I first bumped into Kevin Nash when his embryonic business empire was based on "carp sacks" and he told me (and Cuddles) at a tackle show/London Regional NASA Conference gig (Reading University - 1980 something?) that he had a plan to revolutionise the product (an industrial nylon bag; with a drawstring on the top) by a simple advertising campaign. Didn't he just! Diamo-flow carp sacks - same product just the holes were diamond shaped as opposed to circular! Improved water ingress, better carp safety and much other associated bullshit - with this one simple marketing ploy, Kevin cornered the market, and Nash Tackle made a nice few quid!
Nash 2016 - the latest in the series of Youtube annual sales pitches (all four hours of it!) is just as clever, as you would, rightly, expect (check out the Eurobanx 2 bit - Lake Bled in Slovenia, absolutely fantastic - it is right at the end around 3 hrs 20 mins). Kevin and his, carefully assembled and extraordinarily talented, team seeking to promote their wares by highlighting the subtle changes and "improvements" that Nash Tackle have developed over the previous twelve months. I have to admit that many of the advances in angling technology are amazing. Nash, Korda, Fox, (Pete) Drennan and Free Spirit have, along with many other companies, pushed the boundaries of rod design, bite indication, bivvies, bedchairs and terminal tackle, with all its' reliability, far beyond anything I could of imagined. The bait industry has taken Fred Wilton's theories and explored avenues which he didn't know existed. His basic theory remains sound - the baits, which are now being produced, of a quality Fred could have, but, dreamt of! He had access to neither the science, nor ingredients, which we're now able to take for granted. But what's it all for?
It would seem that we now live in an age of freshwater angling mono-culture. If you go coarse fishing - then, the market assumes, you are a carp angler! It is a multi-million pound business which aims to extract as much money, as possible, from those individuals who have succumbed to the slick advertising and the, over- hyped, allure of these wonderful fish. In these modern times anglers, it seems, are changing their rods and reels more regularly than they change their socks!
Last year Nash were singing the praises of their "Scope" range of products - bloody telescopic fishing rods - fandango gimmicks and nothing new. This year it's 13 footers because they give you that "extra distance". The only common denominator is that both products are fishing rods which come with test curves of 3lbs and above! Why would anyone require a fishing rod which has all the finesse of a scaffold pole? Dick Walker landed Clarrissa (all 44 lbs of her) from, a weed choked, Redmire Pool using a 10ft split cane Mk IV, of his own design and manufacture, the test curve being around one and a half pounds. The only thirteen footers that I own were purchased in the 1980's and are a Bruce & Walker HMC 2 3/4 lbs t/c and a Tri-cast 2 1/4 lbs t/c and they have all the feel, and action, of broom sticks! Don't take this the wrong way - these rods do have a very specific purpose; my Scottish 24 lbs 10 oz pike was taken on the heavier one of them, but they ain't general purpose all rounders. In 2016, guys are turning up at commercial "carp puddles" with 3 1/2 lbs t/c rods, "Big Pit reels" and all the other gear they were "conned" (mislead) into buying having watched a Korda "Masterclass" on Youtube. Is it any wonder that so many of these commercial fishery carp have deformed mouths?
Benno uses Shimano "Hyperloops", Sye has Grey's Prodigy's and many other superb new rods which are way outside my experience. Technology moves our lives forward, a basic fact and one which I embrace in all other aspects of my day to day existence. Mobile phones, laptop computers, cars that don't breakdown and digital cameras - I enjoy the benefits of them all, but still hanker for those quirky experiences borne of uncertainty - when quality assurance wasn't quite the exact science it is today. The angling project for my split cane thirty (a new PB would be a result!) has all the unknown factors I now seek. Living, as I do, in East Kent, a 30 lbs carp is not a "big fish" (but it is!!!) and many of the local venues are able to offer me a chance of a fish of this size, and much bigger! So what can be more twisted than the fact that I wish to catch a thirty using a split cane Mk IV - well I'm going to do it using particles! Under no circumstances am I using a boily on one of those iconic rods - everything else will be as good as I know how, but I ain't using boilies! (And I ain't using par-boiled potatoes either!) I have given myself six months in which to complete this challenge - although, as yet, I have still to finalise my venue choices?
Bev and I took a quick trip down to see Kevin (Tuesday afternoon) and I have booked a night out on Sandwich Coarse Fishery to have a little play with my new toys. Weather forecast isn't the best, but hey-ho! I'm going fishing and "you've gotta be in it, to win it!" After my meeting with Lee Morris, yesterday afternoon, I now find myself looking for some Mitchell 300's which are contemporary to my rods. It will not be an e-bay lottery - Mitchell made many thousands of these reels and they were of a build quality that ensured they've stood the test of time, I should be able to to get what I want for less than £100? In the interim, I am going to use my ABU Cardinal 66X's - twenty years the junior of the rods, but splendid examples of Swedish engineering (1973 - 75). As I'm not attempting to become a Dick Walker clone, or even Chris Yates, having neither the ability or desire, I just want to experience the feel of these iconic artefacts in as historic an encounter as I can recreate. (Sadly time travel is not an option!) The really crazy bit about this whole project is that I wasn't party to it, first time round. By the time I started fishing split cane rods had, already, been superseded by glass -fibre versions! I wonder just how many of my "ultra-cult carp fashionista" detractors will have any idea as to who Richard Walker was - even less; care about the split cane statement I'll be making? Modern times - happy anarchic days! We'll see?