freeline-22 - Page 179



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Some of the French strains are almost like a different creature altogether.
spring fishing then it would have to
be zig rigs; they can be awesome at
this time of year and totally transform
a blank session into a blinding one. I
have often spent an entire session in
spring (even an entire string of sessions) using just zig rigs on all rods at
all times. Even if you are not confident of the flat-out zig approach, it’s
worth trying them at the times you
are not expecting a bite, as the most
likely reason for poor bite times is that
the fish are not anywhere near the
bottom, and this is when the zigs
come into their own. Try fishing on
the bottom with a single yellow popup at peak bite times and then stagger your zigs up through the layers at
the other times, and I will be amazed
if your catch rates don’t improve –
mine certainly did. At the latter end of
spring, as the water warms up, everything changes and bait becomes a
much bigger part of the equation. The
zigs start to tail off a bit and we enter
a different phase entirely, but, for now,
find ‘em, don’t overfeed ‘em and don’t
be scared to chase ‘em up and down
the layers.
The next question from issue 189
was more an observation of the huge
proportions that our European carp
can grow to and our opinion on
whether the humble UK carp stocks
will ever reach the dizzy heights of
80lb or more. I am loath to say never,
as never is a huge word that cannot
be backed up in any way, for who
knows what the future will hold? I am
sure that there were plenty of flatcapped, tweed-clad anglers of old
who would have laughed at the
notion of a 40lb carp, let alone a 60lb
specimen as a British record, but
It’s amazing what you can find on the
web – a recipe for otter!
that’s where we are at the moment. I
think carp will continue to grow in
general size, slowly probably, but you
only have to look around at the sheer
volume of forties available now to
realise there is a huge change going
on. A half decent carp lake nowadays
actually has more 40lb carp in it than
existed in the entire UK when I
started seriously carp fishing. I can
actually remember there only being
about half a dozen known fish of this
size in the country. I do not think,
however, that we will ever catch up
with Europe, as if our fish grow then
so will theirs, and I foresee the
warmer European lakes always keeping one step ahead. I think fish strains
have a lot to do with it as well – there
is definitely a marked difference
between those huge French and
Dutch fish and our more humble (but,
in my opinion, better looking) English
fish. Personally I think, for the size of
most of our lakes, our carp are plenty
big enough, and a pond full of 80lb
carp would seem a ridiculous and
artificial environment anyway.
On to the otter problem, then! Living in East Anglia I can probably
appreciate this as much as anyone, as
they seem to be rife around these
parts, which is odd really because as
far as I can work out the main epicenter of the release and stocking policy
was Devon! So, do they have a right
to be here, marauding around our
green and pleasant land and wiping
out our fish stocks? Well, actually they
do as it happens, because they are an
indigenous species, which is not
really something you can say for carp,
is it? Otters have no natural predators
in this country (apart from irate carp
anglers and fishery owners of course),
and it was only hunting that put them
into the decline they suffered up until
the fifties or sixties when they were at
their lowest. Carp fishing, and stocking, boomed at this time and we
struck a new natural balance with
carp being the stronger species, but
the reintroduction of otters has upset
this balance, and not it would appear
in the carp’s favour. It’s no good
blaming the otter for what they do;
they are just busy being otters. I hear
people moaning that they don’t even
eat the whole fish once they have
caught them; they just munch the
juicy bits and then go and catch
another one, but they don’t do this out
of spite towards anglers you know.
FREE LINE 179

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