by Gareth Watkins
Over the years I’ve had a whole range of different vehicles that I’ve used to get myself fishing. In the early days it was my parent’s cars, so whatever they had at the time, and varied from an Audio 80 to a Triumph Dolomite. Not always very practical… Since then I’ve had several different types of car and they all have advantages and disadvantages. Here then, is my choice of Carp fishing vehicles.
The first type I had when starting my own fishery was a small compact Renault Express van. Now in the UK the Escort Van was virtually de rigueur in carp fishing circles.. I saw so many of these. These type of vans are small, compact and carry a vast amount of gear. Only real draw back is they are two-seaters. If you have more people to carry you need to look to a larger vehicle.
When I lived in Paris I had an Astra Estate, and it was a great family and fishing vehicle. With the back seats down it could take all the tackle for a couple of anglers. On my own I had enough room for everything comfortably. Again however if you are more than two in the car you’ll need some kind of extra storage space. A useful addition is a roof box or at the very least a set of roof bars for your rods.
Panel Vans :
Depending on the seating arrangements these vans can take up to 5 passengers or more on the large models like the LWB Mercedes Sprinter. The rear has a vast space for the tackle. Smaller version like the Ford Transit, can still seat three and give you ample room for all the necessary tackle for a week away. They are another classic fishing vehicle. They are however hopeless on wet grass and muddy tracks. The light chassis and the mostly, rear wheel drive, makes them just about the worst cars possible off road. I’ve lost count of the number of these I’ve pulled out of the mud.
A note of caution here though, I see groups turn up with guys sat on folding chairs in the rear of the van. In France this is totally illegal, and if stopped, you could be in deep trouble. Vehicles are insured for a certain number of passengers who have to be in seats fitted with seat belts. Additional seating in the rear is not allowed.
For a long time a long wheel base 4×4 was my favourite all time fishing car, a go anywhere, unstoppable beast. I’ve had a couple of these and my favourite Nissan Patrol was brilliant. With a full length roof rack, I had enough space for tons of tackle. The rear luggage space was equally vast, and I had up to 7 seats if necessary or 5 comfortably. It never got stuck, even when I sunk the rear axel in the mud over night. Good tyres and four wheel drive were absolutely superb. It was the car I used to pull all those Transits out of the mud… Frontera’s, Discovery’s and Shoguns (Pajero’s in Europe) are common place in England and are great carp angling cars. Just recently Shaun Harrison pulled my MB Vito camper out of the wet grass in his Disco. The main issue I had with the 4×4 was its huge fuel consumption, and poor motorway performance. At well over 2 tonnes even with a 2.8 litre Turbo engine they were sluggish and juicy. This was the main reason I got rid of mine.
The final type of vehicle is one I’ve come to love more recently, after having gone though the rest above. Personally I’m not into the large Hymer and Rapido Campers but rather the compact VW and MB type conversions that are also practical every day vehicles, but great for going fishing too. The first I had was a VW Transporter Camper conversion with bed, cooker, fridge, heater, toilet etc. It was great on lakes where you could get right behind the swim with your car. It was a mobile, luxury bivvy. More recently I’ve got a Westfalia converted MB Vito pop top, that is just as practical as the last one, only with a better engine. The comfort afforded by these vehicles is brilliant. The larger Campingcarss while even more luxurious than the compact versions; have a certain amount of restrictions, be it parking and access to venues.
So here are my favourite Carp Fishing vehicles. I’ve used all the above at one point it the last thirty years carping.
What are your favourite carper cars?