OK, it's time for a bit of a rant........

I work hard at what I do, but there is always an "off" button if somebody doesn't like how I come at things - whether it be turning the TV off, not looking at this blog, not reading my posts on various forums, and not reading the magazine articles or books I write and photograph. It's just the way it goes. But what does bother me is a small but vocal minority that voice all manner of stupid, old fashioned, misinformed and unkind opinions and thoughts about a variety of fishing related subjects which in my opinion do nothing but harm this great sport we all love so much.......

First off, let's get one thing straight - fishing is bigger than all of us. Fishing is the greatest leveller of people, and much as I do believe that fishing forums etc. can be really good things, I can't help but also think that in some part they have given rise to a number of armchair "experts" or "keyboard warriors" as I am inclined to call them. Anybody can now sit behind a keyboard and do what they can to stir things up and try to cause hassle. But is this simply malice, or is it often a lack of skill at writing English that means stuff comes across in a way that was not intended ? On the flipside though, the good parts of forums do so much positive stuff to bring anglers together and share information. Modern day campfires is how I see them - when they work well that is.......

But I will tell you what is really winding me up at the moment - those anglers who simply can't accept that the world is changing, and that change can actually be a good thing if the change is done right. Why are some people so afraid of change ? It takes all sorts to make the world go round, and there is plenty of room for all kinds of anglers. If an angler wants to fish in the same way for ever and ever, that's great, and the sport is plenty big enough to let that happen. But why damn those who love to explore different ways of doing things ? If some anglers get excited about different ways of fishing for various species, why then is there a small percentage of anglers who are so against this, and who are prepared to voice their ill-natured and unhelpful opinions ? It makes me really sad to see a small but very negative and back-biting minority forever bitching and moaning about how stuff was just fine in the good old days and that the "new generation" if you like are doing no more than spending money on nice gear, and helping inform too many anglers to go out and have a go. Go figure, because I can't.

Just look at what is going in saltwater fishing in the UK at the moment - yes, we will forever have "our" UK way of beachcasters and bait, and that is to be celebrated as a wonderful way to go fishing. But look at these anglers increasingly going ultra light lure fishing (LRF), chasing wrasse on soft plastics, various people/companies importing all manner of new and exciting fishing tackle into the country, plus of course designing and making fishing gear, the biggest saltwater mag in the UK actually publishing the "Bass Angler" bit every month, more and more fishing blogs appearing, more anglers stumbling across the fact that bass can be caught in all manner of places and with all kinds of different approaches, Ireland becoming more and more well known as a kind of shore fishing mecca (and for bass especially), and an increased awareness between anglers from all disciplines. Who could possibly be complaining about any of this stuff ? I am proud to be a UK sea angler, but we can also be our own worst enemies. I know that friends of mine sometimes see it in fly fishing where change can also be seen as threatening to the established order. Well guess what ? An increasing percentage of anglers simply don't care about any kind of old fashioned attitude. Fishing is changing. Certain parts of fishing need to change. Why can't we live and let live and celebrate the anglers, magazines, forums, websites and companies that strive to do something different, because this bit of something different might actually end up being good for the future of the sport. And what's more important, the sport of fishing or our fear of change ? All of it can be enjoyed if a greater percentage of anglers would open up their minds and look outside of their comfort zone a bit more.

We need more people to come into fishing (youngsters and women especially), but what on earth will they think of sniping at somebody just because they make a personal choice to spend a bit extra on their fishing for example. Or moaning about "their" fishing spots actually having a few anglers on them from time to time. So what if an angler chooses to go and spend serious dosh on their sport ? And so what if an angler chooses not to ? Why on earth would somebody snipe about what other people choose to do with their own time and money ? I just don't understand these kinds of "politics" in fishing, and I hate this kind of stuff with a vengeance. I may be many things for example, but I don't think I am particularly stupid, and I do pick up a few digs at me and what I do from time to time. You need a thick skin to work in fishing, let me tell you. I was reading a society publication at breakfast this morning for example and was slightly "interested" to read a few paragraphs that I could very reasonably take offence at. But why would I ? Life's too short as I said earlier. Sure, it annoys me sometimes that the odd person sees fit to have a pop at me when they don't know anything about me or most of what I actually do in fishing, but what would be the use of me having a dig back ? I can only do what I do, and I believe in what I am doing. I simply can't be bothered with petty-mindedness in fishing, but on the flip side this sport has given me so many good friends and experiences. Let's rise above any stupidity and get on with making fishing as involving and exciting as we can, because the better that fishing comes across, I passionately believe that the better its future will be..........

Anyway, the main thing this coming weekend is of course England v Ireland in Dublin on Saturday afternoon - 5pm kick off. There is also the BASS AGM on Sunday which I am unable to make this year. England v Scotland was not an easy game to watch last weekend, indeed I am not quite sure if we really played as badly as I think we did, or did Scotland do incredibly well to slow us down and throw us off our stride while we had an attack of nerves ? I can't help but be a little worried about the Ireland game. Logic says we should win and get the Grand Slam, but England going to Ireland to play is always a tough one. England won the Grand Slam in 2003 and then look what happened that November. Think I might be getting ahead of myself there...........