“Southern Comfort and Led Zeppelin”

Writing a book isn’t easy. First off, there’s the subject matter. To fill a book, there needs to be quite a bit, so you’ll need plenty of stories to fall back on. Then you need to be able to put into words the experiences you’ve had. That doesn’t mean that you need to be a literary genius, but you do need to be able to express yourself. There have been many good books by people that would be the first to tell you they have no skill at writing… but regardless of that, they can all put into basic words exactly how they felt. Then there has to be a reason to write your story. In its simplest form, it could just be a good story that needs telling, or something you want left behind to say “I’ve done that”, or it could be that you got pissed and thought “I’m going to start writing a book”. Lastly, there has to be a drive, something to keep you going through all the hours of reading diaries, working through each section and putting it into story form, making it a worthwhile read for those that may want to purchase the book.

Like a lot of books on the market, this is not supposed to be a “How to” reference book, in fact, if you decide to take any of the story on board and think that it could improve your angling in any way, then you’re a fool, I know me, and my fishing and I wouldn’t listen to me, so I’m pretty sure you shouldn’t. Be that as it may, I do talk about the rigs I use within this tale, but that’s simply so the reader can see there is nothing about my fishing that is out of the ordinary except where I choose to fish. The old adage “KISS, Keep It Simple, Stupid” has never been more apt. I started carp fishing in 1976, and had all the fun and disappointment I could possibly wish for through the eighties concerning rigs. Through that decade, I cast out many wondrous contraptions, some caught and some failed. Some of the failures should have caught, whilst some that caught shouldn’t even have been cast out, my final thought on rigs at the end of all that was that the basic hair rig caught as many carp for me as any of the rigs I tried, and bottom baits were actually better catchers than pops. So, regardless of anything else, they remain my mainstay rigs, only really changing when circumstances dictate or particular feeding situations occur.

My only real writing experiences before setting out to write this book, have been a few articles with magazines usually about one club or another butchering a history water in order to cater for noddies that want to catch a carp every ten minutes (none of them got published…) and my blog which I started in about 2008, and was the pre runner to this book. With that in mind, don’t expect too much Chris Yates style writing, and be ready for more “Billie Blue Hat” stuff.

I set out at the start, not to teach nor to preach, but to show that there is no need to fish in an ultracult way, no need to cast out the most advanced rig in the world, nor to fish 24/7 in order to catch, no need to run head long into trying to get a deal with the latest bait company to pay for your fishing, and certainly no need to let your targets slip away just because you are not good enough. Be under no illusion, the lake that is the centre of this tale is hard, maybe one of the hardest in the country? Who knows? Also know that I am not a brilliant angler that somehow manages to get the carp to happily impale themselves on a hook for me. Terry Hearn and Dave Lane I ain’t, I’m just an average angler that set his mind on a target, and is willing to drive myself towards that target. I know some of my views may be archaic, but that’s the point, I’m getting old, and the world of carp fishing is flying past me at 100 mph, but I don’t care, I’m fishing for me, and the enjoyment I get from my fishing. Catching fish is but a small part of the whole scheme of my angling. If I manage to get one thing out into the wider world with this book, it’s that there are still bits of blue out there on the map that aren’t just run of the mill, stocked to high heaven carp waters. There are still the odd waters that need looking into before you know what’s in there, and that the pioneering spirit is still alive and well. All it takes is for you to step off the grid, and allow yourself the time and effort it takes in order to unlock the gate. So never hold yourself back with your own or others view of your angling ability, Confucius once said, “You will never know how sharp a sword is unless it’s drawn from its sheath” And don’t be afraid of failure either, because he also said “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising each time we fall”. I think Rocky said the same sort of shit at some point???

So, here it is, my attempt, my story of the Big Pond, written with a driving force of Southern Comfort, Led Zeppelin, depression and unemployment (Southern Comfort being the major contributor in the production of the book, in fact it’s the only real reason this book has been written at all)… a good combination, I’m sure you’ll agree.

I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed remembering taking part in the tale…

Martin “Crackoff