Mike Ladle


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Tackle and Tactics.

THINK LIKE A FISH Part 32 Elitism in angling!

Don't get me wrong - I enjoy fly fishing. It is an excellent method for presenting a virtually weightless lure or bait to fish feeding near the surface. At times it is the only way to catch fish, of many types and sizes, which may be feeding on insects, fry, plankton or other small creatures. I am delighted with the recent surge of interest in saltwater fly fishing - long may it continue.

Having said all this I have noticed a worrying spread of the old fashioned attitude of 'fly fishing snobbery' which has already, insidiously, blocked non-fly anglers from much of the world's best and most exciting fishing and is in danger of excluding anglers who cannot or prefer not to wield a fly rod from many other areas of the sport.

Let me show you what I am getting at. The first couple of examples are not really surprising. If you want to catch a forty pound salmon from the Kola Peninsula - fly only! Should you fancy a monster sea trout from Tierra del Fuego - fly only! Some of the best grayling rivers in the world - fly only! A number of the world's best coral flats, the haunts of large bonefish and permit, are now exclusively for the use of fly fishermen. Worse than this, if you read many of the popular magazines you will be given the IMPRESSION that fly fishing is the only WORTHWHILE method of catching fish from tropical seas. Of course this is nonsense.

This latter approach is (I think) the worst sort of elitism and stems from a minority (or even a majority) trying to impose their own narrow minded views on others. Now I don't care how other people fish. I accept that some of us enjoy catching two ounce pouting on thirty pound line while others would rather flick a dry fly for tiny upland trout or wait six weeks in a bivvy for a carp to take their boily. Its all fishing. What really saddens me is the attitude of the people who ban bloodworm or prawn or worm or plugs or livebait or whatever - often on pretexts such as fish welfare or stock conservation or (perish the thought) that its NOT SPORTING. What they really mean is "I don't (often can't) do it so neither should anyone else."

Frequently the methods that are banned or looked-down-on are those which are MOST EFFECTIVE. Let's hope that saltwater fly fishing in this country remains, as it is now, just one of the many enjoyable fishing methods we can use. By all means try to persuade your fellow anglers that a screaming fly reel is amazing fun (believe me - it is!) but for heavens sake LIVE AND LET LIVE.

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 - docladle@hotmail.com


Think like a fish.

Elitism in angling!.

Chub on a plug.

A chub on a plug - not everybody's cup of tea.

A cracking grayling caught on float gear.

In many of the 'best' rivers you would only be allowed to fly fish for grayling.

Back goes an eighteen pounder.

This fish 'might' have taken a fly but bait is usually more effective.

A big springer caught on prawn.

Prawn is often banned as a salmon bait - with no good reason.

Bonefish on a Rapala.

Some bonefish flats are exclusively for fly fishing.  Elsewhere other methods are not encouraged.