Einstein's theory of relativity superceded 200 years of Newtonian physics, and to the extent I understand it (which is basically, "not at all") it has something or other to do with curvatures in time and space and the speed that things move being relative to the position of the observer, although I may have got that totally wrong.
What I do know is that angling has its own theory of relativity, which goes along the lines of "you can only catch what's in front of you." In other words if the lake you fish contains 40 pound carp, a 20 is nothing to write home about, whereas if the average carp is only 5 pound a 12 pounder is a monster. "Big" is relative to the water being fished.
This month has been "carp month" for me, with four trips to a local lake, two with my son, one on my own and one with my friend Roger. In those four sessions (one of which was an "overnighter" with my son, the others of which were either short evening or afternoon trips) we've had fourteen carp, three of which were probably around the 8 or 9 pound mark (I only take scales with me if there's a chance of a PB, which isn't going to happen at this lake!), the rest of which were between 3 and 7 pounds, which- relative to the lake- is a fair return. The lake contains a few low to mid doubles, and has produced one carp of 18 pounds, but the average size is probably about 5 pounds, and so I feel satisfied- after all, you can "only catch what's in front of you."
Roger and my son with typical carp from the lake
However, despite the modest size of the carp caught, the sessions have been great fun, and have contained everything that's the essence of what angling is all about. The fish are tremendously hard fighting, with a determination and power that belies their size, the time spent in the company of my son and Roger has enhanced the enjoyment of the fishing and fish caught, the lake is pretty and peaceful, and we've seen and heard a range of different birds that would be enough to bring a satisfied smile to the face of any ornithological "twitcher."
With the exception of all but the biggest fish, I'm fast coming to the conclusion that there's almost something demeaning about reducing a beautiful creature that's provided the angler with pleasure to a mere "pounds and ounces" number.
This month's carp may not have been monsters by modern standards, but they've been more than enough for me. Piscator non solum piscatur.