freeline-20 - Page 158

By Carl Bullock
have noticed, over the years,
the importance of confidence
and the effect it can have on
your angling or camping
trips. I am sure there are
many of you out there, experienced, inexperienced, super stars and
muppets alike that can relate to what
I say when I say that there are times
you just cannot buy a bite for love nor
money, and then there are times
when you just can’t fail. Everyone, I’m
sure, has experienced highs and lows
within their fishing, times where you
feel completely in the zone and tuned
in and other times when you have no
clue what you are doing wrong. Confidence, in my humble opinion, is one
of, if not the most important aspects
of angling. Let’s face it, confidence
breeds success in all walks of life –
women love confident men, confident
business people are often successful,
and confident anglers are often on a
It appears to escalate in a proportionately increasing manner, in a good
way. You do something right and
experience a result of success in
some form, which then leads to more
confidence and increased successes
and it grows and grows, on and on,
the frequency and the strength of the
successes dictating the strength of
the confidence that grows. Unfortunately it works in reverse too, failures
dictating just how quickly our confidence shrinks, dragging us down
with it. Booo! Over these next few
pages, I hope to be able to help a few
of you along and/or keep you on track
of the more positive side of confidence and ultimately catch you a few
carp along the way.
I started this season, my second on
two venues, on a very confident high
after a very successful first season on
the same two venues. I was convinced that this season could be
much better than the previous one,
and why wouldn’t I? I had it sussed; I
was in the zone, and I had tuned in to
the waters. I had come off the back of
a season on Cleverley Mere having
had 29 fish, yep 29 in my first season
alone – no monsters amongst them,
just five thirties in fact.
At times I was just turning up and
going through the motions without
too much thought process behind it. I
would cast around repeatedly with
the lightest lead I could get away
with, into the general area I wanted to
fish, until I felt a big ‘confidence’
boosting ‘crack’ as the lead would
land firmly on the harder clay spots.
The rod would then be clipped up,
retrieved, and then walked along the
bank marking out the distance. I
would then repeat this twice more
with the others before baiting the
rigs, replacing the lighter leads with
slightly heavier ones and casting
them back to the very same hard
patches. Quite often it was hard to
get the ‘crack’ as the lead landed due
to some of the spots being very small,
but I just persisted and cast as often
as I needed to until it hit the mark. I’m
not normally one for repeatedly
thrashing the water to a foam, as this
doesn’t generally breed confidence.
But, and it’s a big but, that was the
biggest selling point for me – I just
didn’t have the confidence without
the ‘crack’. if I just settled for ‘that will
do’ then I would be winding them in
a few hours later because I was convinced that I wouldn’t catch.
Sticks and stringers help increase
I would then scatter freebies
around each rod and sit back rammed
with confidence. Why wouldn’t I?
After all I went for nine nights (not
continuous, mostly single nights)
without blanking and often having
multiple catches, the best being six
fish in one night. It started with just
one success where I felt that I had got
everything right, which led to another
and then another and another, confidence growing with success and success growing with confidence. I spent
very little time on the other venue
that season, but when I did I caught
practically every time until the winter.
So imagine my excitement at the
thawing of the ice, the return of the
longer days and warmer rays of sun.
Don’t get me wrong; I wasn’t expecting to be hauling from the off. For one
the water itself was still very cold and
therefore the probability of the carp
being very lethargic still, was high. I
was also out of tune with the place
due to the severe winter ice and work
courses preventing me from even getting there. But I was excited nonetheless and armed with confidence for
the spring and the new season ahead.
How wrong was I? The spring


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