It’s been a very interesting time for me in the world of angling. Not because I’ve been out and about catching fish but because, as I have a background in journalism and amongst my many jobs I was assistant editor of Carpworld magazine for several years. The news that the magazine was to transfer ownership from Angling Publications to Carp Fishing News was no shock to me. It had been on the cards for some time and the two companies were very closely connected. What was surprising though was that Carp Talk magazine was going to close. Carp Talk was the only weekly publication devoted entirely to carp fishing and I remember when it first came out I used to advertise another of my angling businesses in it. I laughed when it was first suggested that there was space for a weekly magazine specialising in carp angling – how could there be enough people out there to make it pay. But, make it pay they did … until now.
Angling Publications, who used to have three magazines (Carpworld, Crafty Carper and a trade mag), has also now closed completely and it’s a very sad time for carp angling in my opinion. When Tim Paisley started Carpworld he was taking a big gamble on the future of fishing. Was there enough readership to make a magazine pay and how long would it continue for. In the end Carpworld started a whole industry in my opinion. After all we don’t have Breamworld or Perchworld do we?
On the back of Carpworld grew a whole sub-culture of angling which has now grown to be, arguably, the most popular branch of coarse angling. The industry around carp angling has grown over the years into a bit of a beast with many companies vying for the same business. Would we have had the major players in carp angling without Carpworld? Possibly. But one thing is for sure and that it that magazines have played a major part in bringing carp angling to the masses.
As carp-angling grew in popularity I remember many years ago the first carp-fishing holiday venues opening in France. One of these was Fishabil. I’ve been to this venue twice now and when it first opened Carpworld used to run coach trips there. In the day they were pioneering carp angling to a much wider audience and today there are literally hundreds of competing venues all across Europe. Would they have been in existence if Carpworld hadn’t started a revolution?
The point of all this is that carp angling is changing. With fewer and fewer magazines on the shelves how do we all expect to learn about the new products, new ideas, new baits etc? I’m a firm believer in that we’re all missing something about magazines and books in general and that is the simplicity of the medium. If magazines hadn’t been invented and we all sat armed with laptops, phones etc. and all the attendant chargers, cables, batteries etc. and someone said: ‘I’ve had a great idea. Let’s print this stuff on paper and then you won’t need all this kit and you can just read it anywhere at any time’, I’m sure everyone would think it was a great idea!
OK. That’s a little bit of history for you but one way to find out about angling and what’s going on is to look at angler’s blogs such as this one. The tales of anglers out and about on the bank are a very good read and even though they don’t have the same impact, for me at any rate, on a phone or laptop as in a book or magazine, it’s really the way everything is going these days.
Back in the real world I’ve been very busy of late and I’ve managed to squeeze only one overnight session into my schedule. It was one of those times when you’re sitting on the bank wondering whether you should really be there. Not because you’re not enjoying it, more that you’ve so many things running through your mind that need attention.
The whole reason I went was because, although I’d not managed to get out on the bank fishing, I had been down to the syndicate to bait up and remove some of the extensive weed from an area I wanted to target. My plan was to bait up – which itself is something that I don’t normally do – with ground Skrettings pellets of all types, along with crushed boilies and some hemp. The idea was to use up all the odd kilos of pellets lying around in the garage plus create a baited area that contained lots of food and attraction, but very little that a hungry carp could actually feed up on.
Ground pellets are one of my favourite tactics. The cloud of attraction is instant yet the extremely fine particles offer no real food to the fish. I’ve seen bait introduced this way that the carp just home in on then, because they cannot really find much food to actually eat, they just mill around trying to find the source of the attraction. A strategically-placed bait can work wonders in this situation.
At the syndicate the weather was appallingly bad with heavy rain and strong winds. Fortunately the wind had blown all the surface weed down to one end of the pool so I was able to get my baits positioned easily. The water was crystal clear and I could see where quite a large area had been ‘hoovered’ clean, either by the fish or the ducks, but the end result was that it was easy to place a bait.
A quick mix of whole Halibut pellets, some ground Protec Carp and a few broken boilies was put out in PVA bags to create little baited areas, followed by the PVA bag containing the actual hookbait and more ground pellets.
It was then simply a case of sitting back and waiting. Around dusk I saw a couple of carp move in and have a quick look around then leave the area. I was just about to re-bait when they moved in so I sat on my hands and decided to leave the bait out overnight even though it had been in place since 7am and would, possibly, be a little soft by now, giving me concern that any passing roach or bream would easily whittle the boilie down.
By 10pm I was tucked up in the sleeping bag as the heavens opened and the sky turned a deep purple in the lights from Manchester city centre nearly 15 miles away. I’d just started to nod off when the right hand rod jumped and a carp exploded from the water in front of me.
Luckily I was still awake enough to get to the rod before the fish had taken too much line and the fish had not managed to reach the sanctuary of the weedbeds. A quick battle and the fish was bullied into the net in double quick time, partly because of the threat of more rain and partly because I was very conscious of letting the fish get into the weed where I would struggle to get it back to the net in the dark.
The fish turned out to be a 19lb 12oz common, one I did not recognise. The pictures were a nightmare to take because the fish was not really all that tired after its quick battle and it definitely did not want its photo taking.
I also managed to bag a very large tench and two big bream that night. Under normal circumstances I’d have been quite happy to catch them but not that night and both myself and the sleeping bag were still damp by 8am when I put a brew on. This is one of the downsides of using ground pellet – every fish loves them!
I’m sitting here looking out of the window of my office as the autumn sunshine lights up the trees in a blaze of beautiful orange but the weather forecast for the next few days looks very gloomy with heavy storms and high winds to around 50mph forecast. In my heart I want to go out fishing but my head tells me to just wait and see how the next day or so turns out.
One thing is for sure and that’s I won’t be able to concentrate of any work now as I’m getting cabin fever having not been out on the bank for a week or two. I have a gut feeling that my heart will overrule my head!