Angling beyond size and numbers

Aknib

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A single fish from a formerly polluted water?

Maybe a target species of any size amongst many other species on a method which is renowned for singling them out or even mastering a new method which you thought you'd never get the hang of?

Success apart, how do you measure your general angling satisfaction?

Is it about size and numbers or are you happy to pursue, which on face value appear to be lesser targets, yet in the overall context of things could be the angling equivalent of scaling Everest?

Not quite scaling Everest but I've made a point of returning, at the earliest opportunity, to a tiny river in order to hopefully catch a few Gudgeon at the same time that the Barbel, with fish likely into double figures, will be on offer to me.

It's a yearning and I will pursue it regardless in the knowledge that I will feel more fulfilled for having followed that particular desire.

Results aside, how do you measure your satisfaction and is it something that you look at and assess after the event or do you actively and premeditatedly pursue it irrespective of whether or not there may be better, if unfancied, prospects elsewhere?

Thinking back over the years I've wavered between the two, many a specimen angler will tell you it's about hitting the right water at the right time and that these may often be relatively small windows of opportunity.

I would agree wholeheartedly with that, but I'm increasingly finding myself turning my back on achievement by weight and numbers and following my instincts on what I would prefer to do and I find it much more fulfilling.

Angling spiritualism or a load of old tosh, what do you think and do?
 

Paste paul

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It’s easy for me........ enjoyment!
If I’ve caught a few ....... sat in the sun.... made a few friends along the way.....
Maybe taken my mind of life’s problems....
So I measure my fishing by enjoyment!
 

rich66

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I’m generally happy to catch a fish to be honest.
I’ll target the odd species, but if I get something different then it doesn’t matter.
I caught a carp about 6lb just before lockdown and as I’d been on a 2lb hook length I was very pleased to have captured it. Even though I was after a few roach.
I’d like to catch more just to say I can, not to brag but to have the satisfaction and the knowledge to do so.
There’s in my mind so much to learn about Angling I’ll never know enough !
There’s so many facets of enjoyment to get out of Angling.
There’s the escapism from the hum drum of life. I enjoy the solitude but I’m happy if I meet up with my brother or the odd acquaintance I make.
Sitting in the sun, fresh air. I enjoy immensely the insect life I see.
I watched a family of cignets grow up this year into full grown swans.

Spiritually it cleanses, watching the water it relaxes your mind and generally I find the troubles of my life drift off with the current or the breeze.
 

Keith M

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I measure my fishing just for the pleasure it gives me when I’m alone on a beautiful section of river or alone on a beautiful and remote lake catching quality fish that fight back; without constantly trying to catch as many fish as I can, like I always used to when I was younger.

Its no longer about quantity, it’s about losing myself in the natural world all around me both in and out of the water.
After catching a couple of quality fish I sometimes just wind my rod in; even though I know I could catch more; and just sit back for a while, pour myself a cuppa and just soak in the world about me.

I’ve spent various periods of my 55 plus years of fishing either specialising in large Carp, or Match fishing and captaining club team matches or chasing Tench or Barbel and other fish or helping to develop and run a smallish club, but now I just want to sit back and start smelling the roses so to speak.

One thing I no longer do because I don’t really enjoy it any more, is catching small stunted fish or snotties because I just don’t feel challenged enough and I would much rather catch just a few decent sized fish instead of a huge net of tidlers or stunted Bream, even though in the past I might have enjoyed filling a keepnet with such fish.

Keith
 
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spoonminnow

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Many, many, many, many...years ago my mom bought me a Zebco rod & reel combo with hooks & bobber, and some worms. After I hooked my first sunfish, I was hooked. Still don't know the reason but it must have had something to do with the fish's aggression and the sequence of events that followed as it tried to escape.

Fast forward to my military servitude in Texas and my first fish caught on a lead tail spinner with hanging double hooks. Even back then I wasn't concerned what the fish thought the lure represented, only that it bit with gusto. Back home once the war was over, I happened to see a small shop that sold fishing gear and I needed line. The owner asked if I would like to try a bright yellow curl tail grub and painted jig. Okay I said, why not. Another milestone with smallmouth bass caught in a local river using the least realistic copy of a prey animal in shape or action.

Of course in all that time, I watched boob tube fishing shows meant for boobs such as myself. If they (salesmen calling themselves bass anglers) (supposedly) caught fish for x, y, or z reasons given, then I should accept those reasons as fact, completely having forgotten catching fish on a bright yellow rubbery curl tail grub. The new fishing catalogs issued in Dec. were as important as writing down a list of toys from a new Sears toy catalog pre-Xmas decades before in my impressionable years. (Seems they didn't end.)

As time went on, I just happened to read an article in a Scientific America magazine about fish senses and how they contribute to the strike as well as feeding in general. Finally something that made sense! (though half of me still wanted to believe the nonsense on fishing shows and in magazines. The other half wanted to find out simply - what do fish bite regardless the species. Fishing many bass club tournaments with very experienced and versatile anglers opened my eyes like no other experience. Lure diversification skyrocketed !

Enter lurecraft.
In the early 90's I started writing things down in a log book of fishing experiences. Here's a page:

As you can see, lure diversification accounted for many a fish and fish of size in one day. Some questions asked on many forums are - what color or lure would you chose if restricted to one. Can't, no way Jose. Lure design and the challenge of catching many species on as many designs as possible is now an obsession and especially on those I make or modify myself. Fish senses are key - not a thought process of any kind. Lures and presentations represent combinations that unlock jaws and disrupt peaceful states of suspension. Many of you have seen examples of the lures I've made that caught fish. Key in any examples given was (hopefully) why they struck and later, how often, in comparison to other lures of similar or dissimilar designs.

Being lure-versatile is paramount as is using a fish's senses and it's on/off aggressive nature to bite lures. The goal will never be to create the ultimate lure, but to create as many different lures that are capable of catching fish of any species more months of the year. The other is sharing that knowledge. No brag, just the fact that anyone can and should consider using the information if so inclined. Nothing wrong using live bait, just not personally challenging (plus I abhor gut hooking fish). These are examples of lures I made this last winter that I hope each catches fish:


Once they do, they will enter the fishing lure wall of fame (a box) of all lures I or someone else can usually count on no matter the conditions. Discovery and the mystery go hand in hand because no one can know absolutely for sure why fish strike what they strike (though in IMO it must have something to do with the mysterious combination of action dependent on shape each lure possesses. Territorialism or personal space may be a factor as much as tickling the senses to irritate the hell out of fish to attack something they don't have a clue what it is. Just the simple fact that they do and more often than not pleases me to no end!

(When you wake up, you might want to finish reading this.) :rolleyes:
 
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peterjg

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Fishing for me has always been important - no that's wrong - it's been vital. On a scale that's nearly but not quite as vital as my wife and kids (now grown up and married).

My fishing has changed and evolved over the years. First I wanted to catch all species and learn new methods and different types of venues. Then carp fishing dominated, I wanted 20s, 30s, 40s and I can look back and realise that I did that on some special and beautiful places.

Now, being an old git, I seek solitude and big roach in nice quiet surroundings. I appreciate my good fortune!

Yes, fishing has always had an element of spiritualism and always a love of nature.
 

pelamid

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Being there!

Fishing gives me purpose to get out to wild places. I have no interest in stock ponds near the rest of humanity!

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The west coast of Scotland satisfied my angling needs for decades, now it's a lovely river valley in the middle of France.

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and if i get a fish that can put a good bend in my rod......

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I have a joyous soul! :cool: "Life is a state of mind"
 
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mikench

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I like all aspects of fishing and the mindfulness it provides. This includes thinking about it, preparing bait and tackle and setting up. Nice surroundings enhance the whole thing plus being almost alone and trying my best to catch a fish.

Perhaps a couple of weeks before lockdown I went to a favoured venue( I have posted about this before) set up a float rod and spent a fruitless 4 hours or so without a sniff. I looked at the next door lake, supposedly not as productive in the winter months, and sauntered over with just my rod in hand. It was all of 15 yards away. There was a drowned maggot on the hook and I just aimlessly cast in some 20 yards. I stood there when suddenly the float dipped and then it sailed away. It turned out to be a 7lb carp caught on a size 18 with a maggot well past it's sell by date.

I couldn't believe it and I played the fish whilst walking backwards to grab my landing net. My total and complete preparedness produced nothing but when Murphy's law applied I did. Two or more carp followed. That to me is what fishing is about. Perverse, odd, frustrating, annoying but ultimately very satisfying in all it's aspects. I miss it.
 
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steve2

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When I started catching a fish was the target that changed to big fish and driving round the country to find them. I then switched to fly fishing and match fishing. Fly-fishing because it was something for the close season, which then extended into the season. Match fishing was at the time on canals and rivers I enjoyed that till the carp holes took over and it just became catch as many carp as you can in the time allowed.
Now gone full circle back to just fish and enjoy the day when I can. Catching is now just part of the day. Blanks days if there is such a thing when you sit and watch what is going on around you are enjoyed nearly as much as catching.
May be this virus will give us all a fresh look at what is important in our fishing life.
 

markg

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My curiosity was first sparked looking into the depths and wondering what was going on. Since then I have mainly pursued variety rather than success the same as life in general.
So, I will judge my fishing by that and say I have been very successful.
Only one stone not turned yet, deep sea fishing for sharks or huge skate, maybe one day I will get the chance.
Size and numbers have been part of it, it is fishing after all but it is not really the main reason for me.
 
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mikench

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I too have been highly successful in my fishing. Nothing to do with catches but all to do with being happy, content, at one with nature, catching up on tackle acquisition and out of the house.

I hope " my success" continues.
 

peterjg

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Mikench mentioned mindfulness, yes that's a big chunk of the fishing bug. For 19 years I worked for a big multinational company, I found it very stressful, I hated it, I felt like a square peg peg in a round hole! Then, carp fishing and night fishing was all part of the escape. Luckily, aged 47 I was made redundant and thereafter worked part time to go fishing even more! Now retired.

One's fishing priorities change as you get older.
 

ian g

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Fishing has always given me a purpose , I enjoy my surrounding and having time to just focus and think . I've never been overly competitive so match fishing has never interested me greatly , I enjoy the company of friends when fishing but am just as happy in solitude . One thing which may sound daft is that I like to catch fish so out and out specimen hunting is not really for me . I guess I'm just a pleasure angler and always will be:)
 

whitty

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These days I get my greatest enjoyment comes from catching on the float,especially when I beat the conditions,I also find myself going back to how I used to be,more interested in fish of modest quality,but several of them,put that together with nice venues and you have built paradise.
 

markcw

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I dont mind going with friends, Mike and Gordon off here are good company, if I catch I catch, it's the surroundings and company that makes it pleasurable, What other sport/pastime could you watch rabbits nearby, buzzards being chased away by crows, robins landing on your baitbox or kingfishers darting across the water, .
I also dont mind going on my own if I prefer a day in my own company, to gather my thoughts and relax in peaceful surroundings.
 

nottskev

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I think everybody gets a kick from catching big fish, and I'm no different. But they're usually incidental. Or accidental. There's a stretch of river 5 mins from me where anglers fishing carp-style at night catch a small number of huge carp and barbel. I'm not remotely tempted, and I fish it now and then for dace and roach.

I love the absorption. Time flies, and you're free of any other thoughts. Big fish aren't that important, but number are. I'm hoping to get a bite every couple of minutes, if not sooner, and I enjoy manipulating the gear, feeding the swim, getting the rig working nicely, seeing the float or tip move and striking the bite. People say, you must have a lot of patience, fishing. Not really. Five minutes without a bite and I want to know why.

But I'm happy to fish for a few bites when I'm after barbel. It's part of the excitement, that nothing happens....... until your rod unexpectedly lurches over.

Using the gear I like is important, and so is fishing in places I like to be. That can be anything from estate lakes via urban lodges to rivers, but anywhere that feels too contrived is out. I suppose I'm a bit limited in scope compared to some. The traditional UK freshwater species are enough - no inclination to fish for sharks, Spanish catfish, international monsters stocked into Thai pools etc.

I read something, somewhere, along these lines: we spend our lives trying to recreate a scene of happiness in our childhood. Probably wrong, like most grand statements. But I'd agree I still go fishing for the same kick I got when the float went under for the first time.
 

steve2

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I think all these post reflect the age of us. Most have all been there done it and got the tee shirt. Now it is time to sit back, relax and enjoy ourselves in what ever way we want.
 

Peter Jacobs

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I gave up on the pursuit of size and numbers years ago preferring the more personal pleasure side of angling and really just being outside in the open air and enjoying the whole experience.

That said even when I stop fishing for a while to take a drink or something to eat I'll keep the feed going in . . . .

Like many others I worked in a highly stressful industry that was "full on" so a day on the river bank became a very welcome break whether I caught fish or not. Even better was the odd chance fo a couple of nights away in the bivvy being self sufficient.
 

rayner

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During the 60s in Sheffield, the river Don was thought to be the most polluted water in Europe. In the 70s a friend and myself used to spend a few hours at most weekends trying to winkle out a few fish.
The thought of roach kept our efforts going but first bites we go were from pinks. We saw the odd fish rise that was too large for it to be just pinks, they appeared too tricky for us to catch.
Fishing in deeper swims the fish we couldn't catch were roach, not of any size but felt like they were. Now the Don holds all manner of species, just shows how such polluted water can turn around with next to no help. A real shame for me it's out of my reach.
 

John Keane

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Getting too long in the tooth now for hiking up to upland lakes and lochs and fly fishing them but I think they were the highlight of my fishing life.

Anyone who wants to seriously look beyond the horizon of size and numbers needs to take up fly fishing for salmon as it took me 29 years to get one!
 
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