Cam­er­a­phoney snapchat

Anglers Mail - - Informant The -

ONE of the fish­ing clubs that I be­long to holds an an­nual photo com­pe­ti­tion, with a prize for the best im­age of a fish caught by a mem­ber.

The only rules are that it has a mem­ber of the club in the frame some­where, ei­ther hold­ing the fish or ac­com­pa­ny­ing the cap­tor in the frame, to pre­vent peo­ple en­ter­ing im­ages down­loaded from the in­ter­net, and that it was taken in the past 12 months.

There’s al­ways a good cross sec­tion of species and a va­ri­ety of an­gles and poses, and the best dozen en­tries are made into a cal­en­dar, with the win­ner on the front cover.

In these days of cam­er­a­phones in al­most every­one’s pocket, there are al­ways plenty of en­tries, but one an­gler has a knack of win­ning the top prize on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.

Part of his suc­cess is down to his skill at catch­ing big fish of a va­ri­ety of species over the course of the year, even in ex­treme weather, such as af­ter a fresh fall of snow has cov­ered the ground and trees, or af­ter a heavy frost, when morn­ing sun­shine is mak­ing it glis­ten.

But he is also adept at get­ting fish to do what he wants, so that they look their best for the cam­era.

I got talk­ing to him be­side a lake one day when sport was a bit slow and I had gone for a wan­der.

I asked him how he man­aged to get fish to be­have so per­fectly for the pic­tures that he took, which are al­ways self-takes, us­ing a cam­era on a tri­pod and a re­mote shut­ter re­lease.

He said that all crea­tures can tell whether peo­ple are con­fi­dent or not when han­dling them as soon as they start to pick them up.

He said it was like han­dling poul­try, which he kept and showed as a child. If you do it awk­wardly, this ner­vous­ness and in­ex­pe­ri­ence com­mu­ni­cates it­self through your hands, and what­ever you’re hold­ing be­comes aware that it’s go­ing to get dropped and so it tries to wrig­gle away. He told me that blow­ing on fish of­ten has a calm­ing ef­fect if they are prov­ing dif­fi­cult, and that wob­bling fish gen­tly as you hold them will make them stick their fins up and pro­duce a more at­trac­tive im­age for the cam­era.

It’s what they do to sta­bilise them­selves in the wa­ter if they’re be­ing buf­feted by strong cur­rents. “If that doesn’t work I use these,” he told me, and he opened a drawer of his seat­box to show me a se­lec­tion of small loops of monofil and elas­tic bands.

“They’re par­tic­u­larly handy for perch. The loop goes round my thumb and the front spine of the dor­sal fin to hold it up­right. “I then use com­puter soft­ware to erase the band from the pic­ture. It’s a trick I learnt when I saw a fa­mous an­gler do­ing it with a big perch on the cover of a mag­a­zine… only he left the band show­ing.”

Get­ting fish to do what he wants.

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