Latest Issue March
CARPology Other Stuff

10 things you're glad stayed in the 90s

Do you miss any of these?!

1. Wired sounder boxes

If modern wireless receivers are fibre-optic broadband, then these lethal trip hazards were 33kb dial-up internet. Every session involved neatly zip tying the wires along your buzzer bars (if you could be bothered) then positioning your bivvy so it didn’t sit beyond the reach of the cables. Hateful things that just got in the way.

2. Monkey climbers

These were still prevalent in the early part of the 1990s before common sense took hold and the bobbin/swinger concept replaced them.

3. Rod pods

Yes, they still exist, and yes, they’ve got prettier, but back in the 1990s there were some horrible-looking metal contraptions around. Wonky, flimsy bits of insecure scaffolding that held your rods 4ft off the ground - no, thanks!

4. Optonics

There was a time when, like Hoover or Portakabin, the generic term for a bite alarm was Optonic, because that’s basically all that was on offer. Unfortunately, the plastic bolt on the heads meant they were prone to leaning over; they were quieter than a bat’s hiccup and the LEDs flickered like a Victorian street lamp. Technology has improved massively, thank God!

5. Baggy jumpers

Carpy knitwear (urgh, a phrase to make you wince) might be back in fashion, but at least it fits these days. When everything was baggy in the 90s you spent the whole session with wet sleeves.

6. Film cameras

For anglers, digital photography is better in every single way. Film cameras reduced photoshoots of your new personal best, especially at night, to mere guesswork for many. And then you had to wait for development. If you hadn’t knackered the film as you retrieved it from the camera.

7. Solid rig tubing

What was that all about? Sold in every tackle shop, anyone who ever used these lengths of solid black plastic tubing can’t have witnessed how this stuff behaved underwater. It would stand up on end, emitting a never ending stream of air bubbles. Bizarre stuff, that clearly sold well.

8. Crap hooks

End tackle in general has improved massively since the 90s, but perhaps the biggest advance has been in hooks. Drennan Continental Boilie hooks were great, but there were plenty of really poor offerings on sale with none of the sharpness, strength and batch control of today.

9. Out-of-reach big fish

It’s easy to look back on the 90s as a golden age of special big fish, and in many ways it was, but for most average anglers those fish were out of reach, padlocked behind exclusive tickets or lengthy waiting lists. Today, access to big carp is much greater and you don’t need to have a place on one of five or six waters to make dreams come true.

10. Dome bivvies

Threading poles is so 20th century. Anchoring guy ropes is so analogue. Your PowerPlusses and your Hutchy Apotheosises might have an old-world charm to them but they were heavy, bendy and a pain in the bum to put up and take down.