SUBmag #001 ARCHIVES - TIM ROWLAND 'WEEKENDER'

We speak to Timmy on a regular basis, about everything from counting macros and food prep, to cameras, to carp, to camping trips with the family - not only is Timmy a ninja in a little inflatable armed with a handful of tigers, but he's one of carp fishing's true good guys as well! Flick the kettle on, and enjoy the words and pics

‘If Tim can do it, I might have half a chance as well. It’s been a big inspiration watching someone like Tim operate; it gives me faith for doing fewer regular weekends in the future, you know. If I’d only done the time and trips Tim has this year, I wouldn’t have caught even half of what I have, simple as that’

Robbie Briers

After speaking to Robbie, it seemed only fitting that we follow up that chat by speaking to Tim himself, to see how he felt about weekend life and how he makes that work, mentally, and practically, on somewhere as hard and busy as Stoneacres. Turns out that realistic expectations and good old-fashioned hard work go a long way.

Eh up, Tim! Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. So, have you always been a ‘weekender’?

Years ago, I used to be heavily into the Sunday morning commercial match scene. The competitiveness, and how important the draw was eventually wore me down and in the end, I wasn’t enjoying it, especially having the stresses of a ‘sales-y’ job on top of that – angling should be enjoyable. That developed into buying some second-hand carp gear to go with the lads to France for the obligatory ‘beer ‘n’ barbecues’ for a week, which was great, but I really wanted to improve my carp fishing skill set. I’m from Leicestershire and I knew Dan Wildbore, who took me for a trip to Linear, years ago. I fluked the Big Common out on the first night, so I was hooked on Oxfordshire, and on the way back from Linear, Dan gave me a tour around Linch Hill, which had just gone to day ticket. I just loved the vibe of that place, and from 2014 I have been going every month to Linch on a Friday night, through until to Sunday midday.

What does your average working week consist of these days, and where does your fishing fit in with that?

Pre-Covid I was travelling 35k nationwide as a Sales Rep for a car auction company, but post-Covid it’s more of a hybrid model now, half the travelling and more Teams/Zoom calls, 8.30 to 5.30, Monday to Friday. This year, I was able to buy five days additional annual leave from work which gave me the flexibility not only to book the odd Friday off, but also not to annoy the missus by burning holiday for fishing.

You have a family as well. I’m guessing you are balancing all that, too?

My wife thinks 15-20 nights a year is a lot – ha! – and her mates can’t believe she lets me go for that amount of time! She is very understanding, to be fair, and I don’t take the piss – well, maybe in the spring. We have a two-year-old boy, Remy, who doesn’t sleep! That is a serious game-changer and puts a lot of extra stresses on your relationship. I have had the same GF/wife for 23 years now – we met at school – and that all defo gives me a solid stable family life.

From following your Insta, you don’t just fish either – looks like you lead a busy life outside of fishing as well

I used to be mega into my clubbing back in the day, went to Ibiza 7 years on the row in early 2000s, and I still love a dirty night club nowadays. Also the wife and I take the MTBs out when we can get a babysitter, Bike Park Wales, Cannock Chase etc. I love my photography, social events with friends, weekends away … you can’t beat remembering these moments from a good photo! I love to travel and luckily enough, I have family in France, Spain and Italy so we spend a lot of time abroad as well.

Robbie said you’re fishing roughly one weekend a month, maybe two? Is that your usual script?

Yeah, just one weekend a month, and two weekends in May. You may laugh, but as you can see, my social life is pretty busy. The wife and I have an iPhone shared calendar on which we input all the social events, plus I input Stonies weekends months in advance. I can never just nip down to Stonies when a good weather front is coming, which probably costs me fish, for sure. I always know my fishing trips months before. It definitely makes the trips much harder to predict where the carp will be, and for getting in tune with the venue.

How do you rationalise fishing somewhere as hard and busy as Stoneacres on such a limited time frame? I know a lot of guys – including me – would be looking for somewhere more seemingly achievable

Set your expectations clearly at the start, then you will never be disappointed. At the start of the season, I would be happy with just one carp. I know people talk about marginal gains, but I try to position myself in the best swim possible by using watercraft – and use great quality bait with a fantastic rig. After that, it is just down to the carp … there’s no point beating yourself up about things you can’t control!

'Set your expectations clearly at the start, then you will never be disappointed'

That is so refreshing, so hear a target being set of just one fish – in this day and age of big‘uns getting churned out left, right and centre, and everything being so seemingly results driven

The challenge makes it exciting as well, for me, setting that target of one fish. After three seasons on Stonies, I caught my first 40-pounder this year – ‘Mini Choco’ – which was a mega buzz, sharing the moment with some proper mates.

One day mate! You’ve fished up there for a few years now. Do you think that knowledge helps? How important do you think that is? Are you keen on having spots dialled in and really being able to make the most of your time?

Yeah, knowledge is king! I don’t fish any other venues, so that doesn’t dilute my efforts and thinking. There are patterns and areas that can produce in certain conditions, but finding those natural feeding spots that the carp are going to ‘farm’ is key! Once the spots have been harvested by the carp, they are done! Time to move on.

How are you approaching each weekend, mentally?

My mindset is that I am trying to create just one opportunity for a bite. When you’ve put the rods out, you’ve done everything possible to your angling ability to tip the odds in your favour, to create an opportunity for a bite – that’s all you can do. If someone is in the ‘going’ swim for the weekend, so be it. If the going swim is randomly available on a Friday night, it is just a bonus. I also know that if I do blank, I will enjoy myself whatever happens, through spending time with a good bunch of lads, and nice food.

'If someone is in the ‘going’ swim for the weekend, so be it. If the going swim is randomly available on a Friday night, it is just a bonus. I also know that if I do blank, I will enjoy myself whatever happens, through spending time with a good bunch of lads, and nice food'

It is a great mindset to have, that. Arriving on a Friday to a pretty busy lake could so easily be demoralising – how do you rationalise that?

So, you arrive Friday night and realistically you are fishing for that Sunday morning bite time. Normally, the light is fading Friday night, so set up in a likely area, but make sure you set your alarm for first light to do a lap – or in the middle of the night, depending on the time of year. There is a good chance you will see them show and then it is a case of getting a bucket in, packing down and looking for those freshly turned over feeding spots, to set your traps for the Sunday morning bite time.

What is it that drives you to keep at it on somewhere like that, on such a short time-frame?

The fish stock is simply incredible in Stonies and every time you do get a bite, the knees are knocking and the adrenalin is pumping! If I had to choose one of those special Stoneacres carp, then it would have to be the Number 9 Bus.

You seem to have a really good time along the way, as well. Is that key for you?

One hundred per cent! There are always barbecues or takeaway orders going off every weekend on Stoneacres – it is such a great bunch of lads. I have loads of carp fishing mates who have become lifelong friends, sharing personal moments and advice etc. I’m planning to go Cannock Chase this winter with Robbie on the MTBs, actually.

This will make you laugh. I get some stick of the boys for this because I am always up at first light, or often setting my alarm in the middle of the night to do a lap, and having a two-year-old at home who doesn’t sleep, makes these trips pretty knackering, so I always have an afternoon siesta. The lads take the piss – but fishing has also got to be relaxing!

Any words of wisdom for anyone in a similar position?  

Set realistic expectations so you don’t get disappointed, and make sure you enjoy the venue, and it is easy on the eye. On the way home after a session, I always reflect and think to myself, ‘Could have I done anything better? What did I learn from that session?’ Look for the positives if you blank. Did you find a new spot? Was one of the other lads hauling? Was he doing something different? Finally, there are many ‘know-it-alls’ in carp fishing, but only listen to the people who catch!

Nice one, Tim. Thanks for taking the time to chat – love that, and an inspiration for anyone on a tight schedule, I’m sure. We’ll see you out there.


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