Blob sparks a war on the bank

Arguments have continued to rage this week over a controversial technique which many want to see banned because it is too successful.

The debate between modern and traditional fly fishermen over the legitimacy of lure-type flies called ‘blobs’ has reached boiling point as anglers adopting the contentious method have continued to catch huge bags of trout on stillwaters.

Traditionally, fly anglers have targeted trout with flies that imitate natural insects, but in recent years bright and gaudy lures that don’t mimic any kind of insect, but instead trigger a trout’s natural aggression have grown increasingly popular.
Such is their popularity, a chasm has now developed within the sport, with some purists calling those using them ‘yobs with blobs’.

“I originally coined the ‘yobs with blobs’ term because of a sizeable element of competition anglers who just wanted to win at all costs,” explained Chris Ogborne, who represented England 26 times.

“Any idiot can win a competition fishing with blobs. They don’t require any skill or watercraft. Fishing such lures became tantamount to cheating and I got so sick of it that I bowed out of the competition side of the sport,” added four-times team gold winner Chris.

It is claimed in some quarters that the increasing use of blobs has meant that competition anglers aren’t learning a full range of skills when it comes to fishing imitation nymphs, buzzers and dry flies.

But trout fishing legend and former AT columnist Bob Church takes a more balanced view about the technique.

“In the past, you couldn’t fish competitions with lures, and now that you can the technique favours the younger angler because it requires whacking out a heavy sinking line all day – tiring stuff,” explained Bob.

“It didn’t help that up-and-coming young anglers were increasingly boisterous and competitive, which upset more traditional anglers. But the increasing use of pesticides saw a degradation of the natural fly life on many trout waters in England.

It’s no good being able to fish more natural patterns if there’s no hatch for the angler to match! And lures often proved the most reliable alternative,” explained Bob.

And Russell Hill, editor of the country’s best-selling trout fishing publication, Trout Fisherman, agreed that there is a place for the blob, but not at the expense of other tried-and-tested techniques.

“There’s nothing wrong with blobs, they’re very effective. But many fly fishermen use them all the time, turning into one-dimensional anglers. This is bad for them and the sport. It’s better to become a more rounded fly fisher by using a mix of nymphs, dries and wet flies – and if those fail, try lures,” said Russell.