Has the Skill Gone Out of Fishing?

slime monster

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2008
Messages
6,580
Reaction score
2
Location
Torquay .....with my reputation??
I am a little old school and still go about it the hard way in that Float fishing is my scene but having said that I suppose I am making life a lot easier if and when I use the long pole, as for modern methods making fishing easier whatever approach is taken it has to be mastered ,yes any tom **** or harry can chuck a method feeder out and catch fish as an example but it will give him no advantage over a better angler using the same method.
some things can not be bought at tackle shops and experience is not least of them.
 

Xplorer1

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 21, 2008
Messages
335
Reaction score
1
Location
East Sussex
Very good Graham. My first reaction is no, the skill hasn't gone: rather, the skills have changed. Two examples: buying the components for, and then making, all these complex rigs is a challenge in itself. Taking advantage of the information available on the web and in magazines requires new skills.

Personally, being an old fart myself, I prefer the more traditional ways, but I take advantage of the new rods, reels and other tackle which are substantially superior to the stuff from 20 or even 20 years ago.
 

Alan Taylor 3

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 30, 2008
Messages
129
Reaction score
1
Location
Fife
Let's face it - in the Trent matches, especially in the nineties, the majority of anglers thought that winning a match on the feeder was almost cheating!! I remember a Notts Fed match on the 'road stretch' at Stoke Bardolph where 99.9% of anglers just set up 2 stick float rods. I'd been practising mid week & caught better fish on the maggot feeder so started on that. The looks & ribaldery I got from all & sundry was ony soothed by the £450 I picked up for winning the match with 20lb to spare!!!

I'd never have won on the stick - I wasn't good enough but most of the stick men wouldn't have won on the feeder - they weren't good enough. By the time I left Nottingham I bet 80% of the matches in the area were won on the feeder because different species were being targeted - bream, barbel & chub. I'm just glad I didn't chuck my carp gear away when I stopped carping cos it's mostly the same stuff for carp, barbel & pike - maybe bream & tench too.
 

geoffmaynard

Content Editor
Joined
Jul 5, 2009
Messages
3,998
Reaction score
2
Location
Thorpe Park
Around these parts it's called carballing. The idea being a bait/method to take both carp or barbel, or whatever shows up. Though that is usually a bream, or if you are lucky, a chub. I think the poor stocking ratio on the Thames has a lot to do with that. As for expertise, you still have to know what to do with the tackle and lady luck plays a bigger part today than ever before.
 

tuolumne fisher

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 28, 2009
Messages
467
Reaction score
1
if the skill had gone, then everyone would catch the same fish, sure carbelling on the thames, like any other big river is a chuck it and wait method, but fine tuning or fettling with your bait presentation will get you better results, that is the skill, the main difference today is that everything is available to everyone, but only those with a certain amount of no it all, or skill are successful most of the time, personally I know nuffin and catch ****** all,
 

The Monk

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 21, 2002
Messages
24,574
Reaction score
2
Location
on stage
carp fishing certainly changed from hunting to trapping with the bolt rig and later the hair, and the change in water craft (to boats) probably didnt help either, still its all about pleasure isnt it, I suppose it depends on how you measure success, I spend a fgew years flogging myself stupid trying to prove a point, occassionally I was successful but uit was hard work and I quest what pleasure it gave me flogging myself, I certainly had my share of blanks, skill I doubt it, Jim Gibbinsons quote always sticks in my head, in not other sport does time substitute skill? Match angling however now thats a different kettle of fish 9no pun), in many cases these guys fish outside known feeding periods and still come up with the goods, I knew Benny Ashhurst reasonably well in the 70s, what an amazing angler Benny was although he never claimed to be an expert, he was the closest I ever came to one. We still have many highly proficiant anglers around who are willing to share information through the vast array of publications that now flood the market, maybe many learn these days through reading alone, the information is so readily available these days.
 

dezza

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 14, 2000
Messages
32,331
Reaction score
7
Location
Rotherham South Yorkshire
Those two photos of Graham with the bream say it all don't they?

You can see which fish and method gave him more pleasure. It would be the same for me of course.

I think I know why I do more fly fishing these days. There is still a large modecum of skill required to catch a fish, although there are those who try to take the skill away here too.

An of course I love float fishing for roach on a river, or even a still water for that matter.

Years ago I succombed to the dreaded double hook roach self hooking feeder rig that is all the rage on a few waters. It works of course but never again! The whole idea of chucking out this rig and waiting for the swinger to drop, indicating that a fish has hooked itself just does not appeal.
 

Bluenose

Moderator
Joined
Apr 15, 2001
Messages
9,964
Reaction score
2
Location
cheshyre
........indicating that a fish has hooked itself just does not appeal.
I think fish hook themselves far more than we realise Ron, and not just when using bare hook legering tactics either.

However, regardless of whether the 'self hooking' forces were intended or not, achieving the correct presentation to entice the fish to take the bait in the first place is surely the most important skill of all is it not?
 

Graham Marsden

Editor Emeritus
Joined
Mar 4, 1999
Messages
10,414
Reaction score
6
Location
Stoke on Trent
I think the gist of the article may be lost to some, although the title may be a little misleading.

The main point I'm making where specialist angling is concerned is that there is no longer much choice when it comes to end tackle and bait; almost every species is fished for with a hair-rig / bolt rig with a boilie or pellet as bait.

Just for instance, take a look at how many fish on the record list fell to that combination.

Look at the catch reports in the weeklies and see how the best fish were caught and what on.

Will the carp, barbel, chub, tench, bream records ever fall again to anything other than those combinations?

When was the last time you saw anyone fishing for big fish that wasn't using some form of that combination?

I'm not saying it never happens, of course it does, what I'm saying is that in 10 or 20 years time no one will remember that it was any different, unless they read about it, and everyone will be fishing the 'standard method and standard bait'.
 

Paul H

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 29, 2004
Messages
5,287
Reaction score
4
Location
Derbyshire: best beer, best cheese, best puddings.
Surely the records mostly fell to pellet or boilie because the majority of 'rod hours' for the country are fished with pellets and boilies and therefore the majority of fish landed are caught on pellets or boilies.

There is no reason why a record fish shouldn't come to bread or corn or worm (etc...), it's just less likely because fewer anglers use those baits now.

Personally I don't think there will ever be an optimum bait - fish will always go for different things on different days. Some people just carry different flavour pellets - I usually take some pellets, some boilies, some Peperami, a tin of corn, maybe maggots, often some worms, hemp, etc...

---------- Post added at 19:45 ---------- Previous post was at 19:35 ----------

The main point I'm making where specialist angling is concerned is that there is no longer much choice when it comes to end tackle and bait; almost every species is fished for with a hair-rig / bolt rig with a boilie or pellet as bait.
Is there no choice or do anglers just ignore the simpler methods?

By simpler I mean rigs that just require a hook and a feeder - like a simple paternoster for example. The tackle for this is readily available and maggots, bread or worms are not difficult to come by.

The bolt style set-ups (and I use them too, sometimes) aren't necessarily easier to tie up and the bait/tackle isn't easier to buy - but they are easier to fish with - they require less concentration and not as much casting.

Maybe the new methods inspire laziness - they sometimes do in me, I fish much more actively and keenly with a pint or two of maggots than I do with a box of pre-tied PVA bags of pellets.
 

Stealph Viper

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 23, 2007
Messages
5,233
Reaction score
7
Location
Just Floating Around
Has the skill gone out of Fishing ?

I have taken my time to think on this question, purely because i tried to think how many situations in Fishing have turned up techniques that dominated the sport.

I don't personally feel that any of the skill has gone out of fishing, and i shall tell you why i think this way.

Almost anyone can learn to tie a Hair Rig, anyone who can cast a rod, can cast a hair rigged bait in to a water, and sit and wait for a fish to take the bait.

A good skilled angler, will, know when to fish, where to fish, how to present a bait, when to change rigs, baits, locations etc

You don't get them skills, from knowing how to tie a rig, or how to bait up a Boillie or a Pellet.

They come with experience, that also helps to dictate the sort of bait to use for any chosen day. How many huge carp have been taken on Sweetcorn / Maize (a lot i bet)

How many huge Barbel have been caught on Luncheon Meat (a lot i bet)

I think with the hair rig and the Boillie, it is not just the effectiveness of the Rig or the attractiveness of the bait, but, it is also the ease and the conveniance, of not wondering whether or not the bait is still on, or whether or not the hook is proud enough of the bait.

Is Fishing losing it's skills, No, it is only lost to those that never had it before, and never knew they needed it as it doesn't figure in how they fish or how they were taught to fish. Some Carp Anglers or other specimen Anglers have never used a float or fine lines and small hooks, they wouldn't know how, but they may still have caught 40lb fish, and they could probably out fish a lot of people for Carp.

For me the skill is not in catching fish, but, knowing what to do if you are not catching fish.

Not bad for a guy that can only see out of one eye, and that is blurred :p
 

Rodney Wrestt

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 1, 2001
Messages
7,561
Reaction score
5
I have never been a specialist angler, in my fishing I choose the tackle and approach to give me the best advantage. Modern baits are just as all round attractors as maggots, bread or sweetcorn...... the size of fish can be targeted by increasing or reducing the bait size but that's always been the case not only with boilies. I think the skill is still there in picking the best tactics, bait and swim on the day.


In saying that I still use pellets and paste regularly :)
 

Jim Crosskey 2

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 2, 2009
Messages
942
Reaction score
0
Location
oxon
Nice article Graham, very well reasoned indeed.

However, I think there's a part of the puzzle missing here and it may just be our salvation. You see, in the days of 100 match anglers lining the trent or thames with stick floats, I doubt very much that many then would know of the concept of "pleasure" fishing, a modern monicker for those who either fish outside of the match or specimen scenes. Pleasure fishing does often involve a bolt rig with boilies and pellets... on one rod. The other rod more normally being dedicated to float fishing by my observations of "pleasure" fishermen lining the banks these days...

Also, if the single-method attack is the only thing to use, why is it that the reel manufacturers persist with centre-pin reels. They must be selling some (indeed, you've only got to look through the posts on here for a couple of minutes before you find some misty eyed pin-fan getting all hot under the collar about their new free spinning purchase!)

One of the beauties for fishing for me is the number of different methods and baits. And as set as I can be at any given time (10 years ago for example, pretty much the only serious fishing I did was for pike) your perspectives can always move and guess what, there's a whole new method, bait or even species to make you fall in all over again.

Which is why I'm seriously considering buying a pole soon, as I fancy a new challenge.
 

Graham Whatmore

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2003
Messages
9,147
Reaction score
9
Location
Lydney, in the Forest of Dean
Hmmmm! I do not believe that the skill has gone out of angling at all, certainly the approach by a lot of the younger anglers is a "throw it in and wait" one but I think the 40 plus bracket of anglers still do it the way they were taught to do it.

I am 'match' orientated though I retired from matchfishing many years ago and because of the age that I am I am river orientated rather than pool. When I go to a river, any river, my instinct is stick, waggler or chubber? I do more feeder fishing these days than ever I have done but that is down to a niggling back rather than laziness but I feel guilty because I know I should be float fishing but if conditions require a feeder approach I can do that just as well, as can all match anglers. Yes I own a pole and I do fish it occasionally but it isn't my first choice because I believe that in most cases what I can catch with a pole I can catch with a running line but there are situations where the pole is superior which is why I have one.

Most match anglers and certainly older match anglers still use the more traditional methods of fishing in fact a read through "Matchangler" will give you articles on float fishing both still and river plus polefishing and I would go as far as to say that match anglers use running line more than specimen anglers and most certainly carp anglers. Talk to a dedicated carp angler about float fishing for carp and a glazed look appears, either that or a pitying look, most have them have probably never used a float in their lives because the only method they learned was by example and that example was three rods out and sit in the bivvy until the bell rings.

Specimen angling was never primarily float orientated but most of the older brigade were initially taught float fishing probably on a river before changing whereas the modern youth are only taught specimen style fishing. Just think of the older guys on here alone, most of them are just as comfortable with a float rod as with a 3lb tc rod.

I will agree that a lot of younger anglers take up fishing by starting out for big fish and that doesn't have the same skill as old style fishing where a number of skills were required but it is up to us older generation to teach them the error of their ways so they can enjoy their fishing to the full.
 
Last edited:

MarkTheSpark

Senior Member
Joined
May 15, 2002
Messages
4,260
Reaction score
3
Location
Peterborough
Monk was right with his Gibbo quote about time being substituted for skill. We've all done our share of sitting behind podded rods waiting for an alarm to go off, and for many carp waters, you have to wait because the carp you want to catch are wary and few.
But I've proved to myself time and again that, if there are fish in front of you to be caught, you'll catch more with an attended rod, watching for bites. Because instead of making tea and scratching your arse, you'll be concentrating and thinking.
I'm happy being both lazy and being active but I don't kid myself that plonking down in one swim, setting the bolt-rig trap and waiting for hours is efficient angling. Using carp tactics for other species depends on you attracting a fish or ambushing one as it passes by. Fishing properly encourages you to hunt the fish where they are living, using a bit of native cunning and stealth.
The death of fishing? Nah. Just the death of thinking anglers.
 

Muffin

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 15, 2008
Messages
579
Reaction score
1
Location
Bath
Very interesting article Graham.

This is a subject that I have been giving consideration to over the last year or so, but as with anything there are some many factors that influence change I dont think that this can be pinpointed to any one factor. The loss of fishing skill is perhaps slightly misleading, I just think fisherman now have become influenced by the angling media, and fashion. Its very fashionable to go Carp fishing and Barbelling, that does not mean that you dont need skill to still fish for those species. Dont get me wrong I think the bait and wait approach is taking over many aspects of fishing, and not something I think is a positive development, but time might see things swing the other way.

I submitted an article a little while back about trying to learn new fishing skills in the current fishing environment, and how difficult it was to learn about traditional methods and skills. I must be in the minority of younger anglers who long to trot a stick float through a river and use bread and worms to catch my fish. I very rarely use boilies or hair rigs.
What I would say is that over the last few years I have been fishing I have been learning and developing new skills all the time, and that is just from pure experience. However it does take a lot of time and effort to learn and develop as an all round angler and not just use a tried and tested method of hair rigs and bolilies. I have been questioning recently through a year of poor fishing results if what I'm doing is right. Maybe I should take a leaf out of the Boilie and hair rig book!

Maybe the angling press is full of boilies and hair rigs, but thats what sells. There will always be a variety of anglers and a variety of different methods and tactics.

So I think there is no less fishing skill that there ever was its just focused in specific areas now, and spread around less individuals. What I would say is I think there is a lack of effort in fisherman today and that people just want instant success so follow like a heard of sheep. So the truth is that the new fisherman today are just using other tools at their disposal and not learning themselves.

I for one will know that when eventually I get enough experience to catch my dream river fish I will have worked my nuts off, and for that I will take much greater satisfaction.

I do hope that I'm not alone in fighting my cause to one day become a truly experienced and all round angler, and that skills are not being lost in fishing otherwise it will be to the detriment of us all!
 

Philip

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 3, 2008
Messages
4,258
Reaction score
85
I found it a bit disparaging to be honest Graham. There were a few things I did not really agree with but to save being too long I’ll pick up on a couple of points…

You make it sound like a bolt rig is a bolt rig and any changes are just “variations” to the same thing…really ?

On that track I could argue float fishing is just about sliding my float up or down and moving the shot about …how happy would the float brigade be if I tossed those aside as mere ”variables” and not real changes ! … no skill there…

You also make the point about most of the records now go to bolt tactics but 25 years ago you could ague that 99% of those records you mention…barble, Bream, Carp, Chub etc … fell to “ledger” tactics .…its easy to pigeon hole if you want to….

Things move on…I recall articles from 15 or 20 years back making exactly the same complaint about “ledgering” was killing off float fishing skills ….plus another (in a mail year book I think it was) giving woe about how feeders (plastic pigs they called them) was the death of any skill needed to win a match on the Severn…

Yet today if I put on my feeder and fish it running to bread flake on the hook and catch a monster chub I will be applauded by the same people for using a skilful non bolt tactic !

Maybe in another 25 years when we have cameras on the rig linked to TV screens on the bank with instant hooking rigs activated by push button Wifi connections we will be applauding the virtues and "skills" of anyone using ineffective and old hat bolt rigs…

To be fair I know were your coming from and truth be told I agree…skills are being lost but I do feel a compelling need to stick up for modern sit and wait tactics and baits as it seems to be the in vogue thing for everyone to slag it off yet at the same time everywhere I look people are using it !
 
Last edited:
Top