Fish­ing’s crap­pi­est fish...

We’ve all caught fish that bat­tle like a soggy towel. Are some species built to be beaten, or is our tackle just too beefy, won­ders Dom Gar­nett?

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME -

EVER get the feel­ing that some fish you hook are to­tally out­gunned?

For all of our prepa­ra­tion and an­tic­i­pa­tion in try­ing to lo­cate, tempt and catch them, the ac­tual fight of a hooked fish can be a bit of an anti-cli­max.

Bream are per­haps the ul­ti­mate let­down in the fight­ing stakes. The odd sur­pris­ingly fit one aside, the ex­cite­ment pretty much ends after that wrap-around bite.

A few token heav­ing mo­tions later and you have a slimy net and a fish that looks half asleep – not a hugely ex­hil­a­rat­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, un­less you’re a match an­gler.

Not that bream are the only dead-hearted fish. Many species can be dis­ap­point­ingly fee­ble, and this is es­pe­cially true when they reach the sort of out­ra­geous pro­por­tions we dream of.

Per­haps it is ironic, given the strength of tackle we use, but in the cy­cle of life the big­gest fish tend to be old codgers, well past their best. Their younger, fit­ter and usu­ally smaller rel­a­tives are far more likely to give us some gen­uine white-knuckle thrills.

Large perch, pike and even carp have all given me some pretty un­der­whelm­ing fights over the years. I was so de­lighted to catch ev­ery one of them, their dire per­for­mances were in­stantly for­given. But such ex­pe­ri­ences do lead an an­gler to think rather more deeply about the im­por­tance of size in com­par­i­son to qual­i­ties such as the fit­ness, beauty and con­di­tion of the fish we catch.

Of course, the fight (or lack of it) is also de­pen­dent on us to some ex­tent. Any fish will fight well on the right tackle. On a 3lb test carp rod, that bream may as well be a wet sack. But on a del­i­cate quiv­er­tip rod you might still get that deep, sat­is­fy­ing bend and a tin­gle of ex­cite­ment. Pos­si­bly.

So where has the idea of light, bal­anced tackle gone these days? I hate to say it, but I strongly sus­pect that carp fever has a lot to an­swer for here. Whether you buy a match, spec­i­men or feeder rod these days, chances are it has been beefed up to deal with the C-word – spot on if you love haul­ing out big weights but no way to do jus­tice to old favourites such as roach, chub and, yes, bream.

Once again, it’s about the an­gler’s ap­proach as much as the quarry. You wouldn’t pair off a 10-stone feath­er­weight against the heavy­weight cham­pion. Per­haps this is why I’m less and less in­clined to reach for the shark tackle these days, and more de­ter­mined than ever to en­joy ev­ery fish I hook. READ MORE: Two dozen of Dom’s clas­sic sto­ries are avail­able now in the book Crooked Lines, avail­able for just £4.99 as an il­lus­trated Ama­zon Kin­dle edi­tion.

Tackle up sen­si­bly and most fish will show their fight­ing qual­i­ties.

All slime and no strength – another bream hits the net.

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