I’m 68 years old and I have never seen a sport so determined to tear itself apart as angling is and, having fished for the best part of 60 years, I was wondering what the bloody hell is going on?

It seems to me that there are far too many anglers who think they have the right to knock and disparage other anglers’ forms of fishing; You have high profile anglers continually belittling other anglers’ captures as not being caught on the ‘right’ method or on the ‘right’ bait and carp angling, and the carp angler, in particular are often spoken about as being some sort of lesser form of fishing or as lesser beings!

I find that far too many matchmen and pleasure anglers take pleasure in undermining anglers with derogatory remarks just because those anglers prefer to set their stall out for big carp, or for that matter another specimen fish, by doing time on a water and using modern methods to achieve their aims.

Why is this?

It could be that they are unable to catch these fish themselves through lack of time or ability, maybe it’s because they have been brainwashed into believing that there is only one way of fishing, alternately it could be that they are pleasure anglers at heart and enjoy nothing more than ‘doing down’ the big fish angler. Whatever the reason there are certainly some anglers who believe that because it’s not their way of fishing, then it has to be of lesser status.

It also seems to me that carp angling and specimen fishing have been overlooked by those now in charge of angling who, it seems, much prefer the voice of the match / pleasure angler to that of the specimen angler. And just why might this be? Could it be that the big fish angler can see his sport being destroyed by various predators, notably otters, and the ‘powers that be’ feels that angling will be tarnished if we take on the conservationists who, it seems, have the divine right to destroy fishing as we have known it for the past 100 years?

And why is it that we are bombarded with so many different schemes to get youngsters into just one style of fishing? To get them on the float or into match fishing seems to be the cry of many those who feel it’s the ‘right’ way to start fishing. What utter tosh, get them into any form of fishing is what I say, and so what if that is  sitting behind matching rods and alarms – it’s a perfect way of teaching them the correct way to handle big fish and use safe rigs!! Kids like catching fish, be it small roach or big carp, they really don’t mind! Suggest this and you will see the masses of pleasure and match-orientated anglers throwing their arms up in horror, ‘that can’t be right’ they say,  ‘that is why there is so much second hand carp tackle on e-bay.’


When I went to school back in the 1950s, everyone went fishing, where are they all now? Not many of them continued fishing; in fact very few did and I could not tell you one person I went to school with who is fishing now. Fishing has always been a hobby that takes time and effort and nowadays kids want instant gratification, hence popularity of gaming and similar online pursuits.

I took my Grandson and nephews fishing when they were young – river and pleasure fishing – and what do they do now? Yes, you have guessed it, they go carping and they enjoy carp fishing. They all work hard and when they want to relax they go carping, what is so very wrong with that?

Now another gripe, what is this elitist thing about old fishing tackle? I certainly have no idea but it seems to me that there is a new cult of split cane followers who decry every twist and turn of the modern fishing industry and anyone who stands in the way of this movement beware, to them the word ‘boilie’ is regarded as the work of the devil. Has no one told them, that if you add eggs to their beloved paste, then boil it, it becomes a boilie!

As for the old tackle I love it and I still use the rods I made out of J B Walker kits over 50 years ago, but only when the time is right and they are certainly not the be all and end all of fishing tackle, right time right place.

I always expected there to be differences between coarse and game anglers and even sea anglers, but this internal ripping one another apart by different sections of the coarse fishing fraternity is completely mad. Let’s have some harmony in coarse fishing and hopefully encourage more youngsters into ‘every’ form of coarse angling.

If a newcomer to our sport wants to go straight into carp fishing (and God forbid even fall asleep in his bivvy) let’s not decry it, instead encourage it, teach him or her to fish safely and to be on top of their rods as soon as that alarm goes off!

Way back I started off fishing the ponds of Epping Forest, I was lucky to get in with a group of specimen hunters and it was they who taught me about the latest methods of fishing and back then that was carp fishing using floating crust, balanced crust and legering.

From that start I later learnt how to set a stick float and trot the River Lea, I learnt how to Wallis Cast, I learnt how to fly fish on the reservoirs, I learnt how to sea fish off the beach and Bournemouth Pier, and all of that followed naturally on from my grounding in carp fishing. I went on to learn from some of the best specimen hunters around at that time, I progressed through the ranks to have enviable list of personal best and that’s what does it for me, but I certainly don’t decry other form of coarse fishing.

I also know what goes into boilies – I have rolled tons of them – I know how to make a fishing rod and how to look after it and I understand watercraft, and it all came from a thorough grounding in carp fishing.

It’s time coarse fishing, and the people who influence coarse fishing, have a good look at themselves and start to properly embrace differing forms of angling to the ones they practice, who knows they may learn something?

I know this article will induce a little flutter of consternation in the purists amongst you but it really makes my blood boil to see the never ending knockers of carp and specimen fishing airing their biased views the media.

It’s a changing world, the single species groups need to get together on this and encourage youngsters to take on the challenge of specimen fishing, be that barbelling, carping, tench fishing, pike fishing or indeed any other form specimen coarse fishing.

Bolt rigs and buzzers are a legitimate form of angling and the sooner everyone accepts this and lets anglers who wish to fish in that style just get on and do it, then the better our sport will be – for everyone.