So where did it all begin………..? I guess like most middle aged guys, my love affair with carp fishing started at a much younger age when happiness was sitting on the bank with a ‘ledger rod’ out, and a washing up liquid bottle top as a bobbin. Expensive bait was Tesco’s Finest sausage meat and a boilie wasn’t even heard of….!
I remember spending a week at a fishery in Essex, sleeping on an old camp bed under a canvas brolly with a tarpaulin clothes pegged around the edges as a bivvy. Between three of us we took some sixty-odd Tench that week, but they all paled into insignificance against the two Common Carp that graced the landing nets. Nothing big in comparison to current stocks, but that big, dark back rolling in the water was enough to create a sharp intake of breath and a prayer to the Carp gods…..”Please don’t let the hook pull, please don’t let the hook pull……..!”
As we grow older mortgages, marriages and careers come along which all restrict our time on the bank, and I was no different from anybody else. All of the fishing tackle dwindled away to friends, boot sales and local jumble sales, and cars, bars and women were a more interesting distraction (and more expensive!)
Then about eight years ago, my son started to talk about “Going fishing with me mate”, and the door of opportunity opened again. About the same time I ended up working alongside a certain Mr Peter Hooper (if you don’t know who he is then get to down to Snags Tackle in Colchester for a cuppa and a chat!) who also had reinvigorated his interest in Carp fishing.
So, in pure ignorance of the money pit I was looking into, I bought my first set of Carp fishing tackle. Straight off of eBay, unbranded kit which lasted all of about 3 months. The clutch died on the reels, the end ring fell of the rod, all in all a pretty poor decision in buying fishing tackle! So, after many discussions with Mr Hooper , he pointed me towards some better quality tackle with the understanding that you really do ‘get what you pay for’ (bear in mind this was before he owned Snags).
Happy with my selection of some better quality fishing tackle made up of Nash Outlaw XS rods and a set of Shimano 5000RE limited edition reels, I was out for some proper Carp fishing. A good friend and neighbour came out of the closet as an ex-match fisherman and many weekends were spent on the bank with mixed results – anything from a total blank to a couple of dozen fish depending on weather, time, location and so on. Nights sitting waiting for that twitch from the bite alarm followed by a one-tone screamer took up more and more of my time with lots of promises to ‘she who must be obeyed’ that the decorating would definitely get done next weekend.
Even the worst weather failed to dampen my enthusiasm. I’ve been out on short sessions with Pete when the rain came down in stair rods and the thunder was enough to shake the entire lake, fished a lake in Swansea with a hurricane blowing and a whirlwind touching down in a neighbouring village, and woken on many mornings to a lake of glass and every blade of grass frozen solid.
Then somebody made the suggestion of trying French Carp fishing……