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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FISHING BY NUMBERS
IT’S opening day for coarse fishing on rivers, time to get on the bank, explore wild places and enjoy the countryside.
It’s hello trees and wide open spaces and, in most cases goodbye to platforms, permanent pegs and pellets. So, I thought it might be apt to write about how too many anglers are now fishing by numbers and missing out on enjoying their sport even more.
Do you remember the days before permanently pegged fisheries, when people used to give great names to swims?
It’s yet another of the traditions of angling which appears to be sadly disappearing. And to be honest names rather than numbers is something that could actually help anglers! When anglers can’t get their favourite numbered swim on a venue or they draw badly in a match they often shoot off home.
In the past, when most venues didn’t have permanent pegs, it was a case of having to go and have a look at swims. Even when you thought you had drawn a good peg in a match you were never sure where the peg would end up. I remember the days on the River Tees when you used to pray for certain pegs – but in many cases you never actually knew you had drawn one.
The Stockton Root, the Stink Hole, Sewer, Fisheries Corner (that still exists!) were all places you knew you had drawn when you got there, but you were never quite sure if it was the same number peg every time because the guy who pegged out the stretch might not have put the stick where you expected. Likewise on the River Wey there was the Cattle Drink, the Green Barge (there never was a green barge, you just had to know you had drawn this peg which was pretty featureless above water), the Deep Corner.
As for the Thames…half way along the Barge Walk, middle of the Desborough Cut, or that Sunken Tree in the main river near Walton. How cool are those names? Much better than peg 7 that has never won anything in its life.
Even if someone said ‘I think it’s the third platform along’ it would have a better ring to it and cast doubts about whether you should fish it or not. Of course none of this is really old or new. There were permanent pegs on many of England’s most famous match rivers for years but in those days anglers were only too glad to be out fishing. Now there is so much water to chose from that it is sometimes difficult to decide where to go! I admit to being a victim of that myself in recent years.
Now I decide on two or three venues have a first choice and only alter on the day if the weather dictates a change of plan.
So when you think it could be right to go somewhere for a dabble, just go for it. Wear blinkers and you will probably enjoy your fishing more. And when you are out there have a close look at the swims you fish or pass and see if you can come up with some names. I’d love to hear them! Meanwhile, remember that the start of the season is an exciting time but it doesn’t always produce the best sport.
Get into the swing of things over the next few weeks but remember that August and September are often the best times of the year to enjoy fishing on all waters in the UK. But if the rain we are predicted to get does indeed fall (you can never trust those weather people) get your gear and head for the nearest rivers. A summer flood is nearly always a great time for some superb spot. Unlike winter the water is warmer and the fish are ready for a good munch after spawning and cleaning up.
Bream and barbel could be your main targets but to be fair nearly every species will be active.
The warmth of the sun gets the fish interested and the colour of the water with a flood or bit of extra should ensure that they are also willing to feed.
COLIN MITCHELL WILL BE BACK WITH HIS POPULAR PLEASURE FISHING BLOG NEXT SUNDAY, JUNE 23.
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