Not caught so much as a bleak on your last trip? Where anglers are concerned there’s always an excuse handy. But which of these is likely to hold water with your mates or the other half?
“The best spot was taken”
Fishing isn’t always merely a case of human versus fish. Other anglers tend to complicate things on any popular fishery! Whether you found someone in your favourite spot, or you drew a stinker in the last match, you could be forgiven for feeling short-changed. But was it really as simple as that?
5/10 As annoying as this can be, it’s never wise to pin all your hopes on one fancied area. It’s time to move quickly on, or get up earlier next time!
“Wrong tackle or method”
Much in the same way that the poor workman blames his tools, the luckless (or feckless!) angler can always turn to his rods, reels and other gear. Perhaps the fish were beyond the distance of your ancient feeder rod, or the next guy had a longer, lighter pole than you could ever afford?
Angling purists will go even further in this regard, declaring that they would never use the best going tactic on the grounds that it’s “not proper fishing” or simply too horrible to contemplate. “Use a Method feeder? I’d rather give up fishing!”
2/10 The means by which you fish are entirely on your head! If you don’t like a particular tactic or type of gear, fine, but if it’s permitted you can’t lecture everyone else!
“I didn’t have the right bait”
Another timeless entry – anglers have always been quick to announce that a particular bait is either completely useless, or more potent than an atom bomb. The same is true with lures and flies.
Yesterday’s must-have is tomorrow’s antique. But can success or failure really rest entirely on that single variety of protein or rubber?
The deeper answer to that question is about angler confidence. Past success, or even brand loyalty, can help us fish more effectively in the here and now! If we believe in what we’re doing we make better decisions, period. It’s just that you’ll seldom hear any angler use the excuse: “I wasn’t confident enough”.
4/10 While you always want top-quality bait, it’s extremely unlikely that the fish were only willing to take one particular offering over all others.
“It was too hot, cold, wet or dry”
The weather has to be one of the oldest angling excuses ever. You can easily picture hunter-gatherers of past millennia shrugging and pointing at the sky when returning to the tribe empty handed. They didn’t have up-to-the-minute forecasts or brolly systems, though, did they?
That said, it’s perfectly true that extremes or sudden fluctuations in the weather can quickly put fish off the feed. Equally, many of us have only limited windows of fishing time, which must be taken regardless of what the Met Office says. But was that heatwave or cold snap the true reason you struggled to catch?
7/10 As far as excuses go, unfavourable conditions have to be the most reliable factor of all time. However, only you’ll know if it was the weather or your own ability (or lack of it). Like it or not, dealing with adverse weather is all part and parcel of fishing.
“There was too much disturbance on the water!”
An old favourite making a comeback, this excuse puts the blame squarely on other water users. Having endured yet another summer of staycationers descending on anything wet with kayaks, paddle boards or just their own naked, flailing limbs, this line is very much back in the charts!
We have a lot of sympathy on this score, too. It can be agonising watching a canoe or someone’s dog smashing through that shoal of chub you’ve patiently fed for hours. Mind you, it can also be quite a convenient shout on any slow day. But were you really on course for a stack of fish before that mad old lady did front crawl over your feeder line?
8/10 We have a lot of sympathy with you on this one! The answer might be to get up earlier or walk further, although you might then need another excuse once you leave the crowds behind.
“Otters/birds ate all the fish!”
Remarkable, isn’t it, how quickly anglers can turn from saying a venue is brilliant to announcing that it is essentially dead?
Predators can be a scourge on some waters, of course, but are they the real cause of your woe?
If animals with a taste for fish really did “eat everything” they haven’t done a great job, considering most have been around far longer than the human race. Talking of which, the pesticides, sewage and other nasties only have one cause, and are far more likely to lead to depleted fisheries.
5/10 It’s uncanny how often this line comes out after an unproductive day! Only long term catch records or, better still, a proper study, will ever accurately tell you if a fishery has been ravaged. Just because you can’t catch fish, it doesn’t mean they aren’t there!