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…”

Posted by Tony Bishop in Articles and stories on fishing in general, fishing media

The Very Famous Fisherman’s Dirty Little Secret

I recently wrote an article on Fishing Cheats, and it sure added to my email burden. Most were incredulous at the lengths some fishermen will go to, to massage their egos.

There were a good number of stories of cheats, swindlers, and con-artists of the angling persuasion, that people had encountered over the years.

But one comment on the fishing cheats blog-entry asked if the the cheat with the small rod was a famous fly fisherman. Actually he was not, but it did lead me down the memory path on some of my experiences with ‘famous fishermen’.

So I take a leaf out of the sensational magazines and tell a story about a very famous fly fisherman, and how the camera can, an often does, lie. [More]

Posted by Tony Bishop in fishing humour

More Cheats and Fishing

A little while ago I did an article on Cheats and Fishing, which outlined the lengths some fishermen will go, to get themselves in the record books, or a trophy for the wall.

There is another form of cheating, lets call it photo-cheating. We all know about holding a fish away from the body, and closer to the camera so the fish looks bigger. But a quick glance at the size of the hands holding the fish, versus the size of the head controlling the arms and hands manipulating the fish, expose this harmless enough nonsense.

Well I thought I had heard just about all the tricks known to man to fool a camera, and the people viewing the photo. Of course I had not. I was talking to a guide from Taupo the other night and he came up with a photo-cheat that is as remarkable in the simplicity of it’s execution, as it is in it’s complexity of planning.

My guide friend put the client on a nice fish, he caught it, beached it in the shallow water, and then took off his pack and pulled out a tiny rod butt section complete with small reel, laid it down beside the fish, and took the photo.

The guide was gob-smacked, “where did you get that rod butt?”
“Had it made “, said the client with no hint of embarrassment.

So this is where the maths comes in. A rough guide to the length of a hand-grip from base of the rod to the top of the hand-grip is around 25cm (10″) on 5 and 6 weight rods. The clients rod hand-grip was only around 15cm (6″) long, or 60% of the length of a normal rod.

So when the client laid his rod down beside it the fish looked 40% bigger than it would compared to a normal rod. A 45cm (18″) fish suddenly looks like 63cm (25″).

As those of you who have a smattering of maths, despite educators unwillingness to teach it, will realise this bit of photo-foolery will only work on small fish. A fish over 22″ would become 31” – even our cheating friend might blanch at that – but maybe not.

Posted by Tony Bishop in Articles and stories on fishing in general, Fishing Photography