Without a doubt, one of the best things about collating the print editions over the years has been getting to interview some of the very cream of the crop of the UK and Europe's anglers, as well as a cross section through the scene made up of working lads, weekenders, family guys and everyone in between. It has been a true privilege to have those conversations.
Getting an insight into what makes people tick, what drives them, how they balance their lives and what keeps the fires stoked has undoubtedly help fuel our own fire for it over the years, and it has also taught us a lot. We've been carp fishing a long, long time now, over 30 years, but for us learning has always felt like an exciting, and essential part of the journey - as soon as you stop thinking, stop learning, and stop progressing, as soon as you think you know it all, it gets a bit dull.
Interviewing so many lads has taught us a lot about how to stay motivated, how to stay sharper, how to avoid burning out, how to balance things better, and ultimately, how to catch more carp and enjoy it along the way, which after all, is all any of us are there for.
Sharing some of that is why we are here, so sit back and enjoy some of the best little bits of wisdom we've gleaned so far from the first two SUBmags.. Enjoy x
1. ENJOYMENT IS KEY
ROBBIE BRIERS #001
'(It's Not All) Grim up North'
'If you’re so serious about it that you can’t enjoy being here, why bother being here in the first place? You’ve got to enjoy the craic, and smell the roses along the way, or you’re just forcing yourself to be here. I’ve made friends for life fishing down here, loads of good memories. You could catch all the carp in this lake, but if you haven’t enjoyed it along the way, what’s the point, really? Sometimes, you see lads putting so much pressure on themselves to catch, it blurs the lines of why you’re going in the first place. That’s the bottom line though isn’t it, enjoyment?'
2. JUST BEING THERE ISN'T ENOUGH
ROY ALOFS #001
'The Only Way Out Is Through'
'Actually, it is more important to me these days how I catch them, and in what environment. It is about a sense of feeling. It is about the moment. I have to have a feeling about the place – and the time. I have fished some tiny streams near me, that I wasn’t even sure held carp. I need to feel that I am in my own world. There might be other anglers, but if there are too many, I will just give them their space. The most important thing is always the balance with my family life. I can only fish when things are stable at home. I need to be there for my children, for my girlfriend, and when that is balanced, then I can have my time for fishing. It is about a state of mind. Carp fishing is intense. I’m not there just to be there. You hear some people say that catching is not important, but for me, that is not the case. I’m there to catch. Just being there isn’t enough.
There have been times, many times, when I have been completely obsessive, and that is always in me. I still have to work to control it. There are so many days when conditions are perfect, when you have a few fish, or are close, and know there are more, or that really I need to stay. It is always hard work to find that state of mind, that zen, to say, ‘Okay, well that’s it until next week’, or to be sitting at home, listening to the big south-westerly … but I am okay with that. I am an angler for life, though. I’m 41 now, but I know if I make it to 80, I will still be fishing then'
3. BE YOUR OWN JUDGE
DARRELL PECK #002
'I’ve fished Yateley, Conningbrook … those very hard lakes, where three or four bites a season is considered extremely good going. On a really good night on the Orient, I have had nights when I’ve caught three or four in a single night. So you could say that on a lake where you might only catch five in a season, each bite ‘means’ more, but on the flip side, what is actually harder to achieve when it comes to catching the big ones?
Catching a big fish from a small, low-stock venue is often very straightforward, in my opinion - they require very few bites to reach that goal, and I’ll readily back myself to catch them. Conversely, I would never be confident enough to say that I am going to Orient in an attempt to target and catch an individual fish. The experiences I have at the Orient far outweigh the sense of my captures needing to be considered meaningful by others, I’m not worried about how anyone might judge my European captures in relation to the UK scene. If people want to say, ‘Oh. he’s retired to France - he can’t catch them in the UK any more,’ let them think that.'
4. STOKE YOUR FIRE
'Brothers Of The Angle'
'I feel constantly inspired by all my angling friends and I have been very lucky to be surrounded by such a wealth of good anglers. Not only are they good anglers, but they also fish for a variety of species all through the year, which for me, is the key thing that has inspired my own fishing. It’s that constant burning desire to be out there doing it that fuels the fire; whether it’s being down the river for first light, trotting a well-dotted-down stick float for monster winter roach; wading through endless cold flooded winter fields fishing for barbel; grinding it out through the depths of winter on big low-stocked pits, longing for that one bite from a behemoth – whatever their buzz, it’s just the levels to which they will go; the effort, the sheer stubbornness, the endless enthusiasm to want to be out there doing in all weathers, that is truly inspiring. You just can’t help but get buzzed up from seeing one of your mates catch what they have set out to achieve on their own terms.'
5. STAY CREATIVE
JAKE THE HERON #002
'I think approaching the world in a creative way is really important. If the world feels mundane, it’s probably because we’re mundane ourselves. We’re only here to create – you create thoughts, memories, experiences, life … in your children, in your fishing … everything we do is in some way creative. If you only create what you’re told to, the world will get very dull. Social media is perpetuating that, and I think if we can decide for ourselves what to do, and live in a freer, more organic way, then I think that can only be a positive thing.'
Head back next week for part 2, and five more things we've learnt..