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Carping On

I’ve been kitting myself out with JRC and Chub carp fishing gear of late. This has surprised a few of you that know me, but never fear, I’ll still be sea fishing just as much as normal. So why this partial switch to the dark side?

It’s not really a switch as I’ve always enjoyed all forms of fishing, but in the past I’ve lacked the time to indulge in other disciplines. Sea fishing has, and always will, remain the king pin of my fishing endeavours, but I’ve always enjoyed fly fishing, and over the past decade really got back in to it. I’ve also done a little bit of coarse fishing when the opportunity arose, but living close to the sea in northwest Wales meant that coarse fishing, until recently, meant a fair trek back inland to find decent waters and I just didn’t have the time.

Like wise carp fishing. I’ve dabbled in the past, and fished for carp in France once too, but again never had the time to fish regularly. With my now advancing years, and by choice and necessity, with a little bit more time available to me from now on, I wanted to fulfil a long term ambition and target a 20lb carp from two fairly local waters where they don’t go much bigger than that. I also wanted some fresh challenges to work with alongside my eternal quest for new species. And to be honest, over the past few years, I’ve lost that many sea trips to impossible weather that having another string to my bow gives me options when the weather is lousy and the sea not a realistic option.

Carp Fishing in France
My 36lbs 2ozs carp from a trip to France in 2004

I’ve bought a winter ticket on the nearest carp lake, meaning I can fish when and for how long I want. I’m not restricted to just short day sessions. I’m aware the winter fishing will be hard, but though I’d obviously hope and expect to catch a few fish during the colder months, my priority is to learn the water getting to know the swims, snags and form a plan as to how best to fish it. I also want to sort myself out too, and be happy with my rigs, baits, tackle options, and bivvy set up. Then come spring, I’ll be ready for an all out assault. Both waters see a fair bit of angling pressure, so it won’t be easy, and currently I’m looking at ways to gain an edge.

Come next spring and summer, my strategy will be to bivvy out over two nights if I feel that’s the right approach, but also be prepared to go minimal and stalk fish if possible. Its obvious that being mobile and being able to move to where the fish are is a simple but highly effective strategy that can put way more fish on the bank. However, the waters I have in mind are not that big, so angler activity may be an issue re the stalking. I’ll just have to see how it pans out.

One of my local carp fishing venues.
One of my local carp fishing venues.

I bagged my first UK catfish back in August, and the furthest lake holds a few bigger cats to over 40lbs. My other freshwater challenge then, is to get one of these out, as I really enjoyed targeting that first cat. I could fish a cat and carp rod alongside each other, but of course on fisheries where three rods are allowed, next year a single £45 rod licence allows you to fish three rods instead of having to buy two separate licences, so I’d be tempted to have two rods out for carp, and one in the margins for the feline. Much will depend on the swims I choose to fish, of course, but again there are options.

My first Catfish in the UK and species 114!

One other fish I’d like to get at some stage is a decent tench. I’ve only had them to a little over 2lbs, but a 5lber would be a big lift on my PB. I’ve found a water where some live that’s not too far away, and this will be challenge number three. Whether I get round to it next year, or not, who knows, but I will at some stage.

So there you have it. I’m just as committed to my sea fishing as I ever was. But I will be exploring a few other avenues over the next few years and I’m really looking forward to the new challenges that lie ahead.

Be lucky!