Thursday, July 16, 2009

Blogs, blagging and the infernalweb

Recently I received an e-mail promoting the publication of a facsimile of an angler's journal. It's a bit pretentious for my tastes, being hand-lettered and illustrated by the author, but I'm sure it will appeal to angling book collectors and romantics.

Nice. If you like that sort of thing.

I wonder if today's bloggers used to keep journals, or has the ease of blogging turned them into diarists? In my teens and twenties I kept a detailed diary, sometimes later pasting in photos of memorable fish. Then I gave up with the descriptive bits and simply noted interesting occurrences, times of bites, fish landed, swims fished, conditions and so forth. I still carry a hardback A6 notebook for that purpose and use the notes to write up this blog and articles (when I used to write them, that is). I have a pile of these notebooks going right back t0 the early eighties, and before that I used to note how many fish I had caught in Angling Times diary and an old school exercise book.

Over 25 years of fishing notes

Making notes of what you have caught, as you catch the fish, turns up surprises when you look up red letter days. They often turn out to be a paler red than remembered! If you note down times of capture and baits it can show patterns though. So it is practical, nostalgic and humbling.

No publisher would produce a facsimile of that!

If you are reading this you already know that there are plenty of people writing about their fishing on the infernalweb. I have a few links to some of my favourite blogs in the sidebar, and have added two more today. I'm choosy about the sites I link to though. Some I read occasionally set me ranting - either because of the way they are written or because of the opinions of the blogger. But I reckon that if you like this blog (see Sad Deluded Fools, below right) there's a fair chance you'll like the same sort of blogs and sites I enjoy visiting. In amongst the poorly written, ill informed dross there is good stuff out there. Both informative and entertaining.

I find it particularly encouraging that young anglers are contributing to the web. It shows that there is a continuing desire among anglers to share their experiences and to express the pleasure it brings them. Blogging gives them the freedom to develop their own style and a place to have their say. Breaking into the angling print media is less easy than it used to be for an un-sponsored writer. Pike and Predators and Coarse Angling Today being two of the few magazines that don't feature obviously sponsored anglers contributions as a matter of course.

The tie ups between magazine, advertisers and contributing authors can be quite convoluted. I know for a fact that agreements/arrangements are made between publications and manufacturers that their sponsored anglers will write (sometimes exclusively) for those publications. The fees for the articles making up part of the angler's sponsorship deal. The inclusion of articles heavily featuring the sponsor's logos and products helps keep the advertisers on board. I suppose magazines use these thinly disguised advertorials because they are guaranteed space fillers, because they must know most people can see through the ruse, and many readers detest them.

Before I get accused of hypocrisy, I know I mention Korum and Sonubaits a bit on here. Well, I happen to know someone who works for the Preston Innovations empire so I get given gear and bait from time to time - on the understanding I mention or review the stuff I like. John knows full well that I won't praise something just because I've been given it. As I said to him when I was filling my car with bait one time, "I won't use crap bait just because it's free!" Being naturally 'careful' I do my best to blag, or negotiate a discount or deal, on any tackle I really want. If that fails then I'll pay full whack. In fact, there have been times when I have bought bait or gear that I could have blagged because I wanted it in a hurry. Strange, but true!