I’m a wife, a mum of 4 and I love to catch Carp.
That’s probably not a sentence you hear every day and if I’m honest, I’m probably not the typical carp angler you’ll meet every day either.
But I love fishing for Carp, don’t do a bad job at it, and have learnt that sometimes it’s better just to enjoy what you do, rather than follow the crowd and get caught up with the latest fads.
Being a female angler, I am constantly judged, criticized and even scorned for pursuing my hobby. While I accept that most anglers are male, surely being female shouldn’t make me any different in terms of how I’m treated.
For the most part people are great. The banter among anglers is fantastic and I hope if I’m ever fishing in a swim next to you, you’ll treat me the same as you do any of the lads. I don’t wear pink boots, my bait doesn’t come from Gucci and my landing net isn’t Louis Vuitton. In fact, if anything, I’m probably the least “designer” angler I know.
Over the years, I have seen my hubby read endless blogs, magazines and online articles. He’s viewed a huge number of DVDs, watched countless programs on TV and I wonder sometimes whether “too much information” can be a bad thing as, apart from spending a fortune on new gear, his fishing still seems to be about the same as it ever was.
Me? I’m different. I actually prefer to be different. Even stubborn if you like. There isn’t a ‘right or wrong’ way for me, I just go with my intuition and gut instinct. I refuse to spend a fortune on top brands, I have 4 children and can’t justify spending huge amounts on tackle and bait, when I have kids to feed!
I don’t get a lot of free time to fish and have to make the most of every chance i get. I have to weigh up what things are going to cost and the amount of time I have to fish. Sometimes I need to improvise but that doesn’t always mean I’m compromising my fishing.
For example, on our first French carp fishing holiday in August 2011, my hubby and I fished a 14 acre water, stocked with carp up to 50lb.
He religiously checked the catch reports from the swims every week and spent a fortune on a well known bait (Activ-8), because it was recommended by his friends, magazines and so called experts. I on the other hand, bought several kilos of boilie off cuts (far cheaper) and chose a glug that i liked the smell of.
Also my hubby splashed out on Arma mesh to mesh his baits, while I cut up women’s tights to achieve the same thing (I promise I’m not kidding). Basically, I kept it simple.
Hubby’s catch total for the week was 28 carp.
4 over 30lb (biggest 33.9)
14 over 20lb
5 doubles & 5 singles
My catch total for the week was 40 carp
8 over 30lb (biggest 37.4)
19 over 20lb
13 upper doubles.
As you can imagine, i thoroughly enjoyed my trip!! I didn’t fish the nights as I was too tired, because of the heat during the day. But when I did fish, I fished hard. My other half didn’t take it too well and when asked how our trip went, his reply was always “great! We had 68 fish between us!” It used to annoy me as it was assumed by most that I’d caught the odd one or two but I’m well beyond that now.
To be fair, it was a learning curve for my partner. He’s learnt to be more flexible in his range of tackle and bait and more importantly, he has accepted my competence as an angler and is immensely proud! We returned to the same venue last year, he upped his catch total to 40 carp but I out-fished him again by total and weight and a new PB of 41.12.
I’m certainly not claiming to be the worlds greatest Carp angler and not even the greatest female Carp angler, there are plenty out there catching bigger fish than me. But I think what i have learnt, albeit sometimes through having no choice, is that there are always alternatives to expensive methods and baits. I now make my own baits and that keeps costs down and it’s also great to catch fish on something you’ve made yourself.
As for tackle, well I think cutting up pairs of tights to use as mesh may well be a first, but I like to think I used my loaf, tried something a bit different and it worked. I was recently at an angling show, where a guy on the Nash stand was quite rude to me. I think he saw me as a woman first, and an angler very much second. Hopefully one day, I’ll be on a lake in the swim next to him with my home made baits and home made mesh pulling in a nice fish.
Until then, I’ll keep doing it my way and will hope to see more women anglers on the bank in the future. It’s a great sport and hopefully I’ve proved that it doesn’t always have to be expensive. Using a bit of inventiveness and intuition has allowed me to grow to love this hobby, without it breaking the bank. I just hope thousands of women aren’t going to wake up tomorrow wondering where their tights have gone.
Tight Lines – Robyn