Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Storm in a teapot

Last night I had a late evening phone call from an angling journalist who is of the school of thought which maintains that information about where to fish should be free to everyone.  Apparently anyone who doesn't like seeing swims named is 'mean spirited'. If so then I'm mean spirited and proud of it.

I'm not alone though, as anyone who has posted on the Pike and Predators forum naming a water and asking for the hotspots will testify. The more polite replies will tell them to go fish the place and find the best swims for themselves. The less polite will slag them off mercilessly. It is called The Bear Pit for good reason! But if the naming of waters is avoided it can be a very helpful place to seek advice. Other forums have a no-naming policy for venues, and some (like Barbel Fishing World) have hidden their river report forums from the public gaze to prevent 'lurkers' getting hard won information for free.

There is good reason for this - there is a finite number of fisheries holding big fish and an expanding number of anglers. It may be 'mean spirited and selfish', but it prevents the locations becoming heavily pressured. This is beneficial for the anglers who have fished them for years (they are less likely to roll up and find their top swims taken), and for the fish (some, such as pike and barbel, can suffer badly from poor handling or repeated captures).

Yet still some people are intent of making venues, and swims, known to all and sundry. I just can't see why. It may seem like a high-minded egalitarian move, but if it buggers up other people's fishing I reckon it's mean spirited and selfish. To twist a cliché, knowledge of fishing spots is not a right, it's a privilege.

It could be a generational thing, but I don't see why people should expect to have fishing spots handed to them on a plate. Big fish should be earned to give real and lasting satisfaction to the captor. Perhaps that's an old fashioned concept. Nonetheless I think giving people part of the answer makes them appreciate the solution more when they work out the missing pieces for themselves. Help them with their rigs, and their understanding of how to locate fish by all means, don't tell them where to put their chair. But this is going over old ground for me and will almost certainly fail to convince those who don't already think that way.

Maybe I was a little harsh (in my initial ire at the feature) on the angler involved who could well have been acting with good intentions. Sad and pathetic were perhaps not the right words, more like naive and misguided.

On the positive side it's been raining. The river should be rising and the barbel feeding hard. If you want to know a good spot to try, don't ask me.... [Insert smiley face here to indicate humour for the benefit of the innately stupid.]