If you read Sea Angler magazine then you might have noticed the Shimano Lure Clinic section in there - now obviously nobody actually reads this because we know it all anyway, but I actually write the words for this and provide the photos (as in I reply to the questions that I am sent). If we put aside how qualified or not I might actually be to do this, what has really struck home to me is the number of questions that are being sent in to Sea Angler from their readers.
How do you cast a weightless lure? What's the best knot for joining braid to fluoro? How do you walk the dog? Should I be fishing the flood or ebb tide? Do single hooks work on lures? What's the best type of rod/reel/lure to use for bass? How do you use a weedless hook? What is the best colour of lure to fish with? Should I give up trying for bass around October time? Etc.
If you are into something and fully conversant with the lingo then questions like these might not be relevant to you. I am obsessed with music, and more specifically the more extreme forms of metal that permeate our cosmos like manna from paradise. I have been into music like this for I suppose around thirty+ years now, and my obsession only gets worse. I understand it and I am I suppose fairly knowledgeable about it. I look at some spotty teenager who thinks Metallica started with the Black album and I can't help but want to make them sit through a course in metal education. Very much like when you see some "youth" wandering around with their trousers slung around the bottom of their arse with their boxers hanging out the top - do I want to see your underpants kiddo? It must be middle age, because I want to take them aside and give them a damn good thrashing. Sorry, I digress...........
I am conversant with the extreme metal "scene", much like I feel fairly comfortable with what is going on within saltwater lure fishing. OK, so I have no personal interest in hanging around harbours with my LRF gear, but I hear a bit about it, I love that something like this goes on, and I tend to feel relatively up on how saltwater lure fishing is progressing here in the UK and Ireland.
Imagine if you aren't up on it though. Try to imagine for one second that you are an out and out bait angler (just like I used to be) who is hearing about this fangled lure fishing for bass/wrasse/pollack etc. You read about somebody covering loads of water with a "weightless" lure and of course you wonder what on earth is going on. A 6oz lead and a lump of fresh peeler makes far more sense. The sort of questions I get via the Sea Angler Lure Clinic make perfect sense to me, because not only do I try my best to remember how confusing stuff can be from the outside looking in, but I also wonder why on earth more people don't actually ask more questions. I see it all the time and it amazes me - and yes, I ask lots of questions. I want to learn. I want to understand stuff better.
Yes, a part of me sometimes wonders why on earth every lure angler isn't using "that" knot for example, or why they are not traipsing around the rocks in lightweight waders and wading boots. Why aren't they carrying a box full of somewhat boring looking soft plastics that don't actually do anything that obvious in the water? Why haven't they discovered that crushing the barbs on your trebles makes no different to landing fish if you fight them properly in the first place? Surely stuff like this is a complete no-brainer?
Well it might be to some of us, but it sure as hell isn't to a lot of anglers. I like to stand back sometimes and wonder what on earth it would be like if i went and got the carp bug really badly - how daunting would all that stuff seem from the outside looking in? Pop-ups, bait boats, bivvies, camo-weights, spod rods, hook links, bolt rigs and bite alarms - it's a whole different world within fishing, which of course lure fishing is as well.
Yet within the circles of anglers who are conversant with lure fishing, I suppose I do still wonder why more anglers don't more of the same stuff. Yes, I do wonder why on earth any sane angler would not want to tie such a good knot as "that" knot, and yes, it makes me uncomfortable that every lure angler doesn't crush all those horrible little barbs on their treble hooks but on the other hand bleats on about fish welfare/time out of the water/fish-grips/photographic techniques etc.
I am free to wonder why, but of course I also recognise that wouldn't it be boring if we all did everything the same way. I do what I do with my life but I can't help but want to try and be a bit different to the massed throngs of humanity that crawl this earth like some plague of locusts. Fishing is so incredible because there are so many ways to skin the proverbial cat, but it's a part of my job to try and stand back and remember how something that may well be a no-brainer to you or I might well be like a lightbulb going off in the head to the next person. I love to watch my girls discover things for the first time and I love sharing in that sense of wonder as their life unfolds. Fishing is no different, surely?
Now that was a game of rugby on Saturday afternoon. Holy cow, what a thriller. OK, so England edged it, but a huge amount of credit to Ireland for the way they came at us again and again. What a monumental team effort to beat the Irish like that. Nope, we are nowhere near the finished article yet, but it does seem the right time to start feeling good about English rugby again. That was a true Six Nations game where you were on the edge of your seat for the eighty minutes. What a result. How huge is the Wales game going to be in a couple of weeks?