Standards In Angling Today – an essay

I’ve been hanging back on this article for a day or two, partly because it keeps growing as incidents happen and partly because I was wondering whether I was completely out of step with the rest of the angling world. Then I read a post on Fatwa World by Jon Frisby called, ‘Bad Angling, Muppets And People Who Make Your Blood Boil’. Suddenly I realised it wasn’t just me and that others do actually care. Here’s my take on it…

What do you make of anglers’ behaviour these days? Is it deteriorating? Or maybe getting better? I’ve been thinking about a number of issues that have arisen since the season opened and decided to bunch them all together under the heading of standards – Standards In Angling Today. It’ll upset a few folk, be in no doubt about that, always does when I get on my soapbox, but those who will complain loudest are probably the ones I’m talking about anyway – you know, the ones who selfishly ruin it for everyone else – either for the reasons named here or a few more I could probably add.

It’s inevitable, I guess, that what I’ve written will provoke a bunch of negative comments from certain forum posters and the seedier bloggers will definitely feel they have to sneer, hoping that I’ll bother to read their opinions and not realising that life’s just too short to waste my time on their juvenile and frequently distasteful outpourings. I just hope that the rational, the right thinking majority will perhaps feel I’ve touched a nerve. Something they too can empathise with.

I’ve tried not to make it personal. This is me looking at the bigger picture from one man’s viewpoint rather than pointing the finger at individuals, even though I will cite actual instances, it’s really about standards and problems in general. It is the bigger picture we should consider. Angling was once seen as a gentleman’s sport for the working classes. My old man even used to go fishing in a shirt and tie!

Perhaps the change in the way articles are written has harmed the sport? Time was when a fishing article might have been about atmosphere, being there, out in the countryside, part of nature, whereas now it’s all about how to tie the latest successful rig for instant success in a purely results driven sport.

I’m going to highlight several types of bad behaviour and you might care to ask whether it was this bad in, say, Walker’s day, or is it a new phenomenon? You might also care to consider whether this is happening on fisheries near you and what solutions are open to us.

Example One: Thoughtless Destruction

Do anglers actually respect the countryside? There’s much talk among the pro-closed season lobby that we care for the countryside and wildlife in general. Well, a short session on a little river revealed what destruction a few thoughtless anglers can wreak in the space of just a few days since the river season opened.

 There’s a popular swim not too far from the locked entrance gate that holds a lot of fish. In fairness, the weir pool apart, it is the single most obvious fish holding feature for several miles and its appeal to fish has increased greatly since a large willow bough gave way and placed itself over a depression in the river bed. We’re talking serious fish-holding habitat.

To make the swim even more interesting it is, or should I say was, skirted by head high rushes. Immediately below the snag that now dominates the swim there’s a slight kick in the river that pushes the flow under the near bank creating a short gully that is a good couple of feet wide, at least the same in depth and maybe ten feet long, running swiftly over gravel and bordered by tall rushes on one side and a lush bed of streamer weed on the other. A couple of droppers of pellet and hemp was all it took to get a group of fish feeding confidently in the gully providing you did it quietly and kept yourself out of sight. These fish showed no fear because they were hidden from view by the high vegetation while you sat 12 feet back from the edge with just the tip ring of your rod poking out.

Unfortunately some idiot has been in there during the last couple of days and completely flattened the rushes leaving the gulley exposed. You can practically count the pebbles on the river bed now, but what you can’t do is get fish to settle there. The swim is effectively ruined and will remain that way for the rest of the season.

But it won’t end there, will it. Having pushed the fish away, presumably they’re all now under the snag, these idiots will start chucking feeders as close as they dare to the sanctuary which means they’ll get snagged up, lose tackle and no doubt half the fish they hook. I doubt they’ll be using ‘safe’ rigs, either. How long will it be before someone in their wisdom gets fed up of losing gear and fish and then decides to drag this feature up the bank?

What makes matters worse is that this stretch of river runs through a nature reserve, much of which is deemed a SSSI.

Am I wrong in pointing out such destructive actions? If not, how the hell do we prevent it happening?

Example Two: Trespassing Canoes

Sticking with the same river, I spent an enjoyable morning wandering around on the lookout for fish in swims where the grass hadn’t been flattened. It’s not as easy a task as you might imagine but I did manage to catch four barbel and a few chub. Nothing huge, in fact the biggest was barely 5lb, but it was enthralling fishing all the same.

I’d actually packed up and stowed the gear in the van when I stumbled across a group of fish in one of the most unlikely swims. There was no cover, the river was barely 18 inches deep running over polished clean gravel. And there, as I looked down from a high bank into the crystal clear water, sat the biggest barbel I’ve ever seen in this river along with a good sized mate and a single chub that was equally massive – well, at least by this river’s standards. I blinked a few times, pinched myself and then carefully crept back to the van for the pellet bucket.

They were still waiting when I returned, sunning themselves in the heat. I flicked out a few mixed sized pellets and within seconds the barbel were on them. In no time at all they were ripping at the gravel and I began to think I might just catch myself a venue PB when I was distracted by a strange scraping noise. Looking up I could barely believe my eyes. There, 100 yards upstream, was a two-man canoe, drifting downstream – sideways. The river here is so narrow it was scraping the vegetation on both banks. It was probably scraping the gravel in places as well.

What on earth could I do, or say even? There is no right to navigation here whatsoever and I’ve never before seen a canoe on the stretch. No matter how angry I got it wouldn’t change a thing because they were just about to wreck what might have been one of the most exciting few seconds of fishing that I’ve experienced in 50 years of fishing.

It’s not like this is an uncontrolled stretch of river. It runs through a SSSI and the controlling club has rented the fishing since Adam was a lad. Did the boat have a registration plate? Frankly I don’t know. I was just so frustrated and angry it never crossed my mind to check. All I could think was, how come there’s never a shotgun around when you need one?

But what if I’d kicked off? What if I’d gone ballistic at them, maybe allowed things to get out of hand? What would you have done? And what was the right thing to do?

Footnote: On my last visit THREE more canoes came down the river. The problem appears to be on the increase.

Example Three: Angling’s Litter Louts

Litter remains a big issue with right-thinking anglers. It’s offensive and so easily identifiable to angler and non-angler alike. You only have to open your eyes and you’ll see it’s definitely left by anglers – groundbait bags, pellet bags, hook packets, accessory wrappings: ‘MiLud, my client would like to plead guilty on the grounds of insanity but he would like to blame someone else if that’s possible…?’

Last year (2010) the Angling Times asked me to write a season opener article featuring a day ticket Trent venue where readers might catch barbel and other species. Burton Joyce down to Gunthorpe had been my first choice but it transpired Notts Fed had given up the water while Ashfield Anglers had stepped in and made it members only. I did consider a mischievous article on Barnsley and District’s prolific day ticket water at Fiskerton, but as tempting as that was I really couldn’t be arsed with the hassle it would cause!

So I settled for the A1 Pits, a stretch I’ve known since I first fished matches on there in the 1960’s, and on through the 70’s and 80’s. I regularly bought a yearbook for the current most popular barbel stretch above Crankley Point in the days when Hull and District ran the fishing and I’d also put in a bit of time on the pits fishing for bream and carp in more recent times. It made perfect sense to me, the ‘Times was happy with my choice and having spoken with the bailiff, he had no objections either.

The reaction on the fishery’s forum was cynical, if not unexpected: ‘What’s he know about the place? He’s never fished here!’Someone claimed. But that didn’t bother me in the slightest. What did bother me was the blame that was placed at my door for the litter that was left by those fishing on opening day. And I agree, the article certainly raised the profile of the fishery, but that article didn’t hit the news stands until the morning of June 16th.

It seems likely to me that the litter was dumped by those who were by the river from the 15th June, in other words, before the article was published and before the season opened. Can you seriously envisage folk sitting at home waiting for the paper lad to deliver their weekly fishing fix in the hope that it would give them some idea as to where they might dump the previous night’s takeaway wrappers and two dozen empty Stella cans?

Somehow I suspect you’ll agree that sounds a little preposterous. Logic suggests the litter was dumped by those who have been fishery regulars in the past, by folk who knew the hot pegs already, because they were sitting in those swims long before the paper came out.

Of course, as is their nature, I took a bit of a pasting on that forum. Yes, you’ve guessed, it was my fault that litter had been left because I wrote a positive piece about the fishery. What I failed to spot at the time was a sticky near the top of the Trent Forum page dating back to 2008. Blow me, the fishery had been suffering with a serious litter issue that already existed over two years before my article and it read:

Message from steve to all angler’s who fish the A1 stretch of the trent regarding rubbish. Steve will be taking note of vehicle registration number’s when he collect’s money from angler’s along this stretch of river ,if any angler leave’sany rubbish they will be excluded from the complex forthwith…..’

Sadly, that warning had little effect because I noticed this little gem, written that same October:

‘rubbish on trent….been on a1 trent last couple of weekends and fished the same pegs had some great barble.but twice wevehad to clean rubbish away that had been left by others.these people need banning soon before it gets infested with rats.

I wish I could say I felt absolved after reading that, but litter is depressing and angling is saddled with an element that thinks its fine to leave it all behind them after a ‘fishing’session. If only those who were so quick to harrangue me on the net would bother to identify those who were dumping rubbish and tipping it right under their noses. Surely the regular anglers see who’s leaving all the crap behind? It is, after all, their fellow fisherman on the stretch they are fishing. Possibly even their mates.

So let’s roll forward to 2011. Has the situation improved? Has the litter problem gone away?

Alas it seems not. One forum poster who had fished there during opening week 2011 wrote: ‘I cant belive the amount of litter left on the banks, its a disgrace. loads of beer bottles left all over, is it time that booze was banned from the pits????????’

Errr, why would anyone want to carry booze when they’re barbel fishing? It doesn’t make sense to me. Does it you? Drinking on the banks of a river is a recipe for disaster and any fishery seen to condone drinking must surely leave itself open to a huge compensation claim in the event of a tragic misfortune.

I’m sure those who fish the A1 stretch will be rather annoyed that I’ve highlighted their problem but it’s not one that’s restricted to just one fishery. Angling has turned into camping. Anglers frequently turn a blind eye to drug taking, drinking alcohol, partying, littering and yes, even sh***ing on the bank. Is there any wonder we’re not welcome on certain Nature Reserves? The vast majority of us are well behaved, but we do have an enemy within. What do you think we should do about it?

I notice that due to the volume of litter being dumped on the bank and especially in the car park, Collingham AA is threatening to make  pegs 1-48 below the weir £20 per day or restrict it to members only. Is it not strange that no-one ever identifies who leaves it?

As for the A1 Pits (although the same can be said for Collingham), come on guys, you have a litter problem. Pointless denying it, because it’s all over your forum. It is ongoing and there’s no sign of it ending. You did the talking bit in 2008, 2009, 2010 and now in 2011, so how about you now do the action bit? Why don’t you open your eyes and identify those who are responsible for the problem? Let’s name some names, identify the vehicles, inform the bailiff. Once you’ve done that I’m sure something can be done about it, even if that just means moving them on to someone else’s fishery. If everyone does the same they’ll eventually have nowhere to go.

The A1 Pits has long been a fabulous stretch of river with superb access and it’s still open to all. It is much more than just a barbel fishery. Where else in these parts can you target 40lb carp, 20lb pike, double figure zander, 6lb chub, 3lb perch and double figure bream on a day ticket? The site also allows night fishing on the river, which is not that common on a Trent day ticket, so, there’s no defence for complaining that someone else should deal with the problem. If it’s not the fishery regulars who leave the rubbish then why is it happening year after year after year?

It stands to reason that floppy hatters who wander around in camou gear carrying one rod and a lightweight rucksack don’t have 24 bottles of lager secreted about their person. You know full well it’s the folk who camp out for days, hold barbecues and drink lager by the crate who need addressing.

At the end of the day, if we as anglers are going to do nothing more about the problem than moan on forums we might as well give up right now. The actual solution is not a pleasant one. We all need to consider carrying a thick plastic sack around and cleaning up the pegs we fish, irrespective of whether we dumped the rubbish personally or not. It’s the only way forward. Unless you can suggest a better, practical, workable alternative.

Example Four: How much river do you want?

I watched in amusement. An angler on the far bank had his rod hooped over, pulling for all he was worth. The angler just above me was also giving something the big teddy. And then it dawned on me, they were not playing fish, they were playing each other, feeders locked together in a mad tug of war. You might regard that as a rare occurrence, but not on this fishery. And we’re not talking about some piddly stream, we’re talking about two anglers on opposite sides of the Tidal River Trent.

You see, it has become the norm for anglers on there to hurl great big feeders weighing up to six or even 8oz towards the far horizon, even when anglers are fishing directly opposite. I actually had a guy email me last year, ‘I’ve seen you fishing opposite me and I would like to fish where you fish. How do I do that?’

My reply to him was straight to the point, ‘By casting a bit shorter because I’m trying to fish a stick float while folk like you are landing feeders closer to my bank than my float!’

We have a preposterous situation on this stretch where the anglers on the opposite bank are regular casting over the lines of anglers on this bank. How mad is that? No-one on this bank ever crosses half way. They have no need to. They would be casting away from the fish.

I appreciate that a lot of the barbel anglers today are simply yesterdays failed carpers and they’ve brought with them a lot of the carping philosophies, plotting up in the same swim for days on end, multiple rods, drinking, smoking funny cigarettes, using boilies, bolt rigs, bite alarms and casting as far as they possibly can (even when the fish are actually underneath their feet), baiting campaigns, piling bait into a swim when they leave to reduce the next angler’s chances and the syndication of prime stretches that were formerly club and day ticket waters to name but a few.

Clubs appear reluctant to print rules in their books and on day tickets stating what everyone should already know. When two clubs have the fishing rights on opposite banks of a river then each can fish up to half way. It’s as simple and straight forward as that and the only exception is when the club has rights to both banks. If you’re fishing past the middle you’re effectively poaching. And clubs are certainly not interested in enforcing this rule, are they? Of course not. They might lose a few ticket sales if they do that!

In the good old days when folk fished with roach gear or a conventional feeder rod it was hardly a problem but times have changed and it’s downright dangerous when some idiot is using you as a marker while he whacks out a 6oz feeder with all the force he can muster.

Example Five: Showing Courtesy

The days when Walter Raleigh cast down his cape over a puddle may be consigned to ancient history, as is when a gentleman might offer his seat up to a woman, or even dare hold a door open for one. It’s certainly rare to hear a comedian speak on TV for five minutes without resorting to using the ‘F’ word. The ‘Yoof’ of today are feckless and immoral. Crikey, we even have a coloured lady living in the village now and she’s not the doctor! Or should that be ‘black’. I really can’t keep up with what’s politically correct or not these days.

Okay, I jest about the latter, but we’ve witnessed much change over the past few decades and common courtesy appears to have been thrown out of the window. Sadly it’s not getting any better on the riverbank, in my opinion.

Yesterday I popped down to the Trent to do a bit of filming with Stu. We deliberately chose a remote area that doesn’t get a lot of pressure. The aim was to catch a decent barbel (or three) on stick float tactics, something that is proving to be rather tricky this season, partly because there’s been an explosion of 3-inch dace and bleak and partly because the barbel don’t seem want to even look at a moving bait. I suspect low levels and water clarity have much to do with it but the bottom line is it’s proving a tricky task.

Anyway, I set up, started to feed the peg and began ‘ploughing a furrow’ with the float. I had a chub, a few bits and then nothing much except burst casters. No matter, the longer I fed the swim the more likely it was that I’d eventually catch. There wasn’t another angler on my bank below me for a full mile and I know this because I actually checked!

In low, clear, hot, daylight conditions, keeping quiet and causing minimal disturbance is an absolute must. Two hours into the session and with the key evening feeding time approaching, another angler turned up. Ignoring the ‘No Vehicles Beyond This Point’ sign, he drove up onto the floodbank and then reversed up to the river 20 yards below me and then commenced to set up two splodging rods, but not before he had come and stood on my skyline to say, ‘If anyone knows how to catch them, you do!’

I am not the world’s greatest barbel angler, nor do I claim to be, but I do know how NOT to catch them and that this guy had already committed three cardinal sins. When I realised he was setting up so close to me, right on top of where I’d been hoping to draw my fish from, I asked somewhat provocatively, ‘I’m not in your way, fishing here, am I?’

His response was, ‘You’ve got room enough, surely?’

To which there is no real answer. Any further comment would be like shouting louder at a Frenchman who doesn’t speak English. You cannot reason with the unreasonable any more than you can educate pork.

So I ask. With a whole mile of empty river to go at, would you deliberately set up 20 yards below the only angler on the water, especially when taking into account he was fishing a stick float? Am I being selfish or was the guy completely insensitive and by setting up without even asking if I minded first. Did he simply show a total lack of courtesy?

To be honest, I packed up immediately, with I must say, lots of door slamming and over-loud negative comments, because my session had been compromised to the point where I couldn’t possibly have enjoyed it and my chances of catching a barbel seriously hampered. And all for the sake of a bloke who could have fished another 30 yards downstream with my blessing.

So, have angling standards dropped? Or is it a new phenomenon that now we fish for barbel rather than roach on the Trent, we all want a bit more elbow room? Does this kind of thing happen to you? And when it does, do you turn the other cheek?

Example Six: Bending The Rules

How far will you go to stretch a rule? I’ve seen all manner of stunts and strokes pulled in my time and I guess this is down to the individual. The snide rod is a classic. But what about, say, fishing a lake with an out of bounds area. Okay, you can’t enter the area on foot but would you deem it acceptable to cast into that area? 

Would you fish right on the boundary of your own stretch of river and cast as far as you can downstream into someone elses? Or upstream, even?

Okay, these are hypothetical scenarios, but would you poach a nature reserve, as some do? When a bunch of twitters decide they don’t want anglers on their lake, do you see that as a challenge or a deterrent?

Changing tack, what about match anglers who discard casters into their keepnets hoping the scalesman won’t notice? What if a rule insists ‘barbless hooks only’ – would you ever use a barb, or maybe a microbarb, or a crushed one – crushed is okay, isn’t it…?

Let’s face it, some fisheries have lists of rules and bans longer than some of my blogs and that’s saying something! How about fishery pellets only rules? More often than not they’re no different from any other pellets, they’re just sold in smaller bags at inflated prices. Are you ever tempted to mix in a bag of your own to save costs?

And bait bans…

Would you take livebaits to Scotland or Ireland? Would you use ‘nearly deads’ on waters where livebaits are not allowed?

What if your club insists you are off the bank at sunset? Tempting to stay on a bit, isn’t it? Not exactly night fishing, but definitely stretching the rules. But what if the club opposite allows night fishing? Would you stretch your pack-up time a bit further? And if you did, would those who fish opposite have any rights to complain? Tricky that one, isn’t it? I’m on the fence but I do know a couple of individuals who get really wound up about it.

And Then There’s Downright Lying…

You may regard yourself as an honest person but what if a stranger asks you where you caught that big fish he saw a picture of? What venue, swim, method, bait, etc? Would you tell him? Or is telling the odd pork pie acceptable? Give him the old swerve? You might not actually tell a great big lie but is being slightly economical with the truth acceptable? I suppose deception’s fine if you’re giving out the information, not so when you’re on the receiving end.

If it’s worth anything I’ve been sent on a number of wild goose chases in my time but if we don’t want to hear a lie then maybe we shouldn’t ask questions in the first place. Experience is hard won.

Trouble is, folk always want a quick solution. They don’t want to do the hard bit, the leg work, and this is another thing I learned from editing a carp magazine and being involved in coaching. It’s all, ‘Gizza rig, gizza bait, which swim geezer?’ Folk want fishing on a plate, X marks the spot. There are so many instant fishermen out there.

Petty Sniping And Weighty Obsession

I spotted a rather splendid picture of a large barbel on a web site the other day and this chap’s mates were rightly congratulating him on his result. No doubt the captor basked in this moment of triumph and glory but there’s always a degree of ying and yang where big fish are concerned. The same picture, when posted on his Facebook page drew equally complimentary comments from some well respected quarters but one bloke just had to spoil the party:

‘It doesn’t look that big to me.’

‘Oh yes it does!’

‘Oh no it doesn’t!’


Not sure if it was a pantomime or a tribute to the aptly named Tom Petty, who you may recall sang that favourite ditty of mine, ‘I won’t back down’.

There really wasn’t any need for this conflict of opinions but the same site which congratulated the guy does have a track record of questioning the weights attributed to pictures posted on other sites, so maybe it was chickens coming home to roost. But we’re back to this obsession over weights again. Folk lay so much stall on them. It is almost their raison detre for fishing. Reducing success to simple numbers is their holy grail.

‘My cock’s bigger than yours mate!’

‘Aye, but what about the girth?’

I’ve a mate who weighs every barbel he catches, even the 5 and six pounders! I don’t get it. Half the time I don’t even carry scales these days because quite frankly it means nothing if:

a) no-one will believe you anyway

b) your catch will be compared against other catches that were guestimated or completely wrongly weighed – seriously some folks would even be sacked by Aldi if they weighed produce so inaccurately

c) the equipment used is not calibrated or checked immediately before use – scales are notoriously inaccurate

d) two people catch exactly the same fish, one an ounce under an invented target weight, the other an ounce over, therefore the second angler is somehow better…

e) two fish are caught from different rivers

f) some folk lie

g) some folk even believe their own lies

h) you will be judged only by fools

Earlier this year I returned my biggest ever floater-caught carp unweighed. The bloke who photographed it thought I was barking mad. I gained a great degree of satisfaction from the act of not reducing a great moment to a trivial number. I know exactly how big it was.

It was THIS big. And that’s good enough for me.

And by doing so I have deprived the bitter old meanies of their chance to cry, ‘Oh no it wasn’t’.

Dave Walker, owner of the excellent Alderfen Fishery is full of dry and witty responses. Earlier this year he said to me, ‘Bob, there are three things you never say to a bloke: You don’t tell him he’s got a little cock, you don’t tell him you’ve slept with his missus and you don’t tell him it didn’t weigh that much!’

He might have a point you know. Some folk do get a little touchy.

Putting Folk In The Picture

I bumped into a guy the other evening, ‘Is the weir up here?’ He asked. He’d seen a picture posted on a forum of someone of a nice barbel with a blatantly recognisable weir in the background. Seriously folks, if you think folk want to see your smiling face as you hold up that fish you’re kidding yourself. They only want to see where you caught it. Location, location, location.

You really should hear Stu Walker’s views on this. He has an intimate knowledge of at least ten miles of his favourite barbel river, every swim, bush, weed bed, gully, depression and he actually studies catch photos. ‘I know exactly where that one came from!’ He’ll say. And he get’s it right with unerring accuracy. To him it’s a game of Cluedo.

He uses your catches to reinforce his knowledge of fish movements and sometimes he’ll go out of his way to check hunches just for the sheer hell of it. It might only be a broken piece of balsam, a twig stuck up, a certain rock and so on. To you it’s nothing, to an expert slueth it might as well be a treasure map marked up with crosses.

When I’m sent pictures for my blog I frequently disguise the background to protect the location. If my pictures include a location then it is there deliberately, not by accident. Work that one out for yourself.

You simply have no idea how much information is given away quite innocently, or perhaps stupidly. But all credit to the guy who had used his noddle and studied the pictures (mind you the weir was as obvious as the ears on an elephant) to find the exact swim where others had been catching. Pinpoint one fish in early summer and you can safely bet there will be several more around. But the more you lay it on a plate like a numpty, the more likely your fish will be targeted by a switched-on angler and you’d be a fool to think your catch rate will not be affected.

Taking The Bait

What about those who tell lies to promote certain products? I know of several well-known anglers who are sponsored by high profile bait companies who, shall we say, have been known to bend the truth on occasion. We all know that tiger nuts are a remarkably good carp bait and have resulted in the capture of countless giants. How often has the captor overlooked the fact he was using a tiger nut when reporting the catch in the media and claimed it was caught on a boilie manufactured by his sponsor?

I know a bait manufacturer who has received countless telephone calls in his time from anglers who have just caught a big kipper asking what it’s worth if they say it was caught on his bait. He always tells them where to go but he knows that someone else with less integrity will take up their offer. A week or two later that fish will appear in the press and the captor will be claiming it was caught on ‘Bloggs’ bait.

You know, it’s probably so rife that folk in the know no longer actually believe anything they read. Take a post I saw on a forum the other week about all these big barbel being caught from a certain Midlands canal. The story, first featured in my blog, was picked up by the press and by the time it did the rounds of fairy land the usual bells and whistles had been added. It was actually one fish, the only one in there, caught three times by the same angler.

I was foolish enough to actually post on this forum and set the record straight. I even told them exactly what bait the captor had used and that he had now moved off the canal because he was  getting a bit sick of this mug barbel ruining his carp fishing. It would not leave his baited traps alone. Had anyone bothered to ask I could have told them the exact swim but my genuine information was greeted with derision and my integrity questioned, ‘You’re just plugging the bait company!’ Accused one guy. To which I replied, ‘Sorry mate, if you knew anything about me you simply wouldn’t say that.’

Next thing, several members are complaining I’ve hurt the feelings of this guy; he was apparently only taking the piss. One even went so far as to suggest I ‘man up’ and apologise to him!

To which my response to the guy, the members, the site in general and the owner was, ‘Go figure!’ Or sentiments to that effect.

But should I have bothered to even try and help these guys in the first place? Sometimes genuine facts and accurate information is wasted on folk who prefer to believe in a complete load of old rubbish. And what happens next time? I guess you’ve worked that one out.

There won’t be a next time, will there?

And maybe that’s my own standards slipping. I’d happily lie next time, or take the piss. Which makes me no better than them.


Well, that’s a load off my chest, but to save you scrolling all the way back to the start, let me remind you what I wrote in the opening paragraphs of/about this essay. I said:

It’ll upset a few folk, be in no doubt about that, always does when I get on my soapbox, but those who will complain loudest are probably the ones I’m talking about anyway – you know, the ones who selfishly ruin it for everyone else – either for the reasons named here or others I could probably add.

It’s inevitable, I guess, that what I’ve written will provoke a bunch of negative comments from certain forum posters and the seedier bloggers will definitely feel they have to sneer, hoping that I’ll bother to read their opinions, obviously not realising that life’s just too short to waste my time on their juvenile and frequently distasteful outpourings.

Well, do you think I’ve lit the blue touch paper?

Then again, if folk don’t like the stuff I write, why on earth do they have an irresistible compulsion to read it? Beats the hell out of me.

5 thoughts on “Standards In Angling Today – an essay

  1. hi bob
    ive only read half of it and scrolled through the rest as its late and ive had too long of a day but spot on so far. i’ll look forward to reading the rest tomorrow

    • i could not agree more. i confronted a bloke about empty corn tins and pellet bags and his answear was that it had been there when he arived wich i doubt but if that was the case then why not remove it ?????. the calder my local river is still recovering from the industrial revelution and the last thing it needs is tossers setting it back.

  2. Club waters I fish state all litter is the responsibility of the angler fishing the peg, not the answer litter is still left but occasional bans for litter certainly helped last year, possible examples need to be made this year, should not be needed but then again got off the motorway to see two drivers throw the days litter including coke bottles out the window

  3. great article Bob,i’m sure everyone who reads it can relate to it,Litter be it on the riverbank,lakeside or street realy get my goat up,i live about 2 miles from a crappy fast food joint(the one with a peado clown as a front man)at weekends i usualy walk down the shop which is about a mile away OMG you would not believe the crap that is obviously thrown out of car windows,seems that the time taken to”enjoy”a burger made of lips n ar5eholes is just the same time to drive from said resteraunt to our village.Kids should be taught about litter in citizen classes instead of some of the PC crap they are taught.sorry for the rant,keep um comin Bob

  4. A hell of a lot of hometruths there Bob. This business of litter and the typical behavoir of a lot of “barbel fishers”, makes me feel very sad, and very old. The standards in angling appear to be disappearing fast.

    But what can we do to keep the litter louts and psuedo barbel anglers off the rivers? People like this do not read articles. Barrie Rickards was right when he stated in his book: “Angling – Fundamental Principles”, that anglers do not read!

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