Utter tosh from the non-fishing public!

Public perceptions of what fishing’s all about still appear to be stuck in an era of lead shot and Russ Abbott commercials. But what are the daftest clichés still doing the rounds?

by Angling Times |

We just sit there all day doing nothing

A favourite cliché is that our sport is slower than a snail with a heart condition. Pete and Dorothy walking past marvel at our eccentricity and make inane comments like “you must have the patience of a saint” or “that looks ever so relaxing”. The masses think our wonderful sport is the preserve of train spotters, semi-comatose retired builders and blokes called Derek whose other main pastime is watching Dulux dry.

We’re all fishing for our tea

Given that the last time a British angler fried a common bream was probably around 1970, it’s more than a little strange how many folks still ask “have you caught your supper?” The sheer regularity of this question tends to earn it a simple “no” rather than “technically it is illegal to most remove freshwater fish from the majority of water bodies – and why the hell would you want to eat a ****ing tench anyway?” Mind you, with the current cost of living we’ll all probably be subsisting on roach, bleak and crayfish by 2024.

We’re all desperate to answer the question...“Have you caught anything”?

As inevitably as night follows day in any public location, you are sure to hear the immortal line: “Have you caught anything”?

Far be it from us to avoid friendly conversation, but this can wear rather thin after a few exchanges. Especially if the response is “absolutely sod all” or involves an answer that must resemble a complex algebraic equation to anyone not acquainted with the world of fishing.

Another classic is the incredulous reaction that tends to follow an actual fish capture. Certain anglers have been known to answer further questions with surreal or withering responses. One of our favourites of all time comes from Ian Nadin, a truck-driving, no-nonsense predator angler. After catching a large pike, an old lady asked “did you catch that here?” To which he replied: “Nah, it’s my pet. I take it here for a swim every weekend.”

We always appreciate unsolicited advice from the know-nowts

Another classic trait of passers-by is to dish out all kinds of random wisdom on angling. Even if the last time they went, Maggie Thatcher was still in Number 10.

Particularly unwelcome comments include advice that the true ‘hotspot’ is 400 yards in the opposite direction, or that they saw ‘some massive fish’ around the next bend. By which they tend to mean a handful of small roach.

Sometimes you would love to follow these people to their local golf or football club and dish out complicated advice to them like “your swing is all wrong – trust me, I once watched golf on telly” or “there’s a much better game going on in the next county”.

We love sunny, cloudless days

WHEN out fishing in summer conditions that are as dead as disco, be prepared for a never-ending barrage of small talk on any river or lake going. Cloudless skies and barbecue weather breed lines like “what perfect fishing weather!” and “isn’t it lovely just to be out?”. You will briefly consider giving them a more detailed analysis about fishing and bright conditions, before taking the wiser option of just nodding and agreeing with them. “What, really? The sun is out? I hadn’t noticed. Next you’ll be telling me there’s a lake here.”

We’re all busy leaving lead shot everywhere to annihilate swans

This myth is particularly unfortunate, given how most of us love to see wildlife and endeavour to leave no trace of litter behind. In spite of lead shot being outlawed decades ago, however, there are still odd murmurs about anglers topping swans. Bizarre, given that it’s almost akin to suggesting that public hangings still take place. Let’s be clear on this one – swans are big, clumsy imbeciles with all the social grace of football hooligans. That doesn’t mean we wish to kill them.

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