As another Carp year comes to an end, I always find it a time for reflecting on the year just gone. Did you achieve all that you wanted? If you did you are very lucky as the case with most Carp anglers is a glass half empty mentality rather than half full.
However, in an age of economic depression, predation of our beloved quarry is increasing and more anglers than ever are competing with us – it may seem a bleak outlook to some! I do find though that expectations are best viewed with an optimistic slant rather than a pessimistic one.
For me angling has always been an escape from the day-to-day pressures of life. In an ever-competing section of angling that Carp fishing can appear to be at times, I find a more measured outlook more conducive to an extended carping life.
I tend to have quite rigid views on what makes a Carp angler want to fish for Carp. It is quite simply a personal journey that we take almost instantly when we fall in love with Carp fishing. And very much like being in love there will be times when it appears more pain than gain. However to me Carp fishing is the method I use to catch the Carp. A Carp angler is someone who is cursed for life. I know many Carp anglers who don’t fish at the moment but they will always be Carp anglers. It is a state of mind that there is no escape from. Therefore, as I mentioned earlier, the year-end is a great time to reflect on where you are, where you’ve been and more importantly where you want to be with your Carp fishing.
For me, I love the thrill of the chase and targeting individual large Carp has always been a driver for me. However, a word of caution here. It has to be measured and assessed in a balanced way. This last year I have been fishing my water, Lakeview for its mysterious inhabitants. It is mysterious as I have not caught them all yet and I see Carp at certain times of the year, that I still can’t catch. For sure it is often the largest in the lake but not always. This year I caught a Carp I called the Myth, as I had not caught it in the eight years I have owned Lakeview. For sure it is not the biggest resident, but when I was lucky to dispel my self-inflicted myth that it was uncatchable at 37lb, the thrill was perhaps greater than when I caught a carp called Big Bernard at over 50.
That thrill was because I had taken an established low 20 and managed through good fishery management to produce a water capable of making it grow to over 50lbs. This from such a humble beginning with my 1st encounter with this Carp at 19lb in 2004 gave me immense personal pride.
Indeed that is my New Year message to all of the army of Greys and Chub carping fans out there. Take stock of your own Carp fishing and keep focussing on that. The media can be a vicious place to poke your head into at times. The plethora of huge Carp you see weekly in the likes of Carp Talk can sometimes make your own catches seem disappointing but this shouldn’t be the case. The enjoyment of your Carp fishing is what matters and for better or worse Carp fishing should be all about you. It is perhaps a pastime that requires a selfishness of thought. Don’t confuse this with being single minded as it isn’t the same, you have to fish for the enjoyment it brings you. It is a very dangerous hobby for making those long, run-less blanks seem personal but trust me it isn’t. I don’t know many things in life but one thing I have learnt is that if you keep at it, you will be rewarded. So with a new year comes new expectations and reflections. Don’t waste too much time on the reflections, as they can be good and bad. Instead, like me put all your energy into your expectations. As the great Charles Dickens wrote, let’s make them all great.
Happy New Year and see you on the bank