Asking For Fishing Tips
In my three years of fishing, I’ve thankfully received a truckload of fishing tips and advice from all types of anglers. Not just the guys in the tackle shops (my go-tos: Crowthorne Angling, Tackle Up, Angling Direct Guildford and Reading) but mostly from people on the bank, at shows, the Ladies Angling UK Facebook Group, the veterans at Fishability UK and of course from my fishing friends. They’ve been very welcoming, taken the time to answer my questions, and offer advice, especially when I was struggling. Tolerating my sometimes silly questions or blank stare as they’re trying to explain how to load line or tie a figure of 8 loop. Never belittling me or treating me as inferior. Apparently, that’s because I’m a girl *sighs* *rolls eyes*. I believe it’s because they’re all keen to help an eager novice be successful and enjoy the sport.
How many times in a Facebook group have you read a “seeking advice” thread and cringed at the replies? “What an idiot! You shouldn’t be fishing!” “Shocking, that’s a fish killing rig!!!” as the reply to someone genuinely asking for fishing tips. While group admin’s try to manage members and set guidelines on behaviour, this is not acceptable behaviour from one angler to another, let alone one person to another. How can we expect people to learn correct fish care, learn the best and safest way to fish when there’s an atmosphere of berating if you step up and ask a question?
It’s a lot like Asking for a Date
You’re flicking through a dating app and find someone cute, similar interests, not too far away… you work up the courage and send a message. A few weeks later and having sent more messages to new potentials than the number of carp in Linear’s B1, you’re still blanking. The only responses:
• “Not a chance!!”
• “Why would I go out with someone that ugly?”
• “Want to come over tonight and I’ll ”
• “I will date you tomorrow. Send me £1,000 I buy plane ticket tonight.”
You’ve got to be really thick skinned, have the courage to keep asking, and ignore the lack of response and all the abuse you get. Especially when friends brag about their latest conquest, making it sound easy, and berating your lack of success. Do you ask them for dating advice? Probably not.
I believe you should treat people the way you would want to be treated. When someone approaches me on a dating app, I do my utmost to reply, even to the hairy farmer who was only looking for a lady to cook and clean for him. I’m not so perfect that I don’t laugh, or roll my eyes at some messages. But if someone has the courage to message me I’d rather give a polite no, wish them all the best and hopefully make a crappy situation a little more pleasant. Most importantly, encourage them and have a laugh so they stay positive and keep trying.
Thankfully in fishing there seem to be more people who want to give honest and helpful advice, even when the question being asked is “If it rains this Sunday, will I be able to catch?”. People who actively hold others to task and accountable when they give unhelpful advice “Why don’t you learn to fish?”. Here are my best fishing tips:
1. “Listen to all advice, and apply what works for you.”
That’s the best advice I’ve had thanks to Matthew Cudworth, Andrew Pritchard, and Andy Bolton at Watmore Farm Fishery. Fishing is a very personal experience. I might get 15 different views to the same question, but each time I learn something new, I listen, ask questions and figure out what’s going to work for me, and use it.
2. Ignore negativity
To me ghosting (ignoring) people is just wrong. But it’s the best way to deal with someone who’s being negative. Often, you’ll have no idea who the person is, how well they can fish – so why does anything they say matter? Report rudeness or bullying online immediately to the group admin, or in person (if doesn’t put you at risk) step in without being confrontational.
3. Be brave and ask questions
Ask questions, ask lots of smart questions. It’s easier to learn and figure out what’s correct by asking questions. If you’re nervous maybe approach the person on Messenger, or give them a call and ask if they have a few minutes to help you.
4. Be helpful in your answers
Take a moment to give honest helpful answers to enable someone to be more successful. Just like the people who have helped you over the years.
5. Who to ask?
Online: Read group chats and what’s written to figure out which groups have supportive knowledgeable members, which don’t and which members to listen to.
The Bailiff: They want you to catch and if they’re half decent, they really know their lakes and the fish.
Professional Anglers: Approach them at a show, not on the bank… But ask sensible questions about rigs, tackle, tactics, not “How do I get sponsored?”
Tackle Shop & Manufacturers: I’m confident in the advice my go-to shops give me, Ali and the lads at Crowthorne will happily show me rigs or chat tactics.
Coach: They do cost but are invaluable. A lesson or two a year could make the difference to casting 80 yds or hitting just over 130… accurately and consistently.
Trying out some new tactics following advice received from other anglers!
6. Say Thank you
Even if you’ve had 50 very similar replies, an old fashioned “thank you” to each person is the least you can do in return for their time and advice. If their advice helps you catch, maybe even thank them in your catch post?!
Keep asking questions, ignore negativity, keep learning and fuelling your passion for fishing and proudly share your catch pictures… just keep those dating pictures to yourself please!