A number of fish are being caught. Fish are nicely shaped, mainly good condition but small around 2.5lbs. While the average size is small there are a few fish up to 6lb being caught. At this time there are spent fish in the catch.
Fishing is much more than fish. It is the great occasion when we may return to the fine simplicity of our forefathers.
It was our forefathers who devised a code of ethics for anglers. The ethics they devised were for all anglers to enjoy the fishing experience and are as relevant today as they were in the past.
Vice Admiral Howard Hickling in his book, Freshwater Admiral, expressed his views on the matter in Chapter 16 MANNERS MAKYTH THE ANGLER.
He concluded his first paragraph “those that transgress do so more from ignorance than intent….How should they know the rules of the river?” This chapter is as relevant today as it was in 1960 when his book was published
I never met Admiral Hickling for he died in 1969 5 years before I came to Turangi. But I got to know Alan and Barbara Cooper who were TALTAC identities in the 1970’s when I was a member of the TALTAC committee and Alan Cooper was president. His policy was to go up to the transgressing individual and speak kindly and firmly advising the code of conduct when fishing. He was very effective in doing that. But as TALTAC president he felt more should be done and organised TALTAC to prepare metal signs which were put in areas around the river. This was done twice. The first effort was yellow and the second orange. Today one remains. It is on the track from the Blue to the Sand Pools. Another copy is in the dining room at the Bridge Lodge.
The ethics are as Hickling on page 178 of Freshwater Admiral states and on the TALTAC signs were:
(a) An incoming angler should not enter the river in front of an angler already fishing a pool without first consulting him.
(b) If others are fishing a pool no angler should occupy a spot indefinitely but should keep moving.
(c) An angler should always give room to another angler who hooks a fish near him.
(d) No angler should move into the place of another angler who is landing or has just landed a fish.”
How can anglers best learn the angling code of ethics?
Bob Appleton when our delegate on Taupo Fishing Advisory Committee (TFAC) proposed at a TFAC meeting that a booklet of advice be given to all who buy a fishing license. This booklet would include the code of ethics.
The computer and internet age offers a means to inform anglers of the code of ethics.
A fishing license is required by all Freshwater anglers. Today licenses are sold online. To follow on from Bob Appleton’s point would be to have the code of ethics as above highlighted with a tick box requiring acknowledgement that the ethics have been read as part of purchasing the license. There would then be no excuse for being unaware of the ethics required.
Angling should be a pleasurable activity and bad behaviour is not conducive to a pleasurable experience.
Taupo Fishing Advisory Committee (TFAC) meets about 3 times a year. At that meeting time is given to receive reports from TFAC members. Etiquette was raised in our report as it was the request of AFTR committee that this be done. The discussion presented that some coming to fish the Tongariro are unaware that there is etiquette involved and that this lack of awareness impacts on the fishing enjoyment of other anglers. Some anglers of my vintage simply avoid confrontation and go and seek a quieter spot on the river. Others take the matter into their own hands and have the confrontation or as Hickling wrote “The issue has to be settled then and there, man to man.”