Objectivity wins the day (carp article and video, entry 320)

Objectivity wins the day

My problem is not whether I go fishing or not, but where I go and what I fish for. In fact my wife finds it funny, how I tell her I am going on the Severn after barbel, and an hour later she asks me where on the river, and I reply that I’ve changed my mind and I’m targeting perch on the canal instead. And by the time I finally leave home I’ve got my tench gear in the back of the car as I’m doing an overnighter on a gravel pit! And I exaggerate not! In fact the same thing happened this week as a zander session on the lower Severn gave way to barbel on the middle river, but by the time I finally left home I was heading for the canal to do some carp fishing!

With summer now losing its grip, that wasn’t particularly a stronghold to start with, autumn is definitely creeping in. Walking a long distance to where I was going to spend the night, there weren’t many flowers in bloom, and those that were looked a little jaded. I saw a clump of red clover, a couple of red campions, a few white dead-nettles and apart from that it was down to masses of Himalayan balsam to brighten up the walk. It was a reasonable evening though and I was able to do the whole session in a tee-shirt. There have been evenings in June when I’ve been in my all-in-one suit. Ah, the joys of the British weather!


I arrived quite late at the canal, after all it was still school holiday time and I didn’t want to see my baited swim turned over by an enthusiastic water tourist squeezing the last drops of light out of the day. But I was spared the frustration of watching a boat bearing down on me, and so the bucket of pigeon conditioner seeds were exactly where I wanted them – exposed on the canal bed and not buried beneath a layer of leaves, twigs and silt. I had mixed three cupfuls of brown crumb in with the seeds to make throwing them out more efficient – on their own they tend to drop short, as well as in the required spot. Fishing boilie, I added several loose baits in with the PVA bag of pellets that I cast out with. On one rod I fished a pineapple pop-up and the other a scopex bottom boilie.

My mainline was 10lb Sufix Synergy and the hooklength 10lb Drennan Double Strength. Hooks were Drennan boilie hooks, size 4 for the scopex and size 6 for the pineapple as it was a smaller boilie. The swivels were pulled tightly into 1.5ounce leads creating a bolt rig effect once a fish took the bait. Casting out, I put the rods on the bite alarm and back rest, clipped on the hangers and settled back waiting for some action. I had two screaming runs, both of which I thought were carp, until I struck into them. I ended the session with two chub! But at least I wasn’t a blanker!

A greedy roach!

With two more sessions to complete the week, the middle one was the worst as far as catching fish was concerned. Even though I had roach plucks and small chub mini-runs, I blanked. However, I wasn’t going to be deterred that easily from my aim of catching a canal carp, so I got my thinking cap on in the meantime. And that’s where the title of the article comes from. If I had been thinking subjectively, in other words following my feelings, I would have quit and moved on to another target species and venue. But because I was thinking objectively, I knew that I should stick to the task ahead, as more often than not, perseverance and planning wins the day.

So although some might say I am a sucker for punishment, I rounded the week off in the same swim that in two overnight sessions had yielded just a brace of chub. I gave my approach some serious thought and the changes included bottom baits on both rods (tutti frutti and scopex), dispensing with the pigeon conditioner seeds and relying on small PVA bags on the cast, and fishing the left rod tighter towards far bank trees rather than mid-channel. In fact I was very confident indeed as I made my way once more along the lonely towpath to my chosen destination.


I ended the night with a handful of chub, a roach and a common carp. Apart from the roach, that came to the right rod, the other fish all fell to the tutti frutti boilie rod fished to the far bank. It’s great when it all comes together isn’t it! I do put a lot of thought into my fishing and when it goes to plan, I get a lot of pleasure. Some people think that the more time you spend fishing, the better the angler you will become. Well that isn’t necessarily so. After all I could spend ten hours a day playing golf but I’d never make a professional. I could train with the England football team, but I’d never make the squad. And likewise, the act of spending time at the water’s edge, in itself, will not make us better anglers.

Of course it helps when you have the time to spend fishing, but it’s more than that. Above all it’s about thinking objectively about what we are doing and why. It’s more than just turning up and considering the next step; the thinking angler will have already passed that level in the days leading up to the session. Even if you have limited time, that can still be used wisely. I see lots of anglers packing away four hours before dark after struggling all day long on a venue in the summer with the sun beating down. It’s better to fish three hours in the right place and at the right time than thirty when conditions aren’t right.


(click icon above for this week’s video)


(Originally published September 2009)

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