Angling: Gadgetry flies in face of match philosophy

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It must be over 15 years when I was watching Keith Arthur’s TV show “Tight Lines” on Sky when he conducted an experiment with a new gadget called the Fish Finder.

This was an electronic device which could be connected to a pole attached to a length of line which, when lowered into the water, transmitted to a small hand-held screen whatever was in the vicinity such as snags – or, more importantly, fish.

He then went on to do what we all did at the time – some of us still do – which was to put several pots full of bait on the pole line before lowering in the fish finder which showed half a dozen balls of ground bait starting to break up.

He then gave the bait half an hour to settle and in that time changed to the feeder in the hope of a bonus fish.

And, assuming that when he returned to the pole line, the fish would have discovered his bait and would be in a feeding frenzy.

But before doing this he had a further exploration with his new device and, to his surprise, there was not a trace of the bait that he had deposited earlier as the fish had responded immediately and cleared it all up while he had been messing about on the feeder.

That was a lesson to all anglers, including myself, and at the first opportunity I went to my local tackle shop and ordered one of the new machines thinking that I would clean up on the matches.

But it was to no avail. I used it just the once, on a practice session, and it proved to be very good.

But then came the bombshell.

Almost every fishery in the country immediately banned the electronic devices in matches and this included any new gadget plus bite alarms and bait boats.

So that was £150 wasted and the fish finder found a new home in my garage, never to be heard of again.

That is until a recent announcement that modern technology has seen an improvement in the original model and this is how it works.

It is still using the same principle of using a device which is lowered into the water which then transmits information such as the depth of the water, the contours of the lake and, of course, any fish which are present.

But the clever thing is that all of this information can now be transferred to a mobile phone!

The thing is, does the ban on electronic gadgets still stand?

The jury is out on this one and there are arguments both for and against.

But I think that if people who are armed with these gadgets start winning match after match then attendances at these venues will drop, leaving the owners with a fall in income.

I have changed my views over the years and do not think that there is any place for such devices in match fishing.

Let’s face it, the whole concept of the match side of our sport is how to work out your chosen swim by carefully plumbing the various depths, fish observation and then fishing it to the best of your ability.

This new technology gets a no vote from me.

Top rod Darren Starkey with a 3-02 perch from the bungalows section on the River Ouse. PIC: Steve Fearnley

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