I was having chat with somebody who I really respect the other day, and at one point in the conversation this guy said that he thought my blog could sometimes be me "sitting on the fence" with regards to what I say and talk about. I think I take the point and I am always open to constructive criticism, but I did go away and think about it and in a roundabout way it kinda came full circle with regards to my whole ethos about fishing............
Ask any member of my family and they will tell you that I am known for having very strong opinions, indeed get me and my two brothers around the dinner table and we will put the world to rights pretty smartish. It took my then girlfriend (now wife) a little while to get used to Gilbey family meal times, what with all the debate and opinions flying around, and if there is one thing I have little time for it's people who can't make their minds up and just get on with things. Of course I am a bloke and I tend to think that my opinions are correct (don't you love that word compromise?)............but not when it comes to fishing.
I happen to believe that much of fishing has little to do with hard facts, and as such I will never understand anglers who persist in ramming their way of doing stuff down other people's throats - and especially when it's done from behind the safety of a keyboard. For the life of me I fail to understand anglers arguing back and forth about fishing. Discussion is good. Opinions are good. Give and take is good, but why do some people want to argue about things that simply can't be definites in the first place? It isn't me sitting on the fence, it's how I see fishing, and it's me being very aware that from time to time fishing is going to give you a kicking to remind you how little you do actually know.
I suppose I just don't feel very comfortable writing in a way that could come across as "I'm right and you're wrong", because that goes against what I believe fishing to be.This blog is my blog and I do what I want with it because I love doing it. I retain the option to write what I feel like writing about - and at the end of the day you kind readers retain the option to simply not read any of the stuff anyway! I have no interest in spending my own time writing about fishing gear that I don't derive at least some enjoyment from using for example, hence my tackle reviews are mostly positive - because I have x amount of time and I am not about to squander it reviewing the stuff I don't like. There are enough rumours and bits of misinformation flying around forums, FB etc. without me getting involved.
And of course some anglers are simply better anglers than others. It's the way it is and I happen to respect the hell out of good anglers who then take the time to help other anglers out. I have always believed that almost anybody could become a decent angler with a certain amount of hard work and thought, but as with any sport, I also believe that some people are simply naturals - they are born with certain skill sets that might or might not come out depending on what path they follow. I can't ignore some of these anglers I come across who just seem to "see" fishing with different (more natural?) eyes.
I do try hard to retain a sense of awareness with what I do, in that via my work I have seen or caught some pretty amazing fish in some pretty amazing places - and a lot of anglers will never see stuff like this in their lifetimes, let alone catch whatever species of fish that can't help but put what we have in the UK into some sort of perspective. But just because I might have caught some fish that pound for pound might leave say a bass in the starting blocks, does that then give me the right to tell you how to do things? By all means call it sitting on the fence, but personally I like to try and use those experiences I am lucky enough to go through to stand back slightly and be aware perhaps of a slightly different sense of scale.
And as such I don't feel like trying to ram what I think I might know down your throats. Sure, I love to proffer some of the stuff that churns through my brain here on this blog, and yes, of course there are times when the perfectly normal human being in me feels like going off on one. But what would be the point? If there is one thing I have learnt is that you're never going to win in an online situation because a keyboard is an easy mask to hide behind, and to be honest it all comes back to what I believe fishing is all about - fun, enjoyment, lifestyle and obsession, but all very much underpinned by my underlying ethos if you like that fishing is always bigger and better than us. Hope you all had a good Easter weekend.