Bait boats. God awful things, aren’t they? Expensive, intrusive and entirely superfluous, they really are the epitome of ostentatious and unnecessary bling. If you haven’t got the accuracy or confidence to hit the required spot, go practice. Spending a small fortune on a remote-controlled floating Batmobile is not the answer ¬ in fact, it’s tantamount to cheating.
If I had my way it wouldn’t just be left to the venue owner’s discretion - they’d be banned. Full stop.
I should be honest. I had a bad experience. Several years ago, on a club water close to home, I watched first in amusement then in horror as carper sat opposite me sent his costly toy on a magical mystery tour of the lake before depositing his bait and rig near a tree no more than 20 yards to my right. He then caught a couple of twenties. Bitter? Too right I was. He hadn’t just poached, he had, in my opinion, cheated. End of debate.
Look, I don’t really care if you can’t reach a clear spot at 150yds or place a bait 6ft under an overhanging tree. Just do what the rest of us do ¬ either move swims, or use a bit of watercraft. Your wallet shouldn’t provide a shortcut.
There is a moral question here, too. Just how many tricks, edges and technological advancements are we going to make before the fish aren’t given the remotest chance at all? The odds are becoming too highly stacked in our favour. We’re removing the sporting element.
Take the release of the latest Becker bait boat ¬ a machine that, at £2,000, is the most expensive of its kind in the world. The maker claims that it houses a precise echo sounder and a GPS system so clever the owner can simply place it in the water, press a button and his boat will automatically head to a pre-programmed spot. Even the ability to steer a joystick has been removed. Fool proof? It’s beyond that, it’s brain-dead proof.
Surely we are reaching a stage where technology is making things too easy for us. The man versus fish battle is becoming unbalanced. Fairness is being lost. And the point where we can catch everything we want is fast approaching.
Just think about it.
In the last 50 years the advancements in tackle have been staggering. As such, lots more fish are caught today than they were in the 1950s. So what happens if we continue to make those huge strides in future decades? Where will we be in 2060? I’ll tell you ¬ we’ll be leaving the house with enough gadgetry in our arsenal to know ¬ not hope ¬ we’re going to catch.
There is a counter argument, of course. It says that the fish will always be one step ahead of us. No matter how clever we are, they’ll wise up and the battle, therefore, will never be won. But I don’t buy that. As human beings at the top of the food chain, we are infinitely cleverer than anything with fins. Ultimately we will have so much knowledge and so much brilliant, all-encompassing, tackle at our disposal that winning will become easy.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to step on the bank certain I’m going to catch. I want blanks and I want bad days. I need to feel disappointment. Because without all of those things, success, when it comes, has no meaning whatsoever.