How big is your tackle?

Do we re­ally need heavy-duty gear for big carp, when it’s the smaller fish THAT IN­VARI­ABLY FIGHT HARDER...

Carpworld - - CONTENTS - -Ian Chill­cott

Do we re­ally need heavy-duty gear for big carp, when it’s the smaller fish that in­vari­ably fight harder...

It is im­pos­si­ble for carp fish­ing to mean ex­actly the same thing to ev­ery­one. It’s the di­rec­tion our lives have taken us, and the cir­cum­stances we find our­selves in, that ul­ti­mately dic­tate what we can and can­not do. At the end of the day, thank­fully, we are in­di­vid­u­als and are mostly driven by dif­fer­ent things. There are some very fa­mil­iar sub­jects, which mean that of­ten we all feel ex­actly the same about cer­tain sit­u­a­tions. How­ever, the flashier the car, the more we rather strangely per­ceive we are taken se­ri­ously. The same can be said about the pretty chick with whom we spend our time with, and how in­ter­ested peo­ple can be­come about us the larger the wad of cash we ex­tract from our pocket to buy the next round. Much of what we per­ceive is all about the size of the things that we use, and em­ploy, in our lives. There can be no deny­ing some things are bet­ter off be­ing big, but very of­ten sub­tlety is the key. Brute force and ig­no­rance rarely catches carp, but mak­ing fine ad­just­ments to the more cru­cial items of tackle we use, may just turn the tide in our favour.

The size of your tackle... Now there’s a topic of con­ver­sa­tion! Thank­fully, we are dis­cussing some­thing which could only ap­pear in a fish­in­gre­lated pub­li­ca­tion. We’re not talk­ing about a bi­o­log­i­cal pro­file here, but more about what peo­ple think about the size of the gear an an­gler uses to catch a fish that is, in essence, a gen­tle, om­niv­o­rous crea­ture. And one, when all is said and done, that doesn’t fight too hard. Let’s face it, for don­keys years I have rarely heard peo­ple talk about the fight they had with a carp; just how much it weighed, what it won them in catch com­pe­ti­tions in mag­a­zines, and how much of a hero they will be­come. For me, it’s a sad sit­u­a­tion where some peo­ple catch carp to get their ego mas­saged, and sim­ply for­get that we ac­tu­ally go fish­ing to en­joy the ex­pe­ri­ence, to es­cape from the rigours of ev­ery­day life and share our time with na­ture. A part of that es­cape, of course, is to catch a fish which jus­ti­fies the time we spend do­ing it, and to en­sure we get the most from the tackle we in­vest much of our wages on. It’s the ic­ing on the cake – but do we re­ally get the most out of the most ex­cit­ing and re­ward­ing part of what we are try­ing to achieve?

Many moons ago I spent huge parts of my life trav­el­ling around the world. It wasn’t al­ways the case that I could fish in the places I vis­ited, but when­ever I could, I would. Much of my down­time was spent fish­ing with any gear that I could get my hands on, and in many far flung places, the equip­ment wasn’t up to much. As you may pos­si­bly be think­ing, didn’t that make things just a lit­tle bit dif­fi­cult? In fact, it did noth­ing of the sort. In­deed, the bat­tles with tuna, bar­racuda and do­rado amongst oth­ers, be­came epic as my Army, hard- bot­tomed, in­flat­able Buz­zard was

towed around the oceans and rivers of this planet! What it taught me was that a bat­tle with a fish is a mas­sive part of the ad­ven­ture, and I guess it’s some­thing that still dom­i­nates my thoughts to this day. Prob­a­bly one of the most sur­pris­ing points to note, is that the gear very of­ten didn’t cost more than a few dol­lars. I used spark plugs nicked from the ve­hi­cle me­chan­ics to use as leads, and wire traces nor­mally came from the same source. It never had to be how much money I spent on things, more about the joy I got for free, from all those ex­pe­ri­ences... Just the way it should be!

Bring­ing it a lit­tle nearer to home, a few years ago I de­cided to take things to the limit. On the trip home from a few days in Hol­land with Fox, we de­cided we would take the new rods and reels to the limit by try­ing to catch a con­ger eel from a wreck mid­way across the English Chan­nel. Crazy! Now a con­ger is a lit­tle like hav­ing about ten carp at­tached to your line at the same time, and when you throw in the fact that we were go­ing to have the Tight Lines’ cameras and Keith Arthur on board, it took the task to a whole new level. It was prob­a­bly one of the most painful ex­pe­ri­ences of my life, but when the 50lb eel was brought over the side af­ter the most bru­tal 20 min­utes imag­in­able, it proved that just maybe we out­gun the carp oc­ca­sion­ally, when we fish for them.

Prob­a­bly one of the most ex­pen­sive if not the most ex­pen­sive things, es­pe­cially when you con­sider we can use three of them at times, are the rods. To some they seem to be sim­ply a means to an end, the tool with which to winch the fish to­ward the net. But shouldn’t there be more to it than that? Like most things in life, I have taken things much too far at times, and hook­ing a 20lb com­mon one day on a light fly rod may have been as far as we can go. The fight it­self was in­cred­i­ble, and the flex­i­bil­ity of the rod meant I didn’t have to give it too much line. It sim­ply soaked up the lunges and surges without pulling the hook, and it was the flex­i­bil­ity which made it so good. The only prob­lem I could see was try­ing to re­cover the fish from a fight that lasted over an hour! To that end I never did it again, how­ever, it cer­tainly un­der­lined just how much a rod can add to the ex­pe­ri­ence. There are three rea­sons, I feel, why some be­lieve big is best, and prob­a­bly the most im­por­tant one is look­ing good. For me, look­ing good is only done when you are hold­ing a carp up for a pic­ture, but hey, maybe I’m miss­ing the point? Se­condly, the power of a 3½lb TC rod ap­pears to be the only op­tion when try­ing to steer carp away from snags and dan­ger­ous ar­eas. I have found this never to be the case, as a lighter rod soaks up those lunges with lit­tle risk of pulling the hook. The third point is prob­a­bly the only rea­son when I want to use a stronger rod, and that is the cast­ing of big leads. If the wa­ter is huge, and I need to fish at dis­tance, then a 3½lb rod will en­sure I can get to those ranges. There is also the plus point that if they are hooked at range, they are more of­ten than not, too tired to cause prob­lems un­der the rod tip. Rods add to the ex­cite­ment of it all, and it only gets bet­ter the lower the test curve. Some may think a big pow­er­ful rod sat­is­fies all their


Tak­ing it to the limit! Play­ing con­ger eels on stan­dard carp tackle... Crazy!

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