by Pat Gillett;
In today’s modern day fishing (especially carp and barbel fishing) there seems to be an ever-growing acceptance that ‘biggest is best’.
By this I mean that everything seems to be measured purely by how heavy a fish weighs and the heavier a fish weighs the more meritorious the capture is deemed to be.
It is human nature that we all want to catch the biggest fish we can but I believe that you should try and put all your fishing into context and not necessarily believe that ‘the biggest is the best’. By doing this you will continue to get more from your fishing and not get blinded by ‘numbers on a scale’.
Lets face it; the biggest fish in most lakes are very often not the hardest to catch. In fact in a lot of cases the reverse is true, in that the biggest fish are very often the ones that are caught the most. Generally these fish are the biggest for a reason – they eat more than the others do. With this in mind it stands to reason that the more a fish feeds the more chance it has of getting caught!
You only have to have a look at the angling weeklies / websites etc and you will see the same barbel / carp winning the awards every month, in fact it would seem that some of these fish have won more cups than Man Utd!
If you look at the ever increasing growth weights that can be attained in modern day fish breeding (not to mention the increasing foreign imports) it is quite possible for carp of a relatively young age to be stocked into a water at say 30lb+.
Now this fish is not going to be difficult to catch for a while, yet because of it’s weight it would be seen by a lot of anglers (and press) has being a better achievement than the guy who catches a 20lb fish from his local canal or local lake (even if this was the only 20 in there).
To me this is not the case, in fact I can think of several barbel and carp that I have caught, which although being nowhere near the biggest of the species I have caught, have given me more pleasure in their capture than some of the bigger fish I have landed. Here I am talking about fish caught from very lightly stocked venues (some that I wasn’t even sure whether or not they held any carp) or fish caught by overcoming a series of problems etc. I believe if you evaluate your own captures in the same way you will get a lot more out of your fishing.
Now as well as being stocked with some new deep-bodied faster growing carp, this lake holds some original fish, which are at least forty years old. We were lucky enough to catch some of these fish, which are very long bodied fish with massive tails that fight as hard as any carp you are likely to catch. The biggest of these fish that we landed was a mirror 35lb 2oz that because of its length only just went into my large fox weigh sling.
These fish are nowhere near the biggest I have caught during my visits to France but because they were ‘proper old original’ fish that hadn’t just been stocked into a lake I got as much enjoyment from catching them as I have done from any of the bigger French fish I have caught.
Whilst talking about French fishing, although we are all hoping to catch that elusive ‘whacker’, which most of us don’t have access to back home (or the time to devote to catching one), it is worth reminding yourself (most of us anyway) that you are supposed to be on holiday (so enjoy it!). If you forget this and it purely becomes a ‘big fish at all costs’ week, this can lead to disappointment and it some cases that I have heard of, falling out amongst mates that are sharing a venue.
So to conclude, if you are realistic in your fishing and don’t get blinded by ‘the big is best’ syndrome then I believe you will derive a lot more enjoyment from it, which after all is what it’s all supposed to be about.