Martyn White | Tuesday, 15 September 2020

I took a photo of a little carp I caught the other day. This is pretty unusual, I don't take many pictures of fish anymore, unless there's something novel about them for me. Could be they're bigger than normal, an unusual species,particularly pretty or something else. This time it was because the barbless hook didn't just fall out so as I was unhooking the fish I took a moment to appreciate its nice full fins and clean proportions. So I took a quick snap and slid the fish back into the river, then strolled home for lunch.

The same day I saw the first of the year's pictures of large browns that have clearly been caught from a spawning redd. It seemed a bit early but then I realised we're in mid September already!  It's easy to spot, the fish are all full of colour with their flanks turned that deep yellowy-orange that makes the spots really jump out. The tail and anal fin are swollen and abraded from digging redds and the fish will probably have some more damage from fighting and spawning and the brostaffer will have tagged all the companies he's attached to (or hoping to be) in the photo. I hate it when they start appearing, I hate the comments congratulating the "angler" I especially hate when I see the same guy in a different photo days later holding the same fish but wearing a different hat trying to pass it off as a different redd battered fish.  Leave them alone.


Nowadays it seems that fish don't exist unless photographed and blasted all over social media. And I had just read Mika's page about the tackle industry and treble hooks etc before I saw that first picture, which probably made me take more notice of just how many fishing brands were tagged in the picture. A pro team angler! Of course companies need to promote their products so that we'll buy them, but they really should be taking a better line on this. If I was in charge of Sage, Rio, Sa or any other of the big fly fishing companies'  marketing teams, I'd be having a long hard look at these  pro staffers and what they're doing to get the exposure.  Although I do question the scruples of the people who are targeting these fish, the industry and its relationship with social media is what drives this behaviour. As long as someone can get a free line if they do some instawhoring this kind of thing will continue.  It's unnecessary though, low impact quality products do sell and there are brands that don't really seem to go down this road -  there's probably a reason I don't remember noticing hashtags for loon or patagonia, for example on these kind of posts.  


As much as I love catching fish, it's not the only thing I go fishing for and seeing some moron with a fish caught from a redd certainly isn't going to persuade me to go and buy a bit of tackle. I worry about the future, when I see the social media effect impacting the sport, and I hope for a course correction before too long.