This article is mainly aimed at those who are new to our sport but the old hands may as well read on as they might learn something; albeit if not to insult their higher intellect by reading anything else that I write. Like most hobbies or sports, coarse angling is riddled with `IN` terms, which can take some time to come to grips with. I hope that I can speed up that process by offering an interpretation of some of the more common and legally repeatable of those that you are likely to hear at the waterside.
If nothing else, it will help you to decide whether the person using the term actually understands what he is talking about, (very rare) or if he is just talking out of the top of his designer polaroids. (Common) The first thing that needs explanation is the term `Coarse fishing` itself.
I have to admit that up until the idea for this article occurred to me and after a number of years in the sport which begin with the letter F and end with the letter Y plus a few I had no idea either. In fact, I always thought it was spelt COURSE and that almost everybody else was wrong. After all, I am a refined sort of chap and I do not consider that the word Coarse applies to me in any way or form. A bit of asking around in the right circles (Thank you Anglers Net) elicited the information that the term derives from the way that coarse fish, which can be defined as anything living in freshwater that is not a member of the salmon family, develope a rough texture when they come into spawning condition. This means that, as most things have a habit of doing at the end of the day, it all boils down to sex.
However, it does not explain why grayling are classed as coarse fish when they are very much a member of the salmon family. Come to think of it what about eels? Where do they fit in? Having cleared up that little matter to my satisfaction at least, the next most common term that you are likely to come across is `Pleasure Angler. ` A rather confusing one this as very few people are able to derive any form of living from actually coarse fishing. As opposed, that is to those who make a pretty penny flogging all sorts of weird and wonderful tackle to us gullible anglers. (See Tackle Tart) So presumably, we are by definition all pleasure anglers. Otherwise why go fishing in the first place?
The best way I can explain the term is that it is a bit like playing kick about football when I was a kid and later on through army and police training schools. There were always the `semi pros` who noisily objected to anybody who failed to come up to their own high standard. You know the sort all gob and haircut. Well those who they vented their resentment on are the equivalent of us Pleasure Anglers. On one of your first visits to the club waters, you will notice certain strange creatures who have constructed around them a nest of large scaffolding poles generally blocking off the pathway in its narrowest and slipperiest parts in the process.
These are POLE anglers. Pole anglers have nothing to do with natives of a central European country but are in fact anglers who have under gone a reversion and fish using a device that the great Isaac himself considered antiquated. (I am of course referring to the late great Isaac Merryweather) This however did not stop him buying several just for show. The interesting thing about pole anglers is that I have often seen them arrive and spend the best part of a morning setting up their tackle but I have yet to see one tackle down and leave the waterside. I have formed the theory that they do not tackle down at all but wait until nobody is looking and just chuck the whole lot into the water to save all the hassle of taking it to pieces again. Pole anglers are easily identified when they are approaching the bank side by the semi trailer full of gear that they inevitably have in tow plus the strange man who always follows them.
He is their bank manager and is there to see where all the money he lent them for double-glazing, a conservatory, etc. was really spent. The late great Isaac Merryweather was known to have taken a second mortgage on his house to buy one, yes one, pole. This was quite an amazing feat seeing as to how he had never got around to buying his house from the council in the first place. Another inhabitant and semi pro of the bank side is the CARP fisherman. He like the pole angler invests large amounts of his children?s inheritance in anything that the owner of the local tackle shop can persuade him will lead to the capture of bigger fish.
His is a solitary existence and he is normally to be seen either lying seemingly comatose on a four poster camp bed or if it is raining or dark in a penthouse tent half the size of Buck house that he calls a bivvy. He tends to use rod and line as opposed to a pole mainly because he has not yet figured out a way of fitting a bite detector to a pole. The bite detector is his most essential piece of tackle as he never watches over his rods and is conditioned to only ever respond to the sound of an electronic buzzer that lets everybody within five miles know that he has a bite. It really is worth the effort to accidentally hook his line with yours and give it a gentle tug just to watch the panic that ensues at the sound of the buzzer. If he happens to have a hot cup of coffee in his hand at the time then it is even more entertaining. You will on occasion see the bivvy of a carp angler approached by several persons in dark blue boiler suits and baseball caps using the sort of language that is only ever heard on second-rate television cop shows.
Do not be alarmed it is only the local drug squad doing a raid on his bait boxes after an anonymous tip off. I will finish by dealing with that doyen of the angling society the Match angler. Now this really is a semi pro of the highest order. Fortunately match fishing, as a spectator sport is one of the few activities that makes watching paint dry an attractive alternative. The participants are therefore spared the horrors that celebrity status on the scale that Beckham and Cilla Black have to suffer. Unfortunately, it means that every club even one as small as ours has its hard core of anglers who call themselves Match fishermen and consider themselves celebrities in their own right.
The fact that the best result that they have ever achieved is third in a juniors match that they lied about their age to enter and only had two others to beat is of no relevance. They are match fishermen and want the entire world to know just how superior they are. They display their superiority by dressing in the current colour of the day (black with gold accessories is the flavour of the month at the present) with words like Shimano and Shakespeare plastered everywhere. The intention of course is to give the impression that they are so good that they are actually sponsored by these firms. The match angler will not throw anything back no matter how small. If it is caught on the end of his line then it is fair game for the magical weigh in at the end of a match that decides who the winner is. Sticklebacks, tadpoles, curious kids who get too close to them on the bank and are hooked when casting all go into the keep net.
The Match angler is only equalled in importance, usually of the self kind that is, by the committee man but as I wish to remain a member of the club, I will refrain from taking that line of description any further. I hope that this brief introduction has been of help to you and if sufficient funds are forthcoming from the owner of this website I shall graciously consider enlightening you as to the meaning of other common coarse angling terms in the future. By Alan Hammond (NE-Fishing registered member) Copyright A Hammond 2003