Wintle?s World ? A little too precious?

Graham Whatmore

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Mark you are a man after my own heart and in my case you are leaning on an open door. I have always (and I mean always) been a person who gets pleasure out of the act of fishing, whether I am scratting for bits in a match as I once did or catching small roach and dace on a river I have always taken pleasure from those fish regardless of size or quantity.

I have never ever caught a fish of a lifetime nor have I kept a record, a photographor any description of the decent fish I have been lucky enough to catch, few as they are, I just relished the moment and that was all the record I wanted. To me the fish of a lifetime was a moderate two pound roach and when I eventually caught it after about 40 years of trying the pleasure I got from that one capture will never be betteredyet some will say "just the one? What a shame."
 

Mark Hewitt

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Mark, I think thats thebest artical of yours thatI've read. I agree fully with every point you make.

Graham, you and I are of a similar mould in our beleifs. But I have been lucky enough to catch a number of fish which some (apart from mr spiders) would consider to be 'fish of a life time'. I've also, in the past won a few angling matches. The feeling in both cases is wonderfull and adictive. For that reason, the desire of some to keep breaking pb's or win matches is to me fully understandable.

I think that is the reason why our sport is so great, in that it "means and rewards so many different things to so many different people"
 
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Hear ,hear Graham.

Mark - a sound reminder to appreciate what we have and the many other elements that makes us fishers.

The otter is clearly an issue for a number of fisheries but, as you so rightly comment, it is not their fault that the former primary foodstuff is significantly diminished.

We are setting up hostages to fortune when extreme comment is made regarding the increase of otters or other reintroduction of former indigenous species. Yes there are serious concerns - which need to be addressed in a reasoned and rational manner. I for one appreciate the success in otter numbers (I may add to my tally of viewed otters...currently 1 - seen crossing the bridge over the Wharfe at Linton). The frustration, and genuine economic loss, of fishery owners is strongly understood.....but the economic loss could be far greater if the emotions of the animal loving, if poorly educated, great British public were aroused about an extreme attempt to control an iconic animal.(particularly when votes are to be garnered !!)
 

GrahamM

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Yes, some good sentiments in the article. Although I've caught a few notable fish in my time they actually mean very little when it comes down to it. It's how much you enjoyed catching them and, more to the point, how much you're currently enjoying your fishing, whatever type of fishing you're doing.
 
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Fred Bonney

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Great little piece Mark.

I think the same must go for those that play the numbers game,they are not happy unless they're "hauling them in", disappointment is due, I'm in no doubt.

Will these fisherman turn into anglers, or just drift away?

One pointwe must disagree on, is in respect of the Otter

"nor is it the fault of those agencies that have sought to bring the otter back to its former haunts and numbers in the British Isles."

I think they must take most of the blame, not for re-introducing the Otter, but for introducing a preditor into locations where no aparent research was carried out to see if there was a sustainable food source in the area of their range.
 

Neil Maidment

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Interesting thoughts there Mark. Many years ago you and I would chase the weights game in an effort to get the maximum out of a given match peg. But once the pools money had been collected (or not as was the usual case), that was it for another week.

I've been guilty as anyone of chasing the bigger fish and have been quite successful on known waters. But more recently I've walked straight past the "current swims" in search of something new (new to me that is). None of it really matters muchto anyone but me.

It's mid April and I haven't been anywhere near that MF place yet! What's more, I'm currently really enjoying fly fishing and have done nothing else since 14th March. Which reminds me, I'm off again this afternoon!

Good article.
 

Gary Dolman

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Great article again Mark, and I do envy you the plethora of great waters you have to fish. I did match fish and enjoyed putting a great bag together (occasionally), but I have never been obsessed with the numbers game.

The pleasure I still get from going fishing, and the anticipation still leading to a sleepless night before going, is a priceless buzz. My only regret is not catching a 2lb roach yet, but I don't think I will die a broken man.

I saw Dean Macey on Sky go roach fishing with Andy Little, and after being put on a plum swim & Andy sorting out his gear for him, dean then proceeded to catch a 2lb 9oz roach on his third cast. I know it is good television & good for Dean's PB list, but this instant fishing somehow devalues the sport for me, as do places like the monument. I, like several posters wonder how good for the sport in the long term, this is.
 

Derek Gibson

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Excellent article Mark, it certainly rings a few bells with me. I wonder how many reading this will see shadows of themselves, I certainly can, though it's many years past. I still hope to catch a few big 'uns before my numbers called, but if I don't I will certainly have had a ball trying. I'm still absorbed with the childlike wonder of it all.
 
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Dave Slater

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A very good article Mark and I agree with you 100%.

Bill Neal and I were having a conversation about chub fishing recently and we both agreed that we used to enjoy the chub fishing far more in the past than now. There were large shoals of chub then and we always had good sport. We used to get very excited when we caught "fives" and the occasional "six" was a real thrill.

Now between the two of us we have caught 3 "eights", several "sevens" and a huge number of "sixes" but the chub fishing is not quite as enjoyable. There is the circus to contend with, which makes the fishing more pressurised, and the sport is nowhere near as consistent.

Bill said he would be glad when the current crop of huge fish had died off and hoped that they were replaced with large shoals as in the past, with the odd biggie for that exciting surprise. I agree with him.

Fishing should always be fun. Remember the two days perch fishing we had, stillwater and river, when you did your article. I thoroughly enjoyed the two days and it was very sociable. We caught some reasonable fish between us and neither of us blanked. It was also good fishing two totally different waters. You could also have had a big surprise as you had a 4lb perch in your swim in the river, we both saw it and I think it was the my p.b. perch which weighed 4lb 1oz when I caught it. It wasa very pleasant surprise for me as it was arecord for that stretchwhen I caught it so was totally unexpected. This is what fishing is all about.

When our rivers get too pressurised with the circus I often like to go somewhere where there are more and smaller fish for some good sport, often out of the area.

The fish population in our waters is constantly changing and this is what makes things interesting. Whatever happens we can only catch what is there and should enjoy catching whatever comes along, even though it is always nice to catch a biggie.
 
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Nigel Connor(ACA ,SAA)

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Mark,I agree with the need for perspective, enjoyment and a proper assessment of where catching big fish is in the great scheme of things. I do think however,and I am sure you are with me on this, that there is equally a need for us as anglers to fight on the wider issues that effect our sport rather than accept the status quo without question on the basis that there will always be some fishing to be had somewhere.
 
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Dave Slater

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Good point Nigel. We should not just accept things or we will have no fishing left eventually.

Mark,

Do you think we should just let things happen without questioning them? I am not sure that we should.

Reading your article again I am really baffled. I am surprised that somebody with your undoubted ability, fishing the waters you do, does not catch more really big fish. The only thing I can put it down to is luck. Perhaps it is the matchman in you as you always seem to catch plenty of decent fish. The odds may be more in your favour for a biggie in places where there are not many fish. It is nice to fish such places sometimes but also nice to fish where there are plenty of fish, so there is a dilema. It is nice to see the smaller fish coming back on the Avon these days and in such lovely condition.
 

Peter Rothman

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Hear, hear Mark,

Couldn't agree more.

This February I caught my first pound plus roach from the upper Stour for a couple of years. Half an hour after I landed it, and anotherof a similar weight, two young otters surfaced in the swim and all but killed the fishing off for the rest of the afternoon. Whilst delighted with the roach, it was more thrilling having those otters so close.

It should always be quality of fishing over quantity (or weight) of fish.
 

Bryan Baron 2

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Good article Mark. Agree with everything.

I have always said the jorney is the most important thing not the end result.
 

Mark Wintle

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Nigel and Dave,

I'm not advocating not fighting any battles on behalf of angling - far from it - but rather stressing the importance of choosing the battles we fight carefully and understanding the larger picture.

To all,

Thanks for the compliments; I am trying a different tack on writing these articles at the moment - 1000 words written fast and from the heart. In the background, I'm doing 4,000 words a week book writing which is more of a plod so I unleash my thoughts in the articles. I'm not sure what the next one will be on though!
 

coelacanth

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Excellent writing, intellectually and emotionally mature. I'm sure I can remember the weeklies finding space for qualitycopy like this once upon a time.
 

Peter Bishop

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Excellent article Mark. Agree with much of your sentiments.

While I appreciate every fish that comes along I dont see why I should deny myself the pleasure of weighing the best and even photographing them. I will never chase or come near to catching a record for a particicular species however I have set myself targets for certain species -related to the area and venue I fish-aftersome years of exclusive barbel and chub fishing.

In my view there is nothing wrong with chasing your own personal dreams just as long as you rememberangling in its truest sense isnot some sort of cut throat race with winners and losers but more like enjoying a good meal in an up market restaurant.Savour the flavours, relish the dish and appreciate the ambience of your surroundingsthen feel the warm glow of satisfactionand contentment afterwards.
 

Philip

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I enjoyed the article. As it was written from the heart it covered a few things such as Otters, the weight and numbers game and keeping things in perspective but I guess the main message was to appreciate what you have while you can.Just tocomment on a few points...I think we all agree as long as you enjoy it that’s the main thing so there is nothing wrong with chasing numbers or weights if that is what you want from your fishing.

Otters can devastate a fishery. Anyone who doubts that should try to get hold of an Article Fred Sykes wrote for Carpworld a few years back. My view is thatthe problem nowadays is that we know and identify individual fish and so Otter predation becomes more “personal” ...it did not just eat a few chub this morning…it ate “Sally”! ... if you see what I mean.

As for enjoying your fishing while you can, I totally agree and was reminded once again this very Easter weekend…. I found a lovely bit of river last year, tucked away down a little dirt road….all secluded, obviously untouched for years, a nice little space for the car right next to me, no signs of other anglers and some lovely fish to be had. I decided to take a recce down there last weekend to check the water levels and what do you know…they were building a bypass through it !

Make hay while the sun shines.
 
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