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13 Feb 2017
by Shaun Harrison
The carping trends of the 80s
Rods high off the ground; reels inches apart; tips in the air; everything in black – there’s been some mega fashions over the years but here’s the best of the best. This month: the 80s courtesy of Shaun Harrison

Boilie making

“By the 80’s most were starting to think that high protein baits were the way forward and suddenly everyone was buying separate ingredients from the tackle shops to try and produce ‘the ultimate bait’. New terms were invented to describe baits such as H.N.V. (High Nutritional Value) rather than H.P. (High Protein) as had been used in the past regardless as to whether they were high in protein or not.”

Hair rigs combined with bolt rigs

“The early 80’s saw the Hair and bolt rigs being used for the first time and carp angling was to undergo its biggest change ever. Suddenly everyone was wanting to fish for carp.”

Sides on brollies

“50” umbrellas were finally invented/made and it was just about possible to squeeze an Argos-style bedchair under one with the back of the brolly on the ground. Suddenly brolly sides were attached rather than full skirts; The ‘Waterlot’ as they were sometimes called was born.”

Sleeping bags

“During the 70’s I never saw another angler use a sleeping bag but by the time Hair and bolt rigs came into use, most would get into bed at night rather than try and stay awake ready to strike a twitch bite.”

Bite alarms

“Although alarms were owned by most carp anglers in the 70’s, it wasn’t really until the 80’s that a lot of them actually used them for most of their angling. The original antennae type alarms such as the infamous Heron created a little too much resistance pre-bolt rig days and were prone to going off with a bit of drift so most never bothered.

Matching rods and reels

“Suddenly this seemed to become an essential part of carp angling with anglers trying to look the part if they couldn’t necessarily be the part.”

Openness

“Because we had a new-breed of carp angler on the scene since the Hair rig made catching carp a much easier prospect we suddenly found a lot of naive anglers telling everything. It had never been as easy to find out about different waters.”

Indicators on needles

“Nothing new there but suddenly the needles became much longer and sat upright in front of the reel rather than angled from behind. Resistance now no longer mattered as bolt and Hair rigs soon became the ‘norm’ and indicators quickly got bigger and heavier.”

Sponge in the butt guide

“We used to do this in the early bolt rig days to maximise resistance on the take whilst open bail arm fishing. Remember we were still waiting for the Baitrunners to be invented in the early 80s…”

Camouflage

“This being so important in the 70’s became less important in the 80’s. Carp were suddenly easy to catch now we had Hair rigs and you could still catch a few without having to have every single tiny edge.”

Carp angling uniform

“It was rather amusing to see anglers for the first time starting to dress in a similar way. To my eyes it started off after Kevin Maddock’s had made a name for himself and suddenly people were turning up everywhere in what became known as the ‘Kevin Maddock’s jumper’. Prior to this, most carp anglers simply fished in old drab coloured clothes, but now people were starting to buy clothes to fish in.”

Carbon rods with less guides

“Prior to the mid 80’s most rods would have quite a few rod guides as all the books showed diagrams of line cutting rod rings if enough weren’t used. But with quality lined rings becoming available it was suddenly possible to go right down to six guides. How odd this looked at the time but how totally normal now. The first 30mm guides I saw on a rod looked enormous yet now 50mms don’t look out of place.”

French lakes

“The mid-80’s saw the first wave of carp anglers exploring the French lakes. It all started off with a report in the Angling Times of a place called Lac De St Cassien and within a matter of weeks carp were being landed well over our record back home. I was one of the fortunate ones to have been able to drop everything and visit it that first year. The floodgates were then soon open and exploratory anglers started to discover more and more venues containing giant carp.”

Alcohol on the bank

“This noticeably started to happen during the 80’s and increased to the level where it seems to be an essential part of carp angling for many. Up until the mid 80’s I only ever really remember having a drink opening night."

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