Over the last couple of years I have built up a reasonable size library of Angling books and on a number of species. Now I don’t just buy new/modern books but also old ones by the likes of Richard Walker etc, as I believe it gives you a really rounded overview of our favourite pastime.
At the moment I am reading “Confession’s of a Carp Fisher”, by B.B. This book was first published in around 1950 and a couple of the things I have read in some of the chapters really took me by surprise and got me thinking: what is really new in carp fishing?
Now a lot of the fishing in the 1940/1950’s (and afterwards) was done with floating bread crust (pre ledger weights) and with it came the inherent problem of trying to get the bait out any distance. One chapter describes how large pike floats fished with a floating line were used to drift the bait into position.
Another chapter describes how wind-up toy boats were used to get the bread crust well out into the lake. So nearly 70 years ago we have evidence of the first surface controller and also the first bait boat! The first radio/remote controlled boat I can recall reading about was in about 1981!
Probably the biggest invention that changed the face of carp fishing was the ‘hair rig’, but that’s been around now under various guises for approximately 35 years, so we could hardly call it new. I think I first used it about 1982 when the ‘hair’ consisted of about 1 1/2 inches of 1lb 7oz breaking strain mono.
None of today’s rigs would be around if the hair rig had not been invented! Obviously today’s rigs have come on leaps and bounds but it would take pages and pages to go into that.
One of the more ‘modern’ methods appears to be that of the Zig Rig. But again this is not a recent idea. I caught my first carp when I was 6 years old (a 6lb 7oz common in 1975), on a piece of anchored crust. With this rig you could present a bait on the surface or at any water level you required, by adjusting the hook length. It was a very common rig of the day, but was never named after anybody.
Another one of the ‘modern’ methods is that of plastic baits. Once again this isn’t really new. Whilst fishing on Patshull’s Church Pool (around 1990) I saw a guy using chopped down yellow industrial ear plugs soaked in flavour and catching. So were these the first plastic/imitation baits to be used?
There were loads of things being developed on that lake, such things as ‘washed out baits’, critically balanced baits (which we now called wafters) etc.
The use of paste is another item that is now back in the forefront of angling. Now I caught my first double when I was 11 in 1980 on a foul smelling sardine paste that my dad used to make. The use of a honey and bread flake paste is also dated back to the 1940’s by BB in “Confession’s of a Carp Fisher”, so again paste has been around for ages!
I mention the above examples, not to have a go at modern day carping but more to highlight to the more recent converts to the sport that what you consider to be new ideas, are just variations on things that have been around for years. What it does highlight though is how carp anglers have always been very innovative when trying to solve any problems/situations they have faced.
Apart from the ongoing technical advancements in rods and reels, the biggest improvement I can see in ‘modern’ carping, is the supreme comfort we now have. Without this comfort there would be nowhere near as carp anglers are there are today.
I grew up fishing all night on a deck chair or sleeping on the floor on a sheet of polythene whilst listening out for the ‘hiss’ of silver foil on a knitting needle. This was done under a little 45” nylon brolly. It was bloody hard work at times and that was one of the reasons why so few anglers fished through the night for carp. These days we have relative luxury!
Superb bed chairs not sun loungers, excellent clothing and footwear that will keep you warm in any weather (no more wearing 2 or 3 pairs of trouser and socks in wellies that still left you freezing your ‘cobs’ off), also the development of ultra reliable bite alarms (no more silver foil or alarms that packed up with the first bit of rain) that will allow you to go to sleep safely in the knowledge that you will be woken up, when a carp takes your bait.
So there we are, a couple of my thoughts on modern carp fishing developments. What do youthink are the best developments in modern carp fishing?