Break­ing the Mould

Chilly takes a long, hard look at why we all pour so much into what we are led to be­lieve we should be do­ing, with­out ques­tion, in the modern day. And then re­buffs it with pearls of wis­dom and good prac­tice from yes­ter­year...

Carpworld - - CONTENTS - - Ian Chill­cott

Chilly takes a long, hard look at why we all pour so much into what we are led to be­lieve we should be do­ing, in the modern day. And then re­futes it with pearls of wis­dom and good prac­tice from yes­ter­year ....

“I watch the rip­ples change their size But never leave the stream Of warm im­per­ma­nence And so the days float through my eyes” David Bowie (RIP) Changes –1972

One of the great things about life, as I see it any­way, is that every­one has a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive on things. We all view our ex­is­tence in a slightly dif­fer­ent way. And in many re­spects, that is what makes this whole liv­ing thing so in­ter­est­ing... isn’t it? If we all looked at life sim­i­larly, it would be a pretty bor­ing way to pass our time on this planet, and in many re­spects we would still be chas­ing woolly mam­moths around in furry thongs! In say­ing that, it seems many be­lieve I can­not have climbed very far up the evo­lu­tion­ary lad­der, con­sid­er­ing the way in which I think – and carry out my carp an­gling. I have even had it sug­gested that I get my head out of the past and con­cen­trate on the fu­ture, and all it has to of­fer. Iron­i­cally, I would rather think about the past and ev­ery­thing it has taught us, things which are as rel­e­vant to­day as they have al­ways been. Why con­fuse an is­sue, which most cer­tainly doesn’t need it?

I am prob­a­bly the most for­tu­nate of an­glers, in that I have an in­cred­i­ble crew to work for and along­side. Fox In­ter­na­tional and Main­line Baits are armed with the most bril­liant of peo­ple, and ev­ery now and again I get to spend time with some of them. A case in point would be Harry Char­ring­ton, some­one who holds the light for the fu­ture of carp fish­ing, and some­one who has the most po­lite way of telling me I’m a bit of dick­head at times! I never do a sin­gle thing that Harry tells me when he is around which may im­prove things a lit­tle, but I cer­tainly do them once his back is turned! Harry has the very un­for­tu­nate re­spon­si­bil­ity of com­ing out and film­ing for my Fox Vlog ev­ery so of­ten, and it is times like these when we get to talk. One thing he has con­stantly re­minded me of, is how good and com­fort­able my 60-inch Oval Brolly would be if I used the fi­bre­glass rod that sup­ports the front of the shel­ter. Now, I’m not one for car­ry­ing any­thing I be­lieve isn’t needed. As an ex-para­trooper, my life is dom­i­nated by lim­it­ing the load I have to carry. I only take a few leads, the min­i­mum amount of ter­mi­nal tackle, no ground sheet, no win­ter skin, no doors for the bivvy and as lit­tle food as pos­si­ble. It all adds up to mak­ing a move much quicker and man­age­able, and, to be hon­est, gives my limited brain ca­pac­ity far less to think about. How­ever, yet again Harry re­minded me about the rod for my brolly when we were film­ing at Hook Lake the other month, and this time I de­cided to see what the hell he was on about.

With Harry about 150 miles out of earshot, I re­trieved my glass rod from some dusty cor­ner in my loft. I set up my Oval in the back gar­den, and, very quickly and eas­ily, threaded the ‘of­fend­ing’ item into po­si­tion. Well, knock me down with a pot of bright pop-ups, it looked ridicu­lously good, and, more to the point, opened up the ac­com­mo­da­tion and made it so much more sta­ble! I was shocked to be hon­est, and raised my cup of tea to Harry. You live and learn... or do you?

I should re­phrase that re­ally and say, do I learn? Yes, should be the de­fin­i­tive an­swer, but it would be more per­ti­nent to ask, how much? How much have I been in­flu­enced by how it works, how it doesn’t and how it has been in­flu­enced by the me­dia and at­tempts to sell a prod­uct or fish­ing style? I be­lieve the trick is to try things for your­self, to make the de­ci­sions as you find them and, most im­por­tantly of all, not be in­flu­enced by what oth­ers say. Which prob­a­bly means you’ll sim­ply turn the page be­cause I’m just about to say some­thing(!) – but, here goes...

There can be no deny­ing, although there are many who would ar­gue against it, that un­der­stand­ing the en­vi­ron­ment and the carp which dwell in it should be ev­ery carp an­gler’s top pri­or­ity. The vast ma­jor­ity of an­glers think noth­ing of the sort, and would much pre­fer to find out what is the ‘most ef­fec­tive rig and bait’ – ac­cord­ing to those try­ing to sell you some­thing, of course. Then all they have to do is cast it out, and they will in­evitably land a carp. Noth­ing could be fur­ther from the truth! I will al­ways main­tain that it is so im­por­tant to find the right place to put your end tackle, and if it’s in the right place then, to a cer­tain ex­tent, it doesn’t re­ally mat­ter what it’s made up of. For me, the next most im­por­tant thing is how you bait that area. Carp ex­ist on this planet to eat. They haven’t evolved be­cause of in­tel­li­gence, they have evolved be­cause of in­stinct and it is this in­stinct and evo­lu­tion that has pro­vided them with the great­est fil­tra­tion sys­tem. This al­lows them to fil­ter out the stuff they want to eat from the stuff they don’t. Sim­ple! All that mat­ters then is putting the rig in an area where the carp are pre­pared to feed, isn’t it? Once this is achieved the bait that fol­lows will en­cour­age the fish to feed there even more. How­ever, an­gling pres­sure makes a dif­fer­ence, not in what the carp are look­ing for, be­cause they can­not see half of what you are told they can, but in how they will feed. Long ago I re­alised the use of par­ti­cles only less­ened my chance of hook­ing a carp, be­cause they en­cour­aged the carp to feed on a small area, not hav­ing to move too far for the next mouth­ful. This al­lowed the fil­tra­tion sys­tem, not in­tel­li­gence, to eject the hook. Which, un­re­mark­ably, is an item that said sys­tem recog­nises as be­ing some­thing ined­i­ble. Boilies an­swered all those prob­lems for me, and a spread of boilies has be­come my stan­dard bait in

ev­ery sit­u­a­tion I come across, where I am fish­ing on the bot­tom. They of­fer a sub­stan­tial mouth­ful, en­cour­ag­ing the carp to move be­tween mouth­fuls and there­fore mak­ing your rig that much more ef­fec­tive, re­gard­less the amount of un­nec­es­sary bag­gage you sur­round your hook with. I prob­a­bly got that mes­sage some 30 years ago, and it still stands firm to this day.

Hav­ing learned the best way to get a bite, there were ob­vi­ously other ar­eas to take into con­sid­er­a­tion. And I guess the rigs them­selves would have been the ob­vi­ous thing to think about. There can be no deny­ing that I have looked at other rigs and the dif­fer­ent ways to set them up, but there was only one way I could test them out and find out what they were ca­pa­ble of – if any­thing. Stalk­ing is a dy­ing art – un­for­tu­nately the only an­gling avail­able to most, is on a heav­ily-stocked venue which is in­vari­ably over­crowded. Creep­ing up on a carp and watch­ing its re­ac­tion to bait and tackle is the best way to gain con­fi­dence in what

you do, and many of my for­ma­tive years, spent fish­ing on ex­tremely limited time, were done that way. Most im­por­tantly of all was the fact that I never once, ever, saw a carp look­ing for tackle. I be­lieve the only rea­son they look sus­pi­cious is be­cause you’re invit­ing them into an area of the lake where they are at their most vul­ner­a­ble from pre­da­tion. What­ever rig I put there, in all in­stances, was even­tu­ally taken if they started eat­ing in the first place, of course. It made me sim­plify things to where my rigs are to­day, long hairs and small hooks. All I have to think about is us­ing the best ma­te­ri­als to con­struct them from... and I have al­ways done just that!

Should I be us­ing small hooks? Now there’s a lead­ing ques­tion. I have heard on so many oc­ca­sions that the big­ger the carp, the big­ger the hook should be. And an even more con­fus­ing is­sue is that a hook should be big­ger when snag fish­ing or fish­ing in the weed. I have no idea where this idea came from, I just reckon that many feel a big hook is stronger for some strange rea­son... they are not! Over the years I ex­per­i­mented with big­ger hooks, and it be­came so ob­vi­ous that a carp was more likely to come adrift on a big­ger hook. More of the smaller hook goes in, thus spread­ing the load through­out the length of the metal it’s made from, not only al­low­ing you to ap­ply what­ever pres­sure you need to, but also en­sur­ing the carp doesn’t fall off. To prove a point, I have to give an ex­am­ple and Rain­bow Lake in France will do just fine. It’s the snag­gi­est lake known to man and I went there whilst test­ing some new hooks for Fox about 12 years ago. Many of the fish I caught, in­clud­ing the big­gest carp I’ve ever landed, were on size 9 Arma-point SSCS! Hook­links have re­ceived the same treat­ment over time, un­til even­tu­ally I got round to us­ing the same ma­te­rial for all of my bot­tom bait fish­ing. Six to seven inches of 20lb Camo­tex Soft, in the Dark Camo, is how I use it, I never change it in colour or in length what­ever sur­face I am fish­ing on. It just works wherever I use it, and in what­ever cir­cum­stances... go fig­ure, eh?

The last two things I have spo­ken about are cam­ou­flaged to a cer­tain de­gree; the hooks be­ing made of a non-re­flec­tive ma­te­rial and the hook­links be­ing bro­ken up in a dis­rup­tive pat­tern ef­fect. So why, in heaven’s name, would any­one want to put a bright hook­bait on it? Some­thing that is so alien to the carp, and, if you be­lieve such things, so easy for them to iden­tify as dan­ger­ous? It amazes me, and I’m sorry if you are one of those, but how can some­one be­lieve a carp would be scared of a shiny hook or a non­cam­ou­flaged hook­link, yet not a bright pink or white pop-up? If we have gone to all the trou­ble of try­ing to dis­guise our end tackle then why would any­one want to use such a vis­i­bly ob­vi­ous hook­bait? And let’s be hon­est here, I would sug­gest the ma­jor­ity of carp an­glers do so these days, yet the carp keep get­ting caught on them. Is it sim­ply a case that some feel the need to fol­low fash­ion and be ‘well carpy’ for us­ing them? Or is it fun­da­men­tal proof that carp can­not see colour, or even be scared by it? The lat­ter be­ing what I sus­pect is the case, and my mind bog­gles about some of the rub­bish we have read over the years. In say­ing that, we are all driven by dif­fer­ent things, and the carp fish­ing in­dus­try give the in­di­vid­ual many av­enues to ex­plore. The trick is cut­ting out the crap and us­ing that which we have the most con­fi­dence in. But amaz­ingly there is more...

I have read, and heard, many say that the sound of a lighter lead hit­ting the water scares a carp less. Re­ally? I could think of noth­ing that is fur­ther from the truth. A 2oz lead will have ex­actly the same ef­fect on a carp as a 4oz lead – how­ever, there is one sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence be­tween them. A 4oz lead is in­fin­itely more ef­fec­tive at hook­ing a carp. Noth­ing I have ever seen or wit­nessed will ever make me change my mind, and again, it has noth­ing to do with the size of the fish you are an­gling for. The big­ger the lead, the fur­ther it will help im­pale the fish on the take. And the more se­cure that hook

It amazes me, and I’m sorry if you are one of those, but how can some­one be­lieve a carp would be scared of a shiny hook or a non-cam­ou­flaged hook­link, yet not a bright pink or white pop-up?

hold is from the out­set, the more likely you are to land your fish. Again, it surely can­not get any­more sim­ple than that?

As with all as­pects of carp fish­ing, the tackle we use gets less im­por­tant the far­ther away from the baited area we get. How­ever, our only con­nec­tion to that spot is the main line we use, and to be hon­est here, we ain’t reel­ing a fish in with­out it, are we? In the main I am us­ing the Ex­o­cet 23lb Trans Khaki monofil­a­ment for the ma­jor­ity of my fish­ing. For one, it sinks like a brick and two, it is in­vis­i­ble in the water. Both are traits which fill me with con­fi­dence, of course. How­ever, what hap­pens if your pref­er­ence is to fish bow­string-tight lines? That monofil­a­ment is lifted off the bot­tom and, most alarm­ingly, col­lects any float­ing de­bris and de­tri­tus that is drift­ing around in the water col­umn. In essence, it makes the line in­cred­i­bly vis­i­ble, what­ever it is made from! To me it makes sense to fish it rea­son­ably slack. First of all, it en­sures there is no line vis­i­ble or de­tectable to the carp in my baited area. And let’s be thor­ough here, carp don’t just swim around in a

spot we have fed, they use the whole lake in­clud­ing the area be­tween your swim and where your end tackle lies. Surely the less ob­vi­ous my tackle is, the more likely they are to feed with con­fi­dence. Sec­ondly, is the con­tro­ver­sial sub­ject of bite de­tec­tion, or should I say how ef­fec­tive is it? My friends and I have car­ried out count­less tests on whether a tight line is more sen­si­tive to a bite than a slack one. On ev­ery oc­ca­sion the rel­a­tively slack line has re­sponded bet­ter to the move­ment of the lead, and that is why I use it, sim­ply be­cause I be­lieve it’s the best way to fish.

Which in a round and about way, brings us right back to the be­gin­ning of this piece, and my good friend, Harry Char­ring­ton. In many sit­u­a­tions, Harry fishes his line in­cred­i­bly tight, with large bob­bins or a heavy-set swinger. It’s what he has the most con­fi­dence in, and no mat­ter how much I tell him to slacken off his main line a lit­tle, I reckon he never will. Harry fishes dif­fer­ent wa­ters to me, in a com­pletely dif­fer­ent way at times, and isn’t it the way in which we all view carp fish­ing that adds to how ex­cit­ing it can be? You don’t have to take a blind bit of no­tice of me to be hon­est, but do take no­tice of what your own eyes tell you. Af­ter all, they are un­doubt­edly the great­est carp fish­ing ac­ces­sory we will ever have, and from the in­for­ma­tion they gather, so your personal con­fi­dence will rise. And at the end of the day, it is that con­fi­dence which catches the carp!

Un­til next time, take care of you and yours. Chilly.

ABOVE You live and learn... thanks Harry!

LEFT Stalk­ing carp gives us the best view on how carp feed

ABOVE Con­fi­dence is ev­ery­thing, as this 53lb 12oz would sug­gest RIGHT It was many years ago that I re­alised it was where I put my rigs that mat­tered most

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