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Carp fishing in France
Whether you are considering getting hold of some quality carp fishing information in book or electronic book format for yourself (or for another carp angler as special presents,) there is a great wealth of valuable information available. Younger anglers and carp angling beginners by definition can benefit the most from such sources. However more experienced carp anglers can have their catches multiplied and suddenly end up with best ever seasons as a result of reading and putting this into practice...
Many times a book or ebook is really about inspiring the reader to believe in their own potential capabilities. When you are just starting out you tend to look for role models and what these say and are perceived to do can have a huge influence on those who are looking to emulate their success.
In the 1970's I'd collect press clippings of catches by well-known anglers like Rod Hutchinson and Kevin Maddocks and put them on my bedroom wall as inspiration and they usually included all kinds of useful information at a time it was very hard for me to find. I remember one headline about bird seeds which was very funny and really hid the true power of the bait and baiting method that was used for the big carp captures pictured!
These clippings would be supplemented with all kinds of information on the venues, the tactics, rigs, baits used, weather conditions, and circumstances surrounding the captures. Details of the meticulous preparations of swims and the making of special homemade gear which we all take for granted today were all there on the walls of my bedroom in a collage of newspaper.
I guess I was only about 9 years old when I was doing this and it was many years before I got the opportunity to go carp fishing in any specialist way. Meanwhile, I would fish for any fish species I could experimenting with every method and bait I could glean any information about.
All the hard disciplined preparation involved in fish location, pre-baiting work to condition fish, and preparing of swims really opened my eyes and gave me the impression that carp were some sort of Einstein of the fish world requiring super human efforts to them. This all fascinated me greatly. But it was the huge size of these mysterious creatures, their physical grace and beauty and the mystery surrounding them that triggered my passion for carp angling.
I recall reading a book by compiled by Peter Stone with chapters by different authors, one of these being Fred. J. Taylor a pioneering legend and formative member of the first carp catching group or club to exist in the UK. I knew he fished at the legendary Redmire where the famous carp record had been caught by the great Richard Walker.
Richard Walker was a regular contributor in the angling press (not just in regards to carp) and he was also a prolific author. These men were pioneers on the very cutting edge of carp fishing, decades before it became popular with the masses and became a commercially exploited activity; where any and all the tackle, bait and accessories you need are now available.
I could list the books which influenced me at that time and as the decades moved forwards through the Eighties, Nineties and to this decade but all you need to do is Google search carp fishing Ebooks and books for them all. The books I want to highlight here are the ones which lit the fire of my passion for this sport, because for me and many others, it was to become far more. When an interest becomes the major thing in life you think about most of the time then it changes your life and the way you live it.
In many ways fishing is a vehicle for learning about life and for self-development because you and your fishing goals and activities are always changing and constantly new challenges are found to overcome. When carp fishing becomes too easy it is natural to move on to a new challenge. It is an addictive thing because it seems to involve something very uniquely special in that you can enjoy fishing immensely even when you have not caught anything for week after week. In fact a lack of success can make you far more dedicated and determined to succeed.
Of course this applies to anything a person takes to and comes to value. I recall the old cartoon books by Tony Wealdon which I see are available again, Mr Crabtree and his boy fishing for all kinds of species. It's funny that often when playing a fish, say at 4am in the pitch black surroundings of a heavily wooded clay pit in Essex, or coming across a giant fish 2 feet from the bank at a gigantic French lake, those pictures, words of wisdom and many others flood my memory.
Rod Hutchinson had written a book called the Carp strikes back which opened the door for a significant generation of carp anglers and later Kevin Maddocks did his Carp Fever. I've heard Rod Hutchinson is working on a number of new books presently and personally, I can't wait to read them! I guess you can tell he is one of my fishing heroes. He is another angler who has fished highly successfully at the legendary record carp water Redmire and become part of its history; and for me Redmire represented the romantic model of a perfect old naturalised British big carp water.
Having tried to investigate some aspects of carp fishing in an increasing depth and breadth (i.e. bait design and its applications,) doing this is a very tough full-time job, even in today's information age of the internet. What anglers like Rod Hutchinson, Fred Wilton, and their peers discovered back in the 1950's to 1970's especially, about fish physiology and behaviour, and in regards to fish nutrition, fish feeding stimulation and carp bait design, is just amazing!
I remember I was lucky enough to get hold of magazines like Carp Fisher. This was a very great help because carp angling used to be very much a world of secrets in past decades. Often if asked, other competing carp anglers on a water were just as likely to mislead you as give you a genuinely useful tip (at least at my Essex waters like South Weald and Shotgate and others.) This was at the time before carp magazines were the force and proliferation they are today!
I am all for the education and spreading of information to promote successful carp fishing today and the secretive clique mentality of the past is far less prevalent on many waters leading to far more pleasant healthy sociable atmospheres and more enjoyable fishing were everyone catches their share of fish.
I think that it is a tragedy where an angler on a lake cannot catch carp at all for whatever reason, (while other fisherman do nothing to help,) and I was told about an example of this at a competitive and difficult Colne Valley Water containing fish of over fifty pounds. Yes it is true that if an angler catches the fish you are after by exploiting your hard efforts it can potentially take you years to catch that fish and is a very negative thing, but helping a fellow angler to catch even one big fish in a season is completely different altogether!
I fished against one guy on an Essex syndicate lake through the Eighties who claimed he used to go round for dinner with Kevin Maddocks. Now this guy was top rod on my lake and was the first to catch twenty carp over twenty pounds on this lake back in the Eighties when this was an outstanding achievement.
He did not tell me how to improve directly, but I observed his tactics and methods and one thing he did especially successfully was actively pre-bait with a new homemade bait while fishing an already established one. He in effect always kept one step ahead of the fish and this kind of thing taught me many invaluable things. There were obviously many things which I'm sure he had received in turn from guys like Kevin Maddocks and others in the more enlightened carp fishing circles at the time, especially down in Kent, where they had both fished at places like Darenth for instance.
He was exceptionally secretive about the bait and rigs he used. I guess he picked up lots of very useful information but literally all he would tell me was to obtain scientific papers on fish nutrition and design my own homemade baits as successfully as possible.
Through the next 2 decades a few relevant scientific papers were obtained as my partner Debbie was a PhD biochemist editing scientific papers and books for John Wiley, The Royal Society of Chemistry, and a wide variety of scientific journals. Although much of this was hard to interpret in practice it all helped build up connections and understanding of how baits really might work in many ways and of possibly how to improve my own bait, dip, and ground bait designs etc.
In the early Nineties I was to achieve the capture of twenty carp over twenty pounds in just one week at the same Essex syndicate water which demonstrates just how incredibly fast carp fishing can change. By 2001 I'd been able to catch 70 carp over twenty pounds in just 2 months and by 2005 There were a few waters I was able to catch 5 twenty pound fish in 2 hours or less, (especially by good bait design and bait leverage applications.)
So you can see how carp growth rates have improved over the last 3 decades in the UK. This is particularly due to the huge increase in the commercial availability of bait mixes and ready made boilies, pellets, ground baits and so on. These have had to become more and richer in quality nutrition as more bait companies joined in the fray and started to compete for more market share.
Initially carp baits were a range of qualities, from enzyme-incorporated ones with the focus on carp stimulation being on amino acids, minerals, vitamins and sugars etc, to readymade baits based on cheap semolina and soya bases boosted with a solvent based flavour. Baits used to be clearly categorised by their general contents and described as milk protein, fish meal or bird food baits for instance, but then as now the lines between these have blurred as baits can contain all these elements plus many more.
It is a fact that more and more bait is generally introduced as free feeds into our carp waters each year and the pure volume of bait application from ever more anglers has obviously produced steadily rising fish weights. Added to this have been the effects of global warming and consistently milder winters, improvement of natural carp food stocks, and other factors which mean ordinary carp anglers can achieve the kind of catches we would never have dreamt of being possible. Having met a number of former British carp record holders has been very interesting indeed. Years ago thoughts of carp over sixty pounds only existed in the totally inspiring book by Peter Mohan called I think Cypry the carp (As in Cyprinus carpio.)
It is mind-blowing to me how the world of carp fishing and the opportunities available to any carp angler have evolved to what they are today. Having myself hooked and got to the boat a carp of about 82 pounds at Rainbow lake in France in 2006, it is very easy to contemplate a world record over 100 pounds for someone soon from a different water.
It took me over 30 years of carp fishing at an estimated 150 plus different carp waters to find myself at Rainbow lake. And to be honest the place was not exactly my idea of an idyllic carp water, (just like fishing at Darenth big lake was not either and not my style at all,) but I'm very lucky to have experienced both these famous waters.
I guess that's why I never actually booked to fish Redmire years ago, when I discovered it was simply not the same place it had been at the height of its fame and I did not want to break the spell of its romanticism in my minds eye. The energetic aura of a fishery is something I feel is very important and I have an old carp lake within walking distance through fields from me where literally no-one but 2 old retired folks fish and this overgrown lost place has the perfect kind of atmosphere I revel in.
The fish there had reached 23 pounds at the time a fishing club gave up the lease for it 5 seasons ago. Now having gained permission to fish it from the farmer, it will give my carp fishing exploits new excitement and some much earned peace and tranquillity.
It has become increasingly hard to obtain membership from syndicates over the decades which is a great shame. These days it seems you have to virtually be a millionaire to pay to fish at many commercial waters if you want to catch big fish. Having paid a fortune fishing such waters for years a bit of free fishing is incredibly rare bit of pay-back.
For me it an opportunity for some of the timeless fishing that BB (Dennis Pitchford of Pitchford's pitch at Redmire I'm assuming,) talked about in his wonderfully atmospheric book; Confessions of a carp fisher. This is a book I guess I yearn to bring back to life having read it many times over the last 30 or so years.
Free fishing is obviously there to find for those with eyes open and willing to make the efforts to find it and ensure carp angling has a good reputation with land owners for instance!
Just recently I've been testing baits at a cheap local lake where the carp are small, and I've been using 20 pound line and big heavy size 4 hooks. This has been so I can really test the fish responses to each new bait to see just how much they want it. It has been great to see how one paste or boilie bait mix (or ground bait mix) makes catching them much easier than others.
I think most anglers who stay in the game long enough come to regard the weight of carp as an illusory goal. It has always been the beauty of the fish itself that has attracted me and to be honest, many of the much bigger fish are simply not as attractive as a pristine single figure carp that maybe no-one has ever banked before.
It makes a big difference in your attitudes and confidence when you get any help personally from your role models. Even if this appears to be just a chance meetings, the odd phone conversation or helpful letters these all add up and their benefits can be multiple times the effect they might seem at the time.
The fact is that useful information stays in your unconscious and conscious memory for life and what you read and absorb today can help you at a time decades into the future. All the various carp fishing books I read as a kid and the Ebooks I've read more recently have all improved my appreciation, understanding, awareness, abilities, success and personal goals in my carp fishing. I'd say information in the form of books or Ebooks is for life...
By Tim Richardson.