10 things you reminisce about but in reality were not as good as you remember!
Sure, making your own bait is rewarding and sets you apart from the crowd, but modern ‘ready-mades’ are, quite frankly, too good to bother with cracking eggs and emptying pipettes full of stinking flavours. Even the term ‘ready-mades’ will sound unusual to younger readers - boilies are just boilies and you can use them straight from the packet.
02 Tackle shops
Old tackle shops were social hubs where information was freely exchanged, young kids could get a Saturday job riddling maggots and the whole place stunk of fags and Van Den Eynde groundbait. But you forget they were often badly stocked, over-priced, uninviting and closed when you needed them most. And that maggot boy was on £1 an hour.
03 Angling on TV
Go Fishing and A Passion for Angling were classics that shaped many carpers’ lives, but they were infrequently shown and unless you’d set your VCR there was no way of catching up. Today, we’ve got more fishing shows on TV than ever before and a vast library of brilliant content on YouTube for free any time we want it.
04 Quieter venues
Every modern lake features at least one regular visitor who takes every opportunity to tell you that lakes were better in the 1980s when carpers were secretive loners. And yes, some modern lakes might be busier than the M25 at rush hour, but think of it this way - there’s always some on hand to lend you a lighter, take pics of your fish… or watch you crack-off and post the clip on Facebook.
You undoubtedly know someone still using kit from the 1980s and 1990s because it’s “bulletproof and built in Britain”, and that’s great, but times have moved on and today’s tackle is cheaper, more accessible and often better. Rod technology, for example, has enabled anglers on a budget to fish perfectly well with sub-£50 wands.
06 Target fish
Back in the 1990s you might well have been able to name all the known 40-pounders in the country and that might have made you feel more connected to the superstars who caught them, but you would never get a sniff of angling for these fish yourself. Now, just about every county has a 50 and there’s less of a hierarchy of top anglers, but big fish are accessible to all, and that’s got to be a good thing.
07 Natural venues
Some older anglers bemoan the rise of the business-minded super waters and massive day ticket sites, but these venues would simply go out of business if there wasn’t a demand for them. Catching big carp has never been so accessible, comfortable or attainable for the masses.
08 Carp shows
There’s a feeling that carpers of old formed a tight-knit community that met at Sandown and various slide shows to catch up and sink a few pints. Great memories for many, no doubt, but this little club was tricky for outsiders to penetrate and shows consisted of a handful of exhibitors displaying their wares on trestle tables. We’ve come a long way since, with family-friendly events across the country.
09 The lack of social media
Fishing Facebook and Instagram might be full of trolls and opinion spewers, but hear us out. If you’re willing to block out the negativity and the in-jokes, these platforms have enabled anglers to become instantly informed of big stories and exchange information in a way never thought possible by anglers reading weekly mags just 15 years ago.
10 The fish themselves
There was a genuine golden age of carp in this country, before imports and bland fish-farmed carp turned everything a bit grey and predictable. But now, with expert fish farmers reviving old strains, our young stocks have arguably never looked so good.