Why the perfect capture shot? This is the question I ask myself quite a lot when flicking through Facebook. There is a distinct lack of night shots and I know that technology has moved on with slings and sack. However, there is no way of stopping the stress placed on the fish. It has just be captured and taken out the water weighed and then put in a retaining sling for 8 or more hours, all because there is a demanded to have the perfect shot.
In my book this is just not an acceptable way to treat fish. It amazes me that anglers are happy to do this, when they treasure the quarry so much and get upset when they get eaten by otters or when another angler mistreats the fish. Hypocrisy, I would say. If you are on the list of anglers who keep the fish in a sling/sack for more than 10/15 minutes, this is all the time you need to set up the camera kit. I have been doing it this was for more than 35 years. We are in a battle to outwit the carp and land them. It therefore does not matter if you didn’t get a photo, it was poor quality or even not in the perfect spot. You have captured your quarry and won the battle. Now all that it required is to put the fish back and reduce the stressed caused.
I have seen anglers take the photos in the morning after the fish has been in the net most of the night, then place the fish back into the retainer, then sit in their brolly checking if the photos are perfect. If not, they keep repeating this process until they get it spot on. They would then wonder why the fish goes belly up a couple of weeks. I believe this is partly driven by the industry who demand the perfect shot. This is a bit narrow-minded in itself as most are anglers, modern day anglers are hooked on Facebook and there seems to be a need to also out do their fellow anglers with who gets the best shots etc. I come from there era of ”secret squirrel” and you never really knew who caught what, other than what you heard over the grape vine. Don’t get me wrong, I have embraced Facebook, as it nice to see how well other anglers are getting on.
It’s a battle between the angler and the fish and not a battle between us all, unless you are match fishing. The barbel anglers fully understand this and do their up most to look after the quarry. Why can’t the carp anglers (with the advice of camera technology and remote systems) do the same? The perfect shot can be taken at night, the more anglers start doing this must be better for the fish. This would also have the knock on effect of showing the rest, who may be not keen that fish safety must come first. How do we know how much stress builds up in a fish over time? Just look at human beings, there is a great deal of people having to take tablets for stress (which has built up over time), this must be the same for all living things.
On my website there is a page all about Carp Safety Photographing Fish which is the way I have been doing this for many years and with camera technology moving on things can only get better.
Just remember, the next time you see a photo of your target fish, how much stress was placed on it at the time? And will it be around for you to catch it in the future? Look after the fish and they will be around for a long time to come.
Be lucky in your quest for the monster fish.