1 Darn sarf accent
“*ak me geezer, I’ve ‘ad an occuuuurance”, ‘Luvlee jubleeeeee”, “Pukkaaaaaa me ole mukkaaaaaa”… Suddenly the khaki coloured masses were sounding like pearly kings with Dexedrine suppositories. While stopping short of singing songs about two broken chairs on a horse and bloody cart, complete with spoons accompaniment, our man on the bank did everything he could to appear ‘Suven’.
The South’s stranglehold on the number of gravel diggings and, consequently, the carp in the land had manifested itself finally in video and the wanton angler could finally see and hear his favourite angler’s techniques and accent. While some addicts dropped to the desolate depths of employing Maylin’s ‘bubbles’ haircut of the late ‘Fox Pool’, early ‘Bazil’ area, it had become a social necessity around carp pools to ‘Sarnd Suven’. But since carps’ humble beginnings, the geography of the accent has subtly changed from one side of the Thames to the other, from London through Kent to Essex. Maybe it’s travelling to Norfolk? Yeah, roit.
2 Tips up
The gravel bars of the Colne Valley, festooned in swan mussel, flint and hidden murder weapons had seen its native carpers employ the ‘raising of the tip’ to keep their Big Game clear of trouble on the take. If your tips were up, you were at the forefront of modern carping, fishing the hardest, big fish gravel pits in the most demanding of conditions.
Cut to the Norfolk mud pit, where it’s semi amphibious regulars would fish every weekend, clutching the latest copy of Big Carp with their tips up like they were codding from Great Yarmouth North Beach, blanking like a good ‘un. “Fish Savs dunnoi”… No you bloody don’t, you’re on a flat bottomed piss pit, scaring the carp up the other end Barry, now put your tips down and take that sheep off your lap.
True, the elevated tip can be used as a catapult for dormant leads on a tight line, or to hook the fish as it takes-up the slack, but it was only ever employed regionally to look like you frequented the Horde & Barge.
3 Bobbins in the butt
If you weren’t there, you wouldn’t know, but the advent of the bowstring-like line turned tremors in to takes and made twitches a thing of the past. Timed perfectly to co-ordinate with ‘90s beer boy’, the method enabled you to swig merrily from a Stella or nine while playing origami with fag papers, knowing the only bleeps you heard were to signify a fish. Perfect.
Trouble is, they wised up. The drinkers nirvana of carp angling just became a drinkers nirvana, the takes stopped. It took most of us a year or two to realise, but a bobbin with a drop and a modicum of concentration suddenly became de rigueur again. Pah!
It’s a little known fact that between 1998 and 2007, two sugars was the place to be. Anyone who was anyone took two sugars. Why? Maybe it symbolised the hedonism of weekends away with your mates; at last you could have your tea how you wanted it without the guilt of considering the stress you’d put on your waistband or your relationship. Or it was the fact that tea does actually taste better with a brace of sugars?
5 Administering said sweetener
The subtleties and nuances of carping have to be seen to be believed. Suddenly, young men were sitting, huddled around their knees in tight circles, swathed in drab, cable knitted wool and polyester under floppy hats dealing two sugars with a swift flick of the wrist and an aggressive, fast stir. Why? Because Terry does, that’s why. Which leads me on to…
6 Terry types
You know the ones: you couldn’t walk around a gravel pit in the 2000s without coming across at Terry-Type (Or Tel Tubby if he was overweight). Two rods, Dwas, Nevs, full dupes; long hair, skate shoes, light bobbins; steaming kettle and an aggressive stirring habit. How many people to this day (having lost the hair and the will to fish) claim to have had Nevs from ‘Day 1. Pukkaaaaa int they’? The Terry-Types, that’s who.
7 The mascot
While ‘your little pals’ popularity has waned somewhat over the past few years, there’s still great bastions of the art of the mascot littering our banks. Spooner’s Monkey and Lockey’s Grover (and several others, but Grover gets most of the bites) spring to mind, but there was a period when you weren’t even angling if you didn’t have some strange, furry adornment hanging off your bars. Garages would be raped of all the kids toys, often leading to an entire bank of matching mascots down t’pit. Kidnaps, ransoms and even fisticuffs became commonplace as lucky captors mascots were ‘liberated’. But soon, another fad disappeared like a sandstorm in the Sahara. But, every now and again, you’ll still find a Tellytubby or Paddington lost in the dense thicket beside your plot. Look after him, put him on your bars and clean him up, he may be lucky? Is he buggery… Bin him and burn him.