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What Is Fishing In Squash?

Fishing in squash is when a player asks for a let with the express action of trying to cheat the referee into giving either a let when the situation doesn’t deserve it or giving a stroke when it deserves a let.

Just a reminder that as a player, you can only ask for a let. No matter what the situation, you just say “let?”, although I would always add “please?”. Most competitive players have encountered the type of player who is always “fishing” for strokes, and I think it’s important to point out that by using the word “fishing” you are making it clear that the person asking for a let is purposefully trying to cheat. When you ask for a let because you genuinely are not sure what should happen, that’s not fishing.

What Is Fishing In Squash?

Don't take your rod on court with you!

Self-marked Matches

Not all matches are refereed by an independent person. Although in proper tournaments there should be a referee, in thousands of matches around the world every day, both players are the “ref”, and they have to make the calls themselves. That makes it even harder because during the “heat of battle” having to decide what is a “no let”, Yes let” and “Stroke” in a second is really difficult. I wish I could offer you a simple solution, but I can’t.

I just want to preface the two examples below by saying I am NOT a rules/refereeing expert. The purpose of these examples is not to dissect the rules and their interpretation, but to give you some simple examples for you to better understand fishing in squash.

Example 1: The Let

Imagine, player B boasts the ball and player A plays a crosscourt shot and player B hits a straight volley, player A then purposefully runs into player B and claims “let, please?”, knowing that they could have gone around player B or that they had no chance of reaching the ball.

For less experienced players this can be a difficult situation, because they seemed to have been clear interference. But the reality in most cases is that if player B wasn’t in the way, player A would NOT have got the ball. So there was interference in the sense that payers touched, but not int he sense that player B stopped player A from getting to the ball.

What Is Fishing In Squash?

Looking for an easy point?

Example 2: The Stroke

Let’s again imagine player B plays a boast and player A moves to the front of the court and hits a shot down the middle in the hope of surprising player B. Player B raises their racket and stops, while shouting “Let, please?”. The shot player A has made is not a wide crosscourt, but down the middle. Player B has most of the front wall to hit the ball, but at first it can seem like a safety issue – if player B had hit the ball and player A had moved across it could have been dangerous, right?

Well, maybe but player B is trying get an easy stroke. Player B COULD have hit the ball, but because it can look dangerous, they are fishing for the “stroke” decision. By hitting a crosscourt, player B could probably have won the point, but not definitely, and the fishing makes it easy.

Final Thoughts

I am more than happy to read and discuss your experiences with fishing, but be aware, it’s unlikely I will be able to give you a fair answer based on your text descriptions. Each and every situation is slightly different, and decisions have to be made quickly, so I probably won’t be able to validate your opinion.

With that said, share your experiences. Do you player against a “Serial Fisher”? How do you manage the situation? My email address is at the bottom of this page.

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Hi, I'm Phillip, your online squash coach.


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