CC Moore
Ian Chillcott Columnists
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Of course it's just my honest opinion 'Tempus fugit'

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve stared in wonder at how some carp anglers set-up at the start of a session...

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve stared in wonder at how some carp anglers set-up at the start of a session. Invariably it leaves me a little confused, and even more so a day later, when the fisherman has complained about not catching a carp. Everything will be at fault, of course, everything bar himself seems to get the sharp edge of his tongue. Unfortunately, I ain’t the kind of guy that’s frugal with the truth. After telling him (as gently and politely as possible of course) it was his own fault, explaining that he should have given a little more thought to proceedings. Invariably they walk away, shaking their heads, with the most disgusted look on their faces.

I most certainly don’t have the answers to everything, but when you see a guy arrive, set-up in the first available swim, spend two hours building his house, tuning in the TV and making sure the rods are level; you must begin to wonder what many expect from carp angling. It all comes to a head when he picks up the rods, and takes only a couple of minutes to cast them out, and bait up. He may well look the business in his neat and tidy swim, but the most important part of the fishing equation has been woefully overlooked.

For me, the whole point of fishing is to ensure your rigs and free offerings are in the right place, and the farther you move away from the baited area towards your bivvy, unless it’s raining of course, the less important your equipment becomes. As I have said to so many people who think I may be able to provide an answer: don’t let the things you do in the day, keep you awake at night!
I understand completely why we all want to look the dogs dangly bits whenever we can. We spend enough money on some incredible stuff, after all, so why not get the best from it? It’s just that the icing on the cake is surely holding up a carp for the cameras?

An uncaught common, and not a bivvy in sight!

Now, don’t think I’m turning into some kind of Agony Aunt here, telling you how to overcome a few of life’s traumas, such as having a love affair with your tackle box, or slowly stroking your new rods in a sexually gratifying way. No, looking good makes you feel good, but ultimately it’s all about doing good that really matters. Sadly, a dry unhooking mat often explains, in a very graphic way, that we need to try harder!

Practise makes perfect, or so the saying goes. Obviously, the only place you can practise effectively is when you are at the lake. Whilst you are trying desperately, or not of course, to teach those pesky carp a lesson or two, then maybe you should look in the mirror and realise it is us, more often than not, that need to be shown the ropes, from time to time. I for one wouldn’t have it any other way. Once again, learning from our mistakes, or indeed just learning life’s lessons, is a surefire way of making any capture far more satisfying. And dare I say, making you look like you know what the hell you are doing!

Leave your gear on the barrow until you’re sure you’re staying

Let’s start at the beginning, and hopefully end up at the end. Why do people drive or barrow into the nearest empty plot? Yes, I know lakes can be hellishly busy at the weekend, but isn’t it more important to be on the fish or near them, at least? So, first find your fish. Secondly why, unless its pee-ing down with rain, would you put up a bivvy first? It is way beyond me, to be honest, because if you sort your rods out first and get angling, you have automatically increased the time you are fishing! After all, isn’t time supposed to be our greatest ally? Then once you are happy with the reason you go fishing in the first place, you can spend the rest of the day turning your tented accommodation into the most palatial setting, if that is what turns you on. But why put the thing up until you want to use it?

Very often, when I have sorted my rods, I sit and watch the water, especially if I have plenty of light left in the day. Carp are the one fish that can tell you where they are, and just maybe, they will inform you that a move is in order. Believe me, a move is infinitely easier when your gear is still packed away on your barrow; it’s a fair bit quicker too! If you are competing against others, as will happen on very busy weekend waters, then why not give yourself every advantage?

A rapid move on a very busy day ticket water resulted in this cracking 44lb 6oz mirror

The same can be said about opportunist fishing. The sight of carp on the surface seems to ignite the fires in so few people these days, again for reasons I cannot fathom. Frustration will take over after about ten minutes, even if the angler is prepared to set-up a surface fishing rod, and before long, he is sitting in his bivvy once again.

Zigs seem to get the same treatment if the action isn’t immediate, and the only time some anglers feel contentment is when they are staring at their immobile bobbins. They are a vital part of our equipment that have little chance of moving anyway at certain times of the day or night. It’s worth remembering, if they are all on the surface, then there is probably no chance of a bite on the bottom. Fishing where the fish are, be that in another swim or up in the water in yours, gives the chances of a bite a considerable boost.

No one can be aware that carp fishing means different things to different people more than myself. But at the end of the day, we do it because we want to catch a carp, don’t we? Of course, as regularly suggested, it’s not about changing rigs and bait sometimes. And it’s certainly not always about setting up more palatial accommodation on the bank, or having a spirit level for your rods. It revolves around what you are prepared to do to achieve your goal, along with the sacrifices you are prepared to make. If you want something you’ve never had, you invariably have to do something you have never done! Just my opinion of course.