Another blessing in disguise is my ability to think like a simpleton. It never fails to amaze me some of the questions I’m asked (I’m leaning more towards fellow anglers rather than the wife or the police here!) Some things I find simple and straightforward when trying to put a carp on the bank are analysed and redefined time and time again and a problem is made when just sticking to the basics will work fine.
If you have a rig and bait that work well, stop reading those bloody ‘glossy’ articles until you’re struggling again. There is an age-old saying ‘If it’s not broke don’t fix it’. I think it is human nature to want to improve and ‘up your tally’ but a little of what they like can work wonders.
I’ve harped on in the past about ‘confidence being the key’ and I will continue to stick to this. During many fishing trips with our editor, Geoff Maynard, I have often wondered in bewilderment at what the heck he is up to. It seems he has the attention span of a gnat; if nothing has taken his offerings in the first nanosecond of the bait hitting the water he appears to be revising everything to make it happen for him. I always marvel at his catch rate as he spends more time trying and re-tying new things than actually fishing. Likewise with my regular fishing buddy Andrew, he has always heard of something new that must be tried and is always putting a new rig through its paces.
We all have differing views of how to catch and their ways certainly work for them but I am content putting fish on the bank with tried and trusted methods.
Evolution happens at a walking pace and I feel that certain, sure-fire means will always work; over complication can cause more problems than cures.
It all depends on your on conceptions of a problem. I got an e-mail recently that highlighted a problem from two differing perspectives, it went like this…
A woman is flying in a hot air balloon and realizes she is lost. She reduces height and spots a man walking his dog just below him (incidentally, what is the difference between a dog and a fox? – about ten pints of lager! but I digress!)
She lowers her balloon and shouts "Excuse me, can you help me? I am completely and utterly lost"
The man below states with authority "You are situated in a hot air balloon approximately thirty meters above this cow field. You are between 40 and 42 degrees north latitude and around 58 to 60 degrees west longitudinally.
"You must be an engineer " came the reply.
"I am, but how did you know?" says the dog walker.
"Well," says the balloonist, "Whilst everything you have told me maybe technically correct, I have no way to apply your information and I’m still none the wiser as to my position and what’s more despite your best efforts I’m still completely lost!"
The dog walker adopts a magnanimous air and says, "You are obviously a married woman!"
The woman retorted, "I am, but how did you know?"
The engineer went on, "Well you don’t know where you are or where you’re heading, and despite being given all the facts you need, you’re still in exactly the same position as you were before we’d ever met but now, by some bizarre twist, it’s all my fault!"
Some problems don’t even exist - don’t make it hard on yourselves!
So the carp here don’t feed until midnight; and only feed on fishmeals. Yeah, right. Carp get caught at all hours by all sorts of methods; they have been for years and will be again.
I blame the ‘glossies’, with their need for revenue they will constantly bombard you with ‘new’ rigs, ‘new baits’ and ‘new tackle that is essential to, well…er… sell magazines.
I refer you to Chris Yates (He’s in the dictionary under ‘dinosaur’) He continues to catch despite a complete repulsion of everything that starts ‘revolutionary’.
I feel lucky that I was here before and after catching carp was en vogue. I can appreciate the new methods and apply them to my own needs without being conned into the belief they are essential.
Carp can learn quickly and you have to be aware of new developments but many of these writers are fishing highly pressurised waters in situations that may not be true to your own circumstances.
I often find that a ‘going back to basics’ approach will pay dividends if you’re not on a 'circuit’ water. The human mind works infinitely faster than a fish's and sometimes we seem to out-think them. Remember they have to feed; we don’t have to catch them.
If your chosen venue is an old clay pit that throws up the odd twenty from time to time then an ‘inline, doubly revised combined nouveau rig with the latest flavour of the day may be a touch too much. If they took bread last week they may be ready to oblige again. Stranger things have happened.
I know all this flies in the face of my ‘make it happen’ rants but you have to find a happy medium, a sensible compromise.
Back in the ‘good old days’ when carp were ‘impossible’ to catch and secrecy ruled, nobody told of ‘how to do it’, but since Kevin Maddocks explained all, the floodgates have opened; big time. It is a double-edged sword that has taken away the necessity to overcome your own dilemmas. Just reading how Rod Hutchinson landed a fifty-pound carp on a vast French water may have no relevance to your venue at all.
Read the articles and question the methods deployed. Try what you think may work but don’t follow it all like a recipe. Remember, a lot of writers have a commercial interest in what they are recommending. I’m not saying they are being untruthful but an open mind should be employed. Ask any salesman to name the best rod, reel, drill, washing machine or whatever and they will recommend their own products, it’s what they’re paid for.
I have a few ‘set in stone’ rigs and baits that I know will work and when. If I do decide to try something new it will only be used on one rod, so I can compare results. If the new set-up threw up significantly better results, it would be retried several more times to establish whether a fluke had occurred or a pattern was emerging.
Only then would I make an assessment and change things permanently.
There are no hard and fast rules to catching fish (unless you’re a bailiff!) but moving forward slowly yet still remembering where you’ve been works for me.