Part 4 – An askance view of carping – Martin Crackoff

Askance view of carping

Keep It Real

Good news, I’m not going to spout off for the next 20 minutes about keeping imports out of Britain, nor am I going to start slagging off those that fish for them. I won’t be aiming any low blows to syndicates or clubs or owners that stock large carp into their waters, as let’s be honest, the majority of the K.I.R. lot have slipped so far away from the idealistic virtues that were originally instilled in the concept that it is no longer a movement. Even most of those that still post the #KIR at the end of posts don’t really understand its real meaning.

No, I want you all to think of this particular Keep It Real idea as a nationwide movement away from misguided elitism within carp fishing. Don’t get me wrong, it is a very hard thing to get into your nut, and even harder to stick to. I am one of the most elitist carp anglers I know with my fishing. In all honesty, most others methods of angling and their catches mean so little to me that I can take or leave it. There is no correlation between what they do and what I do when at the bank side, and as a result, I know that from a personal point of view, I think of my fishing as a world apart from theirs. I have moved off of one of the best waters in the country because they stocked carp into the water, not foreign carp, English ones, but my sense of what is right told me to leave. I didn’t want to fish a water that wanted to stock fish and risk it all for a little extra money. Although that is a level up on the KIR guys (and way before their time) My elitism is something that I use a guide to my own fishing, and not used as a guide for others.

See, this as a concept is quite hard to put into words, and may confuse a lot of people before a flicker of understanding occurs. My first article about your PB was a starting point to all this, my thoughts on how we perceive others PB’s and use this perception to give an instant preconception of the others angling ability is but a small part of what I see as a form of elitism. The whole “my fish is better than yours” idea, but it has both good and bad in it. The bad is like I have already said in article 1, that you get none of the relevant information about the catch, yet use it to judge the captor, on the other hand, it gives the captor a boost and shows that bigger carp can be caught and lights the fire within to keep him progressing.

Now, if you thought that bit made little sense, the next bit should see you looking for a bottle of strong liquor. I fish a very hard lake… and whilst I appreciate the catches of others carp from club waters or day ticket lakes, I do not use them as a guide for my fishing. At an elitist level, that sounds like I am saying that their carp are caught from easy waters and therefore don’t count, but this is just not the case. What I am actually saying is that these carp were caught from much easier waters, because that’s where the angler fishes, whilst I don’t. And that is the crux of the article. We can all stand in awe of Dave Lanes captures from Horton, or Pete Springate’s captures at Wraysbury 1, but where in your carp angling is it a realistic challenge to catch Mary?

Going back to the young lad in Wales in article 1, trying to catch the last 5 carp out of his water, why should he try and gauge his fishing alongside the other guy? More to the point, why should anyone? And more, we all live in different areas around the country, yet we all act like we are fishing the same lake, PB’s are thrown around like they mean something, catch rates, baits, new rigs… why? Is it because these are all we have left to talk about in carp fishing?

Let’s do a quick test to see what I mean here…

  1. Does my biggest carp affect any of you who fish club waters in Cornwall?
  2. Does the invention of a rig designed for the extremely finicky carp in Withy Pool land anyone any more carp on a day ticket water in Cumbria?
  3. Should I measure my catch rate on The Big Pond, against a match anglers sessions on an F1 water?
  4. Is a new “wonder” boilie costing £11 a kilo going to affect a lads angling if he can’t afford a kilo of it, let alone the 10 kilo’s the promotion team pile in at the start of every session?

Yet we all (except me, because I’m too lazy) try these new rigs on waters completely unsuited for their design, we all gawp at the new big fish out of a water we’ll never fish, we all stand in amazement at someone’s capture out of a 140 acre, understocked water in Essex, when in truth, we should all be stood appreciating what we are doing, where we are.

Keeping it real isn’t about whether or not someone has put a foreign carp into your water, it’s being real to your own means, and yourself. If you fish a water and someone sticks in a fifty with a preference to garlic and snails, and you can’t afford to fish somewhere else, are you supposed to give up fishing? Of course not, why would you, why should you? That’s real.  Ask many of the Keep it real crew if they would move off if someone stocked their lake with questionable carp, and they’ll say yes… put them in the situation where they have targeted one or more of its original residents for a few years, and I’ll bet the story would be different than the ideals they so actively shoved down others’ throats. Use tackle and rigs you know and have confidence in, there is no need to sit there trying out the latest and the greatest, that’s like taking your first driving lesson and buying a Ferrari with “L” plates on. Not only may you not be ready for it, but your lake might not be either.

 Most important of all, is to be real to your own angling. Not only ability, but location and what you can afford. Dream by all means, but don’t think that just because you’ve been fishing ten years that you should be catching 30’s all the time. You may not be able to afford that dream ticket, or it may be too far away, and that goes for having the money, but not the knowledge, or being unable to get there. We are all different, and fishing is a personal thing. Elitism in carp fishing will always be there, but it’s how you look at that elitism and how it affects your fishing that matters.

Now, stop reading this and go get the rods out.




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