It was over fifty years ago when I caught my very first Carp. A small Common from Pixie's Mere, just outside Hemel Hempstead, taken whilst, overnight, fishing for Tench using a bicycle lamp to illuminate the Porcupine quill which provided my bite indication. I don't remember too much about the fish but it must have made enough of an impression for me to place it in my keepnet and show it to my mates next morning. Two or three pounds, max, it was certainly a novelty to see such a fish at that time - the early 1970's!
|8th November 1983 - 21 lbs 9 oz of Stanborough magic|
I'm fairly sure that I've blogged previously about how fortunate I feel to have avoided the rise to mainstream angling dominance by Carp and their pursuit. I spent little more than a single winter, 1983/4, during which time Carp became my target as I strove to capture a fish in the twenty-five pound bracket. I failed in that particular quest, ending the campaign with a very laudable PB weight of 23 lbs 14 oz backed up by sixteen other doubles which included another four fish in excess of that magical "twenty" pound barrier. Serious Carp fishing for the period.
|25th February 1984 - 23 lbs 14 oz |
My Stanborough project came to an end with this fish.
Fast forward forty years and how things have evolved? Certainly far in excess of anything imaginable way back in those halcyon days of Tring Tench, Claydon Catfish, Fenland Pike & Zander and Hampshire Avon Barbel. The modern Carp scene is as far removed from my own angling as to be an alien pastime. Under no circumstances am I condemning those folk who glean huge enjoyment from their own involvement in this modern circus but, as I rapidly approach seventy years on this planet, it doesn't do it for me.
|23rd April 2017 - 23 lbs 5 oz of RMC, split cane caught, fun.|
Then, just as I'm settled in my comfortable angling niche, along comes social media to completely upset the apple cart! Whilst I am captivated by the story telling prowess of Terry Hearn, gain enjoyment from the utter carnage portrayed by the guys at Ridge Monkey, Korda and Nash, it is young Alfie Russel who fires my imagination with his off the beaten track escapades. Great entertainment, some of the content is hugely educational but, by and large, certainly aimed at the mainstream Carp angling brigade. The best I can offer is being on the outside, looking in.
|July 2022 - fun fishing, pure and simple. A "scamp" off the surface|
using a split cane Avon Mk IV and Match Aerial centrepin.
Then completely out of the blue I find myself watching a Nash podcast in which Dan Yeomans, a Nash employee, tells his story about the pursuit of a very special Carp which he eventually managed to coax into his landing net. What struck me about Dan's podcast wasn't how he achieved his goal but, far more interestingly, his mentality behind the journey. He described the campaign as "his personal Everest" and it certainly resonated with my own thoughts about projects I undertake.
|3rd August 2021 - 22 lbs 3 oz|
Quite probably the finest Carp I've ever captured?
With this past season being an almost total write-off, I'm already looking forward to pressing the re-start button and seeking new challenges. Given the wealth of Carp angling potential around my part of East Kent, there's a few avenues which might be worthy of exploration?