‘38 and out...’ Part I

Carpworld - - CONTENTS - -Ju­lian Cun­diff

Jules ‘opens up’ about his life in fish­ing in this two-parter. He be­gins in the 80s when he first ‘got the bug’ and re­lates how his in­creas­ing carp ob­ses­sion be­came com­pletely in­ter­twined with his work, his so­cial life and the essence of his very ex­is­tence

Jules ‘opens up’ about his life in fish­ing in this two-parter. He be­gins in the 80s when he first ‘got the bug’ and re­lates how his in­creas­ing carp ob­ses­sion be­came com­pletely in­ter­twined with his work, his so­cial life and the essence of his very ex­is­tence

As I type this in late Fe­bru­ary, hav­ing just fin­ished yet an­other short ses­sion (fit­ted in af­ter a work party), I’m pretty sure that the carp I have just re­turned in the pitch black will be the last I catch as a man of full time em­ploy­ment. When you read this in late April my world will be com­pletely dif­fer­ent, for bet­ter or for worse. For al­most 38 years my fish­ing has al­ways had to fit around work, which was no prob­lem in my care­free younger years. How­ever, as time marched on and the com­mit­ments (both an­gling and non an­gling) added up, jug­gling so many balls at once be­came prob­lem­at­i­cal and at times nigh on im­pos­si­ble. Our brand new edi­tor (wel­come and con­grat­u­la­tions, Ru­pert White­man) thought it would be nice to cover the four decades I have worked full time and still man­aged to fish hard, to hope­fully in­spire any of you strug­gling with that bal­ance... see, it can be done! From my suc­cesses to my failures, from ela­tion to de­spair, I have been there read­ers. So join me on 38 years of ‘be­ing Jules’ – and as I have al­ways main­tained, if I can do it there’s not a reader who can’t.

I guess there will be as many peo­ple born af­ter this date than be­fore it who are read­ing Carp­world but, take it from me, that the world was a very dif­fer­ent place in those days. Although I had some­how been placed at Selby Gram­mar School I never was the great­est of schol­ars, pre­fer­ring fish­ing and rock mu­sic to French, Latin and Chem­istry. It was pretty clear to those in the hi­er­ar­chy that A Lev­els and uni­ver­sity were not on my agenda so I was ‘gen­tly guided’ in the di­rec­tion of the job mar­ket, rather than fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion. Heck, my French was so bad that my teacher told me to sit at the back, be quiet, read An­gling Times and she’d turn a blind eye. I can’t see that hap­pen­ing nowa­days!

Fish­ing re­ally had taken a hold of my life and hav­ing grad­u­ated from coarse to match fish­ing, and then spec­i­men hunt­ing by 1980, I re­ally could think of lit­tle else. To be fair, carp fish­ing was not on my agenda then, in fact my main in­flu­ence, Eric Hod­son, ac­tively dis­cour­aged me from tar­get­ing them de­scrib­ing them as ‘steam pigs’ in com­par­i­son to his beloved tench or the myth­i­cal pike... Some­how, I landed (no pun in­tended) a job in ad­min at Selby Mag­is­trates Court in June 1980, which was made per­ma­nent in Au­gust of that year. Still liv­ing at home with mum and dad at this stage, if I could cy­cle to it I fished it, and with min­i­mal in­ter­fer­ence from work ei­ther. Get in at 9am, do your job and home by 5pm, ready to go fish­ing for the even­ing some­where. Life was both sim­ple and un­com­pli­cated – but, there again, I had not dis­cov­ered women and carp fish­ing in those days.

Of course noth­ing lasts for­ever and by 1983 not only had I dis­cov­ered that girls were fun, but also, that carp were not ‘steam pigs’ and were cer­tainly not to be avoided at all costs. I’d fluked a dou­ble-fig­ure carp on sweet­corn and my world would never be the same again! I’d had sin­gles be­fore but none of them made any im­pres­sion on me at all un­til that fate­ful day when one bite and one carp her­alded the ar­rival of ‘carp fever’. I guess ev­ery reader has his or her mo­ment when there’s no turn­ing back and I truly hope for you that the pas­sion still burns like it does for me. I still be­lieved they were un­catch­able in the cold (some­times it still feels that way now) and come Novem­ber, and with a close sea­son from March to June, I had to cram the ‘fever’ in for five months max­i­mum. Nowa­days, it’s a dif­fer­ent ball game with many (me in­cluded) spend­ing all 12 months in pur­suit of carp. A good thing you say? Not al­ways, as it can re­sult in burn out and many an­glers, in­clud­ing the likes of Mark Pitch­ers and Si­mon Crow, do have down time in the win­ter months to avoid that. It cer­tainly taught me pa­tience and, in all hon­esty, I used to have a girl­friend in the win­ter months – only to then in­evitably get dumped in the sum­mer months when carp and KISS tours swal­lowed up my time and my cash. Crikey, that con­tin­ued un­til I met Roz in 2007 so, if you are look­ing for ad­vice on how to keep a part­ner, I am not ya man! Now, if the sub­ject were multi rigs then that’s a whole dif­fer­ent ball game.

I used to have a girl­friend in the win­ter months – only to then in­evitably get dumped in the sum­mer months when carp and KISS tours swal­lowed up my time and my cash

ABOVE TOP LEFT Kevin Mad­docks was my icon in the early days hence the pose, jumper and se­ri­ous look My first day at work in 1980 – now I could go fish­ing more of­ten and with bet­ter gear First ever ‘overnighter carp’ af­ter work. And one of the lo­cals let my tyres down TOP RIGHT

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