The "problems" with reviews - but are they actually "problems" ?
If we for one moment forget all about fishing, then how many of you read or even watch reviews about a product you are interested in buying ? Let's say you are thinking about getting a new TV - do you go along to a shop and accept the salesperson's knowledge as gospel, or do you make a bit of an effort beforehand and do some research in the form of reviews ? These of course could be reviews in magazines, internet forums, internet review sites, shop websites etc., and while I personally am somebody who wants to know as much as I can about certain things I am buying, there are of course various "issues" or "problems" with reviews that are always going to be there.........
The "problems" as I see it with reviews are twofold - firstly that a review is a personal opinion, and secondly that a review is time-stamped, i.e. the review is a personal opinion at a specific time and of course opinions naturally shift with further experiences. Sure, there might be various hard facts in a review such as so and so laptop computer has a 13'' screen, but let's say the reviewer dislikes the keyboard on that laptop but you buy the thing and love it - who is right and who is wrong ?
I got to thinking about this via a comment that was left on my blog yesterday : "Henry you are very enthusiastic about all the rods you trial. However, if you had to pick one all-rounder to use all the time, which one would you choose ?". Well I know the answer, but I also know that my answer would be my answer today, i.e. the rod or indeed rods that I would choose now might or might not be the same another year down the line. It's like these TV programmes I made - the earliest ones I reckon I filmed about sixteen years ago now, but I am now considerably older and I happen to fish somewhat differently to how I used to. Am I any wiser though ? Well considering I woke up at my usual 5am yesterday morning with the Aqua song "Dr. Jones" churning around my head, I am seriously wondering if age does indeed bring forth more wisdom. Where on earth did that one come from ?
If I am an occasional "reviewer", then you as the reader of these occasional reviews are I am sure accepting that my thoughts and opinions are what they are at the time of review, but that if these thoughts and opinions of mine did not change and adapt as I learn more about stuff then there would be something fundamentally wrong with me. I have different thoughts and opinions now for example about the high-end 8' Daiwa Branzino rod that comes out of France.
I don't mean that I think the rod is any better or worse than when I spent all that time fishing with it, rather that between now and then I have used a lot of different rods that have helped to shift, change and adapt my thoughts and opinions. So I can't help but feel differently - and of course I could actually think now that the rod is even better than I gave it credit for could I not ? Or conversely I could now think that with more specialist lure rods on the market that there are some potentially better rods out there for less money - which once again would be merely my opinion, and with this blog I choose to share some of my opinions - which in turn you can very easily choose to read or not read.
One thing I don't do is to go back through my reviews and thinking about changing stuff, because that then in my eyes takes away from what they are meant to be. It would be no different to me suddenly starting to watch my TV programmes and then getting all self-conscious and self-analytical at the stuff I have done or said in them - a sure way to fry my brain if ever there was one !! I love to read reviews about stuff, but I also try to take on board the context in which they are written and how best they might serve my own desire to better inform myself about something.
Oh, and the question to the blog comment I was asked ? Well it's two rods - the Graphiteleader Argento RV 862ML-PE and the APIA Foojin'AD Flow Hunt 89ML (search the blog if you want to read the reviews). Why two ? Because I was asked a question it's the reply that I want to gives, but I can't help but wonder what my answer would be say another year down the line. Might be the same, might be different, but whatever the case I'll keep doing what I do and just love the fact that many of you seem to get something out of this blog, but of course some people despise what I do - which to be honest sits just fine with me. Believe me, if there is one thing that working in fishing the way I do gives you it's a thick skin..................