Never mind smelling the flowers, don’t forget to take time out to see the satirical side of fishing life and grab a laugh along the way as well. So here’s a regular column from Kevin Perkins to remind us that life is for laughing at, or taking the p*** out of, whenever we can.
TOO MUCH TOO YOUNG?
There are days when I sit and wonder about the future of angling. We all seem to bumble along in our own little worlds with no particular agenda or purpose or aims, and I suppose that’s fine – or is it? Should we have targets, and be ensuring that sufficient numbers of youngsters are coming up through the ranks to keep the whole thing going, or do we even care about the question of if there is a future for anybody else. As long as we are OK for now, then that’s all that matters, isn’t it?
To my mind there are probably too many people fishing, access to our sport is too easy, and lacking in any form of restriction. Whilst no one is expecting youngsters to have degrees is zoology or ichthyology, is it right for us to allow youngsters to be dealing single-handedly with living creatures that can weigh ten, twenty, even thirty pounds, without any form of instruction or education on basic fish handling techniques?
Should we have some form of proficiency certification for youngsters that is issued by the EA. Without this, no young anglers would be allowed to fish unless accompanied by an adult. Rod licences would not be required until eighteen years of age, and then the price should be around £ 100 per year, in order to fund this education programme.
Indeed, should we not have different levels of proficiency, almost on the same lines as golf handicaps, with terms such as basic, intermediate, or advanced, that will limit which venues you are able to fish, or indeed which clubs/or syndicates you are able to join? What can be wrong with clubs aiming for the highest standard, having waiting lists of anglers who are keen to join?
Too elitist you may cry, but if those same clubs/anglers are striving to show that they are at the pinnacle of fish welfare, who can argue against it? Self-regulation put into place voluntarily is surely better that imposed restrictions at a later date. Anything that shows that we are able to put our own house in order is bound to be better received than the resentment that will come through legislation forced onto angling at a later date.
In another vein, match fishing these days appears to have far more to do with financial outlay than any natural ability. Instead of just promoting an individual or small team, why don’t the manufacturers sponsor a series of matches, one river, one canal, one commercial, etc, on a regional basis, where they provide everyone fishing with the basic kit required for that venue (to be returned at the end of the day!). This would allow those who have the ability to compete on level terms. Even day-ticket waters should perhaps be encouraged to provide a tackle hire service (tailored to the particular needs of that venue) to further encourage people to try different waters and techniques.
The scheme could be widened to help up and coming youngsters (and/or their parents) and thereby give them access to different styles and venues. This would be without having to lay out vast sums of money for tackle that may only be used once, or the other scenario being kids turning up with totally inadequate equipment, and going away disillusioned with the whole process. With the current situation, I don’t know why anyone would even contemplate becoming draw bag fodder, when it is starting to get as costly as off shore power boat racing.
My jaundiced eye recently caught sight of the latest must-have accessory in the form of condoms for hooks. These enable you to shield the glint of a hook from wary fish, particularly barbel, and so boost your catches. Although if you are fishing with ‘shiny’ hooks isn’t it easier to change over to a bronzed variety, or have I missed the point, as usual?
Everything I’ve read about freshwater fishes’ eyesight refers to ‘cones’ of vision pointing upwards (except in the case of the binocular vision enjoyed by pike, of course). So, unless barbel have taken to standing on their heads to feed, bream style, the chances of them seeing a naked hook lying on the river bed are….. There again, as anglers these days seem totally preoccupied with fishing baits that have to be presented on a ‘hair’ rig, I suppose we only have ourselves to blame.
Perhaps our fly fishing colleagues would like to explain then, how their almost naked hook patterns in the form of buzzer imitations ever work, particularly as they are almost always presented above the trout, and so appear right in the fishes’ ‘window’ of vision. Either they are scaring off more fish than they ever realise, or hook condoms may just be another invention that catches more anglers than fish. Discuss……