Cancelling out cock
ILIKE to think that everything I write is valid, but sometimes things have to be taken especially seriously. We do well to remember that there have been several notorious breakdowns in the history of big fish anglers.
Losing a target has not uncommonly tipped anglers over the edge into the abyss.
I’m not saying that fishing has got as bad as that for me, but I’ve had a killer of a time of it recently. The losses have just begun to pile up, to nightmare proportions.
As a guide, you live and you die on your ability to put clients and friends onto fish. They might love your waters, your banter, your teaching of new techniques, your gossip and your stories, but fish in the net are what you are really paid to deliver. The trouble is, natural-born fish from natural waters are rarely easy once they get to any size.
Mostly, a good fish needs a good deal of plotting before it is caught. Miss the bite, or lose the fight, and weeks of preparation can be laid to waste. And, of course, a lost fish doesn’t cut it in the pub with anything like the same weight as one landed, weighed, photographed and then lovingly returned.
The last few weeks have not been good ones in this regard, I can tell you. It began weeks back, when Dave lost a roach pushing 2 lb 8 oz. Not long afterwards, Kate lost one of a similar size, and she followed that with a defeat at the fins of a 15 lb-plus barbel. Meanwhile, Neill lost a carp that could have been 40, Alan broke on one of over 30, and Richard lost a 30 lb-plus common when the hook came out.
There have been plenty of important bites missed, too, including a short while back when Tom tweaked the bait from the jaws of a 7 lb-plus chub. Those are all fish that, as a guide, I’d like to have notched up on my rod rest.
The question of fault
Losing fish, for whatever reason, is definitely worse if there is blame to be attached to me, to you or to any of us. Very often, there is simply nothing that could have been done to avert the crisis.
For example, Neill’s carp sheared the line, through no fault of his own. It wasn’t like he was applying undue pressure, and he certainly wasn’t letting the carp have its head either.
Fortune favours the brave – it’s best to play a fish hard.