Thursday, 21 February 2019

Cants Mere 'Goodbye For Now'

A month or so had past since my last successful session up on Cants, I'd managed to squeeze in another 4 trips, unfortunately each ended up in a blank. Now with the warmer weather taking hold conditions were changing and more anglers where appearing on the water. I sensed that the word was starting to get out regarding the fish the mere now contained. As usual, when the crowds start to come I find myself wanting to vacate to another venue that isn't seeing so much pressure. Nowadays due to the current popularity of carp fishing I'm finding it harder to track down waters that aren't overcrowded and over-fished, even harder still is finding a venue where the fish aren't beaten up with mouth damage. I'm seriously starting to consider trying to find a nice quiet syndicate, a place where I don't continually feel like I'm trying to escape the ever growing carp angling circus. I'm wondering if a place like that even exists anymore and if they do they usually have huge waiting lists. My early sessions seemed like distant memories, there I was on my own surrounded by 'still life' with only the mallards as company. Now I was finding myself hemmed in-between other anglers lines and dodging spods, I really felt like this was hindering my chances so I decided I'd give the water one last shot and then evacuate quietly.

Me & Eric Waiting For A Bite That Never Came
On the day of my session I was in no rush to get to the water, previous bites had a habit of coming later in the day so I decided to have a well deserved lie in, get some breakfast down me, brew a few cups of dangerously strong coffee, peruse over my tackle and then ease myself into the journey up to the water. As I opened my front door to the world, I instantly felt invigorated as the sun and clear blue sky hung overhead. I didn't want to speak too soon but I felt pretty happy to be existing, I love fishing on days like this. Leaving London and heading off up into the Essex countryside is a necessary escape, I never tire at the thought of casting my lines. I did have a passing thought that Cants might be busy, I was just going to take it easy, get to the water and work with what I had available to me. After a relatively pain free journey, I stopped off at Boreham services to grab a few essentials and onward to the water, I arrived at around 12:30am. There were a few cars in the car park but it appeared most were fishing Blunts.

Before unloading I decided to go and have a quiet walk around both Blunts and Cants, the weather was so warm and the day so bright, it was impossible to feel any sense of urgency. Blunts was fairly busy but it looked lovely, there was a light ripple on the water with some very inviting looking scum lines molding themselves around the margins. On closer inspection I spotted a few dark shadows cruising just under the surface. The carp appeared to be in small groups causally milling around, I sensed they were aware of my presence but they didn't seem to care. Walking up along the path and around to the back channel, I counted at least 15 fish cruising in the upper layers, some appeared to be mouthing at the tiny objects that were resting on the waters skin. It was a pleasure to watch and, strangely enough, I had no desire to try and catch these fish. Watching carp is just as enjoyable as trying to catch them. After observing Blunts I made my way down to Cants, all the angling pressure seemed to be up the far end. Looking at where other anglers lines were stretching, it seemed most the water was sewn up, not only that but it looked completely dead, there were no signs of carp anywhere.

Secrets Revealed
I headed back up towards the car park keeping a close eye on things as I went. It became apparent very quickly that the bulk of the carp were down the front end. Loads of fish were quietly cruising around, I had no doubt they were avoiding the lines, I fully believe that carp know exactly what an anglers presence sounds like. They were clearly avoiding the activity opting for the quieter end of the water. Most were congregating in the open in front of swim 8, I decided that this is where I was going to fish. I'd had most of my bites from this swim so it made perfect sense to give it another go. Loading the barrow up I quickly realized that my auxiliary bag of dog biscuits that I usually keep in the back of my van wasn't there. Not only that but I had no surface tackle whatsoever, this was a real bummer. It looked like I was going to have to wait for the fish to go down - 'note to self, always bring surface baits and tackle'. This was so frustrating but in the same breath I needn't rush in getting my swim set up.

Pineapple CSL & Pellet

All of my previous sessions involved a lot of bait, today I wasn't going to adopt the same approach. I was working on the basis that a lot more bait was now going in the water so the fish might not be so inclined to hoover up a load of boilie. Tiger-Fish had been my bait of choice and I'd done well on it but I decided I was going to revert back to Pineapple CSL. This was the bait that produced the big hit of fish I had on my first ever session, today I was going to keep the baiting to a minimum, I wasn't going to be putting any boilie out as loose feed, I would be fishing single pop ups and feed a single small spomb of pellet and ground-bait over the top. There was no point in setting the swim up for a big hit, it was nearing 1:30pm so I didn't have a great deal of time, not only that, the vast majority of the lakes stock were clearly up in the surface layers. Those that have read my past session blogs will know that, from this swim, I've had all my fish from the bars that run down both sides of the island. Today I was going to try a different spot, I see no sense in coming to a water to fish the same swim in the same way all the time. To expand your understanding you have to be prepared to try new things.  

Minimal Bait

I've always been interested in the island but I've never bothered fishing it, I just feel it's too obvious, however, fishing towards the bottom of the slope that runs down from the island could be an idea that's easily overlooked. I attached a 3.5oz lead to my marker rod and clipped up as close to the island as I could get. I was literally kissing the branches on the cast. I got a nice clean "DONK" close in and as I proceeded to carefully drag the lead towards me I could feel I was pulling over hard gravel. As it started to 'scoot' down the slope I could feel that I was on silty/clay, it slid so smoothly producing a defined line of tiny little bubbles that released and broke the surface. As I hit, what I believed to be the bottom of the slope, the rod started to lockup, I had a hunch that there could be slightly larger rocks and stones sitting directly at the bottom of the drop off. This made sense to me, through the years I'm sure various rocks and larger 'projectiles' had slowly made their way down the shelf. I retrieved the lead and made a second cast to confirm what I'd initially felt, I clipped up as soon as the rod started to lock up - that's the spot.

View From The Swim
I felt happy with my chosen area so I got to work on setting my rods up. I came prepared having pre-tied a few pop up rigs using tigga-link, these would be fished 'semi-fixed' on 3.5oz leads. I was going to keep both hook baits relatively close together, looking at how all the carp on the surface were swimming around in small groups, I saw no reason why they wouldn't do the same when/if they make their way down to feed. I had a feeling that fishing both baits a short distance apart could produce two quick takes. Both rods went out perfectly, as usual I felt a minor feeling of "euphoria" as the clips were hit on each cast. Because I was using rods that were soft in the tip the casts were cushioned perfectly, I never get any 'bounce back', they absorb everything. Once the bobbins were set I clipped the spomb up, my mix consisted of 5mm multi-mix pellets, halibut marine ground bait and a touch of halibut oil to bind it all together. The spomb was loaded, and with a subtle little flick of my spod rod it flew gracefully through the air, delivering my 'tempting mouthful' accurately over both rods. All I could do now was wait for the fish to disappear from the upper layers and make their way down to the depths, at the moment it didn't look like that was going to happen in a hurry.

Trigga-Link Pop Up Rig
There was no guarantee that the fish in front of me would be up for taking a surface bait, but that didn't pacify the frustration of not being able to fish for them, I was annoyed at myself for not coming prepared. I took a seat, the sun was beating down on my back, I was in a strange sort of hypnosis observing the carps activities. I tried to spot a pattern in their movements but they just appeared random, all I could do was watch helplessly whilst these long dark shadows basked in the bright afternoon sun literally meters away from me. The kettle came out and the coffee was concocted, the caffeine hit the spot. The afternoon started to pass me by, come 3:30pm the atmosphere started to change, sporadic cloud came in over head periodically masking the suns rays. A cool weather front clearly started to move in, I literally felt the air pass through me. A change was afoot and with it came a sudden chop on the water, looking far into the distance the clouds looked dubious. I set my brolly up, I had a feeling rain was on the way and it looked like it was going to be violent.

And The Rain Came
Within the space of 15 minutes the cloud had covered the sky and the rain started to fall like lead bullets. I couldn't quite believe it was happening, the day had literally turned into the complete opposite of what it started off as in the morning. The wind really picked up, I sat tucked under my 'fibre-shield' hanging on for dear life. Looking out over the surface of the water it became clear very quickly that the carp were dispersing, this break in the weather might just end up being the event that pushes the fish back down to the bottom. As quickly as the rain came it had gone, the air felt fresh, the world appeared silent, all I could hear was the million and one raindrops falling off all the trees and branches around me. Looking out over the water, the surface was deserted, I couldn't spot any carp anywhere. The 'wait' had now officially begun, I genuinely felt like anything could happen from this point onward. 

The afternoon came and went in no time, it remained cool and overcast, with the sun now lower in the sky it felt like bite time was fast approaching. I was watching the water like a hawk, my right rod gave off a few minor bleeps before roaring off at speed. All the the bites from Cants explode from out of nowhere, I picked the rod up and gently lent back, the rod arched around and the clutch started to 'whirl'. Adrenaline was firing through my veins at an alarming rate, the fish was moving at a serious pace, I held on tight letting it tire itself out. It clearly wasn't going to give up easily, very slowly it began to lose its steam, I tightened the clutch up slightly and let the rod do the rest of the work. It was slowly coming towards me, when it was under the rod tip it lunged tight to my left making a desperate attempt to lose me in the snags. Side strain saw it clear and as it came up, signalling defeat, I slipped a lovely dark bronze colored common over the net. It was one of the slightly smaller residence but you wouldn't of thought that from the fight.

The Fighter
This was a lovely carp that had a subtle bronze tinge on its belly and a nice dark back, a few shots were taken and I gently lowered her home. I checked the hook, it was still nice and sharp, I then proceeded to carefully thread another Pineapple CSL pop up on to the hair, remolded and readjusted the tungsten putty and went to clip back up. This process was abruptly interrupted by my other rod firing away, it caught me by surprise, it appeared my "quick two bite" theory wasn't so crazy after all. The tip of the rod was bent right round and the clutch was melting, I knew that this was a better fish than the one I'd just returned home. I rushed to the rod, lent back and .... "BOOM" ..... the connection I'd made was instant, the sheer power had to be felt to be believed. With my 'players rod' bent double I held tight, vision of hanging on a cable behind a speedboat shot into my mind. 

This fish powered fast to the left and just carried on going, it was heading towards the sunken branches right down in the left hand corner. I started to feel minor panic, I held the rod out over the water as far as I could stretch and sunk it down low. I wanted to keep the line well out the way of any 'rogue' branches, I cupped the spool to try to slow the fishes momentum down. It was working, I decided to apply as much resistance as I thought I could get away with. It was a tense moment, I literally held my breath and steadily increased the pressure, the rod was still bent double. The fish started inching towards me .. result! .. I managed to turn it in my direction. All I had to do now was keep the pressure on and guide her towards the net, I lowered the mesh into the water, the carp was close, inching towards me. Now under the tip it surfaced onto its side ... game over, the mesh engulfed a beautiful looking common. I left it resting in the net to recover, I also needed to recover - what a fish!

A Quick Bite 'Number Two'
As expected, this fish blew me away, it was perfect looking, its scales were the colors of chestnut and it had some serious length to it. Once again Cants had delivered another two awesome fish for me, it started off looking like it wasn't going to work out but with the sudden change in the conditions it slowly all fell into place. It felt great to have a few after my recent blanks, having said that, I don't mind blanking, if I caught all the time I'd get bored. When sessions don't work out it just makes me more determined to get a result, not only that but it can force you to think about your approach. Take today for instance, fishing at the bottom of the slope of the island produced the goods, I might not of tried that if I'd caught on every session. I didn't see the point in casting back out, time was getting on and I had to be up early the next morning. I was going to bid farewell to Cants for the time being, I'd had some nice fish, little did I know it would be two years before I returned. 

Eric Enjoyed His Day Out

Friday, 7 December 2018

Charlton Carper 'The Cell'

"In this blog I'd like to step away from fishing and cover a subject that many may feel uncomfortable talking about. I have no problem with putting this out in the public domain, and in doing so I hope it will help others.

So here we are in December 2018, I've been stupidly busy with my work so my fishing has been on the back burner since September. I've managed to squeeze a few short trips in here and there but I've found myself scratching for bites. I'm not necessarily helping myself with the waters I'm choosing to fish but, I'd rather sit it out for one good bite than cater to my ego fishing a runs water. Looking back now, I can't help but think the prime Autumn 'bite time' has past me by and with the temperatures starting to fall, it's looking like I'm going to be struggling as the year comes to an end. Having said that, my last few fish have been pretty special, topped off with a mythical 33IB common, so I can't really complain. In regards to my blog writing, it turns out I'm about a year and a half behind, it's crazy looking back that far, I'm a very different person now compared to who I was back in 2016. I have stacks of note pads and sketch books full of session notes, it's going to be interesting knocking them all in to shape. This post isn't a session blog, instead I've chosen to cover something that I feel is very important. I've said many times before that I write with honesty about my own reality. In this synthetic, edited and filter world we're now forced to participate in, I'm finding these two elements hard to come by. - so please try to bare with me on this post.

Into The Bleak
Time seems to be accelerating at such a pace that I'm finding it hard to process. To be totally honest, I feel so down that I can barely find the energy to type these words. However, that within itself is reason enough to take the time to write about how I feel. I seem to have hit a wall which finds me questioning everything, mainly the world around me and where I actually fit in. I've always had this underlying feeling, but since vacating my drums as my lifeline and survival, there's no real outlet to beat all the unwanted thoughts into oblivion. I'm finding the simple task of 'existing' so bloody exhausting, I feel like the system we're forced to live in is reminiscent of a 'hamster wheel'. We're kept in a perpetual state of confusion and our senses are being constantly bombarded from all directions. There's mindless junk on the TV screens, continuous propaganda and misery projected in all forms of media, and it appears, both technology and social media is erasing basic human interaction. There's a huge shift occurring that's changing the way the human race is conducting itself. Vast amounts of the worlds population are now relocating their consciousness on to a collective hard drive. Two realities have been created, a life both on and off line, I personally don't believe this is progress, if anything, parts of our psyche are regressing. If you're the type of person that's very sensitive to both their environment and the world around them, you're going to find yourself having a hard time.     

I look upon myself very fortunate, being self employed I have a lot more control over my life, I'm in a very unique position which I both respect and appreciate very much. Unfortunately, and this is hard for some people to understand, when you struggle with a mental 'dis-ease', all the good things in your life can become insignificant, almost meaningless. They can't break you out of the 'cell' that comes slamming down around you, the worst thing about this 'cell', you're the only one that can see it, it can come at any time and you don't know how long your sentence is going to be. The creation of this 'cell' is not your fault. Some people are born with a happy brain and others aren't, our brains are a universe of connections, pathways and chemicals. It's all very delicate, it's common sense that things can and will go wrong in some of us. One of the biggest misconceptions about mental illness is that you're doing it to yourself, that it's your fault. I can tell you now that it isn't and you have nothing to feel ashamed about, unfortunately both shame and self loathing walk hand in hand when you find yourself trapped in a psychological prison that you can't get out of.

"I know there's millions of people out there suffering with mental illness, I understand the isolation you are feeling. I understand the fear and confusion that you are going through. I know what it feels like to see no way out. I understand how desperate you feel, that you will literally do anything to feel better. I know there are many voices out there that claim to offer help and a solution to your problems - when in fact they're just preying on the desperate and vulnerable. I realize that you may have anxieties about antidepressant medication, I also understand that some of you, who thought they had lots of friends, have came to realize that they actually don't have any - because the first time you really needed them, they were nowhere to be seen, I know you feel totally alone - I could go on, I think you get my point". 

I Want To Describe Part Of A Journey.  

As we proceed to exist in our own personal 'cell', it all starts to become very real, its foundations strengthen, the darkness starts to get really dense, the outside world proceeds to shrink and become smaller until it disappears into nothing. The walls of your cell now act as an 'echo chamber', an amplifier for the sticky thoughts that are looping round and round and round inside your head. Your train of thought disintegrates to the point where rational thinking disappears. These limited thoughts won't stop, they're like a song on an old vinyl record that's stuck on repeat. The longer it rotates the deeper the needle sinks, there isn't an off switch and the mechanism that lifts the needle up is broken. You get to the point where your 'mental stylus' is stuck so deeply in a 'groove' that it has no way of getting out. It has no other choice than to keep playing the same song/thought process over and over and over again, you can't stop what is happening to you. It turns into self-hypnosis, you're now living in a trance, the longer this goes on, the deeper you fall, you are not in control of the situation, it's in control of you. The longer you're on this mental carousel, the harder it is to get off, you start to become an expert, a master craftsman, you're perfecting the art of complete isolation, you're making all these poisonous thoughts as solid as concrete. Your prison cell is now complete and this will start to effect the way you participate and translate the world around you.

Sticky Thoughts That Won't Stop

You're now regressing further and further inside your head, you're physically present in the world but you're not taking any of it in, it's meaningless to you. The days and nights are now morphing into one, you may have been awake for days, maybe even weeks. You have no defenses left, you don't know what day it is, more importantly, you don't care, you're scared, frightened and confused. Depending on how you are functioning, if at all, you need to get help. You should of looked for help long before it got this bad but if you haven't experienced anything like this before, you have absolutely no idea what to do or where to go. The term used when you've arrived at a point where everything has completely fallen apart is called crisis. You can't function, you can't control your emotions and your 'fight or flight' system is attacking you on all levels. You desperately want someone to help you but the people around you don't have a clue what to do either. They've probably never dealt with a situation like this before. Do you go to your local GP? What happens if they want to put me on that evil medication everyone talks about?.

You decide to give the doctors a miss and try to continue to deal with it yourself, you start to try and think your way out of it, but that isn't going to work. It was thinking that got you in this mess in the first place, but you don't see it that way, so you continue to think, trying to find the key that will unlock your perfectly constructed 'cell'. It's around this point where you might feel the urge to stop talking and communicating with everyone. You don't need to talk, you've got way too much to think about, not only are you completely locked inside yourself, you've become mute, talking is just way too much effort. It's at this stage of this god awful journey that people might start telling you to "snap out of it" or "pull yourself together". These are literally the worst things anyone could say to you in this particular situation. Firstly, you can't do either of those two things, secondly those two statements alone make you feel responsible for the position you've found yourself in. I'll repeat this again - you are not responsible for what is happening to you.    

There Is A Stigma - There Always Will Be
Weeks have now passed, you're dragging yourself out of bed after another sleepless night. Your days now consist of sitting on the couch staring at the wall, desperately trying to break out of your 'cell'. Through severe desperation you finally decide it's about time to go and see your doctor, surly they can help you. Once you've actually managed to get an appointment, you do your best to try and explain how you're feeling. After a short 'robotic' conversation you're presented with two leaflets, one with "Time To Talk" written on it, the other listing all the side effects and problems that antidepressant medication can cause - no benefits are listed. You leave the appointment no clearer on anything. One things for sure though, you're giving the medication a miss because all the information you've been given has put the fear of god up you. The only option you're left with is to call the number on the "Time To Talk" leaflet. After another soulless conversation with someone on the end of the phone, you discover,'ironically', that you can't 'talk to anyone' for at least 6 to 8 weeks. Not only that, when you can, you only get 20 minutes a week for about a month, so what the hell are you going to do with yourself whilst you wait to talk to someone?. I'll tell you what you do, you get worse, you get so bad that you start to lose the will to live.     


The days continue to pass, you now haven't slept for about 6 weeks, your 'cell' is shrinking at an alarming rate, not only that but the one window you had has been bricked up. You yearn for peace, preying to god for a second of rest. It's clear you're finally going to have to take the plunge, medical intervention is needed. "Before I continue I would like to state that medication should only be considered if you are barely functioning, I believe it's a last resort and you should think very carefully before taking the plunge, there's a big difference between 'mental illness' and just "feeling fed up". So, you go back up to the doctors and commit to taking some form of drug, you're prescribed an anti-depressant along with some sleeping pills. You're told it takes at least 6 weeks for the anti-depressant meds to start working. So in theory I should feel the benefit around the same time I get to talk to someone for my 20 minutes a week - perfect 'sarcasm'. The one thing that you aren't told is that your local GP has very limited knowledge regarding both anti-depressants and mental illness. They have a choice of about 5 pills and there's a very high chance that none of them will actually suit you. The 'default' prescription they hand out is usually a drug called 'Citalopram'. This specific drug can actually make your symptoms worse before they get better, so if you're struggling with acute anxiety I would recommend an antidepressant with a 'sedative' in it - like 'Mirtazapine'.


It turns out that 'Citalopram' and sleeping pills react really badly with each other and you end up in a bigger mess than you were in before you went to see your GP. You return to the doctors to explain the situation and he simply asks for the tablets back. There were no suggestions or talk of any alternative so you're sent home empty handed. You find yourself back at square one but now you've been awake for around 8 weeks and you're genuinely starting to lose your mind. The brain hasn't had any rest for so long, it starts to have indescribable effects on your bodily functions. What you're experiencing now adds a whole new level of fear and panic to a situation that you thought couldn't get any worse. What you're feeling is 100% real but when you try to explain it to anyone, you get looked at like you're a madman - this is when the word 'delusional' starts to appear. When the 20 minutes of CBT a week finally comes around, you find it's a complete waste of time. When you're trapped so perfectly inside your cell, this kind of talking therapy achieves nothing. I believe CBT maybe of some help to those who are stuck in unhealthy thinking habits but for severe mental illness I see no point in it at all. I'll explain my viewpoint in the paragraph below.

The Abyss

For any talking therapy to be effective you have to be at a certain level of thinking to be able to adopt and take onboard what you're being told. You can't rationally take any information in when you are incarcerated inside your mental 'cell'. The standard practice at this point is .... once you've been prescribed the correct medication for you. You'll find the walls to your 'cell' will, very slowly, start to crumble. Your sticky thoughts will eventually loosen and you'll find that your mind will start to let the outside world in once again. In regards to the correct medication, you need to be diagnosed by a proper psychiatrist not a GP. If you're at a point where you really feel that you are on the verge of fracturing, don't wait. Go and see your GP quickly and ask to be referred to a psychiatrist straight away, don't take 'no' for an answer and don't be convinced to go through the NHS, it might cost you more going private but you will get the help you need quicker, I can't stress this enough. I ended up at the Priory. What I went through with the NHS is beyond words and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, if I was to even begin to describe my journey, this blog would turn into a book. Just the idea of writing about it actually gives me anxiety, it was pure hell. Once you have a diagnosis by a proper psychiatrist, if they see it necessary, they'll put you on a combination of medication that helps your situation. They have a far greater understanding of what meds work well in accordance with each other, compared to any local GP.

Finding The Balance

Going back to the subject of 'sticky thoughts', these are the cement that helps to build and strengthen your mental 'cell'. I would say that these are the first elements in its construction. So it's common sense that these need to be the first thing stopped to encourage the walls of your 'cell' to topple. To loosen sticky thoughts an 'anti-psychotic' drug maybe prescribed. I know that the word 'anti-psychotic' sounds scary, I can assure you that there is nothing to be afraid of. The purpose of these drugs is to slow your thought process down, they help to break the mental trance you've been trapped in. Antidepressant medication has a different job to do, this lifts your mood, they stop you from remaining in a bottomless pit of despair, they help you to rebuild your foundations. They will allow you to gain control of your emotions and genuinely help to make you feel better, but this takes time. You mustn't rely on the pill to do all the work, 'you have to work with them'. What I mean by this is, don't take them and wait to feel better, it doesn't work like that, it's down to YOU, you have to work towards feeling better. The pills act like a 'walking stick', they'll accompany you and support you to get back to a level of normality. It was during this critical stage that I dreamt up the idea of the 'Charlton Carper blog', writing about my carp fishing helped me to break down the 'cell' walls and project my thoughts out of my head. 

I know you may have some anxieties about medication - for instance.

1. What are the side effects?
2. What will people think? 
3. How will I come off of them? 
4. Are they addictive?
5. Will they dumb me down?

I can only answer the above questions by my own experience.

What are the side effects? - there are bound to be side effects when anything unnatural is introduced into your system. I believe we all respond differently, I do find myself feeling dopey and lethargic, some days it's worse than others, but I don't entertain any of these feelings. If you're going to spend the whole time monitoring yourself and clocking the way you feel it's only going to make things feel 10x worse. The key to living on medication is to accept your situation and get on with your life, don't give it a second thought - this can be hard at first but you have to work at it. If you are experiencing an acute reaction, go back to your psychiatrist ASAP, sometimes it can take a while to work out what is best suited for you.
What will people think? -  this can be a common thought, who cares what anyone thinks, you have to understand that people who have never experienced severe mental health problems don't have a clue about what you're going through - or what they're talking about. You'll find everyone will have an expert opinion if you let them, it's easy to give 'great advice' when you don't have a problem. Never let anyone make you feel like you're doing the wrong thing by taking any form of medication. You've made the decision yourself, you have been brave enough to do everything you can to help yourself, that makes you a strong person.

How will I come off them? - you don't need to worry yourself about this, the priority is to feel better and get yourself back to a level where you can start living again. Don't concern yourself with the future, live in the now and deal with things as and when they arise. 

Are they addictive? - this is hard to say, as mentioned before, anything going into your system on a regular basis will need to be phased out correctly if and when the time is right. I do believe that there is a risk of becoming psychologically addicted/reliant on them. If you have a naturally addictive personality you could find yourself having problems. This question falls into the one above, cross the bridges as you come to them, don't create problems that don't exist.

Will they dumb me down? - yes they will but you have to be brave and work through it, if you keep both mentally and physically active then you shouldn't feel too bad. As mentioned before, if you're going to pay complete attention to how well you're feeling 24/7, then you're only going to feel worse, you're spending too much time inside your head, your aim is to get as far out of your head as possible. Be defiant and be strong, deal with your situation and get on with living your life. The more you live, the less mental space you'll have for any possible side effects and/or negative thoughts & feelings.

So now we've finally started to take the right steps to help our recovery, this can be a long and hard road, you have to stay resilient and determined. At this stage, there are two major points that I feel are very important to touch on. Number one, don't spend your time on the internet researching any medication you've been prescribed, this is utterly pointless, you're always going to find horror stories about everything online, most of it is utter rubbish. Number two, I would advise against joining online groups and forums associated with mental health problems. I don't believe these places help you in any way, by participating in them, you are continually focusing on, and validating your condition. You don't want to be doing this, you want to be living your life and getting on with what you have to do, you shouldn't be giving your condition any acknowledgement at all. I can't help but feel that some people wear their illness as a badge of honour and use online forums and social media to acquire some kind of attention and sympathy. **CK attention and **CK sympathy, live your life and work towards carving a healthy existence for yourself.


As the days go by you'll start to feel yourself aligning with the world around you. I found myself seeing the simplest of things in a completely different way. It was such a relief to be functioning again, for the first few months I was severely medicated, it was actually a miracle that I managed to get out of bed. This was where my fishing played a vital role, I fished a lot, traveling all over the place to different waters. During this time I started to blog and account for the sessions I was doing, if you go back to my early blog entries you'll notice my pupils are the size of bowling balls. This was caused by the amount of pills I was on, mainly 'Diazepam', my blog was now my life line and inspiration. Carp angling had always been a big part of my life but now it took on a greater role, it was saving my life. Now with my thoughts flowing again, it was time to find 'the right' therapist. I can't stress how important it is to find someone that understands you, you don't want some 'robotic' clock watcher that provides you with a load of generic 'by the book' antidotes.

I was given a contact through a friend, I ended up seeing an amazing lady that helped me stitch both my thoughts and my life back together again - it took at least two years. For therapy to work you have to commit to what you're being told and apply it to your life. Just like the medication, it's up to you to work with it and help yourself. There's no rush with any of this, move at your own pace, there's no need to put any unnecessary pressure on yourself. It takes a long time to change the way you think about things, the mind is a muscle, when it has been operating in a certain way for so long. It's common sense that it's going to take a fair amount of time to change the way it functions. Without realizing it, we've all mastered our own 'default' responses and reactions, perfecting our own way of thinking that's been fine tuned over our lifetime. These 'defaults' and 'ways of thinking' might actually be major contributors regarding the construction of our prison 'cell'. If you can change the way you think, along with your 'default' 'responses' and 'reactions', you can work towards creating a mental environment that makes the construction of the 'cell' much harder.

Master New Ways Of Thinking

Where Do We Go From Here.

There's no specific time frame when it comes to recovery, there's so many factors involved. I think it has a lot to do with just how far you fell in the first place. Everyone's journey is different, my situation is a little more complicated because some very odd things happened to me due to the extreme sleep deprivation. I'm now at a point where "this is as good as it gets". If I knew what I know now things wouldn't have got so out of control, that's the reason why I've decided to write a blog on this subject. If what I've written helps others and gives them an understanding of what they need to do if they find themselves in a similar situation, then the purpose of this post has been achieved. Continuing on the subject of recovery, even with both medication and therapy on the go, there will be periods of time where you will find yourself struggling. Don't worry about this, it's just a natural response to everything you've been/going through. There's nothing wrong with feeling down, just don't let it get to the point where it's overwhelming you. If you want to feel pissed off, sad or angry, you're within your right to do so. Emotions are like waves, let them break and wash over you but don't let them pull you under. "Imagine if a wave was kept from breaking, it would build in size to such a degree that when it eventually does break, it would wipe out half the planet". This sentence describes our emotions perfectly, "If you ignore the way you feel, eventually those feelings and emotions will be unstoppable and the effect they could end up having on you when they eventually come to the surface, could be irreparable".

I'd like to end this post with one last point

This can effect you at any point in your life if you've had a breakdown or something similar. I still have a terrible time with it 6 years on, it's called "the mental scar". This is something that can be tricky to understand, when you get injured physically, depending on the wound, you can be left with a scar. This can act as a constant reminded of the event, every time you look at it you find yourself revisiting the injury. This works in the exact same way with mental illness but you don't have a physical scar, you have a mental one. The more traumatic the experience the deeper the wound, anything can reopen it. It can be as simple as a thought or a feeling, a location, a memory, a specific time of the year, or maybe even anxiety about a relapse occurring. For me it comes in the form of anxiety and extreme sadness. I find these bouts can last up to 48 hours, dealing with them can be tricky, they seem to come at any time. I can literally feel my 'cell' slam down around me and I have to apply everything that I've learnt and been taught through my experiences to shatter its foundations before its had a chance to lock me in. I understand that this is just the minds natural response to a traumatic situation. However, this doesn't make it any easier to live with. 

Fear Of Relapse

I believe many many people that have suffered an 'episode' in their life can go on to make a full recovery. However I also understand that many will have to manage their condition for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately I fall into the second category, things were left for far too long with me, I had no idea what to do and the system that was supposed to help me actually contributed to nearly killing me. If my human spirit and personal resilience was weak, I wouldn't be here now, I wouldn't be writing these words. "Life Is As Life Does" - what I mean by this is simple, in this life you can't predict what's going to happen to you or the people you love. The most important element within it all is your ability to deal with whatever comes your way. Everyone can be a decent person when life is going smoothly, the real test is when the shit hits the fan, how you handle it is the measure of the man. If you've made it this far I'd like to genuinely thank you for taking the time to read what I've had to say. I hope that this post reaches far and wide and it might just help a few people to make the right moves at the right time. "Believe me when I tell you that you have the strength to break the walls of any 'cell', believe me when I tell you that you can and will get well". 


Sunday, 16 September 2018

Cants Mere 'Finding Your Frequency'

There is no death of matter, for throughout the infinite universe, all has to move, to vibrate, that is, to live.
~ Nikola Tesla

A few days ago I decided to pay a visit to a water that I hadn't fished for quite sometime. The temperatures were way up in the low 30's, I knew it was going to be a slow day. However, I managed to get an early bite which resulted in a lovely mirror just shy of 18IB. Nothing else came along but I can honestly say that it was one of the most enjoyable and profound days I'd spent out on the water for quite some time. Looking back through the years and the hundreds, if not thousands of sessions I've been on. There's always a handful that seem to be far more memorable than others, strangely, these aren't always the ones where I catch a fish. I've spoken before about being "in sync"  or "aligning" yourself  with the waters, this isn't something you can't teach someone or really even explain, periodically it just happens. I personally think it has a lot to do with how you translate the world around you. Simply put, it's those moments in time when every single aspect, both inside and outside of your environment, appears completely perfect. I'm not strictly talking about just fishing, it can be at any time and in any location. Being one to regularly tie myself in the knots of my thoughts, I wanted to try to suss out why and when these moments of perfect harmony happen. I believe it has a lot to do with vibration, frequency and resonance, that might sound rather ridiculous but I'll try to explain it the best I can. 

Constant Motion

Every single solitary thing in existence is vibrating at varying levels, and as still as everything may seem, nothing is truly resting. This also includes us as humans, I believe that, just like our DNA which is unique to us, we also have a unique frequency that we operate at. Depending on both your health and some external factors, these frequencies can fluctuate from time to time. When this happens I think that we're much more susceptible to illness, both mental and physical, we all have moments where we just don't feel in tune with ourselves. Lets take a look at color, each individual color vibrates differently to the next. Red has the lowest frequency whilst violet has the highest, why do we all have favorite colors?. Is this because our own personal resonance is very similar to that of the color we are attracted to?. Why do we get on well with certain people, and not so well with others?. Maybe the people we connect to straight away have a very similar vibratory rate to our own. The people we tend to dislike or clash with might be existing at a resonance that may well clash with our own, thus creating a 'discord' in the way we relate to each other. 

Sonically discords can be beautiful things, a discord in the right place can make a song sound fantastic. It can change the whole feel of a tune especially when it's followed by more straightforward 'standard' chord changes. However discords you can't necessarily see, in a spiritual sense, can be very damaging, maybe the origins of mental illness and other 'invisible' ailments are simply a discord/dis-ease within our own unique 'vibratory' rate or system. A perfect example of a discord or 'frequency clash' that we can all witness is the opera singer with a glass. Trained opera singers can sing a note so high with so much power that the frequency they reach clashes with that of the glass resulting in it to crack. That's a perfect example of how damaging certain vibrations that are not compatible with one another can be. However, taking the the term 'opposites attract' into account, every so often two people or frequencies with opposing resonance can connect in some strange disjointed way resulting in the perfect fit. I can equate this to a standard chord progression in a song where you overdub and mix the corresponding discords in. In theory this shouldn't really work but 'sonically' it sounds and feels great.

When you look at music and musical instruments as a whole, it's all built up on resonance, vibrations and frequency. Music is, and will always be a universal language, it connects people all over the world. It bypasses language, reaches around the globe a million and one times - why is this?. Because it makes people feel something deep inside, something that they can't explain. This makes me realize that there are moments in life where it's far more important how something makes you feel as oppose to what it makes you think. Next time you listen to a certain song that makes your hairs stand up, focus on that feeling, there's a reason why that's happening, it's all got to do with a connection being made that doesn't need to be understood. One example I'd like to use is the song 'Comfortably Numb' by Pink Floyd, here's a tune that has connected, and continues to connect with millions of people everywhere. Not only that but it spans across generations and will continue to do so, now in 2018 it's still one of the most played songs on both the radio and streaming services. When it was written, you can almost guarantee that the band would've had absolutely no idea just how far that song was going to fly. They hit on something at a random moment in time where the stars aligned and something magic happened. Music is simply a variety of vibrations and frequencies that we can actively hear and feel, it must work the other way around, there must be frequencies and vibrations that have an equal effect that we can't actively hear or feel.

So what has all of this got to do with carp fishing? When I'm on the bank, profound things can happen, not only is there the constant possibility of landing a potential monster, you've got the dawn, the sunset and many possible 'poignant' moments that come in so many different forms. But for me, the most important thing of all is the connection, the 'aligning' of oneself to the environment and really feeling it. I believe this happens when your own personal resonance connects perfectly with the world around you. As mentioned earlier, this doesn't happen all the time, it's on the odd occasion and I put this down to the fact that, on the occasions when the frequencies in all the living things fluctuate and become closer to yours, you connect to them in a way you've never felt before. Your connection to the environment around you isn't something you achieve by thinking about it, just like music, it's something that you feel first and then from that feeling your thoughts will follow. Next time you're out on the bank and you hit a peak moment of complete peace and 'oneness' hold onto that moment, something profound is happening. 

So moving onto the session, this blog is going to account for another short trip up to Cant's mere. Due to work I was having to make the most of the time I had available, taking into consideration that on my last two visits, all bites had a habit of coming later on in the day. I didn't feel I was missing out on a great deal not turning up at the crack of dawn. After a quick job in the morning that saw me wrestling my way through the city streets of London. It was around 11:45am when I attempted to make my escape, as expected, it felt like whole world was doing it's best to stop me reaching the water. There was grid lock, road closures, road works, pretty much every obstacle imaginable. I sat tight, gritted my teeth and painfully limped towards the outer reaches of the city. Eventually the signs for the M25 came into view, I was getting closer, it was just a matter of propelling myself onward and up onto the A12. Once on the motorway the knot in stomach started to loosen, the concrete surroundings started to exchange themselves for lush green fields and meadows. I was starting to feel somewhat human again, just.

From The Capital To Countryside
For people out there that don't understand the slightly 'unhinged' mind of a carp angler, this may come across as an awful lot of effort to go through just to catch as fish. They may well be right but I don't have any waters local to me and I'll travel anywhere if I know the conditions are right and there's a chance of a bite.  Today the weather was fresh, nicely overcast with the occasional spot of drizzle, it screamed 'carp' so I had to go and get my fix, whatever obstacles stood in my way, denying myself the chance to cast a line just wasn't an option. By the time I arrived at the water it was early afternoon, I planned to fish until 7pm. I got all my tackle together quickly and made my way around to peg 8. I walked a lap of the lake just to see if I could see any obvious signs of fish. It all appeared quiet, due to the time constraint I decided I'd fish peg 8 again and approach it in the exact same way I had over the previous sessions, at this point "if it ain't broke, then there's no point in trying to fix it".

A few casts with a bare lead on braided line saw me locate both the bars that run from both points of the island. The right hand spot was still nice and clear, the left spot locked up slightly on the retrieve, that told me the weed was still there. If anything it actually felt like it had thickened up a little more since my last visit. I didn't want to fish a pop up so instead of messing around trying to find a slightly clearer patch I though I'd make own. I got my trusty 5oz Fox 'Grappling' lead out and gave it a few casts thinning out a nice little area to place my bait. The lead brought back some hefty clumps of weed, it was fresh and smelt good, no wonder I was getting a lot of bites from that specific spot. I had a very strong feeling, that if I was going to get a bite today it would be from the rig fished within the weed. 

Fox Grappling Lead 5oz

Bait wise, I was sticking with the Tiger-Fish, this has been producing the 'goods' for me lately so it was a 'no-brainer', to add something a little different. Both baits would be topped off with a single white 6mm 'Coconut Cream' pop up. This would add a nice little fleck visually, I like the idea of topping off slightly darker baits with a little bit of color. My rigs we're going to be the usual semi-fixed inlines, this session I'd upped the lead to 3.5oz. Both hook links were combi rigs using the 'Trigga-Link' in 30IB and Sufix 'Magician' in 25IB. These two specific materials blend really well together, I'm finding myself using more of the Sufix range since it all went a bit strange with Kryston. Once my old Kryston stock has been used I think I'll be using Sufix exclusively. I've been more than impressed with what they've got on offer, I'll be writing about some of the other materials they produce in future blogs. As most know, none of my rigs and presentations are complicated, however I find myself getting rather anal in regards to the end tackle that I'm prepared to use.

6mm Pop Ups

I don't want to be using something that isn't tried and tested, I'm not sure if the 'newly packaged' Kryston range is the same as the original. The original range was outstanding and it didn't need changing, it had years of reliability behind it. To be honest I'm becoming more and more disillusioned with what's coming out on the market for carp anglers, prices seem to be going up and quality is definitely going down. We're pummeled with 'gimmicks', 'fashions' and 'buzz items' that don't usually stand up to the job they're supposedly designed for, in my mind a lot of it is just cheaply made shit. That's why I've been finding myself looking at some of the 'lesser known' brands, it's these guys that have something to prove. Unlike the mainstream brands that appear to be resting on their laurels.

The Perfect Combination

Both rods were clipped up and ready to deploy, I flicked the left one out first, the rig sailed through the air, kissed the clip and disappeared into the void. I waited, a few seconds later I received the 'DONK' I was looking for. The same procedure was repeated with the right rod, the rig sailed, kissed the clip, disappeared and delivered another perfect 'DONK'. Back leads were slid down both lines, I tightened up, hung the bobbins and proceeded to position myself for the inevitable wait. On all my previous sessions I'd got a little 'trigga-happy' with the throwing stick. Today I was going to adopt some constraint and opted for two heaped handfuls over each rod, I didn't have a great deal of time so I wanted just enough bait out there to pull them in. To be honest when Cants starts to receive a lot of angling pressure, which due to the fish it contains, is inevitable, I can see myself cutting right down on the amount of bait that I use. This has already started to happen on a few of my other waters. So much goes in all the time and I think it's starting to have a reverse effect, I personally think it makes the fishing a lot harder than it needs to be. When the carp have so much bait to chose from and get through, it's logic that the fishing will slow right down. I'm finding that a mouthful in the right location is proving far more productive nowadays, than shoveling it in.

View From The Swim
The afternoon crept along, the skies above were changing fast from gloomy heavy clouds with drizzle, separated by the occasional sunbeam piercing down on the surface of the water. It was one of those days where everything felt fresh and clean, it's hard to believe that only a few hours ago I was clawing my way through the rather unforgiving streets of London, this was literally a world away and it's a world that I feel very thankful for. It's impossible to feel grounded living in the city, everything around you creates friction, there's endless souls clashing into one another. Every where you turn people are racing around within an inch of their life chasing after 'the wage', 'the promotion', that one leg up that might just get them out the rut of it all, many though are working all the hours under the sun and still don't have another money to forge some kind of meaningful existence. When I witness this going on around me, very little of it makes sense and I find myself questioning exactly why we are put here. I'm positive it certainly isn't to work yourself into an early grave. Just as I started to sink into an abyss of contemplation, my right rod was away. 

The bite alarm was screaming, the clutch, equally as loud, the rod was bending round so tight, I could literally hear it moaning, all the bites from Cants go the same way, from nothing to chaos in three seconds flat. As I lifted the rod up I had no other choice than to just let the fish take line. It whizzed off to the left kiting tight towards the nearside margin, it was gunning for all the marginal snags. I sunk the rod to keep the line low and started to apply as much pressure as I thought I could get away with. I was slowly gaining a bit of ground but it wasn't really having any of it. Bolting out to the open water, it was darting all over the place, every time I thought I was starting to win, it would tear off, striping line as it went. Closer it came, I lowered the net into 'scooping' position and teased the carp towards me. This was a bad move, the second it spotted it, it fired off back out into the open. I was starting to get a little impatience but, from experience, the worst thing you can do is try to rush the situation. I held on, applied some more steady pressure and eventually eased a bloody lovely looking mirror over my net.

My First Cants Mirror

I was totally blown away with this fish, its lovely chocolate color complimented its majestic scale pattern perfectly, not only that, it put up one hell of a fight, one of the hardest I'd experienced from any previous Cants fish. A few pictures were taken, a 'thank you' was exchanged, and back she went. It was a really good call to clear a bit of the weed away to create a clearer spot to put my rig. I clipped up and pinged the bait back out, followed by another couple of handfuls of freebies. An hour or so past and with that came multiple shows very close to both my rods. It was clear that a few fish had made their way down, I sat quietly watching, poised on the edge of my seat. These situations can be both magical and tense all at the same time, you can't make those fish take your bait. You can only hope you've done enough right to help produce the desired end result. As the minutes continued to tick by the fish action increased, the wind picked up and the skies started to darken. Two things were going to happen, I was going to get another bite and leave victorious, or this magic moment would pass and I was going to get a drenching of a life time. Peering behind me, the clouds creeping ever closer in the distance were looking rather threatening.

Possible Armageddon
As I was sitting there visualizing the possibility of a Tsunami washing me down the proverbial drain, my left rod fired away .. result!. I was on it like lightening and another immense battle commenced, this fish pretty much mimicked the one that came before. The initial take was nuts, you couldn't really do anything, then it shot tight down to the left towards the snags. Just like before, I lowered the rod down into the water and applied side strain, holding my breath as I went. This fish was so close to getting under the branches, if I allowed that to happen I may as well kiss it goodbye. It was so tense, I felt a bit of grating on my line, I prayed that everything would stay intact. Gently it was coming closer, now out of the danger zone I lowered the net down and as the fish surfaced just out in front of me, I performed the penultimate 'scoop', in she went. The relief I felt was marginally indescribable, with the heavy weather moving ever closer I peaked down into the net to lay my eyes on the prize. It was an immaculate common carp, a fair sized one at that.

Minutes Before The Downpour
This carp was long, lean and as clean as you could get, a few pictures were taken and she was gently slipped back home. It was now my turn to slip back home, I had a sense that if I wasn't quick I'd be sailing. I got all my gear together and packed away in a very undignified fashion. I was half way between the lake and the van when the sky fractured and the heavens started dumping all its unwanted sins on my head. I slipped and slid back to the car park, threw everything in the back of the wagon and leapt into the driving seat. The rain drops were like bullets on the windscreen, I got another good soaking opening and closing the gate. The drive back to London was pretty treacherous, I had the fan going full blast to keep my windscreen clear, I was literally surfing along the surface of the A12. It had been a busy day, there I was in the teeth of the city, I escaped deep into the country, caught two pristine pieces of the wild and I'd literally sailed home. If anyone ever tells you that fishing is boring ....... don't listen to them.