Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Ice caps and dirty mags...

There’s no point in trying to hurry Isaac in the mornings, as much as he’s been enjoying fishing lately he won’t be getting out of bed early! To be honest a mid-morning start suited me fine too, I rarely take the chance to have a lazy morning. When I finally stumbled out of the back door it was a bit of a surprise to see that there’d been a heavy frost overnight. No matter, the sun was out and the temperature was rising, it was a crisp clear winter’s day. The second surprise of the day occurred when we arrived at the waterside, the lake was frozen over! I pitied the poor Carp angler bivvied up, he’d have an even bigger surprise when he finally unzipped and peered out! We considered driving around and trying our luck elsewhere but it was unlikely we’d find anywhere suitable to fish so headed home disappointed.

Having reversed the timetable for the day Isaac and I returned to the lake in the early afternoon to find the ice had cleared. We dropped into a familiar swim and spread our deadbaits around. Isaac’s casting was a little rusty but after a couple of false starts he managed to place his mackerel nicely in the deep water in front of a reed bed. I fished similar methods and once settled we sat back in our chairs to wait. At least I did, Isaac was full of energy today and couldn’t sit still. He was splashing in the flooded margins, climbing in the trees and the flow of speech was nonstop. He probably scared every Pike for a mile but at least he was having fun! We stayed for a couple of hours and to be honest I didn’t feel we were ever going to catch anything. The temperature dropped quickly as the light faded and we both agreed we’d had enough. No Pike today but having achieved his target a few weeks ago, Isaac is very relaxed about catching another. He’s looking forward now to warmer weather and a different type of fishing, if the truth be known, so am I. However, there is unfinished business elsewhere…

I get to read almost all of the monthly angling publications and they are a right mixture of good, bad and indifferent. I like anecdotal writing and for this the Carp mags are miles ahead of the rest in my opinion, Carpworld and Carpology in particular are excellent. I won’t name the bad but DHP publishes its fair share. The “indifferent” covers most of the rest of the monthlies of all types. I can usually find an article or two in each mag that takes my fancy and authors such as Dave Lane, Neville Fickling, Nigel Sharp, Mick Brown, Stef Horak and Paul Forward stand out from the crowd. By their very nature magazines like “Improve your Coarse fishing” have to cover all disciplines so there will always be articles that don’t appeal to me, each to their own.

I find it hard to take some authors seriously because they just don’t have the experience to really understand their sport, they simply aren’t old enough. Sure these youngsters may have caught a few good fish and fair play to them for that but time on the bank over many seasons can’t be equalled. Writers need to have an ‘X factor’ and for me that X is experience. Most of these younger writers do little more than trot out the same old tired angling clichés and the poorer Carpy mags are the worst for this; “feel for the donk”, “one toner”, “I set my traps”, “trickling a bit of bait in”. and just about every fish is described as “stunning”, er… I beg to differ! I suppose many young anglers aspire to be sponsored by a leading company and splashed all over the mags, be careful what you wish for.

The thing that bugs me the most are the articles that are little more than an advertorial, rammed with plugs for products sold by the writer’s employers. I know this has been going on in the Carp and mainstream magazines for years but I now see it sneaking into Pike fishing articles, there’s a dreadful example of this by Jon Neafcy in the latest TCF. I don’t know Jon personally but I’m led to believe he’s a nice guy but c’mon!! Many of these sponsored anglers jump ship from one company to another more often than some anglers change their underwear; they lose any credibility they may have along the way. Every time I read something by a sponsored or employed angler I have to ask myself; “Do I trust what this person is saying?” Unfortunately on many occasions I don’t.

Talking of TCF there was a very poor article in the February edition, not so much for the way it was written but for the dangerous advice it was giving. The author Dan Sales, was advocating using a fluorocarbon trace for Zander fishing on a river that also holds a good head of Pike. Dan says "Lots of people will moan about a fluorocarbon link..." I won't disappoint him, people will moan with good reason, it’s totally irresponsible on this kind of fishery. Dan tells us why himself; "If I do get a Pike I rarely get a bite off…". Rarely? Surely once is too often! With all the measures anglers take to avoid leaving Carp trailing rigs does Dan Sales think it's OK to leave one in a Pike? Apparently Mr Sales has “Years of guiding on the Ebro” (according to the mag he’s 28…) but this is irrelevant in a water where Pike are present. He also recommends using ten pound mainline too which is just unnecessary and irresponsible again. I did write to the editor pointing out that this isn't good advice for a magazine to be publishing; I wasn’t surprised that I didn’t get a reply.

Sadly the nature of our sport makes it very difficult to write good articles about Pike fishing, even sadder that Pike & Predators doesn’t even seem to try these days. If the publishers really understood the sport they wouldn’t print venue guides!  Steve Rowley's "Esoxworld" is only available as an Emagazine but this proves it is possible to make a good Pike angling magazine, however I can't help thinking that somebody is missing a trick here...

So if you want to read good educational and anecdotal writing from genuine anglers who have no commercial tie ins, ulterior motives or hidden agendas, check the blog list on the right of this page.

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