Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Does the internet help ... or hinder?

At the moment there are many sea angling websites on the World Wide Web. For most, these sites produce not only information but witty banter between members; and they also create friendships. Unfortunately, for others, an outspoken posting could also cause a major rift. All in all, it may possibly be classed as a vast angling club that covers many counties.

Information on what’s being caught is almost instant – sometimes being reported, by the angler, hours after the event. This has the advantage for those who want to know what’s about, and not having to wait a week or two to read it in the local papers – or a month or two to read it in the fishing magazines. It also fires up enthusiasm for those that have the opinion ‘Why bother going, there’s nothing about’ (although the obvious answer to that would be if you don’t try then you will never know). The websites eliminates this and gets more anglers out on the beach or boat.

An opinion of some of the opponents of angling websites is that this open information is available to commercial fishermen; who will then smother the venue with nets. In my view, static nets that have been set close inshore (at Deal), normally fill up with weed and garbage. For what the commercial gets fish wise it is not worth the hassle of clearing, or time spent cleaning those nets. Normally they will only set nets close inshore for sole in the settled summer months. Other times you may see them drifting close to the beach with nets for bass or herring; these are surface nets and do not have any immediate affect the angler who is bottom fishing.

Last year an angler posted that there were miles of nets strung between Deal Pier and Sandwich Bay. As this was the start of the ray season most of the posters were up in arms about how their sport was being ruined. As I live on the seafront I kept my eyes open for these offending nets. My daily walk took me to Sandown Castle and beyond and there were NO nets visible. I sometimes wonder if the angler who cast these aspersions managed to have the beach to himself on his next fishing trip (and possibly all the fish as well).

So there you have it! Is the angling websites an asset or not. I think the overwhelming benefits outweigh the negative side; it’s up to the individual – if you want to post and boast that’s fine, if not, no problem. Most members are helpful with advice and have parted with knowledge that has taken them many years of experience to acquire – all for free.

That reminds me of an old proverb ‘The wise man points his finger … and the fool looks at the wise man’s finger’ (it took me years to understand the meaning of that) … or there’s another one ‘don’t believe half what you’re told’. I’ll leave it up to you to decide.