The best comparison I can make is with my drumming, in my music collection I have records that I listen to for the musicianship, these records are dug out when I am searching for inspiration. Then I have records that I listen to for 'the song' and 'the vibe', something that gives me that magical buzz solely because of the melody's and chord structure. Taking in music this way gives you a very broad understanding of music as a whole. As a musician you have to open you mind to as many styles as possible, doing this gives you a lot more knowledge and understanding than just sticking to one genre or a handful of bands.
The water is a mystery to me and I want it to stay that way, I don't watch any underwater footage of carp feeding, 'it seems to be a trend nowadays with all the DVD's'. Part of the art of angling is to find ways of understanding what's under the surface in an almost primitive and sensory way, it is hunting after all. The sensory side of carp angling is what connects us to the waters we fish. I get just as much excitement casting a marker float into the depths as I do a rig. Mapping the water out is a vital part of the puzzle, as we know, just because the water is flat on the surface, doesn't mean it's flat underneath it.
I believe that water-craft is intuition in another form, as our watercraft becomes fine-tuned so does our intuition, and visa versa. Finding shortcuts with the use of technology can take us further and further away from what true angling is all about. I don't want to start a 'bait boat' war because in the right situation they can be useful. But how many short cuts are being made if this form of technology is being unnecessarily incorporated into your fishing. You wont master the cast, you'll lack feature finding skills and the ability to truly understand the waters you fish. I look upon the rod as an extension of yourself and you have to connect perfectly with it, there's no short cut to fine tuning your relationship with the water and the carp that swim within it. Why do some anglers catch more fish than others? I believe it's because they're well and truly in touch with their environment.
The Edge Of The Afternoon
With how commercial our sport has become over recent years our relationship with the water, depending on how passionate about it you are, can get somewhat warped and in many ways, jaded. Some commercial day ticket fisheries have shifted the goal posts on what some of us may call achievements. Don't get me wrong, I'm not being a hypocrite here, if you go way back on my blog you will see I've accounted for sessions on a few day ticket waters, and I've enjoyed my time on them, all lakes have their time and place. But in recent years my feelings have changed drastically towards some. I know there are a lot of beautiful fisheries around, run by people that have a deep, burning passion for their fish and angling. I am not talking about those places, I'm talking more about the overstocked, over crowed puddles in the ground that may or may not contain carp from dubious sources, that to me look morbidly obese rather than big.
Silence In Summer
It's all to do with perspective, I'd like to add, like I have said so many times before, "if this is the kind of fishing you enjoy" then great, enjoyment is what it's all about and who the hell am I to say otherwise. But my point is, because catching a big fish has become so much more obtainable, it can warp peoples perspectives on their own experience and understanding of what catching a 'big' carp is all about. For me the word 'big' means so many things, for instance, a carp with character, perfectly proportioned, clean and a creature so resilient that it's lived to tell the tale. When you land a fish like that, it's as if you are landing its story.
You can't rush these things and trying to cut right to the chase is not always the best idea. I had to form many relationships with secluded little ponds and charming little club waters before I knew that I was ready to start fishing larger waters for bigger fish. It was like I was slowly building the foundations that I needed to move on, I didn't run before I could walk and even though I've got a good few years of angling behind me, there's still so much to learn, new connections to be made and so many more waters that are going to create great memories for years to come.
Now Going Back To My Original Point About Perspective
"I will try and explain this in the clearest way I can. And I will use social media as an example."
You can be scrolling through your Facebook feed and you come across a picture of an awesome scaly old carp weighing in at 18IB, then just below it there is a picture of a big thirty. On the surface you instantly give the bigger fish more validation, it's big, it must have been harder to catch? and in doing this you are pretty much dismissing the 18IBer because it hasn't broken the 20+ mark. But 'maybe' if you knew the circumstances leading up to the capture of both fish, your perspective might change.
The 18IBer could of been caught out of a huge low stocked pit which tests you to your limits, and the 30IBer could've been caught from a two acre lake rammed full of carp where the smallest is a mid-twenty. The smaller fish has been caught using a hell of a lot more experience and thinking, than just casting a solid bag out anywhere in a puddle. I'm not devaluing any ones capture in anyway, we all do this for different reasons, I'm just trying to demonstrate how perspectives can be changed. There's nothing like earning a bite, the hard graft makes the capture so much more rewarding, I believe you learn to value the fish in a deeper way. If you were catching a monster every cast, you'd lose all the respect and value that the 'long-slog' provides.
Having explained it in this way, it might now be clearer why my choice of waters are more than just the size of the fish that swim within them. If you have made it this far into this blog post, I'd like to thank you, I can ramble on, but this is why I write, this is my place to share my thoughts and feelings. You may or may not agree with some of the points that I have brought up within this entry, but one thing I am certain of, if you are visiting my blog, then both me and you have something very much in common, and that's a love for carp angling. And that's a pretty dam good thing to have, where ever your angling may take you, I want to wish you the best of luck on your journey.