Welcome to the first blog of 2017, but more importantly, welcome to our new website. I must start off by thanking Richard Stangroom and his team at AWD (Advance Web Designs) for their fantastic generosity and help in bringing this much improved and up to date website to you, at a total cost of nothing! Richard and the team have done it all free of charge, a fantastic gesture and one we are deeply and sincerely grateful for. Even better, it also has a full content management system meaning we can keep it up-to-date without incurring any costs in the future! The site also features a 'responsive' layout meaning it'll be much easier to navigate through on mobile devices such as phones and tablets - handy for when you're out fishing!
Thank you very much Richard, brilliant. You will, of course, have noticed that all the pages are not yet fully populated, but don't get your knickers in a twist, we are working as fast as we can, there is a lot of work to be done this time of year and given the circumstances we are working under, things are going remarkably well. Just have a bit of patience, there's massive changes going on, and it all takes time and effort and careful scrutiny, there's people waiting in the wings for one mistake. So just bear with us and rest assured that everything is being done in the very best interest of the Carp Society and its members.
It would have been nice to be able to start the blog with news of a magnificent victory in the legal struggle we are having with the four deposed directors, but alas, to date we are not in that position. We are very confident that it's just a matter of time till we are finally shut of the people that were trying to take ownership of The Carp Society and consequently sell it on for their own profit, but at this moment in time they are still clinging on to the hope that our legitimate vote to have them removed and replaced was not valid. It's been a long and expensive process so far for us to fight them, but we are not giving in and the fight goes on and will go on until we can close this dark chapter of the previous board of director's governance. It's a sorry tale and one that I cannot wait to tell you about, but for the moment, for legal reasons I cannot say too much, suffice to say Right is on our side and the truth will prevail. Until then, we continue to be grateful for your help, keep up your fantastic support, and stay with us.
Right then, let's get on. 2017, the story so far. Despite the aforementioned legal battle, we carry on. With not many people fishing our waters over Winter, it's an ideal time to get things done around the lakes in the hope of having everything functional and looking rosy for the season ahead. The guys at Farriers have had a couple of work parties and done some sterling work removing fallen trees and trees that were about to fall, they've tidied and repaired any swims that needed work. It always looks a bit severe after we've done this sort of work but come the spring when it looks a picture, that's when you sit back and admire the work that's gone on behind the scenes, the work that no one really sees and can't truly appreciate because to most anglers, it all happens mysteriously and magically, but believe me, there's a lot of blood and sweat goes into the upkeep of our lakes. So when you're on the banks in the summer, soaking up the majesty of the lakes, just take time out to appreciate the hard, mostly unpaid work that's gone into creating your own bit of Shangri La, maybe even say Thank You or Well Done to the lads that put the graft in.
New road and car park at Farriers Swim rebuilding at Farriers
Bring out the big guns
There's plenty of work going at Little Farriers. By the time you read this we should have had a waterless toilet installed. It's a 7 grand investment so I hope people will appreciate and look after it, I hope most of all though that people use it. There's nothing more disheart'ing for us than finding a pile of human waste and bits of bog roll half hidden in the bushes, there's never been an excuse for it but there certainly isn't now. There's also been some swim rebuilding at Little Farriers, we had always wanted it to remain largely unspoilt and natural, but we have taken on board some of the feedback and tried to make the swims a bit more user friendly without ruining the aesthetics of the place, I think we are getting there, there's still plenty to do but we are on it. The weed on Little Farriers seems to freak people out, me personally, I'd leave it well alone, but again we have listened to the feedback and addressed it accordingly, so hopefully we have found a happy medium (she was in Blackpool last year on the sea front. ( Hey I'm here all week) there's a few more fish due to be stocked before the season starts in earnest, we are hoping to put another 30 or so low doubles in, so that should mix it up a bit. We have one or two other things in mind as well, so it's looking good. The record on Little Farriers in 2015 was 34lb but last year a fish came out a couple of times at 38lb so I have high hopes of it doing a 40 this year. It's a wonderful little lake and this years improvements will only enhance the quality of the place, so if you are looking for a place for you and a couple of mates to chill out on, you could do worse than have a look at Little Farriers. It's the garlic bread of fishing.
Mark Bryant Little Farriers 38lb Stock fish at Little Farriers
Something for everyone at Little Farriers
Farriers' main lake goes from strength to strength, producing its first 50 in 2016. We all thought it was going to happen sooner or later but you can never be sure. What is equally pleasing about the capture is it couldn't have come to a better chap than Pete Foot. Pete, along with quite a few others, have been on Farriers for many a year, and the work he puts into looking after the place, again, along with a few others, is deserving of a 100lb carp never mind a 50, so we were over the moon when he got is rewards in the shape of that magnificent 50lb prize. Top stuff all round. There's several other fish in Farriers that are not far off the 50 mark so it will be very interesting this year to see if it throws up another.
Pete with Farriers first 50lb carp
I've been very pleased with the way Horseshoe has gone the last few years. After the fish losses in 2011 when people were saying Horseshoe was finished, we have certainly made a few people eat their words. It's been a long hard slog but we are not far away at all now, the fish that we have restocked Horseshoe with are coming on fabulously. Some of the first restocking fish came out over 30lb last year, with many more in the high 20's, several of the old original fish came out over 30lb, the biggest being 38lb, so there is a really good stamp of fish in Horseshoe now and plenty of them. I say plenty, but that is subjective of course. For some people you could never put enough fish in a lake. I can't even tell you how much that mentality depresses me, it's just so wrong in every way shape or form but unfortunately it's a mentality that is growing and growing and more and more fishery owners are kowtowing to it. More fish more anglers more money, it's crazy and so far removed from the ethos of Carp angling that it shouldn't even share the same planet. The one thing, more than anything else that got me into Carp fishing was that all the information I could muster together in them days was telling me that catching Carp was difficult, in fact not long prior to that it was called impossible and people that tried catching them were deemed mad. But the challenge appealed to me, which actually took me by surprise because in them days, in all other aspects of my life if you'd offered me an easy or an hard way to do something, I'd of snapped your hand off for the easy way. I'm not a natural angler by any stretch of the imagination and I found it difficult from day one, I think I was 6 months into it, fishing 3 nights every week when I eventually caught my first specimen carp, all 7lb of it, if I'd of woken up next morning sandwiched between The Cheeky Girls I wouldn't of been happier than I was the moment that fish went in the net. It wasn't the size of it (no shit Sherlock) or the look of it or anything other than I had put more effort into trying to catch that fish than I had put into anything in my life previously. Catching that fish just filled me with feelings I'd never experienced ever, and I mean ever. It was a massive moment in my life and one that I will take to my grave. I'm quite fortunate really that going on for 30 years later I'm not much better at fishing then I was then, so every fish I get still fills me with that YES moment. I'm not sure if I should see a psychiatrist here but every time that bobbin lifts up slowly, it's like one of my old, nymphomaniac girlfriends hitching her skirt up to reveal her stocking tops, it's magical. That's probably more information than you needed to know and has blown this blog way of course. Those of you familiar with the blog will be laughing now and thinking its par for the course, those of you unfamiliar will be wondering what the hell I'm on about and what drugs am I on, that's if you haven't already stopped reading and gone to watch Danny and Ali catching some pukka monsters.
Is that the Bobbins rising?
Anyway I'll try get back on course. What I was getting at is that there are plenty of good fish in Horseshoe and if you want a challenge and want to pit your wits against old Cyprinus Carpio then come and have a go if you think you're hard enough. All joking aside, if you love to fish in beautiful tranquil surroundings and enjoy a challenge, you'll go a long way to find somewhere better than Horseshoe, it's brilliant. If you don't believe me, you could always ask someone who hasn't been here for 20 years, they're sure to fill you in on all the latest. That's all I'm going to say. For now.
Langholme is steadily maturing now and growing into a first class fishery. We are very lucky to have lads up there who care passionately about the place and do some fantastic work. Along with Horseshoe, Langholme has had a good stocking of Carp over the last few years and there's some cracking fish in there now. Hopefully once this website is up and running and I get all the relevant facts and figures from the guys up there I can give you a more comprehensive run down of the place. I have fished up there, but many years ago, it was a lovely place then and I'm sure, knowing all the work that has gone into the place since my last trip there, that it's even better than I remember. I will be going up there in the not too distant future, so watch this space. Suffice to say, if you do live up North, then Langholme is well worth looking at if you are looking to broaden your horizons.
Just a couple of the Langholme residents
Changing subject now and hopefully you will have noticed a banner on the home page of the website titled PAG. I urge you to look at this page as it is vitally vitally important to the future of angling that you all get involved. The PAG have been working relentlessly for a number of years now to not only bring awareness of the problems of predation but actually try and get things done about it. I saw a ridicules comment on a FaceBook thread the other day where someone with absolutely no knowledge what so ever was saying the PAG is just another group of blokes sat round a table having a free lunch and massaging each other's ego's, or words to that effect. I cannot tell you how wrong that comment is, I came to the PAG table late on in its life, and to be fair to the unknowledgeable one, I, like him, was not expecting a great deal, the difference being though, I was willing to gain a bit of knowledge before commenting (a trait that sadly seems to be dying out) anyway, how wrong I was. It's quite clear to me that the guys and girls at the PAG are 100% committed to fighting predation, if you think for one minute that Mark Holmes is happy to come along to a meeting, chat shit, have a free lunch and toddle off home, then you clearly don't know him. If you think Tim Paisley likewise is happy to do that, then again you don't know him and it's exactly the same with the rest of the Board, committee, whatever you want to call us. Each and every one of us is absolutely giving it our all to end this problem, because, make no bones about it, if something isn't done, and done soon, fishing, angling, will be no more, it's as serious as that.
Don't let this happen.
The PAG have already made in roads that a couple of years ago would have just been a pipe dream. They have been heavily responsible for the introduction of the new Class Licence to trap and remove otters from fenced waters, and while at first glance the licence looks unworkable and stacked in favour of the Otter, what is significant about it is that it's the first real breakthrough in getting an acknowledgement from UKWOT (United Kingdom Wild Otter Trust) that there is actually a problem. The Licence falls well short of where we want to be but it's a start, and like I said earlier it's a significant start. We are fighting against people who are as passionate about Otters as we are about fish, so we really do have a massive fight on our hands, and it's not just UKWOT we are having to convert, the EA are clearly in the Pro Otter camp, so they need convincing as well. One of the EA guys, whose name keeps popping up, is so Pro Otter that I don't think a million sledge hammers could drive the message home to him that Otters are killing our fish, he just does not see it has a problem, in fact, not only doesn't he see it as a problem, he actually sees it as a good thing. He argues that growing large fish (specimen Carp) is bad fishery management, and that otters eating large fish is a positive thing because it then allows the smaller fish to flourish, his actually words are that "fish populations with a large cohort of specimen fish reflect s depauperate fish community structure". I've read quite a lot of the rubbish he publishers and I've been at conferences where he has spoken, he actually holds Carp anglers in contempt and it's quite clear he sees us as some form of Neanderthal. I wonder if he will still feel the same when there are no fish and therefore no anglers and therefore a shortfall of some £40 million in the EA funds and therefore no job for him. Anyway I only mention him as an example of what we are up against, these people simply will not move an inch, they throw figures at you that there's only one otter every 26 mile and then they say Otters don't eat big fish (which is slightly contradictory to other comments they make saying that they welcome otters eating big fish) We need to make these people see the problem and unfortunately for us at the moment, if it's not on a spread sheet or a power point presentation then it's not true, they constantly refuse to believe the number of incidents of predation or indeed the number of Otters in the UK because it's not on a spread sheet. Which (eventually) brings me back round to our website page for the PAG? If you look at the page you should see 2 green boxes, one titled 'Fencing Survey' the other titled 'Predation/Otter incident report. Please please please fill these forms in and get them off to us. We need to collate a record of Otters seen, Otter predation etc and we need to present it in such a way that it is irrefutable. Fill the forms in, join the PAG and support them in their efforts to save the fish population of this country. It's time to end the apathy and get involved someway somehow. Just do it.
Give your support to The PAG, before it's to late.
Back to more mundane things now, lol that will be the day, I long for the day when things at the Carp Society become mundane, if we are not fighting predation we are fighting greed and corruption, if we are not fighting greed and corruption we are fighting ignorance and want. The greed and corruption unfortunately I can't say anything at this stage because of the legal situation. The ignorance and want on the other hand I can say plenty (oh goody I hear you all say) The recent developments within the Carp Society haven't gone un noticed by the majority of Carp anglers and has had mixed reactions (from what I see and hear) raging from outrage to indifference, there's been a lot of comments about how the Carp Society is not what it was etc etc and I don't think anyone could argue with that, but hopefully you can all see now why it isn't, or hasn't been what it was, primarily because the people in charge were more interested in stealing it than growing it, and indeed, an indifference to The Society played right into their hands, hence we are where we are today. I can assure you though that if there is any justice in this world, and sometimes I do wonder, but if there is, then before long we will be able to change that indifference and bring you a Society you will be proud to belong to and more importantly want to belong to. What I would (and will) take issue with though, are some of the comments regarding Horseshoe Lake. I read stuff like "Horseshoe's not like it was" or "They've ruined Horseshoe" or "Horseshoe will never be as good as it was," that sort of thing. I understand why some people think that, but it doesn't make it true. When you have been somewhere regularly, that you truly loved, and then you stop going and you hear or see that other people are now going there and loving it, resentment kicks in, it's like someone else going out with your old girlfriend, it hurts to think that someone else is doing the things you used to do, so you console yourself by telling everyone she's a slag, we've all done it, most of us stop doing it when we leave school, but there are some that end up so bitter and twisted over it that they can't let it go, so twenty years later they still bang on about it, it's quite sad that these people haven't moved on , for some reason they haven't found anywhere else that quite gives them the happiness they had on Horseshoe and they blame Horseshoe or The Carp Society. Like I said, I do understand where it comes from because I went through the same with Glastonbury, I went every year from 83 to 90 and thought it was the best place in the world, I even went there on my honeymoon (my wife was very unimpressed when my best mate came along to, but that's another story). I stopped going for a few years and then went back one year, and guess what? It wasn't the same, they'd ruined it. So I never went back and now, if I can bring myself too, I watch it on the TV and get all arsey about it, it really annoys me that I can't go there and enjoy it like I used to, it will never be as good as it was!! And that's true, FOR ME. But, there are still people there that quite clearly love it every bit as much as I did. The problem lies with me not Glastonbury, I've had my time there, I'm 20 years older, and why on earth would I go back there and expect it to be the same? And more importantly to what I am on about, why would I then go on the internet and tell people it's crap? I'd do it for the same reason I would call the ex-girlfriend a slag, because I can't accept the fact that someone else is having a good time when I'm not. Let it go and just remember the good times and move on, have some good times elsewhere. It's all a ride.
My friend having a power nap at Glastonbury
Till next Time