Where have all the heroes gone? Rupert wonders if carp fishing has changed beyond recognition and those we once admired for their achievements are a disappearing breed. Does the same apply to carp fisheries? Do the Redmires and Terry Hearns exist in modern carp fishing or is everyone simply going to have their fifteen minutes of fame on social media?
Ishan’t bore you with the details of anything else Abbeyrelated for yet another editorial, other than to say it was such a good trip over there, I’ve afforded myself the luxury of a full-length feature later in the issue! I couldn’t help but notice on my return to the UK that the sun only had to disappear for all of 6½ hours before all the haters and moaners got settled in behind their keyboards for a week’s worth of flat-out sniping and bitching again. When in hindsight, they should all have realised that with the associated drop in pressure, it was probably the first time this summer to actually bother getting their gear out and just go fishing instead.
It’s getting bloody tedious now... That’s a topic for another day though. I don’t want to spoil my currently buoyant, postholiday state with such trivial matters.
A couple of the comments and associated posts did give me food for thought though. Whatever happened to the icons in carp fishing, both human, and those that swim? Have we missed them? Do we need them? Will there be any more? I’m not for a minute suggesting we can’t survive without them but it was always quite nice to have something to aim at when I was growing up. Something I could aspire too. Somebody to read about. Somewhere I’d really want to go to. Some fish I’d really fancy catching. You know the kind of stuff. At least you should.
I appreciate that nothing lasts forever and many of the anglers and fish I remember so well, have now started to shuffle off this mortal coil in recent years, and will continue to do so with increasing regularity, I don’t doubt. But there doesn’t seem to be anyone or anything coming through to replace them. Why is that? Is it just that we’ve reached saturation point and there isn’t room for anyone to stand out, or to find something, or somewhere, fresh anymore? I’m not for a minute suggesting that there aren’t any good, or even great, anglers out there right now, but who’s carrying the torch for the next generation? Where are the Walkers, Hiltons and Hutchys? The Maddocks, Mcdonalds, Nashs and Alcotts? The Holts, and the Hearns of this world?
There are a lot of people out there at present that are willing to quite unjustly blow smoke up their own a*ses. They even seem to expect a pat on the back for doing so. Social media is riddled with them of late. I’ve noticed a similar theme while vetting potential articles for the magazine too. The majority are written by people with an awful lot to say, despite not having grounds for really doing so.
And where are the fish? Despite the fact that there were probably only a handful, or two, at best, of genuinely big fish, those of 40lb plus, in the country 20 years ago. Each and every one was held in a revered state. That wasn’t just down to the size of them either. We don’t have many, if any, Clarissas, Jacks, or Bazils, the Marys, Mallins and Two Tones or Black Mirrors any more.
I wouldn’t even like to hazard a guess at just how many 40lbplus carp are in the UK right now, yet out of all of them, I bet that it is still no more than a handful that standout nationwide, certainly no more than that really. Their homes seem to be shadows of their former selves too.
Where once you could name but five or six ‘places to be’ – now there are a hundred. But their contents aren’t really worth consideration... unless, of course, you quite fancy having your name up in lights for all of five minutes before you’re superseded by the next man (chasing a bait deal).
Stock levels have gone through the roof. Without exaggeration, if you can’t lay claim to having three or more 40s in your lake these days, you are a ‘nobody’ – five is certainly preferable, and that’s just for a day-ticket venture. Syndicates all need to have at least ten or more, just to qualify as cool. Some counties didn’t even have that many until recently. Some still don’t!
And in my eyes, that is why people like Terry Hearn will never be replaced. He was the last of the line, the end of an era. He was from a time when it was a race to see who was the first to have ten 40s. I remember Dave Lane going hammer and tongs with him to see who would be the first to catch three fifties, then five 50s... I know lads who have had (a lot more than) that in (half) a season over the past couple of years. Does that make them better than Tel, or Dave? Hell no!
It is actually quite worrying to see the change in the ‘scene’ (god I hate that term) over the past decade. You used to have to earn your stripes, work your way up the ranks bit by bit. Now you can just log on, ‘add friend’ and chat to anyone of the current ranking members like you’re long lost buddies. Just because you are rubbing shoulders with them, doesn’t mean you are on remotely the same level. Yes, we are all still human. Yes, we can all catch fish. It’s just that some do it with a certain style – in a manner that commands a certain respect. They’re the ones that are in painfully short supply these days.
The whole shooting match has gone skew-whiff of late. I can’t see where change will come from either. It’s a sad indictment that a man who’s made some of his living from the commercial side of fishing, now sits back and thinks it’s too commercial, rather than lapping it up. That’s when you know there are issues!
ABOVE Will we ever see his kind again? An absolute hero to the people two generations either side of his own...
BELOW Savay. It’s not just the personalities – sadly, the hallowed grounds are in short supply these days too