Taken literally, all serious anglers have to start with ensuring the rod and reel are of top quality - rod rests and bite alarms play no part in this, neither do bivvies, un-hooking mats or designer clothing. No, the rod and reel need to be the very best that you can afford. On an equal footing has to be the requirement for a reputable and reliable line; so no place for the cheap "mile of line!" for a few quid. Terminal tackle has to be the very best that can be acquired - hooks have to be a quality product (there are many top quality manufacturers out there), hook link material is equally varied, but dominated by a couple of superb brands who's reputations are based upon quality and reliability. A lead is a lead; but a swivel can play a major part, so no room for compromise. When analysed, in this manner, it is easy to see where that game angler was coming from!
|A fairly typical "Common" carp from a local day ticket venue.|
Fantastic fun, on the right gear - but do these fish justify the massive expense involved in
some visitors investment?
The meteoric rise in the dominance of carp, therefore carp fishing, as the main target species for freshwater anglers, is directly responsible for this attitude - exactly why Dragoncarp, as a brand and discount tackle outlet, came into existence and is now seen, by the mainstream carp angling fraternity, to be the symbol of the devil because it dares to challenge the dominance of the major players in this marketing fiasco!(It's not Dragonpike or Dragonroach, etc..; purely because these species are unable to attract the same level of, un-thinking, hysteria) Cheap bivvies, un-hooking mats, bite alarms, bedchairs, well, if you name it they sell it - absolutely none of this gear will aid an angler in their angling successes. In an industrial parlance - they are "A nice to have, not a must have!"
I'll come clean, right from the very start, I love Dragoncarp but will also be the first to admit that they do sell some horrendously crap tackle - stuff that even a child would find difficulty in deriving any pleasure in its' use. However, there are a lot of mediocre items that, for any pleasure angler, are perfectly capable of doing a job. I've got rod-rests, landing net (mesh only for my pike angling & frame only for barbel), a bivvy, a brolly, rod holdall, bed chair, sleeping bag and a seat - all at a fraction of the price that the top brands are demanding! None of these items has made me a better, or worse, angler - the fish have no concept of brand labelling and the corresponding snob value that it is capable of inducing.
|My CK "Bunka" bivvy - Loch Awe May 2014|
70 mph winds, sleet, snow, hail and torrential rain - it remained intact and 100% waterproof!
Pretty good for a £35 bivvy?
This is all hypothetical - each angler having differing expectations of their gear, so my thoughts are purely from a personal perspective. Fortunately, in my current position, I am not a poor man (although I'm by no means wealthy) and can afford to indulge my hobbies, should I choose. Therefore, my opening gambit is a bit misleading, in as much as, although I'm committed to my enjoyment of angling and consider myself to be serious in the pursuit of my quarry, my tackle is not the best I can afford, but it is of a very good quality - and has, more importantly, stood the test of time! Modern equipment is designed as a consumable commodity, not a piece of engineering craftsmanship. Each and every year new models appear on scene - be they rods, reels, bivvies, rod-pods, bite alarms, throwing sticks and/or bivvy tables (you'd better believe it!) amongst countless other accessories which are deemed a "must have" by any serious carp angler. Some of these guys change their reels more frequently than they change their socks!
Carp are a magnificent fish, big carp are every bit as impressive as any other species. The mystique which surrounded these creatures, as I grew up, has long been removed. Clinical technicians replacing the angling countrymen of my youth. Modern tackle and technology is ruthlessly efficient, in competent hands, and has resulted in a never-ending demand for carp fisheries. I haven't even mentioned bait - an industry in its' own right. Some astounding products, available at a price, to all who wish to use them.
I didn't want this to be seen as a dig at the modern angling scene (although it undoubtedly is) - just a viewpoint of an individual whose angling journey was far more complex than a Youtube induced carp fever.
Since my return, I have had chance to chat with many anglers - mostly intrigued by the strange old tackle that I'm using. The vast majority are decent people who wish for nothing more than to enjoy their hobby in the best way they know how - and I'm all for that.