TIME FOR A NEW DI­REC­TION IN MY AN­GLING LIFE!

I’m cut­ting down on guide days to travel the world and do more fish­ing of my own

Angling Times (UK) - - YOUR FISHING WEEK -

ASTRANGE old week – I won­der where an­gling is go­ing at times. First was that record carp, and the cap­tor be­ing sent death threats.

I have to say to those re­spon­si­ble please, you aren’t do­ing your­selves or fish­ing any favours. Just look on the news, see what’s hap­pen­ing around the world and chan­nel your en­ergy into do­ing some­thing about it, rather than mak­ing such a fuss about one fish!

Then a bloke got up­set with me be­cause I said I was go­ing grayling fish­ing and was look­ing for­ward to eat­ing a cou­ple of them.

I have caught a num­ber of large grayling in my time and re­turned them all.

That was from a river with low stocks of them, but when I am fish­ing a wa­ter with thou­sands of small grayling and the own­ers ask me to re­move a few I must ad­mit to putting a few in the freezer for a later date with the grill. I see noth­ing wrong in that – do you?

THURS­DAY-SUN­DAY

I had set aside a few days for a film­ing ses­sion with Fish­ing TV but things hadn’t gone to plan on another project they were work­ing on, so I had to can­cel.

To be hon­est I was glad. What with early morn­ings on guide days and my own pri­vate fish­ing and other an­gling com­mit­ments I was knack­ered, to say the least!

Guess what? Over those three days I never held a rod, which has to be some sort of record. In­stead I went up the pub, got up late and spent time with Maggie, my wife – and it was de­light­ful. On Sun­day we had a fam­ily roast and I recharged the old bat­ter­ies.

MON­DAY

On the bank with Ray Cut­ler and my friend Bill Finch. We were at a still­wa­ter, look­ing for a few carp.

I am writ­ing a book with Bill, which I have men­tioned here be­fore, and with­out let­ting too much out the bag let’s just say Bill had his big­gest-ever weight of carp and two per­sonal bests on one of the finest fish­ing days of his life.

Thanks to Ray for help­ing me to ful­fil Bill’s dreams be­fore he be­comes too ill to fish.

I look for­ward to many more such days to­gether.

TUES­DAY

A guide day with Stephen Ket­tle, a sculp­tor who lives near Lon­don.

One of the nice things about my job is some of the in­ter­est­ing peo­ple I get to take out on the bank. Steve had caught a few bar­bel be­fore, but hope­fully after our day to­gether he will have

learnt a few tricks to put a lot more on the bank. He also caught a per­sonal-best chub of ex­actly 5lb, still a spe­cial fish for the Sev­ern.

Steve showed me some of his work on his web­site and I felt hum­bled, for the skill he shows is out of this world.

I’m slow­ing down on my guid­ing days next year and will only be do­ing one a week. The rea­son? I am get­ting too old to do four days, and in any case I have too many fish of my own to catch, so if

any­one wants a trip next year get in quick!

It’s been a great time of my life and I have met some re­ally nice peo­ple, but noth­ing stays the same and the next stage will be writ­ing more books and trav­el­ling around the world.

There are still a few fish out there with my name on them!

WED­NES­DAY

Ray and I were back on the hunt for carp and had another great day, with lots of fish to just be­low 20lb, all com­mons. Ray caught his on his favourite frank­furter boilies, while mine fell to the new Nash Cray Key boilies.

Ray fished out into open wa­ter, while I went for a dis­tance ap­proach, but in the mar­gins. I do like cast­ing to a spot 50 yards down the bank where Ray is stand­ing, wait­ing for the lead to hit the wa­ter be­fore throw­ing in a cou­ple of hand­fuls of bro­ken boilies and pel­lets over the rig – that’s a great pre­sen­ta­tion.

By fish­ing like this you are well away from the area where your bait is but still in the mar­gins, where the fish want to be a lot of the time. Ray and I talked about the old days of carp fish­ing and how catches have changed. To­day we caught more in one ses­sion than we man­aged in a sea­son 40 years ago!

I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing. Fish­ing was never meant to be easy, but mod­ern carping can be just that, which is why fewer peo­ple are go­ing fish­ing nowa­days. But what do I know?

We sat there in the sun with our flasks and sand­wiches, en­joy­ing the rest from long walks along the steep banks of the river. I am lucky in that I en­joy the river so much, but I love fish­ing still­wa­ters too. Gravel pits, farm ponds and canal all have their own spe­cial at­trac­tions.

This com­mon of just un­der 20lb pulled my string!

My friend Bill Finch had his best day’s carping ever.

Ray took this one on a frank­furter boilie.

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