Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

The Friday Rant - 24.02.2012

"The long and short of it", or men and their fishing rods and their obsession with length. And yes, in case you were wondering, I am making some rather unsubtle references to men and their weapons. Honestly, every sport or hobby I guess has a degree of garbage that floats around, but what is it with fishing and this obsession with how long or short your fishing rod is ? Whatever happened to having an open mind, live and let live, and not caring a jot if something different to what you yourself are using actually works pretty great for somebody else ? Please correct me if I'm wrong here, but if there is one thing that I hope I do is say "this is what I use and it works for me and mates of mine", but I would hope I am never saying stuff along the lines of "you have to do as I say because there is no other way". I might be pretty closed off when it comes to my musical tastes (and yes, I am saying that there is no other way but metal here), but I would hope that I am a pretty open kind of person when it comes to fishing and how it's done all around the world...............

Let's get some facts out of the way here. Yes, as regards physics, a longer rod is going to cast further than a correspondingly shorter rod. Thinner diameter lines are going to cast better than thicker ones. Heavier lures will often go further than lighter ones (note the word "often" though). Great. Isn't that exciting eh ? Bet you never knew that !! So who really gives a stuff about how long your own particular rod is ? Or isn't ? What I so love about fishing is that there can never be any definitive right or wrong ways to do it. How can there be when you are dealing with the art of trying to fool nature every time you go out ? It's what makes this sport so gloriously appealing. So why then are there so many anglers out there who have this obsession that other anglers have it all wrong because they aren't using the same length of fishing rod as them. It's like dogs marking their territory or children scrapping in the playground. Or grown men comparing the sizes of their weapons...........

So you fish somewhere where you really do need to blast those lures out as far as you can in order to take advantage of the best fishing. Outstanding. The chances are that you will have gone for a longer lure rod to help you out. Where we fish the most tends to dictate how we approach our fishing does it not ? But it's the "having an open mind to how other anglers fish in their neck of the woods" that I think some people forget. You need to fish how you do, but how about how other anglers might need to fish, or indeed want to fish ? Note the phrase "want to" here. They might choose to do something different to you and actually find that something a little bit different can actually work pretty damned well for them. Shock horror.

Who is right and who is wrong ? Nobody. When I was shore fishing big time I used to shy away from rods over 13' long. Yes, I knew that the longer rods that were starting to appear would most likely give me some extra distance, but for the most part I was more concerned with skull-dragging fish out of rough ground or deep water. But did I ever dismiss those anglers who were using the longer shore rods ? I hope not. Why would I ? I come back to the freedom of personal choice and the not ramming one's opinion down the throat of other people just because you feel inclined to do so. I always worry slightly that some anglers might read what I write in Sea Angler for example and then think that this is the only way to do something, but on the flipside I trust that people are sufficiently intelligent or well-informed to see that my articles are merely my own opinions - and that they might take what I write about and adapt it to suit them. Or dismiss it immediately of course as not being remotely applicable to how they fish. Or not bother reading it at all and just look at the pictures !! Or tell me that they don't actually read Sea Angler because they can't learn anything new from it but then tell me that so and so on page whatever got the weight of their fish wrong etc.

If there is one thing that is great about my job it's that I get to meet and spend time with all kinds of anglers all over the place, and if there is one thing that I hope I have gained from this it is an open mind when it comes to the lengths of fishing rods. Use whatever works for you to get the job done. How difficult is that ? There is no right or wrong. I know bass anglers who need to put lures out miles. I know bass anglers who catch a lot of fish at close quarters. I know bass anglers who really like using shorter rods and they smash fish on them. I know bass anglers who know more than I will ever know about bass fishing who don't really think much about how long their rod is, rather how much good is it doing for their own fishing. I know bass anglers who like using longer rods because they feel that it gives them an advantage. I know bass anglers who like using shorter rods because they feel that it gives them an advantage. Open up your mind and let yourself go.

Henry Gilbey19 Comments