I have just read through my little piece of literary blemish, it could be better but to do it again would be too tedious. The first few pages were originally written as an article for the B.C.S.G. magazine but as I did not rejoin the article became redundant. My kids enjoyed reading it so I wrote a few more pages and then a few more again.
Eventually there were hundreds of bits of paper and my good friend Nigel Jackson collected them all up and convinced his wife Sarah that she wanted to type it for me, I then convinced him that he wanted to draw the pictures for me.
I am very lucky to have such good friends but I am even luckier to have such a good family, they are the best. My wife Barbara and our two sons Scott and Jonathan have always encouraged me to fish whenever I have wanted to go and have tolerated all the unpleasant smells that fill the house when bait is made. Any carp angler that can fish when he likes and still retain domestic harmony is a very lucky man indeed.
Carp fishing has become very popular over the last few years and to different people it means different things. To some it may be spending one or two days and nights a week on a lonely quiet water in the hope of just catching one or two big fish a season, at the other extreme it might involve fishing almost every night on a more productive fishery trying to catch more carp than anyone else. However you approach your fishing it is only done for personal enjoyment, it is only a path to fame and fortune for very few and when angler’s do become famous it is usually the result of a lot of hard work, far more than the average angler is prepared to undertake.
There is a very small element within carp fishing who are suffering from what can be best described as "Sour Grape Syndrome". If given the chance these people can make the lives of successful angler’s a misery. They should never be listened to and when you know who they are avoided at all costs.
To me carp angling has been an almost total indulgence and through it I have made some very good friends. I hope I have been able to help them with their fishing, I know they have helped me with mine. But if gratitude is to be given it must all go to my family who have had to live with my obsession for as long as I can remember.
There are dozens of stories I intended to write but didn’t so I will finish with one that shows the danger of becoming too keen and leave it at that.
The angler concerned was called Paul and although he had only just started carp fishing he was very keen. He would arrive at the lake and after unloading all his tackle from the car would then pick up his rod holdall and march off towards his chosen swim with his family walking in a line behind him carrying all his other equipment including a case or two of lager. Rather like the great white hunter complete with native bearer’s.
He arrived at the lake one morning in December to find the angler’s that had stayed the night were trying to get their lines from the frozen surface of the water, undaunted he marched to the far end of the complex where he had hoped to fish. When he arrived he found his chosen swim was frozen and the disappointment set in. He paced up and down and become quite agitated until finally he walked about twenty yards back down the track and took off all his clothes. He then used the track as a run up and dived straight on the ice smashing it to pieces. After clearing what he felt to be a reasonable sized area to fish in he climbed out, dried himself off and got dressed. He then cast two rods out, set up his umbrella and started to wade through his supply of lager. I don’t know if he caught anything but it would be nice if he did.
That story was supposed to be the last one but something happened yesterday that cannot be omitted. I went fishing at Lydd with Ted Hadaway and set up in a swim half way down the lake, Ted set up in the swim next to me and after we had sorted everything out he appeared in my bivvy door with two mugs of tea. I came out of my bivvy and we stood at the back of the swim discussing prospects for the next four days. We had both been looking forward to this trip and I had already seen three fish rolling over my bait, I just knew I was in for a big hit and was absolutely certain it wouldn’t be long in coming.
It came before my tea had even cooled enough to start drinking it. A person appeared in my swim on a jet bike, he was totally out of control and about to fall off. Instead of just falling in the reeds he decided to give the bike full throttle and tried to turn away. Instead of turning the bike soared up into the air and landed on my rods, smashing them to pieces. Four Sportex Infinities, four Shimano Stadic’s and four Delkims all smashed beyond repair plus a rod pod, bank sticks and buzzer bars twisted into an unrecognisable knot. My carbon landing net crumbled as I picked it up, I felt sick as I tried to find something that had survived, it was absolute carnage. It then occurred to us that there was no driver present and at first we thought he was under the jet bike but he called us from the margin where he was bobbing about with what was left of one of my Delkims.
Apart from cuts and bruises he was alright until I totaled up the damage which came to thirty pounds short of two thousand quid. Now all the tackle can be replaced but if he had hit someone standing on the bank or another jet skier he would be in serious trouble. He had no insurance and more to the point no experience. It took five of us just to move the jet bike along the ground and we were told it could develop one hundred and twenty B.H.P. What kind of water management allows someone who has never been on a jet ski before loose on a very powerful machine where other people are present. Needless to say I will never fish the water again but when I eventually get my new tackle it might just catch some bigger fish than the old stuff.