Ian Chillcott Columnists

Just My Opinion... The Experience

Why discovering things for yourself will ultimately enhance your angling

“The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope.” Jon Bucan, circa 1910.

In all walks of life there has to be some ‘serious’ time. Families, and the responsibilities they bring to our lives is a good example, as is simply working to make ends meet; creating some pennies so the bills can be paid. We have all been there, and we have all suffered because of the hand that life has dealt us from time to time. And whilst I never want to dwell on such things, particularly when we are talking about carp fishing, there can be little doubt these essentials very often shape all aspects of our lives, especially our downtime, or in this instance, our time by a lake, pond, river or canal. I suppose, therefore, the way in which we approach our stress relieving pastime is vital to the way in which we get the benefits from it.

I have often stopped and stared at comments made about carp angling, and more specifically the way in which those comments shape the way we want to carry out our pastime. Just as importantly, they have an influence as to where we want to spend our days in this “glorious waste of time”!

The joy of it all!

For the most part, people who relay the art of carp fishing to the readers or the viewers, want to sell something; be that products, or more bizarrely, themselves to a public that is often duped into thinking these preachers are the most gifted of fishermen. From experience, and I include myself in all of this nonsense, they are not! The selling of products is standard operating procedures in any industry, and I fully understand the need for companies within that industry to sell the products they develop and manufacture. However, I have little time or patience with those who try to sell themselves and therefore influence others to take on board the fairy stories about their tales of derring do! Stories which make the whole carp fishing malarkey something of an attempt to scale the North Face of Everest. I’ve been there, and believe me, carp fishing was never meant to create such a mountain to climb!

It’s how carp fishing makes me feel all the time

I suppose the first thing people say about the carp they catch, is that it was probably the most intelligent creature ever put on this earth. That is the one thing, which in no uncertain terms, sends my breakfast across the table as it’s expelled from my mouth through incredulity! Carp intelligence is a subject we have discussed before, but I’ll just remind you that although I believe they have none at all, they certainly seem to have far more than the people who continually tell us they have!

Then of course there is the environment they live in; it’s an inhospitable, hostile place that makes the “mission” so much harder. The “pursuit” gains momentum when we are told that bites are more unlikely than them finding a seam of gold when they push their banksticks in. And their will to create the ultimate fable seems to enhance all the horrible bits, instead of enhancing it with the joy of actually being there in the first place. I hope I’m not missing the point here; is it supposed to be a moribund and painful experience? Is there no joy to be found on the bank, and our efforts to get there? I can’t help feeling there is, and I just wish more people would enhance the pleasure of angling by concentrating on these a little more.

It’s all about enjoying the environment we fish in

Most of the written word has one thing in mind: carp fishing is hard, carp are nigh-on impossible to catch and you have to wring your brain out in order to find what it takes to capture one. The situation is so bad I find it hard to read the same thing over and over again. “Turn up at the lake, use this complicated rig, put some of this bait in and all you have to do is wait to reel them in.” Surely there is more to it than that?

You are probably thinking I found it difficult to decide what to do when I was finding my way in carp fishing. The great thing about that time, for me, was being able to learn for myself something different each time I went. Discovering things which had never been written about, and learning from the carp and the environment themselves. My reasoning wasn’t clouded by someone’s incessant efforts to make himself look good, although there were a couple of those even then. The fortunate thing was that the amount of written material was very limited. The odd article in the Angling Times and the Anglers Mail in the 1980’s were just about all there was to fuel the fire. And as there weren’t that many dedicated products around in those days, the way these rare articles were written promoted the atmospherics and the thrill of chasing carp around.

I totally accept that many just believe all they have to do is read something and all will be well with the world. To some extent I suppose this could be true. However, I have always believed finding out about the fishing that confronts me for myself is not only more satisfying; it is guaranteed to make you a heck of a lot happier about what you have achieved.

And when you finally believe that carp fishing can be the most simple of exploits, achievable by using the most simple of tackle and tactics, then you can spend a little more time enjoying the experience, erasing from your mind the trials and tribulations you are escaping from. I can’t help asking: whatever happened to the realisation that all of this was supposed to be fun? Only my opinion of course.

Carp fishing has made me smile for years