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10 things that always end badly in carp fishing

On and off the bank!

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01 Casting out in front of a crowd
Even the simplest tasks become a bit trickier when you realise you’re being watched. Like having to use the middle urinal in a busy public toilet. What was once instinct and muscle memory suddenly becomes a process you have to think about, and before you know it you’ve blasted your tip ring into the lake, smashed your rig through a bush or failed to hit the clip at 60yds. 

02 Trying the ‘washing line’ method
This super-stealthy tactic that sees your line suspended above the water by a bankstick placed on the far bank seems like a winner for crafty in-the-edge success. But if you’ve ever tried to do it on your own you’ll know the heartache of sagging main line, too little tension, too much tension… and endless trips back and forth destroying the margin spot anyway. 

03 Cooking properly on the bank
Even as you assemble all the utensils and receptacles needed in your kitchen before the trip you’ll begin to think this is a bad idea, but you press on because you know you must stop eating quick-and-easy junk in your bivvy. But, ruddy hell, trying to prepare anything that requires two pans or staggered heating times on the bank is a faff that always has you reaching for the takeaway menu. 

04 Using a snide rod
George Michael famously crooned that ‘guilty feet have got no rhythm’, and it’s fair to say culpable carpers hiding an extra rod in the bushes are equally as shifty. In your head, it’s a sneaky way to maximise your chances of catching, but in reality you end up acting like a raver around a sniffer dog when the bailiff pops in for a chat. 

05 Keeping maggots fresh on the bank
Much like Schrödinger’s famous cat, it seems maggots can be both bursting with vitality and rotting at the same time, until you prise open the bucket lid and get confirmation. Confirmation that, yep, once again you’ve somehow failed to keep your precious cargo fresh in the time it took to extract them from the fridge, drive to the lake and set up. Every bloody time. 

06 Popping to the pub for one drink
Like opening a fresh tub of Pringles and expecting to resist taking more than a single crisp, no one has ever been lured down to the pub at the weekend with their mates and been able to keep to a solitary drink. You’ll be in the kebab shop off the back of eight pints and three tequilas before you know it. 

07 Returning to a sport you loved in your youth
Value your Achilles tendons, cruciate ligaments and fully rotating shoulders, because when you make a misguided middle-aged decision to lace up your football boots, buy a new mountain bike or take to the squash court after years of absence you will snap, bend or knacker one or all of these things. 

08 Starting a relationship with someone at work
A bit like pike fishing, this sounds exciting and can be surprisingly easy… but you’ll get bitten sooner or later. A drunken snog at the Christmas party, or getting flirty when sending emails about the stationery inventory might seem like the right choice at the time, but if it all goes wrong your office will feel as claustrophobic as a retention sling.   

09 Tying the Bimini Twist Knot
This is a great knot for joining braided lines, but how many of you have actually tried to follow a step-by-step guide to tying it? The always-informative Lewis Read created a video version for Gardner last year and as we watched him use his boots to hold a loop open we realised even he couldn’t make it look simple! 

10 Using distance sticks in the dark
Using distance sticks can be fiddly in the daylight, but it’s generally not too much of a pain to rectify a missed loop or start again if you lose count. But it’s a different story at night, even with a good headtorch. Co-ordination and the ability to count seem to go out of the window as soon as the sun sets. 

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