I’d like to start my debut piece for The Session by firstly thanking Greys and Chub for this opportunity to become part of the Academy and secondly by expressing how much I’m looking forward to getting out and using some of the great products that they have in their range.
As the new kid on the block so to speak, and a name many of you will not be familiar with, I’m going to use this piece to explain a little about myself, and what I’ve been up to in my angling time to date.
I’m 25 years old from Salisbury in the south of the country. I currently work as a machine operator in a mailing company close to my home and I am also a consultant for CC Moore baits.
Going right back to the beginning, I first started fishing as soon as I could walk. My dad was a keen match angler and he didn’t waste any time in getting a rod in my hand and taking me with him. From that moment the spark was ignited and an angler was born. I began catching Roach and Dace from the rivers and streams before being taken to the local forest ponds. Here I started catching Gudgeon and Roach again before hooking into the Carp. Even though my first one may have only been 6 inches long I have always been obsessed with catching a bigger one! I went from trying to catch a 1 pounder to dreaming of catching a fish over 10 pounds. I remember my brother and I used to look through the angling papers and magazines picking out which of the ‘sagging belly’ Carp that we wanted to catch when we went to these little forest ponds, convinced that every lake held these fish.
It was when I passed my driving test at the age of 19 that the real angling campaign began. With so much more freedom I became a lot more driven and every opportunity was spent fishing or walking venues. I had caught fish to over 30lbs, but a 40lb plus fish was the ultimate dream. Being lucky enough to have a Roach Pit ticket at the time, I knew full well what the lake held and was always over whelmed looking at pictures of the giants. Even though a few of the big ones had been caught while I was on the lake, I would always find out afterwards and had never actually seen one on the bank. I so badly wanted to be cradling one in my own arms I even fished the majority of the winter that year, in ridiculous conditions for not so much as a liner. I finally got my opportunity at the end of that season after a long winter drew to a close and I managed to slip the net under the awesome Shaun’s fish at 42.12. Not only is this one of the most shady fish in the venue but it was also the first time the fish had been caught over the 40lb mark so it was a really special capture for me.
That was I suppose, when the big Carp bounty hunter was born. Since that moment I have always been so impressed by Carp once they get to that 40lb size. Like real freaks of nature. The majority of angling now revolves around targeting individual large fish. When choosing a new target it has to catch my eye. I love fish that have their own character for whatever reason. There are no strains of Carp I wouldn’t fish for, no venues I wouldn’t fish, if I personally like the look of a fish I’m happy to fish for it. I have fished a variety of venues, from small intimate pools, to huge windswept pits and I’m at home on either. I would say I much prefer to fish a venue with clear water, simply because of the amount you can learn from watching your quarry and being able to see below the surface.
Over the last six years chasing these monsters has seen me travel all over the south of the country in pursuit of them with relative success. I have been lucky enough to have had thirteen 40lb+ captures with five of these over 45lb. Most recently, last autumn, I managed to fulfil my latest dream which was to catch a UK 50 pounder in the shape of the mighty Single Scale at 57lb. I had come so close before with the Nutsey mirror, so to finally achieve it was a special moment. I thought 40lb plus carp were impressive in the flesh but
this fish was on a whole new level. I honestly cannot even begin to imagine what the huge Carp from the continent must be like to witness.
Growing up and learning to fish on the River Avon, I have a huge passion for the flowing water. There is a certain magic that the river brings that cannot be found on a lake. Listening to the gentle flow of the current on a misty morning or raging force of a weir pool in the summer sun is quite a unique angling experience. Because of this, even though I spend the majority or the year carping I would probably describe myself best as an all round specimen angler. Last summer I attempted to catch my first Barbel and successfully banked a 9lb 15oz first fish and then followed up the next day with a fish of 12lb 4oz. This winter just gone I hung the carp rods up completely for 4 months, more so due to the incredibly bad weather, and just targeted specimens of other species. Initially I only set out to catch a 2lb river Roach, but after doing that quicker than expected I tried my hand at a few other species with reasonable success. I Tried for a 7lb Chub and managed a 6lb 9oz fish. A Perch of 4lb and got a 3lb 9oz. Finally, and probably the most difficult a 1lb Dace and managed a 12oz fish. Despite the horrendous weather, I still managed to have an incredible winters fishing, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Hopefully with some better weather this year I may manage to bag some bigger specimens.
Over the coming year I will be trying to finish up on a larger water I have been fishing recently, needing only one more of it’s A team to be done. It will certainly be a difficult task. Increased pressure on the lake will be a tough obstacle in itself, but also as the fish in question is probably the most elusive big one I will certainly need a little help from lady luck. I also have a couple of less pressured waters lined up that I will be starting concentrate on with some lovely old fish in, and possibly a couple of surprises!
Well that’s a little bit about me and the sort of thing I get up to. Until next time, tight Lines.
Follow how Matt’s fishing is going in his Academy blog.