin Mitchell, our Sunday blogger – and a nice bream.

So it made my blood boil last week when I saw an angler on a day ticket fishery I was just leaving land a really nice bream and launch into a fit of hysterics about what he had caught.

It went something like this: “Look at this thing, big snotty thing, rather have had a crucian. It’s not good to anyone.”

Hang on pal! This was a very hard day and that was a lovely specimen in great condition and a worthy catch. Even his mate told him so. But what made matters even worse was that this fish was dumped unceremoniously on the sparsely grassed ground inside his landing net. Not good enough!

There’s a rule in place on this fishery that good fish should be placed on unhooking mats. There should be no need for that rule – if you can’t unhook a fish whilst it is still in the net and off the ground you should want to use a mat.

This guy didn’t and he probably wondered why he got the look of death from me when he dangled the bream in the air in his net and lambasted the poor beast.

I felt like grabbing the fish, unhooking it and then carefully releasing it, before rubbing this guy along the ground and throwing him into the lake. I could have. Quite easily. He was smaller than me…

The incident also took me back to the days when the ultra-cult specimen hunters used to wear blinkers when it came to landing other fish. I remember going to interview one who revealed to exclusively to me how he had landed a number of record breaking fish and told me he had landed nothing else. I delved deeper with my questioning and it turned out he’d landed loads of other big fish during his sessions and they included perch over 3lb. As he hadn’t been fishing for perch he didn’t really count them!

At the time I thought that was a bit sad but at least this angler gave total respect to all fish, even if he was hell bent on catching just one species at that time.

He’d also been landing some very big carp from a river – a flowing water then not noted for that species. He willingly told me about those carp which earned massive respect from me as others would have kept hush. These fish belong to all anglers, not just one person!

Yet at the same time he once again revealed, under a bit of pressure, that he’d also landed some massive record-shaking chub! Again he loved those fish but would take no credit for catching them on carp gear.

To me that was a serious specimen hunter, one who deserved respect, and he got a bit more of that from me for his admiration of other species, despite not wanting to register the catches.

Back to last week’s bream-bashing incident, which has made me think even more about becoming some sort of bailiff, maybe for one or two of my local clubs.

I’m all for helping and training the novice and youngsters in our sport. But for an angler who had all the gear and was obviously no novice – just a prat in my book – the bream guy above needs more than training. He should be outlawed.

Break the rules in other sports and you get a ban, yellow and red cards, sin bins. Love those ideas but not sure how to enforce them, but bad angling practices certainly deserve some sort of punishment.

Litter louts, rule breaker, poor unhooking, illegal rigs and those who show fish no respect should suffer the consequences.

It could be easy to ban these so-called anglers from the fishery they are caught on but really this should be taken a step further. They have no place in our sport that is high profile and needs the good image that so many have strived so hard for it to have.

Anyone got any ideas? Let’s hear them – and also pass them on to your club committees too.



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Learn loads in this week's Angler's Mail magazine, in shops from Tuesday, October 15.

Learn loads in this week’s Angler’s Mail magazine, in shops from Tuesday, October 15.

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