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A question for the better anglers


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This is a question aimed at those of you who consider yourself to be an above average carp angler or who have fished with such anglers or those who have significantly improved in recent times. 

 

A friend and I were discussing carp fishing and asking why certain anglers seem to take places apart yet regulars struggle for a few fish a year on the same waters. Why is it certain anglers catch big fish after big fish year on year?

 

Of course time and access to the right waters help. As does bait etc but nowadays most people have access to the same resources. What do you do now that has really lifted your game or what have you noticed when watching a top angler in action. Is it a sixth sense or just a natural gift that some people have just as some people are gifted at football or rugby. Or is it preparation and focus before going fishing and then once on the waterside? 

 

What separates the good from the great in our sport? 

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I think you get two types of anglers on the water. Ones that do laps of the lake, constantly watching the water, willing to move onto fish in the middle of the night because they’ve heard them crashing on the other side of the lake. 
 

Then you get the ones who want to bivvy up, put a bed of bait out and wait for the fish to move onto the bait then sit in the bivvy for the day, playing on the phones/reading books etc.

I find the ones who are watching the water all day, putting in the hard work usually do a lot better 👍

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There are those who are in tune with a water... bit like Chris Yates and Redmire... he fished it for years and got to know its moods... then guys like Dave Lane or Adam Penning who will move onto any showing fish, some folks are seen patrolling the water for weeks before a cast is made, getting to know patrol routes, feeding times and feeding spots... they are the ones who take waters to bits... in short... they put in hard work

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I think all anglers can answer that question if they are honest with themselves, 

Some people like a social and still manage to catch from the going swims, people like me who just want to be at the water fishing and looking don't always get the rewards,I like to think it balances out,but it doesn't always, I don't worry what others are catching too often, but more what I catch, but it's each to there own if you want or need to feel like you are top rod you need to sacrifice all the other stuff, I just do what I can prebait, walk round and fish the odd night when I can, the only thing I am keen to do better this year is find the fish before I set up, if I catch one that's all that matters, there is one guy who has been smashing it this year though, he has worked blooming hard walking round, fishing days when it was all he could do and a couple of work nights, but he capitalised on the situation, hopefully I will get a similar window at some point, but good luck to him he's earnt it 👍

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It depends on a lot of factors... are you driven enough to chase the fish...? Have you got the patience to learn a waters moods by watching it for weeks without a rod...? Does your level of watercraft enable you to predict where the fish can be found...? for the majority of us the answer (if you answer truthfully) is no... otherwise there'd be tons of pics of us lot in the press holding 50's 60's every week...

No... the majority of us love our fishing, but have very little spare time to pursue carping the way the top lads do... therefore we do our best and catch the odd lump (not often in my case) and we aspire to get better... sometimes it pays off... more often than not it doesn't...... but we keep trying do we not...?

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On 02/07/2021 at 22:52, Hammer79 said:

This is a question aimed at those of you who consider yourself to be an above average carp angler or who have fished with such anglers or those who have significantly improved in recent times. 

 

A friend and I were discussing carp fishing and asking why certain anglers seem to take places apart yet regulars struggle for a few fish a year on the same waters. Why is it certain anglers catch big fish after big fish year on year?

 

Of course time and access to the right waters help. As does bait etc but nowadays most people have access to the same resources. What do you do now that has really lifted your game or what have you noticed when watching a top angler in action. Is it a sixth sense or just a natural gift that some people have just as some people are gifted at football or rugby. Or is it preparation and focus before going fishing and then once on the waterside? 

 

What separates the good from the great in our sport? 

It is not necessarily chasing fish all the time. Dave Lane is a great angler, yet he does not always chase fish, sometimes it is down to the 'knowledge'. 

It is learning from what you are doing, success and failure. 

What makes any angler a 'great angler'? 

Is a better angler one who simply catches big fish or one who catches from difficult waters? 

Personally I would class myself as a reasonable angler. Sometimes I do well, other times I struggle. I tend to be able to assess my sessions, and work out how to improve my catches. I watch the water, I try to understand the fish and the water. 

The times I struggle I tend to set up in a hurry straight after work, no real water searching and then sleep for 2 days. 

Times I do well, I spend plenty of time looking, then set up either  on them, or if they are moving or due to weather I think they will come to. 

Don't confuse yourself going round in circles, don't keep swapping bait or rigs. Trust in both and know your rig in the right place will score. 

Understand your baiting and fishing. 

It is vastly different fishing for carp in 'overstocked' waters to fishing for carp in rich food waters. 

Some waters it will be catch as many as you can the big one will follow, in some it will be the bigger fish have their own areas, times or foods they prefer (not always boilies!). 

Do you want to turn up and catch any fish or do you want to catch the biggest fish? 

That question alone opens more questions! 

I wanted to catch from Alton Water, from Ardleigh reservoir, from Earith, Brackens, Nazeing, even Taverham Mills. 

Taverham Mills and Earith catching meant any and plenty of fish, Brackens and Nazeing meant catching fish over 20, even 30.

Ardleigh and Alton were any fish, but the waters were pretty untapped, hardly no-one knew or knows the stock. Does an Alton 28 count as a good any fish? Along with a fair few others over 20...

 

 

 

 

 

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The division ( for me anyway) between a REALLY talented angler and an average one like me is the need to deconstruct every session and look into the minutiae of how and why I did or didn't catch... I don't feel the need, for the simple reason that I go fishing for my own enjoyment... and to take my sessions to that point where I have to examine every facet of the outing means my enjoyment of my sport diminishes....

 

In short do what you want, but be aware that you'll get out what you put in

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On 02/07/2021 at 22:52, Hammer79 said:

focus before going fishing and then once on the waterside

This👆

Carp angling is much more simple than we make out. If you can put a bait the carp want to eat, on a spot on which they're prepared to feed, and the carp are there feeding - you'll catch them. The carp will feed somewhere every single day, so the trick is finding them and putting the right bait in front of them.

The best anglers are trying harder to achieve the above than other anglers imo. And while they're trying to achieve it they learn far, far more about the water and it's inhabitants than those that aint trying to achieve it. It's basically a virtuous cycle; the harder you work, the more you learn, the easier it becomes.

Assuming you know how to find a spot pretty much anyone has the capability to be a great angler. It is drive, or lack of drive, that lets people down (me included lol).

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kind of been avoiding this one i don't think there is a stand out carp angler in Britain today lord tel aside, now if someone was to pull a couple of thirties from one of the big lakes in the north of England, that would be a first? a lot of look involved on carp lakes you can never know which fish will pick your bait up. 

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1 hour ago, Carpbell_ll said:

i don't think there is a stand out carp angler in Britain today lord tel aside

I personally think there are more "top anglers" about now than there has ever been. I guess it's harder to stand out like Tel did, when there are now many anglers with abilities comparable to Tel. You look at the likes of Tom Stokes, Scott Lloyd, Greg Ellis, Myles Gibson, Si Kenny, Marcus Clark.... every year they're catching what they set out to catch. You add the old hats to that list; Dave Lane, Jim Shelley etc etc, and it starts looking like a pretty big list.

There are always a bunch of guys way under the radar too. Loads of exceptional anglers about nowadays imo.

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One of the probs I have is that I don't have access to some of the high profile waters the top lads do... sour grapes...?? bang on...🤣🤣 as a retired bloke I can't afford syndi tickets, or long stay sessions and my clubs hold fish to about 30lbs max but are few and far between... again its about what you put into your fishing... I've fished a few high profile, open access waters with mixed success... the highlight for me was catching from Redmire in  2018 and oddly enough losing one of the Ashmead A team in 2019... I'd loved to have caught it, but I don't dwell on it (much)... if it mattered that much I'd be back at every opportunity to bank one of Skeff's big girls... but I can't afford it sadly... although I'll be back at some time in the future... but if my name was Terry Hearn I'd have been back till I'd banked every one of the bigguns...  I suppose its a matter of what you want or can afford to put into your sport that will dictate what you get out of it 

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57 minutes ago, yonny said:

I personally think there are more "top anglers" about now than there has ever been. I guess it's harder to stand out like Tel did, when there are now many anglers with abilities comparable to Tel. You look at the likes of Tom Stokes, Scott Lloyd, Greg Ellis, Myles Gibson, Si Kenny, Marcus Clark.... every year they're catching what they set out to catch. You add the old hats to that list; Dave Lane, Jim Shelley etc etc, and it starts looking like a pretty big list.

There are always a bunch of guys way under the radar too. Loads of exceptional anglers about nowadays imo.

I'm still trying to channel my inner jim shelley everytime I watch or listen to him I learn something useful  😯

Nigel sharp, Joe Morgan, Adam penning still catch plenty too, and even though what he does isn't really for me usually, Tom Maker regularly pops up with huge hits of fish and Kev Hewitt, like you say so many and you can learn from them all these days, it makes for a much more even playing field in some ways, 

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1 hour ago, yonny said:

I personally think there are more "top anglers" about now than there has ever been. I guess it's harder to stand out like Tel did, when there are now many anglers with abilities comparable to Tel. You look at the likes of Tom Stokes, Scott Lloyd, Greg Ellis, Myles Gibson, Si Kenny, Marcus Clark.... every year they're catching what they set out to catch. You add the old hats to that list; Dave Lane, Jim Shelley etc etc, and it starts looking like a pretty big list.

There are always a bunch of guys way under the radar too. Loads of exceptional anglers about nowadays imo.

they are catching machines you know which ever lake they fish they get the results, not even sure there are large carp in the lake district couple of thirties would be different to what's being caught now.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 05/07/2021 at 09:25, bluelabel said:

To a certain extent its about being in the right place at the right time... the difference between us and the likes of Lord Tel... is he knows the time and the place already...😛🤣

ahh.... i thought it was because he has secret invisible carp gills behind his ears :lol:

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So first of all I have to say I'm no top angler, but my fishing has improved a lot this year, and I've caught lots more. I only fish local club waters, I'm just an average working guy, and £30 a day, or hundreds and thousands for syndicates just aren't possible.

I no longer turn up, do a pub chuck, then sit in the bivvy playing on my phone. (that didn't work too well!)

The difference this year? Time and effort. I always look at the water now,, searching for signs of fish before casting. I'll do laps of the lake. I keep a note of when and where I see them. I use a marker rod to lead about, finding out what the bottom is like and the depths. I'll pick a rig that's likely to work on that bottom if I can't find a "spot". On that note I'm not the greatest caster, but I've made the effort to practise that as well. I'll move swims if I'm not feeling ti too, and try different things to see what works (and what doesn't). What works on one water, won't on another, so each lake has to be learned too.

I also started making my own boilies this year. I buy the best ingredients I can, then turn up and bait the lakes regularly, so the fish get used to them. That also seems to be working well. As with tactics, bait seems to differ on different waters, and colours can make a difference as well. So even when not on the bank the effort is still there. I'm not baiting with a bag of boilies from my tackle shop. All the bait is fresh and hand rolled.

I've also spent hours and hours on carp forums like this, learning all I can to improve my fishing. There are so many great tips here, and countless pearls of wisdom. For that I thank everyone who posts and shares their knowledge and wealth of experience. It really does help guys like me to catch more fish.

So yeah, going back to the original question, time and effort. I suspect a lot of "top" people in anything find this true. Time + effort = reward.

As a result I'm enjoying my fishing a lot more, and feel I'm getting more out of it. I turn up now expecting a catch, and my confidence is much improved. I will also say it is a journey, a marathon, not a sprint. it takes time and practise to improve in anything. Stay focused, spend time on the water. Try new things. And keep trying.

My results haven't been worthy of Carpology or anything, but I've had a couple of dozen fish this year, mainly on short day sessions. I've caught some twenties. Caught fish from club lakes where I've never caught before, and caught on new waters, fished for the first time (twice within an hour of casting). I've caught from high pressure small lakes to mid stock 20 acres. All in all, it's been a belter of a year so far. And that from more time and effort.

Most of all - enjoy it! (If you don't you'll chuck it in soon enough). Tight lines!

 

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On 05/07/2021 at 09:39, yonny said:

I personally think there are more "top anglers" about now than there has ever been. I guess it's harder to stand out like Tel did, when there are now many anglers with abilities comparable to Tel. You look at the likes of Tom Stokes, Scott Lloyd, Greg Ellis, Myles Gibson, Si Kenny, Marcus Clark.... every year they're catching what they set out to catch. You add the old hats to that list; Dave Lane, Jim Shelley etc etc, and it starts looking like a pretty big list.

There are always a bunch of guys way under the radar too. Loads of exceptional anglers about nowadays imo.

Agree 100%. There are a lot of "top anglers " around today, put a few on the same lake and that lake becomes a lot harder because you're competing with not only the fish but anglers that are very much on the ball. As for the ones under the radar I personally think a few  would put the "famous" anglers of today in their places. 

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On 05/07/2021 at 10:44, elmoputney said:

I'm still trying to channel my inner jim shelley everytime I watch or listen to him I learn something useful  😯

Nigel sharp, Joe Morgan, Adam penning still catch plenty too, and even though what he does isn't really for me usually, Tom Maker regularly pops up with huge hits of fish and Kev Hewitt, like you say so many and you can learn from them all these days, it makes for a much more even playing field in some ways, 

There is 'BUT' to this though. 

Just because you copy or do what 'Big Name' anglers do, it does not make you a better angler yourself. 

Following fashion; rigs, tackle even the methods they fish will not necessarily increase your captures. You still need to find fish, and then get your bait and feeding right and your rig in the right place. 

Sadly some who are in the limelight could well be time bandits, or pulling strokes to get results. That definitely does not make them better anglers. That is the point of 'at any cost'. 

 

Something I think is that every angler goes through a period of doldrums, not catching. It is the better anglers who can deal with it and get through to good times again. The 'not so good' will just give in and follow fashion without thinking. They blame the rig, the bait, never themselves or the simple fact the fish aren't interested. 

I bring this up for a reason. Currently on my water 'the originals' aren't showing or being caught. The only fish being caught are stock fish from the past few years. It looks like after spawning together they have gone their separate ways. The stock fish in fishable areas, where bait is going in, the originals hiding in the thick weedy unfishable areas. The stock fish relying on bait, the originals on natural good. 

 

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  • 2 months later...

I'm back after 20yrs out. I've fished since I was 2 and a half. I'm now 57. Am I top Angler? Who knows that's for others to decide. What I do know is I have success on every lake I've ever fished. Success means catching fish. I do spend time looking for fish including snags and pads etc. I try to find their waterway network and then ambush them. Watercraft is built on experience and local knowledge. I do chat to the locals to find out what the score is but take it with a pinch of salt if it goes against my gut. I've always said a well presented bait in the right spot catches fish. As for size there is a large element of luck but the more you practice the luckier you get.

What is more important is the joy and pleasure you get from your trip. If you're not happy change it and keep changing it till you are. Blanking isn't the end of the world if you're enjoying your company and surroundings. Plus you will of gained additional knowledge for next time.

At the moment my mobility is limited so I have to choose my swim carefully. What I have learned even now is I should be choosing my swim carefully in the first place. If I'm honest I can't always say I've done that. 

I don't follow fashion I use tried and tested rigs and change them according to the lake. You have to adapt to the lake and the conditions if you want to catch. It's not rocket science but there's a few basics we all have to follow. Do those and guaranteed you'll catch fish and lots of them.

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