Thursday, 7 November 2013

The Hit Parade

On the sidebar of Idler's Quest is a list of popular posts that I call 'The Hit Parade.' The top five posts in terms of their performance over the last thirty days, it shows which are currently read the most. Lots of other angling blogs include the same and I'm sure their authors are just as bemused as I am about why old posts suddenly appear, stay a while and then vanish, why some recent posts never get on it and why  a few are so popular they'll dominate the list for very long periods of time.

Just recently a post titled 'My Way With Bread' slipped off the list after reigning supreme for nigh on a year. A 'how to' kind of post that explained how I prepare and use bread discs, its popularity was due to  the fact that it was about bait, most likely, bait being one of those things that anglers really do want to read about.

It's back now!

It never seems to go away for long...

It is a small blog in its own right with nigh on five thousand unique hits where people have landed straight on its page and not the current blog update. According to blogger stats it has gained four times the visitor numbers of any other individual posts from my entire output over five years.

There's a piece written over a year ago about roach hybrids that gets good stats. One of a series about different hybrids all of which suddenly crop up in the list from time to time, slip back out again, often returning for a second stay months later and for no apparent reason. I suppose because they are about something rarely written about, they have a niche market.

They're hardly expert information though. Well I hope they aren't being taken as such, because they're just my thoughts and observations about the freak fish I find on the end of my line now and then.

Of course it will usually contain posts from the last thirty days. I can understand the reasons why they are there but not the reasons why the posts between them did not show up and probably never will.

When I installed the gadget that's what I thought would happen — recent posts would always show up, but they often don't make the grade.

Another popular one that comes back into the list occasionally is another old post about my clumsy first grapples with the long pole. Again, I don't know why my experience should be of much interest but that post has cropped up in the list many times now.

Do anglers like to read about total lack of experience?  Is it because it actually does contain useful information for other beginners and even nuggets of crucial information for the experienced? Or is it because they're desperate to read anything concerning pole fishing in an angling blogosphere seriously lacking where that arm of the sport is concerned?

I don't know. Haven't a clue. It's a mystery to me...

It does suggest there's a market for a pole blog or two, I think. Especially if the anglers who would run them be technically minded, go deep into the often bewildering finesses that make the art of it, and are not simply concerned with bragging about large catches made and matches won.

No one's interested in that. Well they are, but only if there's hard information or deep thinking about how those catches were made that chimes with or challenges their own experience.

If there's one thing that glues together all the posts with true longevity. Those that have long term appeal and are read consistently. It is that they are never about my successes.

Big fish stories have their moment of glory and then slip away. They are soon old news.

That suggests that the audience for this blog or any blog wants to know more about about how the angler goes about making those rare results, rather than the results themselves. Wants to know how another angler thinks.

Whether that thinking is wrong headed or clear headed, it really doesn't seem to matter because the truth lays somewhere between two poles of widely differing experience — yours, and mine.

Now, I'm off down the cut roach fishing this afternoon. I'll be using bread discs, of course, and hoping for big fish to brag about tomorrow morning — though I might draw a blank!

Who knows...

But I'll bet some small 'other' thing occurs that's more interesting than either!

If it does, as it often does. Expect a dissertation...


  1. I think a lot of it's in the title Jeff, my most popular post was where I catch a 3 lb chub, nothing exceptional about that but I innocently made the title something like "small river fishing for chub" which drew em in!

    1. Good titles do have a lot of draw, Lee. Google does like a nice one with all the right search terms in it. Worth working on them, but how many times can you use the same? I always start mine off with at least the species and the venue to keep things neat and tidy for my own purposes, but that works well on google too. Avon roach? Which avon is that then? Doesn't matter!

  2. Of my few attempts at internet postings, those that seem to draw most interest involve things going wrong. The greater the cock up the better, it seems. A different angle I suppose, but it can become tiresome pour moi ! MarkV.

    1. Yes people do like cockups. Anything that makes a good read works well, and reading about other people messing it up is always that!

  3. Steve in Colorado8 November 2013 at 01:33

    Jeff, I would suspect the 'mature' anglers out there are interested in new tips and techniques (the younger ones know it all already).
    My father taught me 'his way' when I was a kid and I've always caught fish but for me angling is a solitary pursuit- it's my time away from the crush of humanity and here in Colorado there are still places to find that quiet and solitude, places you could believe had never been violated by humans before...
    But the only lessons you learn are the ones taught you personally by the fish on that particular day; missing is the collective knowledge of all the others who have fished there before and will again.
    I frequently take my canoe to Carter Lake and prowl the west side for walleye; my success rate has been hit-or-miss for years but always worth a return trip...
    But just this Spring I happened upon a short on-line article about techniques for 'bottom spooning' for walleye and decided to give it a go as it was simple and easy.
    And I spent four hours catching the buggers, one after another- big fish, small fish, and a really big bass thrown in for good measure. It's now my standard technique and seldom fails to frequently put a bend in the rod.
    Readers have perhaps come to know you as a no-nonsense seeker of angling lore; and tune in for the deft prose and occasional insight that leads to greater success on the water.
    Also- as MarkV said- our fellow anglers DO like to hear of the occasional cock-up; it makes us feel that much better in view of our own blanks/skunks ;-)

    1. Well Steve, that hard to find secret that makes the fishing less hit and miss is what were looking for with the canal roach. They are impossible, but one day someone will hopefully crack it...

      And publish 'Their Way with Roach!'