Fishing competitions… I recently placed a response on a forum that competitions bring out the best and the worst in folk. I’ve taken part in competitive sport for all the years I can remember, the school rugby team and yacht racing to name two. Fishing has never featured in it… I’ve watched match fishermen bait up and clean up… there is tremendous skill involved but is that what fishing is about?
Fishing for me has two levels, the first is a primeval need to put food on the table and the second is the art of deception in its finest form. Any recreational activity has to be interesting and enjoyable or we wouldn’t take part in it. Take for example the child who is made to take part, it happens whilst they are compliant and then it becomes a chore during the phase when they are digging their heels in as they start to reject the activity. I freely admit I’ve had a lot of interests along the way BUT the fishing rod has always been there and I’ve still got my fathers fishing flies from the 1940s and my first clutch of spinners including one that I caught my first mackerel on, not to mention my first glass spinning rod and his split cane fly rod!
My good friend Nick who I used to race against on the Mersey switched from sail to motor (rather large RIB) some years ago and we as a family have been fortunate to be able to enjoy trips out on the boat encompassing the Dee and Anglesey. I think it was the last time we were out and committed an act of “piracy” in obtaining fish for the barbeque from a boat doing some serious fishing that Nick suggested a fishing competition. Now as I’ve mentioned I don’t do fishing competitions, I only compete with my quarry. I have to admit though that when I fished Chew with Toby in April it was getting a bit monotonous watching by boat partner catch until I got into the fish, so a bit of friendly competition is OK.
Nick, however, threw down a gauntlet… and I picked it up!
Friday night in the local wine bar we met along with our wives and I told Nick that I’d been given a mark to fish during a weekend later in the month. Nick suggested we go out the following day… quite happy to have a practice run! I decided that I’d leave the fly rod at home… we were having a competition after all. My rods of choice were the 4Surespin and believe it or not a jerkbait rod that I have used for piking along with an ABU multiplier… the spinning rod would be set up with a bass lure and the jerkbait rod with a 2oz lead and a mackerel trace.
Motoring out to the first mark I don’t quite think Nick believed how quickly I’d got fishing… moral of the story is set up the rods first! Now I thought I’d got some old tackle… Nick’s fishing box contained weights from probably the same era as my father’s fly gear. I can only deduce that Nick’s dad was as interested in sea fishing as mine was into trout fishing. Nick was soon into the water.
I think my comment to Nick was that we’d better catch or the girls would never let us live it down. The competition therefore shifted from mate versus mate to self preservation of the male status of hunter!
I won’t bore you with the detail of the fishing “competition”, there are 6 fish in the bucket all of which will be on tonight’s barbeque.
All I will say is that if this was the local football derby then the Reds won. I’ll let you work out who the Evertonian is!
I’m looking forward to the second leg in a fortnight’s time.
Footnote: I did go onto the lure for a while and had a follow from one bass of a reasonable size; I also caught a weaver fish (can I ask why the good Lord made weaver fish? The only other time I’d been in contact with one was a painful experience in Abersoch – I now wear wet shoes on beaches!). Photos of Nick and the fish have been played with in photoshop