Come and Have a Go – if you think you’re ‘ard enough!
Having read, agreed with and commented on Mark Wintle’s latest article about the wanting something for nothing attitude of most anglers, I started to have a think about just what the reason was for such monumental apathy.
I make no claim to have any knowledge or understanding of psychology, but perhaps there is a way to begin to comprehend the reasoning behind this indifference.
Firstly, let’s take the sport of fishing itself, and let’s agree right up front that it/we have an image problem. Disregarding the ‘anti’ faction, the majority of non-anglers just don’t get the point of fishing at all. In fact, is it a ‘sport’ at all, because were it one-legged mud-covered, dwarf-tossing, we would be showered with lottery grants and be pushing for Olympic status.
Plus we should have our very own Government Ministry and Cabinet Minister, instead of being lumped in with the Environment Agency, whose remit covers Nuclear Power Stations and Waste Management in its £ 1000m annual budget. A couple of examples of their recent successes against law-breakers are shown below. Published on 19th Feb 2009, they’re a bit more interesting than trying to catch a couple of Eastern Europeans doing the odd bit of fish poaching:
North West Scrap car dealer fined. A scrap car dealer from Burnley, has today been fined £ 5,000 at Reedley Magistrates court for storing controlled waste without a licence.
Nuclear power station operator Magnox has been fined £ 250,000 and ordered to pay £ 150,000 costs for over 14 years of radioactive leaks at the former Bradwell Nuclear Power Station, Southminister, Essex.
You can see just how a ‘sport’ that generates £ 20m per year fits right into that portfolio of interests. So, to use an apt angling term, we are very small fish in a rather big pond when it comes to our masters. If you haven’t started to get an inferiority complex yet, let’s work on that.
Angling in itself is seen as a solitary pastime. Although we all know that there are teams at fishing matches, the vast majority of us set out to do battle in one’s or two’s. This does not present anglers as a very gregarious bunch, nor do we see much call for people to join us, either. My local Council newsletter offers free space to clubs and social organisations wanting to advertise their upcoming functions and/or attract new members. On top of that, we have considerable reserves put by for grant funding available to local organisations. Applications received to date from local fishing clubs – nil!
And despite millions being spent to provide sometimes minority sports with public facilities, (petanque, croquet and archery are well served in my own area) be assured that not much, in fact, probably none at all, of your hard earned Council Tax will go towards providing you with opportunities to practise the sport you love. Perhaps we should all take up golf; there really are some magnificent municipal courses and driving ranges about, so I’m told.
So, we are a bunch of non-funded Billy no-mates then. Not surprising that when it comes to fishing websites the vast majority of us prefer to keep our heads below the parapet and just pop up now and then for a spot of sniping. In fact, websites are the ideal place for anglers.
They can quietly sit behind their keyboards, where they can be as invisible and anonymous to others as they want to be (and let’s face it, that seems to suit most of them). They can read articles, post comments, have blazing rows and no-one need ever know who they are in real life. You could walk straight past a bloke you had a violent disagreement with last night, and they wouldn’t recognise you at all, perfect!
The point to all this is that I am just as bad as many other when it comes to hiding away. Although I have been a ‘regular’ on here for almost 7 years, very few members know who I am. Apart from the odd snippets of my personal life that I slip into the articles (and that’s only the bits I want to) and my usually inept but very well disguised performances at a few fish-ins, that’s it.
FM members may think that my self-deprecating style is a double bluff, and that actually I am a seasoned and accomplished angler. Well nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, here’s a confession to start with, some seasons I don’t get out at all. I haven’t actually been coarse fishing since last October.
The last time I picked up a fly rod was the Press Manor fish in, and an observant person would have seen that all the gear I had there was new, because prior to that, I hadn’t been trout fishing since, well, in fact, I can’t remember, it’s been that long!
I have been spinning for pike and perch, but haven’t chucked a pike deadbait out in anger for nearly three seasons now. So, dear reader, you can see that I am a complete fraud when it comes to any recent fishing experiences to base any writing on.
But despite that, I feel I want to give something back to the sport, and to do that, I do my best to cobble together what I hope are entertaining pieces for FM. Rambling drivel it may be, but it is done to the best of my ability, irrespective of me not being any sort of fisherman.
Now, it may be that the FM readers are shocked by my admission of being an angling fraud. But I care not one jot, because in order to tell me, they are going to come out from behind their keyboards.
So I say, come on and have a go, if you think you’re hard enough…….!