Is it possible for coarse and game anglers to cast side by side, as friends rDaaosth moeu rGrt amhraonnre efta tc, tions? Most certainly, says enlightened fisheries prove every season...
Coarse V Game anglers?
FOR as long as I can remember, the division between different types of angling has seemed a strange old business.
Perhaps it’s inevitable when methods diverge as much as whip fishing and wrecking for cod, but we all remain anglers in one form or another. So why do so many of us identify with just one camp, be it match, carp or lure fishing?
With the onward march of technology it has never been easier to find information and entry points to different types of fishing. So why are relatively few of us true all-rounders?
While humans remain creatures of habit and social grouping, more of us are definitely crossing boundaries now. But to be truly integrated, different angling styles have to meet up on the bank, not just on Facebook.
Indeed, what a shame we cannot do this more often, because this mixing process only adds to the pleasure and understanding all of us get from fishing.
Recently I had the great pleasure of fishing at Timsbury on the Test. You might assume this was not the most inclusive of rivers, but on a crisp autumn day, the various schools of angling were present not as grudging co-habitants, but like old friends chatting away and comparing notes.
Every winter this fishery opens in a way that sadly too few stretches of chalkstream do, allowing everything from legering for chub to nymph fishing for grayling. Within the same mile, ex-international game angler Gary Pearson was casting flies, while our own Des Taylor was taking a look with bait gear and I was tackling up for pike. Far from being a race to bag swims or debate whose approach was best, I spent the day thoroughly enjoying the company and listening with great interest to the different anglers. It fished hard on the day, but for a glorious few hours you might have thought you had stumbled upon a more progressive era of fishing, where all of us were friends, happily casting side by side.
If I had to single out some of the most stubborn factors that prevent unity in fishing, costs and private access would be among the biggest. The River Test is just one example. At £25 a day, Timsbury is an affordable treat, but many of the other stretches are totally out of reach to Joe Public at £200 a day and are fly-only most of the year. Is it any wonder we foster either resentment or snobbery?
You can draw your own conclusions here, but all I will say is that if fishing is to survive and be healthy, we need to be more welcoming and willing to share waters and ideas. Unity doesn’t have to mean uniformity, and we are all richer for coming together.
Coarse and fly anglers meet as firm friends at Timsbury.
A pretty grayling, equally enjoyable whether you try bait or flies.