Carpworld - - THE F-WORD -

De­spite keep­ing my head down at work and hav­ing zero in­ter­est in a ca­reer, a va­cancy for a Trainee Court Clerk cropped up in York and the boss made it clear that this was an op­por­tu­nity I would be tak­ing up – if you catch my drift. The days of overnight ses­sions and rolling into Selby court straight from them were over, as I’d have to travel to York each day. Although I’d grad­u­ated from push­bike to moped to mo­tor­bike, I still hadn’t passed my car test. In a ‘Shal­low Hal’ type ap­proach, girl­friends were se­lected on hav­ing a car first, then their pa­tience, and fi­nally their phys­i­cal at­tributes... gulp... sorry. And for all you guys out there carp fish­ing 24/7 and think­ing you are go­ing to get a glam­our girl and keep her, then think again. Been there and still got the scars. So, dou­ble whammy, I not only had to lose valu­able fish­ing time but I also needed to pass my car test – so I needed to find a girl­friend who could teach me to drive. I’d done my lo­cal wa­ters to death and, in all hon­esty, was us­ing too many favours up, left, right and cen­tre to fish around the coun­try. As a mem­ber of the Carp So­ci­ety and the CAA, poor old dad was press-ganged into tak­ing me to slide shows and con­fer­ences as the ladies had dried up, not sur­pris­ingly.

The year 1986 turned out to be pretty mem­o­rable in that I passed my driv­ing test first time, started cor­re­spond­ing with Tim Pais­ley and, hor­ror of hor­rors, had to start leav­ing home for weeks at a time to do my law ex­ams. From March to June I had no choice but to get my head down and study for ex­ams (1986-89) which ab­so­lutely broke me when it came to close-sea­son prepa­ra­tion and ground­work. Bal­anc­ing my writ­ing com­mit­ments to Coarse Fish­er­man, Carp Fisher and Carp­world with work and fish­ing was start­ing to be­come prob­lem­atic. First and fore­most I was an an­gler, se­condly I was a writer hop­ing to make a name for my­self and fi­nally, prob­a­bly trump­ing both, I had to keep work sweet and not fail my ex­ams. If I did so then I was go­ing to be out on my ear which wasn’t good for my long term prospects in any depart­ment. The carp fish­ing had to be kept fairly lo­cal (Til­ery/ Mo­tor­way/drax/three Lakes, etc) which re­sulted in some barbed com­ments from many: “Yeah, you can catch them in York­shire but you are noth­ing down south!” – and oth­ers a lot more di­rect.

Some­times you just have to smile and take it, al­beit be­grudg­ingly. So to all of you out there, work­ing and feel­ing you should sim­ply pack it in and just go fish­ing, my ad­vice would be, don’t! It is pos­si­ble to do both. Ac­cept there have to be com­pro­mises and, that whilst you may not be mak­ing the an­gling head­lines, you need to play the long game. Un­less you own or work full time in a fish­ing com­pany you are not go­ing to make a liv­ing out of catch­ing carp. Not even Terry does that. He writes books, does talks, the lot. And that was in a dif­fer­ent era when so few were do­ing it in com­par­i­son to to­day. There are more op­por­tu­ni­ties nowa­days but far more peo­ple com­pet­ing for that same slice of the cake.

Fi­nally, the ex­ams were passed, the cars had been up­graded so they didn’t break down and, most im­por­tantly of all, my carp fish­ing was back on track. Still liv­ing at home with mum and dad, I’d sur­vived a dan­ger­ous li­ai­son with ‘an ap­pari­tion in leather’ (Tim Pais­ley’s apt de­scrip­tion). I’d hooked up with a lovely girl called Julie, the writ­ing and con­sul­tan­cies were in­creas­ing and the fu­ture looked good.

LEFT In the early days the only way to the pond was via our mo­tor­bikes. The amount of gear we car­ried was crazy

Til­ery suc­cess with the scenic Tile Bank be­hind me LEFT

LEFT Late 80s long-range CARP FISH­ING WITH A BAIT boat, bent hook and bird­seed boilie

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