Hello, and welcome to the first blog of 2019, the first blog for a long time actually. I don’t know what happened to 2018. I know I was incredibly busy and before I knew it months had gone by and I hadn’t written a blog. Anyway, I’m here now and I shall endeavour to do one every month. That is of course, very much dependant on us getting catch reports and/or photos. More on that later.
Just to bring you up to speed with what we’ve been up to this winter though. First of all we had our annual Winter Show at Sandown in November. I normally go down to Sandown with Sabrina on the Thursday, and we measure and mark the floor out with who’s going where and how big their allocated areas are, that sort of thing. The Friday is the main set up day where throughout the day the trade arrive and assemble their stands and get their displays together. This year though I had a funeral to go to on the Friday so didn’t actually get to Sandown till the Saturday afternoon (extremely hung-over I might add). We launched our new book ‘Still for the love of Carp’ at the show. We had loads of the people there who had kindly written chapters for us and they were on hand to sign copies of the book. Having contributed a chapter myself I had to take my place in the line-up and sign a few copies. Quite a surreal moment for me if I’m honest. I did feel a bit of a fraud sat there alongside the likes of Dave Levy and Chilly et al, but there you go.
The Carp Society at Brentwood and Manchester
When you ask for a vodka and Brownie gets you a pint of it
Whilst we are on about the show. I did see a couple of social media comments that the attendance was down. Now I don’t know if this was being said out of malice or if that was the perception. I’ll give the benefit of the doubt though and go along with perception. The show is now 50% bigger in floor area as we now have downstairs in use. This was designed to give the trade more floor space and to make the show more comfortable to walk round IE you’re not crammed in like sardines. Doing this though has kind of worked against us as because it appears that more room as been mistaken for less attendees. Which is actually far from the truth, the complete opposite to be exact? We had a record attendance this year. The only reason I mention this is because it’s important to The Society to have a successful show, it contributes significantly to our income and it affects the amount of improvements we can make to the Lakes and the Society in general. Don’t forget any profit the Society makes goes directly to the Society and is spent by the Society on Society things, be it new stock ponds, Lake improvements, free publications, etc. etc. All of which benefit you, the member. There’s lots of shows now and we face fierce competition as it is, the last thing we need is retailers and manufactures reading untruths and misinformation regarding our show and deciding to go elsewhere (which has happened previously) so please, give it a little more thought before telling lies. I get that some people have a problem with The Carp Society. I don’t get why they have a problem. Well, I do actually get why. It’s an endorphin thing. What you don’t get in real life you can get off your computer now. It’s the way of the world I’m afraid. Anyway, I don’t want to labour the point but it is important to us, and indeed, to you, the member.
Income from the show allows projects like this to happen
which results in this, Farriers future. Look at the size of them for C3's
We (The Carp Society) have attended a couple of other shows this year. We went to Brentwood and The Northern Show and enjoyed meeting everyone (well, almost everyone) it does seem that word is spreading about Horseshoe and the quality of both the fishery and the fish. You still get people who say “Haven’t you had a fish kill?” That’s a bit like me going to Berlin and seeing all the magnificent architecture and saying “Didn’t you have a war here?” But, you know, what can you do? Anyway thank you to all the people we’ve spoken to over the winter. Your support is greatly appreciated.
Winter Point getting a make over
In between shows, we’ve been doing shed loads of work on the Lakes. We’ve had Karl giving me an hand so we’ve been able to do loads of things I couldn’t possibly have done on my own. I think I made a rod for my own back getting Karl on board though, my body has never ached as much. I forget I turned 58 this January and not 18. But I’m massively pleased with what we’ve achieved this winter. We’ve done quite a bit on Little Farriers as well, there’s still a bit of snag removal I’d like to do down there but time is moving on and the bookings are coming in thick and fast so I’m not sure when we will be able to finish that off. Rob and his team down at Farriers have done some great work this winter. It’s getting to look like the surroundings are matching the fish in there, and we all know the quality of the fish. The Stock ponds at Horseshoe are coming on a treat. Last year’s investment in the electricity supply and aeration has really done the trick. With the help of Andrew Ellis and his AE fisheries team we ran the nets through all 3 stock ponds and I wasn’t disappointed. The pond behind the mounds and the one at the top by the sluice are full of good quality young fish but the ones in the Lagoon stock pond are something else. They genuinely took me by surprise the size of them. For C3’s they are remarkable. They are all from spawn taken from Farriers and they are destined to end up back at Farriers. To be honest they are more than big enough to go in there now, but like I said, they took me by surprise and I hadn’t had them health checked for moving so have left them in the stock pond for another year. We did put 18 of the stock pond fish into Horseshoe; they were upper doubles to 20lb+. Those were not Farriers fish but fish we’d grown on from Horseshoe, so yeah; I’m delighted with how it’s going. We are in the process of constructing another pond on the headland area at Horseshoe, between Winter Disabled and summer point, that area if you’re familiar with Horseshoe? And we are hopeful of building a ‘Kiddies’ pond not far from the lodge, so exciting times ahead.
Winter Disabled being rebuilt
We have also run a net through the bottom of Summer Bay at Horseshoe and taken about 5 to 6 hundred weight of silvers out. We gave these to a local angling club (I know, how awful of us) I won’t tell you we paid for the health checks and transport, I know that would only blow some people’s minds. Oh go on then I’ll tell you we did. Aren’t we just the worse? We also ran a net through Little Farriers. That was primarily just to have a look at the fish really. Little Farriers was still quite weedy and those of you who know the water will know it’s full of holes on the bottom so the netting wasn’t easy and we did get quite a few escapees. We did get a few dozen carp in the net and they looked in good condition, so all’s well that ends well. There’s lots of things I want to do still at Little Farriers but like I said earlier time may have beaten us for this year as the bookings have come in thick and fast. I don’t want to be chain sawing and what have you whilst anglers are on. There are a few gaps in the diary so it may well be that we can get down there and do a bit more, all be it periodically.
Netting at Horseshoe
Right, let’s get to the business end of the blog. How’s the fishing on our lakes been this winter? The answer to that is pretty good to be honest. November normally sees a mass exodus of anglers, and this winter was no exception. The few that do fish the winter though have by and large done really well. I know Farriers did 5 or 6 40’s in January alone. Rob Saunders had a couple, Anthony Tanti also helped himself to a couple of winter 40’s. Uncle Trevor had a 40 as well, so yeah, for a water that “doesn’t fish in the winter” it’s certainly been fishing for those that have actually been out there doing it, and fair play to them. I make no bones about it, winter fishing is not for me, I don’t mind the odd day on the river but nah, you won’t be seeing my bivvy in January that is for sure. Saying that though I have spent a lot of time this winter up to my neck in water wielding a chainsaw about, so I suppose madness is subjective. Karl and I were doing a bit of work at Little Farriers one day this winter and I fell in. Wow was it cold, my ankles felt like someone was sawing them off. If laughter is the best form of medicine then really I shouldn’t have felt a thing as I’ve never seen or heard Karl laugh as much in my life. Anyway, I digress.
Anthony Tanti with two Farriers winter 40's
Rob Saunders with one of His Farriers winter 40's
Horseshoe. Like Farriers, fished really well this winter. Again, not many anglers braving it, but the ones that did certainly enjoyed themselves. Pete Fawson has done particularly well, he caught a fair few fish including 3 30’s. He had mirrors at 36lb, 32lb and a common at 30, he had a few high 20’s as well. Ben Sterger had a beautifully scaled mirror the other week at 27lb. I also received a photo from Craig Renton with what I believe is a new 30 at 31lb. A few other lads I know of have also been amongst them but I haven’t had any reports or photos AS YET.
Craig Renton with a new Horseshoe 30
Ben with a beautiful 27lb Horseshoe Mirror
That leads me nicely onto 2019 and a few updates. One of the questions we get asked all the time is “How many 30’s are in Horseshoe?” The answer to that is an honest I don’t know. I know there was plenty of 30’s caught but how many were the same fish I couldn’t tell you. Mainly because we don’t receive enough photos. This year though we have introduced a new rule that all fish of 30lb and over must be reported at the time of capture to Karl. His phone number will be on all tickets and permits so please abide by this new rule. We won’t give any of your secrets away, location, bait etc. but we do need to know what is being caught and we need photographic evidence to see how the fish are doing, weight gains, weight loses, condition etc. etc. It’s important, it’s not just about show casing the fish, it’s about everything, if we can’t monitor the fish then the first time you realise something is wrong it’s usually too late, so please help us (and you) with this, it is beneficial to us, to you and more importantly, to the fish. So please think on.
Pete with two fantastic winter Horseshoe fish, 32lb Mirror and a 30lb Common
36lb of Horseshoe gold
There are a couple of updates regarding membership and permits. The prices on Horseshoe have stayed the same, IE no increase. Membership of The Carp Society remains at £25. What we have done this year though is had a couple of thousand paper back copies of ‘Still for the love of Carp’ printed and these will be given free of charge with your membership. Hopefully this addresses the age old bug bear some people have that they don’t get a magazine anymore. This book is far better (in my opinion) than any magazine so hopefully it’s received in the same manner it’s given, with pleasure. Permit prices on Horseshoe remain the same but what we have done this year is extend the 12 month permit to 13 month, so you get a free month for your money. This is partly as an acknowledgement that throughout the year there are a couple of weekends when the lake is closed and some people get the hump about it. It’s largely though because we are good people trying to do good things. If you don’t want a copy of the book, I think I’m right in saying as an alternative there is a ‘Carp Society membership bundle’, I think this consists of a mug, key ring, car air freshener, stickers etc., or a combination of some of them. Have a look on the website for precise details, I’m writing this off the top of my head and I’ve never got through the first round of any memory contest, as I’m sure some of you can testify.
Carp Society Membership goodies for 2019
So yes, there’s never been a better time to be a member of The Carp Society so get your sen joined up. I take no credit for the wonderful membership benefits, it’s largely, if not entirely, down to Derek our Chairman. As a member of The Society you couldn’t have a better person than Derek fighting your corner, he genuinely is all about the members. Me personally, I’d just beat you all with a stick till you did what you was told, which, apparently is frowned upon. Pretty weird really given tyrannical dictatorship is very much en vogue in the real world. Maybe I could beat you and tell you it’s for your own good, then portray you has some sort of devil should you have the audacity to object? That seems to work at broadcasting house and parliament. Screech, breaks on Miles. Phew that was close.
My favourite thing though this winter has been Carp Radio. For those not aware, Matt Rhodes started Carp Radio, which for lack of a better description was a Carp fishing podcast. Unfortunately Matt became unable to give it the time required and reluctantly had to let it go. Fortunately for us though, Matt handed the reigns over to The Carp Society. I was going to say I was assigned to take over but on reflection I don’t remember giving anyone else a look in. Mainly because it was something I’d wanted to do for a long long time, even before there was such a thing as a Carp Podcast, I had started planning one but things at The Society took a turn for the worse and I had to shelve that idea. So when presented with the opportunity last year I grasped it with both hands. In the meantime a few podcasts had already been established (and very good they are too) so I was a bit late to the party, but that’s another story. Having been given control of Carp Radio though, it suddenly occurred to me that I didn’t have a clue about it. I knew absolutely nothing, nil, zip, Diddly squat, Non Capisco. That sudden occurrence though didn’t happen till the first time I was ready to switch the microphone on. Then it was like OMG. I do like learning though, every day is a school day in my life. By this time I had committed myself to do it so regardless of whether I enjoyed learning or not, it was something I had to do.
I’ve done 15 shows now and I’m kind of getting the hang of it. I try to make it a bit different from any other, but there’s only so many variants of a theme, IE Carp fishing, so while I don’t claim to have reinvented the wheel, I have made it a bit different, even if only a soupcon. What it is basically is me talking teticularly (bit like an audio version of this now I think about it), intermitted with some high quality guests, and with a few classic old tunes thrown in. Pretty basic stuff but much to my surprise it seems to have gone down very well. People actually tell me they enjoy it, and to be honest, as much as I purposely try steer clear of any narcissistic thoughts, I am always pleased to hear someone say they enjoy the shows. It’s more to do with the work I’ve put in being acknowledged and appreciated than anything else. Anyway the shows go out every 2 weeks on mixcloud. If you click on this link
it should take you to the mixcloud place you need to be to listen. There are a few episodes on there already, I’m working on getting all the back issues on. You can also get the shows via Carp Radio Facebook page and The Carp Society Facebook page and respective websites, although Carp Radio website is under construction at the moment but should be available before too long.
Well, I think I’ve kept you long enough now, that’s about it for this blog. I’ll try do one each month this year. Whether that’s a good or bad thing remains to be seen but we will see how it goes. Thank you for taking the time to read it and take care.
Till next time