Overhyping the Fear Factor Doesn’t Help Fishing

Kirk Deeter, of Field &Stream, wonders whether the fishers of tomorrow are getting the right message.  

“I gave another elementary school talk the other day, and was once again blown away by the enthusiasm 10-year-olds have for fishing. They asked many great questions, but there was a pattern that left me feeling concerned. funnyshark

"Have you ever been attacked by a shark?" (Nope… but I’ve watched them jump and thrash when I’ve fought them on a fly rod, and I’ve had them brush against me when I’m scuba diving.)

Have you ever been bit by a rattlesnake? (No… but I am afraid of them, so I try really hard not to step on them.)

What fish scares you the most? (The trout that’s rising, and I cannot figure out how to catch it… I think I’m losing my mind.)

Have you ever seen a big fish kill anyone? (No, not any people. I’ve seen big fish eat little fish, and birds, and that sort of stuff.)

Have you ever been attacked by a "river monster?" (Not yet.)

Look, I get what the show "River Monsters" is all about…”

Read the whole story.

Extreme fishing: from Vladimir Putin to Robson Green, sport at its most macho, or is it?

“Angling used to be about mystery and tranquillity. Now it’s about landing the biggest river monster you can battle from the depths, and it’s becoming a big global business, too.”

Very insightful article in the UK ‘Guardian’ about ‘stunt fishing’.(Link fixed)

The ‘UK Grip’ – A Trout Killer Too!

badgripuk

Some people who read my recent article on ‘grip and kill’ when taking photos of trout have pointed out the style of grip shown above – I call it the ‘UK grip’ and it can be lethal.

Those who follow UK trout fishing magazines and websites may have noticed the prevalence of photos with the trout being held as seen in the photo above. I did a quick flick through a pile of recent top selling UK magazines and websites and as rough estimate well over 50% of fish are held by the UK grip.  I believe trout are held this way to show off the fact that the fish is a ‘full-finned’ or wild fish, not a stocked fish.

Many (most?) stocked fish have their tails and fines damaged by other fish and the concrete walls of the stock pens. So to show off the fact the fish is ‘full-finned and tailed’ you need a grip that does just that. That grip which I have called the ‘UK grip’ is great for showing fins and tails, but is it good for the trout? No.

The UK grip means that the tail of the fish is not firmly held by fingers encircling the base of the tail – to do so would ‘hide’ the tail. So the holder must squeeze the fish as shown above. If the fish thrashes about the grip around the heart area has to increase. All bad news for the heart and other organs.

This practice needs to stop, and fishing media can stamp it out almost immediately. Magazines and websites need to stop showing fish held in this way.

Fishing Minus the Hero Shots

Kirk Deeter from Field and Stream and Midcurrent is one of the better fishing writers, so I found this article about using ‘grip and grin’ shots to bolster a weak story very helpful to budding writers.

Especially those who want to break out of the morass of bland rubbish writing supported by same-old-same-old-pictures, and instead deliver words that make pictures in the readers mind.

Money line:

“You see, I’m not a grip ‘n grin man.  I prefer to fish from the shadows, and stay in the shadows, even after I land something big.  I have a face that’s made for radio, and a passion for fly fishing that’s rooted somewhere that can’t be captured, no matter how many megapixels are devoted to it.”

Read full article here.

Eel or Trout?

First the good news, the 14th Issue of This is Fly on-line fly fishing magazine for the trendy, gung-ho fly fisher is out.

Not so good news from the magazine:

I have a real thing about some ‘poses’ taken when photographing fish. In this issue of This is Fly are two photographs that exemplify the “I will do anything to make this ugly fish look longer” attitude.

It it is based on the seemingly fashionable trick of the happy angler holding the head of the fish as close to the camera as possible and the  tail close to his body. The technique can work if the fish is in good condition, fit and fat. But if the fish is skinny and out of condition, oh dear, how sad.

So have a look at the photo of the trout, and I use the word ‘trout’ loosely, on page 51, is it a trout or an eel? No amount of camera tricks can disguise the fact that is a truly undernourished fish. Yes, I know it fits with the US obsession with measuring the length of the fish to the exclusion of all other factors that go to make up whether a trout is a good all round fish. Just make the fish look long in the photo. But the fish in this picture was so out of condition and hungry it would have chewed on a brick if you threw it in the water, and probably fought like a wet sock.

The felony is compounded on pages 43 and 107. Two more fugly fish, which no amount of camera chicanery using the ‘pose’ could make look good.

So guys, if the fish is shaped like an eel, under nourished and slab sided, do the decent thing; quietly un-hook it in the water and let it swim away to do some much needed feeding.  We promise not to watch.

Fishing Photography That Goes Beyond Beautiful – Catch Magazine

The new issue of Catch Magazine is out now, and yet again they have set new standards in fishing photography, exceeding even that which has gone before. This is how fly fishing should be depicted.

Fishermen’s “Alternative Truths”

In today’s The Times is a nice article on fishermen telling ‘pork pies’ and a few hints on maximising the impact of these fibs:

Last month’s column on how an angler qualifies for the term “great” prompted a flurry of correspondence. Amid much else, it brought to light a telling quote attributed to Jerome K. Jerome, the author of the wonderful Three Men in a Boat. Jerome was talking not about great anglers, but about the qualities even a merely good angler needs to possess.

“Here is what he said: “Some people are under the impression that all that is required to make a good fisherman is the ability to tell lies easily and without blushing. But that is a mistake. Mere bold fabrication is useless. It is in the circumstantial detail, the embellishing touches of probability, the general air of scrupulous – almost of pedantic – veracity, that the experienced angler is seen.””…

The previous article on:

Quiet, unsung heroes are true greats of angling

is also a good read.

I wrote an article for a fishing magazine on this subject, but with a different slant, you might enjoy it:

Do Fishermen Tell Lies?

“I guess, at the risk of upsetting some friends and readers, that only politicians, car salesmen, and advertisers, have as bad a reputation for telling pork pies as fishermen; it is a widespread prejudice.

The picture of a fisherman, his arms spread wide, extolling the size of the "one that got away", has become an over-worked cliché. But under the cliché, beyond the ‘lies’, there lurks a possibility.

Fishing, by its very nature, nourishes the imagination, feeding it with a potent fuel of hope and desire…”

New Book – ‘Fishing Even Smarter’

I have finally got my new book to the publisher to be prepped for printing, and on retailers shelves before Xmas.

Here is what the Publisher is saying about ‘Fishing Even Smarter’:
“Tony Bishop’s first book, Fishing Smarter was first published in 1997, and has been reprinted at least once a year since. Now Tony has completely rewritten the original book and added over 50% more content.

Some changes are simply updates brought about by changes in the technology and equipment. Other changes are in the way the original ideas are presented. Tony admits to many “I wish I had written that better” feelings moments after his first book hit retailer’s shelves.

There is plenty of new material too – new stuff that pops up continually in the fishing world as fishermen share their knowledge. He has tried to separate the current ‘fads’ from the things that will have longer-term benefits in increasing catch rates, and separate marketing hype from the truly useful, (much easier now he is no longer in the tackle business!). All the many illustrations are new, drawn by Tony using computer graphics software.

Some things stay the same, “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it”. “