"a Deeply Flawed Argument"

Tom Scholey on why Alex Bones is wrong to say modern match methods require a similar amount of skill.

I love a good debate – and Alex’s response to my last blog has certainly got the old grey matter whirring! As he rightly says, we are good friends – and I have a lot of respect for his opinion.

That said, I believe his argument that all modern match methods require a similar amount of skill to execute is misguided and wrong. In my mind, there is far more skill to, for example, catching a net of roach on bloodworm, or on the stickfloat, waggler or bolo than a net of commercial carp on the Method feeder.

As I said in my first blog, I am not suggesting that the Method doesn’t require a great deal of skill to perfect , because it does. The truth of the matter is though, there are only so many things that you can vary with the Method feeder to keep fish coming – whereas float fishing on the pole, waggler or stickfloat you have far more options. Afterall, with the Method you are limited to presenting a static bait in a pile of feed on the bottom, or popped up just off it. Its beauty is, in a lot of respects its simplicity – which is why it is such a deadly effective and popular way of catching fish.

The crux of my argument is the more variables you have to consider when fishing a method, the more skill that method takes to master.

Again, I must emphasise that I’m not trying to say that any method is easy, nor am I pretending to be some kind of angling guru – nothing could be further from the truth. I think Alex misread my first blog – I explicitly stated that I know I could be a lot better at Method fishing, and all the little tweaks and nuances that he suggested would no doubt help me improve, and make a difference. Indeed, I look forward to incorporating his ideas into my Method fishing. The point that I was trying to outline was that by sticking to a very simple formula, I have won a fair few matches on a method that I only fish a handful of times every year. This leads me to believe that the Method is a very easy technique to fish competently -  the same can definitely not be said of a lot of other methods!

I love the idea of mastering a technique and refining it to perfection, and no doubt such work can be worthwhile and make a difference. That said, I challenge Alex’s assertion that waters where Method feeder dominates see the same names performing as consistently as happens on roach or F1 waters, where more skilful tactics are often used.

Numbers Game

In order for an angler to make an informed decision and execute their skills to their full potential, they have to be getting bites and catching fish. Often, on venues where Method feeder dominates at this time of year, anglers are only looking for a handful of bites. Indeed, it is often said by top anglers that the most effective strategy can be simply casting out and leaving your feeder for as long as you dare! How can this be said to be as skilful as a method that requires you to work a rig in order to achieve optimum presentation in order to get a bite as quickly as possible, and catch a high number of fish to put together a winning weight?

I take Alex’s point about watercraft – but knowing where to fish on a given day is a skill that will help an angler catch fish on any method, and so it is totally irrelevant to the argument.

A final point to consider, is that good angling skills are very transferable. Alan Scotthorne, for example, is brilliant at a multitude of methods. The same can be said of everybody in Drennan Team England –they are not just float fishing specialists. The reason for this is that they have mastered the most skilful methods: Slider fishing, waggler fishing , bleak fishing - and I dare say that adapting to commercial methods seems like a walk in the park in comparison.

I decided to take the debate a stage further – and have rung eight of the country’s best known anglers to gauge their opinion. I asked the question: “Do you believe that any particular method of fishing requires more skill than another, and if so what do you consider the most skilful method to be?” It seems that some agree with Alex and some with me, and it was really interesting hearing their views. Click here to see what they said, or click here to have your say in our Facebook debate!