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Big Carp Now and Then
Now and Then
– Dave Levy
I still remember buying the first issue
of Big Carp magazine, and if I’m not
mistaken it had the Johnson’s Leather
on the front cover. All these years
later and the mag is still going strong
with 200 issues! That’s crazy. It was
Big Carp magazine that first inspired
me to write my first article. It was
called The Hunt for Red October. That
was over 15 years ago, and it was Rob
who gave me that opportunity that
led to me getting more and more
work as an angling writer – something I’m still hugely grateful for.
There have been some huge
changes in carp fishing since that first
issue. The business of carp tackle
itself has turned in to a multi-million
pound industry and if you’re not that
good then don’t worry – it’s in a
packet now. But from a personal point
of view, carp fishing hasn’t changed
on such a massive scale because I
still feel the same excitement and
passion 26 years on.
I remember sitting on the Pads
Lake and drinking tea with Ritchie
Mac as a spotty 15-year-old boy.
Ritchie was probably one of the first
anglers I met who was what I’d call in
the zone. He told me that if you’re in
touch with a lake then you’ll know
where the carp are just by the
weather. He explained to me why
carp followed the wind and why they
loved snags so much, and it’s still
advice I remember today. A very good
friend of mine, Gerry Chandler, helped
me no end. Back then small snippets
of knowledge were passed on by
good anglers to the younger anglers,
whereas these days you’d be charged
£250 for that kind of help. Don’t get
me wrong; I’m not knocking it, but we
seem to have lost that help that was
passed to younger anglers. Of course
Ritchie burned himself out in the end,
as there’s only so much angling any
man can take. We all have to learn
that, as I don’t know many carp
anglers who haven’t had at least two
wives! It’s been interesting watching
some of the names come and go over
the years – ‘the next best thing’, so to
speak. Then you have the old school –
proper anglers that have stood the
test of time and are still out there
doing it.
I recently told a young lad who was
sat fishing with SS3000s and cork
handled rods that if you want to be
old school, son, then I’m afraid you
were born too late – you have 20 years
to go! But it’s nice that some of those
old rules; almost a code of conduct,
are aspired to in a time where fish at
all costs is commonplace. If you’ve
read Fox Pool, Rob’s second book, you
know of page 9 –the lesson – good
code of conduct to follow.
Fisheries have changed massively
too, with a 30 pounder almost becoming common, and on some waters a
40 is common! You know that if you
make something too common it’s not
that special anymore, and this is why
I much prefer to target certain fish, as
that’s’ve where the buzz is for me. But
you got to do what makes you happy.
Well done, Rob – a real old school
When success lies at your feet and
all around you are in awe of your
achievement, be modest.

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