To work out how hard Michael works when bagging at top speed, he was hooked up to devices that monitor heart rate, calories burnt and blood pressure. Data was going to be taken every 15 minutes to help see if any patterns developed. 11.15AM
– All in... Michael’s heart rate just before the start sits at 83 beats per minute, perfectly normal, as a healthy adult’s resting BPM usually sits between 60 and 100. His blood pressure sits at 120/75 – again, within normal range. 11.30AM
– Our man bags nine quality carp in the opening 15 minutes. Fishing just a top kit, he lands each fish in seconds and the pressure of the cameras starts to show as his BPM rises by almost 50 per cent to 123. 11.45AM
– With Michael now up to 14 carp, he is clearly settling into the pressure, his heart rate dropping down to 114 BPM. So to help replicate match conditions where anglers react to what is going on around them, Michael is challenged to land 10 more carp in the next 15 minutes. The response is incredible – in less than 90 seconds his BPM rockets to 131 and a quick check of his blood pressure shows it to be 140/85, which many doctors would class as high. NOON
– An hour in and our man has already burned 400 calories, the same as swimming at a moderate pace for around 40 minutes! Having managed to win the challenge and up to 24 carp, Michael slips back into relaxation and the BPM drops to 115. 12.15PM
– A lull in sport actually raises Michael’s BPM slightly to 119 – could the pressure of losing a shoal of fish really be having an effect? 12.30PM
– With the fish returning, and the fact that he is catching steadily – he is now on 34 fish – his BPM drops to 100, the lowest rate since he started. His blood pressure is also down to 118/74. He
is now challenged to see how many consecutive bites he can hit. 12.45PM
– As the sweat drips from Michael’s forehead and armpits, the BPM shoots up to its highest yet of 134pm, blood pressure at 138/83. 1.15PM
– After a half-hour break, his figures are similar to before he started and Michael resumes the action with 42 fish in the net. 1.30PM
– Our photographer wants some pictures. Taking him out of his comfort zone raises his BPM to 128. 1.45PM
– This time we want our man to bag 10 carp in 12 minutes. He has no watch on him and has to rely on us to tell him how he is doing with his target. With six carp in five minutes he’s well on target but a sneaky fib from Angling Times journalist Tony Grigorjevs ups the ante. “You’ve got three minutes to land the next four, mate,” he says.
Michael hits the highest BPM of the day – 144BPM – a level that professional footballers hit during the warm-up! He has also burned over 900 calories by this point, almost half an adult’s daily intake.
Once he lands the 10 carp to bring him up to 54 he wants to know how long it took him – the truth is, just 10 minutes, an amazing feat of strength and stamina. 2PM
– The challenge is over but Michael is determined to finish on a flurry. He goes all out to keep the bites coming and maintains a high BPM of 129 – he is now on 66 fish. 2.15PM
– It’s the all out, and Michael finishes up with 75 fish, roughly equating to an astonishing 300lb of carp in two-and-a-half hours.
Shortly afterwards his BPM is down to 86 and his blood pressure is well within normal range again. A quick check of the monitors show he has burnt 1,300 calories, which is the equivalent of going for a steady-paced hour long run.
Based on this experiment, there is no doubt that angling is more physical than many anglers realise.
Michael’s efforts saw him burn off all the calories in a full English breakfast. Admittedly, he was fishing one of the country’s most intense bagging waters and was
landing a fish every two minutes. Watching a motionless tip for hours on end certainly won’t burn this amount of calories, but a roving river angler or a carp angler who targets a runs water where spodding regularly is the norm would certainly be testing their body to the limit.