Sunday 29 April 2012

The Black Eye

In the carp fishing world there are a couple of old legends, one being Redmire Pool, even the name makes me have so many feelings about angler's past, Richard Walker who caught the british record carp of 44IB and held the record for 30 years until Chris Yates came along and topped it with 55IB 5oz. The pool really was something of folklore, an enigma. Below - Richard Walker With Clarissa, the year was 1952 she weighed in at 44IB, she was taken to London Zoo and lived further 20 years.

Richard Walker

Here are some shots of the famous Redmire Pool, it holds a place in the heart of every carp angler.
Famous From A Passion For Angling

A Water With A History

The Ghosts

When I first saw the film of Terry Hearns "Hunt For Black-Eye" I was equally taken with the magical feeling of searching for the unknown, when you look into the water of any lake your imagination runs wild. The Black-Eye was one carp I found pretty special, that was until every Tom, Dick & Harry started queuing to catch her.

Terry Hearn With Black Eye 
Things lose their magic if they're understood too much, even Redmire is now a day-ticket water which I personally think is sacrilege, somethings are best left to remain legends, we all need small pieces of magic to believe in, it keeps life interesting. Below is a poem I wrote about The Black Eye.

Birds Green Fishery, Essex 'Short Blog Entry'

Over the past few weeks I have been doing some short day sessions at Birds Green Fishery in Essex, it's a great place to go, the staff are all really friendly and there are some lovely fish in the waters, some of the best commons I've ever seen. The first time I went there I blanked, it was a busy weekend. The second time I went back I started to get some results. 

23IB Common One Of A Double Take
16IB Common

18IB Common From Under The Rod Tips

12IB Common

All these fish were caught on the blow-back rig and a mixture of milk protein baits, I was fishing tight to the margins on the front of the wind, I wasn't using anything fancy just pure boilie fishing, feeding the spot every 25 minutes with 6 or 7 baits.

A Seed Hatched

Nothing comes close to that moment in your life when you find the angler in you, I came across it by chance, that moment you look down into the deep murky waters that stretch out in front of you, it's like a spiritual awakening, a calling. I don't believe you can ever replicate those initials feelings. 

When I started, a stretch of water to me was a place that held hidden mystery and more times than not, a very daunting prospect. Now every lake I fish is a series of possibilities, a puzzle to unlock. The beauty of carping is that everyday is different, every session you learn something new, you can never have a total understanding of it but you can do your best to try.

Over the years I have been a member of a fair few different fishing clubs and regular day ticket waters. The first was Crowborough Angling Club, it was here that I really started to learn how to fish, not only for carp but other species as well. I started on the float and naturally progressed to carp fishing, it was such a rush when my rod would go screaming off, I was hooked straight away, I hadn't experienced anything like it before. 

After a lot of time and effort I managed to break the club record of 21IB 5oz which I caught on a 5IB line, floating crust at dusk. Back then a 20Iber was the magic number, and your first twenty is a moment that will live with you forever. I eventually ended up having all the big fish out of their waters, I learnt a great deal in these early days and Crowborough Angling Club will always have a place in my angling memories.

From there I moved on to Tonbridge and District Angling, this was a pretty big jump because they had huge waters, Barden, Haysden, The Ballist Pit, I put a lot of time into fishing these venues, I really had to refocus my approach. It took me ages but I managed to wangle a few decent 20's out of Barden, this was back in the day when you could barely get a bait in because of the heavy weed, it was almost impossible to cast to a clear spot. I learnt a huge amount about rigs and presentation on these waters and it felt like a natural progression in my fishing.

Cranbrook Angling Club was my next move which again was a step up, they had a few challenging waters different to the type I had fished before, once again I refocused and learnt a great deal more, every water that I approached was a huge learning curve. One of their venues, Park Farm, was known for major blanking sessions, I was determined to get some of the carp out, they went up to about 36IB, they were clued up and very 'riggy' fish. After a lot of sessions with no joy I scaled down my rigs and baits, dropping to 10ml boilies, fluro-carbon hook links and 1/2oz running rigs, I managed to bank fish up to 26IB which at the time was very rewarding, this period was crucial in my development of watercraft.

In conjunction with fishing Cranbrook I was also focusing on the specimen carp at Tanyards, I caught my PB at 32IB out of specimen 1 and had some real lumps out of specimen 2 to 28IB. These waters were very pressured, 'even back then', so I had to rethink my baiting methods and generally focus on fishing the waters in a subtle way. I find that day tickets tend to fish differently to clubs and syndicates, unlocking them can be challenging but very rewarding when you do.

I am currently a member of Kingfisher Angling/Gravesend and Chelmsford Angling Association. Between both these clubs I have waters available to me that cover all aspects and skill levels, I find this important because it always keeps you thinking and moving forward. Focusing on a series of lakes at the same time can continually shift your perspective on how to approach each individual water. The more you experience as an angler the more weapons you have to add to your armoury. Through time and perseverance you can start to read your waters like a book, to angle is to learn, adapt and develop, not only on the bank but off it as well. I am looking forward to the different challenges ahead and I feel excited with the prospect of sharing my experiences with you. 

The Beginning

After nearly 19 years of carp fishing I have decided that it's about time I created some kind of record of my angling. I have so many amazing memories of being by the water, some of the best days and nights of my life have been behind my rods. From the beautiful rising of the sun as the carp start feeding, to the painful 4 night sessions in the heart of winter where only slight insanity keeps you pinned to the bank side waiting for the elusive "One Toner".

Having been a drummer all my life I have spent the majority of my time touring and gigging, locked in recording studios and damp, dark rehearsal rooms. For me the water has always been a great escape and a place I could sit and get lost in my surroundings.

I have watched how carp fishing has developed through the years since I started and it really seems to be a boom industry, I am not seeking fame or fortune, to be the biggest or the best, for me it's in the blood, part of who I am. The aspect that drives me is the thinking, the feeling, being at one with yourself and standing face to face with the unknown and the unexpected.  

It's the process and in many ways the science that I enjoy the most, every time you cast into the depths that spread before you, a new series of possibilities awaken and at any given moment you could come face to face with a dream. Be it a 5IB scamp or a 50IB beauty, every fish that graces your net is special and gives you a pure sense of accomplishment. Then handling something so untamed, so wild, is exhilarating to say the least, and at the end of this process, having the pleasure of releasing your prize back home, it's almost spiritual in its action.      

Today as much as any time in the past I am still truly at home by the water, it's a place where I feel at peace.