Tuesday 5 March 2024

The Carp Haven't Changed, The Marketing Has

Having taken a 5 year break away from the water, separating myself from the bullshit involved in carp fishing was such a refreshing feeling. This will be a theme that I'm going to continue to follow, I have zero interested in anything carp fishing related other than when I'm physically on the bank fishing myself. Having started angling in 1990 my frame of reference in regards to catching carp came from practical experiences which involved actually being by the water. You learn by doing, you don't learn fuck all reading forums and watching bullshit videos uploaded by tackle companies and self-appointed heroes. 

The above statement might sound strange but let me explain, forums and videos on all subjects are full of people parroting and repeating what they've heard elsewhere. Original thought is a dying art, I look forward so much to the day that I can have a conversation with someone that actually has their own opinion and ideas as oppose to ones that have been implanted in their head by 'Team Korda" and all the other wankers that claim to be masters of the pastime. These people are salesman that fish and nearly everything they come out with is designed to remove your hard-earned cash from your ever decreasing wallet. 

Let us remember that marketing is perception control and over the last decade the 'marketing machine' within carp fishing has gone into overdrive, led by a bunch of clowns that started to fill the heads of the easily led with overcomplicated horse-shit that catches the angler more than it does the fish. Let us also remember that the carp haven't changed, it's the carp fishing industry that has, it's this that creates the illusion that the carp are the ones that have advanced beyond comprehension. Shortly before walking away from fishing I saw just how effective the marketing and mind control around carp fishing had become.

When the whole country was on Furlough/hush money, my new waters were overrun with guys all fishing exactly the same as each other. I'd sit there surrounded by leads and spods flying all over the place, everyone would turn up to their swims, cast a lead about looking for a "hard spot" and then proceed to spod kilos and kilos of bait over the apparent hard spot. The moment someone would vacate the swim the next guy would turn up and do exactly the same thing. It was a this point I decided I just couldn't be around such nonthinking bullshit so I walked away from my fishing until the cosmic indicated to me that it was time to start again. 

It isn't by coincidence that everyone was fishing the same, it's because they're all consuming the same information which in turn controls their perceptions on how to catch carp. The same can be said for all these new rigs that are being pushed, there appears to be this belief that if you haven't got 72 pieces of end tackle incorporated into your rig then you ain't catching. Let us remember that the more you have on the end of your line, the more there is to go wrong. But the more you have on the end of your line, the more tackle firms make selling you shit you don't need. The simple rigs from the 80' and 90's are still going to catch you pretty much every carp that swims and I've proven this time and time again in this very blog. The carp haven't changed, they're still the same creatures that they've always been and the tried and tested methods will always work.

The Shocker Rig

Their behaviour might change due to the pressure that they now receive, it's common sense that the more people fishing puts pressure on the fish and over time this can make them change their behaviour. But this is usually due to the amount of bait going in the waters, I believe if a lake limits the bait that's allowed to go in, then it doesn't matter how pressured the fish are. If they don't have an overabundant supply of bait being thrown in all the time it means you'd stand a far greater chance at catching them. It's anglers and their over-baiting that makes waters so much harder. BUT ... this isn't pointed out by all the companies out there because the more bait you chuck in the more money they're going to make. The same can be said for those who promote dropping the lead on every take, of course tackle firms and the sell out anglers that shill for them are going to be telling you to drop the lead because it's another constant revenue stream. 

Another observation I've seen in "modern carp fishing" is the focus on distance rather than the margins, the margins are the biggest feature on every lake. I grew up with a firm understanding of this, carp love the margins BUT .. it seems distance fishing is where it's at nowadays. Why Is This? because if you convince everyone they have to be fishing at 120 yards then you can sell them really expensive distance rods, spod rods, distance line and stupidly priced reels. Promoting fishing the margins or under the rods tips isn't going to benefit the leading manufactures because you don't need "specialised" tackle to fish this way. All in all there's a huge amount of horse shit in regards to how carp fishing is marketed in this day and age and those that have been at it along time can see it as clear as day.

Dropping The Lead Is Great For The Manufactures

To sum up, carp fishing can be as easy or as complicated as you want to make it and it can be as cheap or as expensive as well. It's important to understand that a lot of what you're told and sold is a load of bollocks and it's designed to make the leading manufactures as much money as possible. I actually find it's best to look back into carp fishing history to find inspiration as opposed to the "modern" way of doing things. Don't get me wrong, there's been some useful advancements and some of the latest tech products certainly help to make you fish more efficiently. Just don't believe everything you read and watch regarding how you "should" go about catching carp, let us remember that's there's many different ways to do this and it might just work in your favour to steer away from the popular approaches and try something completely different. 

Wednesday 28 February 2024

There's A Monster In The Water

I've taken 5 years out of fishing because I was both burnt out and jaded with the UK carp fishing world, I found myself hating being by the water, mainly due to other anglers that have no manners or consideration for others. It appears we're living in the age of the 'catch at any cost' twat that appears to be so fucking desperate to make a name for themselves they will do just about anything to put a fish on the bank. This whole attitude makes no sense to me at all, fishing is suppose to be a hobby not a career path. I decided to write this blog because the flame that got dampened by the stupidity is very much burning again, I've had a syndicate ticket for around 5 years now and it's time to start fishing the place. 

I have 7 years of blogs to write with loads of good fish caught .. BUT.. I won't be writing them all up, I'll pick a few standout sessions. So much time has gone by, even with the notes I've made, I genuinely can't remember most of my trips, so instead of writing half-arsed accounts I'd rather document the sessions I can remember. Stepping away from fishing is something I've done a number of times in my life but I've always come back to it. This time around I've feel I'm on the right waters, they're near deserted during the week so I'll be able to do my own thing without being disturbed by some bucket hat wearing wanker asking me "what time I'm leaving?" so they can drop in behind me and parasite off my hard work.

The session I'm writing up took place back in 2019, I was spending a lot of time on the stock pond down in Hoo, it was a a very hot August and with the sun now lower in the cloudless sky, I loved spending my time down there. You are surrounded by flatlands so there's always a light breeze, the clarity of the world around you is magnified. Despite the size of the water I wouldn't call the stock pond "easy fishing", the fish are quite wise and you have to approach it correctly otherwise you're going to struggle. Personally for me, solid bags worked exceptionally well, you can use them to "bait and wait" or cast to showing fish. 

Caught On A Solid Bag Under The Rod Tips 

I've actually lost count of the amount of carp I've caught out of the stock pond by casting at a showing fish, you can be sitting there all day without a touch, then a fish jumps, you cast to it and a bite can occur very quickly. This is pretty much what happened to me on the day of this session. I set up face to the wind, when the wind is fresh the carp have a tendency to get on the front of it. In these conditions I literally fish a couple of rod lengths out, back-lead and sit further up the bank. I alway like to sit a fair distance behind my rods and stay low because I want to stay off the skyline and be as quiet as possible. "Quiet" is something that isn't practiced by many anglers nowadays, I believe any unnatural noise can put the carp on the defensive, especially on a lake the size and depth of the stock pond.

My PVA Bag Mix

Around this time I was using a very fruity mix in my solid bags, it was a mix pellets, crushed boilies and small 10 mm boilies. Before casting out I'd inject some liquid feed into the bag so there was a nice explosion of flavour as it melted. The approach of the day was simple, I was going to keep one bag on the same spot without moving it and then the second rod I'd roam around with the intent of casting it to showing fish. I remember on this specific day, the sun was beating down really hard, there wasn't a cloud in the sky. The conditions were pretty much the worst they could be for carp fishing . .  but .. hey .. you've got to be in it to win it .... right??

Conditions Were Not Ideal

The day started and progressed in a fashion that I expected, no signs of fish, no line bites, no nothing, this was pretty standard for the stock pond. I knew I was going to have to sit it out until I was given a clue, no clues came in the morning and to be honest if I hadn't have been watching the water closely I would've missed the only show that occurred all day. By chance I walked over to the really shallow bay that was a long to right of my swim and as I did I saw the remanence of a vortex with some bubbles coming up. The fish was literally in two and half foot of water, I couldn't actually see it but I thought it would be worth quietly dropping a bag down there. 

I split my bite alarms, now fishing each rod on two sticks, both with a bite alarm on, I tied a new bag up, crawled along the grass to stay off the skyline, got my sticks set up and literally lowered the bag exactly where I saw the vortex a few minutes earlier. Feeling the bag down, it was literally 2ft, if that, I sat up back from the water positioned in between both my rods. If either went off I wasn't too far away, it had only been a few minutes and the rod in the bay gave a few bleeps and "BANG" the reel was screaming, the eruption that took place was like a mini Hiroshima.

I clambered down and grabbed the rod, leaning into the fish, it instantly felt rather large, after the initial bolt it started to plod, silt was being kicked up from the bottom. The bay went from lovely clear water to something that resembled a dark soup. After a few minutes the fish started to slow down, it was at this point I caught a glimpse of it and it looked big, its back was so wide and its depth was crazy. Teasing the fish into the net it hit me that I'd caught one of the 30's, the largest I'd had from the water in the past was 29IB. This was clearly a different fish, its proportions were rather ridiculous. 

A Rather Large Back

I gently unhooked it in the net and managed to get it into my sling, when I tried picking it up it became apparent instantly that this was a heavy carp. I zeroed the scales, hung them on my weighing tripod and, rather awkwardly hooked the sling on, the scales sunk to 34.5IB. The thing that I remember the most about catching this fish was the slight disbelief that a carp like this could be residing in such a small water. It really was a lovely carp, almost perfect without a mark on it, I got a few photos done, got my shoes and socks off and walked out into the water to let it swim off. It wasn't possible to release it without going out into the pond because the margins were too shallow. 


It goes without saying I was pleased with this capture, it's always nice to catch a big fish ... BUT the size of a carp isn't my motivation, it never has been. I was fishing the stock pond because I love how fresh it is when on its banks. Because the sea isn't too far away you can smell the ocean when you're fishing, It has the bluest of skies and when the sunsets, if there's no clouds, you can see the stars. That's why I was fishing this specific water, the size of the fish I caught was pure luck and basically a byproduct of me enjoying my time on the banks of the stock pond.