“In fishing you never really stop learning” – Des Taylor

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“In fishing you never really stop learning” - Des Taylor

by Angling Times |

IT’S RECKONED you never stop learning, and I wouldn’t argue with that. Over the past month I’ve had the pleasure of fishing with two experts in their respective fields, and I’ve picked up some great tips along the way.

First up was an afternoon with James Robbins, fishing for roach. I spent most of the time watching and talking to James while he fished a 13ft-deep swim with one of his own 15ft Cadence float rods. We talked about shotting patterns for fishing in windy conditions and, of course, most important of all, how he was feeding the swim.

He was fishing maggots and casters on light line and small hooks, while I legered worm and corn on bigger ones.

The water was clear, with bright sunshine, and I didn’t get a bite, but James caught roach to 1lb 8oz and tench to over 4lb, and missed a few more bites too.

Our tactics and our attitudes to fishing are very different, in that James is always looking for a bite, no matter what the size of the fish, whereas I’m the opposite. I’m only interested in catching big fish.

That’s great, because in our own way each of us is fishing mad and would fish every minute of the day if life allowed.

James did admit that on certain venues he’d consider using a couple of the rigs I showed him on the day, and I reckon we were both winners by opening up our minds.

Big roach are a passion for James Robbins
Big roach are a passion for James Robbins

A few days later I arranged a trip with young carp angler Tom Forrester – mind you, over the past couple of seasons he has turned his attention to the rivers and been catching some super barbel, chub and perch. Today was an out-and-out carp trip, although when I was scraping the ice off the car windows at seven in the morning I was thinking perhaps a different species would have been better. No worries – the bait was in the car, rods were made up and the pool booked, so off we went.

I told Tom that if we could catch a carp each I’d be made up, for we’d had the first real frost of the year, something that can kill sport for a few days. Still, I knew the lake well and had a good idea where the carp would be hiding under such conditions. That, along with Tom’s little edges on rigs and baits, led to us catching nine carp, three of them over 20lb. Tom’s best was 24lb 8oz and mine 22lb 10oz.

Tom Forrester with a winter 24-pounder
Tom Forrester with a winter 24-pounder

I’d been fishing conventional bottom baits with smaller hooks than Tom, while he went for critically balanced pop-ups or wafters on big hooks, the weight of which kept the bait down. We talked about how carp fishing has changed over the years, but how, once you strip away all the commercialism, it’s still just about an angler with a rod, a hook and a bait.

I’m light years behind Tom when it comes to rigs, and always will be but, as he said: “Your rigs are basic but they are in the right spot on the dining table – that’s why you catch.” I’ll take that all day long, Tom lad.

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks, and if you can gain one thing from this article it will be never to stop listening, watching and learning.

Carp like this can still be taken in winter
Carp like this can still be taken in winter
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