Angler's Mail fan Carl Milton, shares his views on why goal setting leads to more enjoyable carp fishing. If you like this blog, please click the social media icons above to share with your fishing pals.

fishing goals

Angler’s Mail fan Carl Milton caught this awesome common carp as a result of setting himself the goal of a 40-pounder.


NORMALLY at this time of year and before the new proper season begins on the famous 16th June, my thoughts turn to the next season, and I set myself some targets for the year ahead.

Goal setting for me is borne out of my working life where it is an ingrained process. Some people are happy to just go fishing and see what comes along, which I can fully understand.

So why should you set yourself goals?

For me, objective setting focuses my mind on what I want to achieve from my angling. This started in my case many years ago when I realised that I wasn’t challenging myself in my fishing.

I had been fishing the same few venues for many years. I was going fishing less and less. By chance a friend invited me to a different venue and the enthusiasm started to come back.

I realised I had been going through the motions on the same venues for too long. This is when I realised I needed to set targets to keep my passion burning.

So what factors should be considered when goal setting? My yearly objective setting has 3 main facets. The goal or goals must be attainable, precise and have a value attached.

Taking each of these factors in turn, I will explain why I use these factors, and give some examples…

We're not all blessed with the natural carp-catching brain and talent of Terry Hearn - so be realistic.

We’re not all blessed with the natural carp-catching brain and talent of Terry Hearn – so be realistic.

Make it a fishing target you can achieve

Firstly my goals must be attainable. No matter how hard we try, we don’t all have the natural ability of the likes of Terry Hearn so our goals must be relative to ability.

Another factor is available time in attainability of goals. I consider the venue, my circumstances at the time and ability. The venue I choose to achieve my goals must most importantly contain the target fish.

I like to do my homework on this. There is no point in putting your valuable free leisure time into fishing a venue that doesn’t contain what you are after.

Some people love the mystery element in their fishing, I like the next person, also enjoy this. But also if I’m aiming for a 30lb common carp for example, I don’t want to spend my time on a venue where there is no chance or history of such a target fish.

Of course there are other considerations with venue too. It’s not just about target fish, surroundings, environment, locality and cost of fishing the venue are important also.

My circumstances will always play a part in attainability of a goal. Available time and work and family commitments are major factors to consider.



A more precise kind of goal

I always try to keep my yearly objective setting precise. Precision of the goal ensures I don’t go off on a tangent in my angling. For example a 20 lb carp from a river is a much more precise goal, than simply a 20 lb carp with no venue attached.

Adding a value to the goal I find is important, so that there is a way to be clear about whether the goal has been met or not.

The value doesn’t always have to be a fish weight, for example it can be numbers of fish or a time of year. Such as to catch a carp in December, or to catch 50 carp in a season.

This is a very personal part of goal setting, everyone will be at different stages and want different things from their fishing.

That goal can make success actually happen!

Goal setting for me last season helped me achieve a life-long goal of a 40 lb common carp (pictured at the top of this blog).

Until I started goal setting I would never have attempted or thought myself capable of ever capturing such as fish.

However by setting myself progressive objectives over the years, I have tested and improved myself to a level where I felt confident to fish venues that contained such fish, and achieved my goal.

There will be times when my set goal will not be achieved within that season, but the goal can either be reviewed or rolled over to the following season, or adjusted.

Some people will say goal setting as part of a past time is too clinical or regimented, but for me it provides me with increased drive and enjoyment in my angling.

I hope this article gets you thinking about your own fishing. Goal setting for me certainly works and re-ignited my passion.

Give it a try – and good luck!



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