Tackle and Tactics.
THINK LIKE A FISH Part 20 What is sea angling?
I suppose that I have always thought that all people's motives for angling/fishing were much the same. However, I recently picked up a couple of angling magazines that have changed my mind. One of the magazines is Italian (Sea Angling) the other is Greek (Mostly Sea Angling plus some Carp Fishing). Although my Italian is poor and my Greek non-existent it is still possible to get the gist of what is being written from the pictures (and with the assistance of translations from my son Richard's partner Kleio).
First and foremost it is obvious that almost all the fish pictured are destined for the pot. Nothing strange there perhaps, except that many of the captures are pretty small. Secondly, no attempt is made to depict the fish alive and well. They are held up by the eye sockets or gills and a number are pictured with bulging eyes and prolapsed guts - forced out by pressure changes as they were reeled in. Now I have no problem with any of this. If the fish are dead and you are going to eat them (ultimately the only really valid reason for catching them) it does not much matter how you handle them. The interesting thing is how we (including myself) have been indoctrinated into feeling uncomfortable at these sights. Similar pictures published in our own fishing magazines would undoubtedly cause an outcry.
Another aspect of interest is the tackle used. Advertisements in the magazines I read included the usual lines, hooks etc. but electrically powered reels, high tech handlines, bait additives and fancy bite indicators were much in evidence. The Italian tactics cover most of the same approaches that we use ourselves, beach casting, spinning, float fishing etc. These involve similar rods, reels lures, tackle and gadgets to the ones used here. However there is no compunction about the use of multi hook rigs or 'freshwater' gear (poles, waggler floats and hooks as small as size 16). In Greece the differences are even more pronounced and treble hooks or chains of up to eight or more small single hooks are regarded as normal and effective for bait fishing.
To conclude I'll just quote a few words from a Greek article (translated by Kleio) on catching sea bream. "It (the bream) spends most of its day eating algae from the rocks. It can feed in very shallow water (10cm) where we can see it (= the fish) dipping to reach the food. When it does this it creates a golden shine in the water. This is a sign to look for when you are after 'salpa' (=bream). Unfortunately people who use dynamite to fish also look for these signs. This is one of the main reasons why the populations of this fish are declining". - Now I see why fish are sometimes thin on the ground when I am on holiday!
All in all it seems that giving the fish a sporting chance and battling against hard fighting fish on 'sensible' tackle are not always essential to the enjoyment of the sport. To be honest I used to enjoy handlining when I was younger and it does teach you a lot about recognising bites and interpreting what the fish are doing at the other end of the line. Having said this, in view of the apparent widespread enthusiasm for angling which exists in the countries of the Mediterranean and the seeming deficiency of good shore fishing in many areas over there: we do not seem so badly off in Britain. In fact it is about time that our government agencies and tourist industry realised the potential of British sea angling as an attraction and instead of pandering to commercial fishing interests made every effort to enhance and publicise the sport that is to be had in the UK.
If you have any comments or questions about fish, methods, tactics or 'what have you.' get in touch with me by sending an E-MAIL to - firstname.lastname@example.org
Think like a fish.
What is sea angling?
Italian two hook float rig.
Greek multi-hook set up.