This may be a little controversial, and it may upset a few people, but it really is something that I feel needs addressing for several reasons, and I shall try to explain why.
This year in particular I have had many conversations with fellow anglers, and at some stage or other the issue of time comes up. Invariably they will say something like “well it’s ok for you, you don’t fish weekends, you can fish during the week” or “you can suit yourself and go when you like.” It may seem that way, but in reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. I have a family, a mortgage and a full time job. I also have a variety of shows and features to do every year, in fact if I didn’t manage my time I wouldn’t get to go fishing at all!
I am lucky in that my family are very understanding, I have been married 16 years, and it has always been like this. Fishing is a way of life for both me and my family, and my wife never questions or complains, but I do try to balance things out a little by utilising my time to the best of my abilities. I do choose not to fish at weekends, and only during the week, and the main reason I am able to do this is because I work weekends. When I suggest that other anglers could do this, they look at me in horror. “I couldn’t do that, it’s the weekend” is the standard response. I also choose to work permanently early shifts, meaning that I get out of bed at 3am every day so I can be finished by noon. The rest of the day is mine. I also suggest this, but again, they look at me like I am mad.
Even when I am not actually fishing I have a very large dog that needs plenty of exercise, and he loves to go for walks around the lakes. He gets his walk, and I get to keep an eye on what’s going on, bait up, or watch the fish go about their every day business. It’s a win-win situation. I have even been known to get out of bed an hour earlier, drive to the lake and bait up my spots before work. It’s a wonderful time of day, and you can often find the fish while everyone else is sleeping. Of an evening time, my wife will be watching the god awful soaps, so I sit and tie up rigs and pva bags so everything is ready for when I do go fishing. How many people would be bothered to do these things? To me it’s just time management!
I guess the point I am trying to make is that you get out of it what you put in. I don’t want to have a go at anyone, angling is all things to all people, and people are free to approach it any way they wish. I have no problem with that, but I do have a problem when they moan about blanking, and then proceed to blame everyone and everything for their lack of action.
Many times I have seen people turn up on a Friday afternoon with enough kit for five people, drop into the most convenient swim (regardless of where the fish are) with the television, a case of ale and enough food to last a fortnight. I must state again that I DO NOT have a problem with this. It’s great that people can unwind, and get away from the stress of every day life. The problems arise when they are packing away Sunday lunchtime, telling anyone that will listen that the lake is rubbish because they haven’t caught anything! It couldn’t possibly be that all the fish have been up the other end of the pond, and they couldn’t be bothered to pack up all the camping equipment and move. Oh no, it’s because the lake is rubbish!
One of the syndicates that I have a ticket for has fished particularly hard this year, and many members have blanked. It’s around 6 acres in size, and holds around 60 fish. They are old fish, have seen every trick in the book, and don’t give themselves up lightly; every fish is earned. Unfortunately, some of the members have complained to the management because they haven’t caught this year, and are threatening to drop their tickets because there aren’t enough fish in the lake! 60 fish in 6 acres? How many do you want? To my horror the management are considering it. Well I for one would drop my ticket if they DID put more fish in! If you can’t catch the Carp it’s down to you, not the stock. You need to work at your angling, watch the Carp, and work out how to catch one, not keep adding fish until you do manage to net one!
Recently I spent a very pleasant day in the company of Steve Broad, Editor of UK Carp magazine. We went to a local day ticket water and caught steadily all day, in fact on more than one occasion we had two in the net at the same time. This is on a frosty day in December!
If I suggested to the syndicate members threatening to drop their tickets, that they go down there and get a bend in the rods they would scoff and say its not their thing. Yet they are quite happy to turn a wonderful little syndicate into just that type of water. You should be careful what you wish for, it might come true!
As I have said before, you get out of it what you put in. I have no problem with campers and have even been known to do it myself when I just need to unwind, but then I don’t expect to empty the pond whilst doing it! Be realistic, enjoy your angling, and don’t blame anyone but yourself when you blank. We all blank, that’s why it’s called angling, not catching. If you go home after a blank think about why you blanked and try to come up with a plan to put it right you will catch more than your fair share of carp. It’s extremely rewarding when you get it right and do catch, but if you go home and sulk, you will almost certainly continue to blank!
Have a great New Year, good luck and tight lines,