This blog post comes courtesy of Mike Wilson who provides a behind-the-scenes look into just what happens during show season and why it's so important to a carp fishing firm like Nash.
AN essential part of working in the carp trade is Show Season. There’s no point designing and developing the best products we can if we don’t have the chance to meet the end users, explain key features and allow people to get their hands on the kit to see if they like it.
With Nash selling carp gear in 32 countries at the last count, it’s really important we make the biggest effort we can to get out and about to meet all the potential customers we can.
For me show season is becoming almost non-stop, with indoor UK shows through the first part of the calendar year, and the major foreign shows dotted in between.
I like the foreign shows best, partly because you get to see different countries but also you get to speak to anglers that have a different perspective. There seems to be a passion for carping over in Europe that makes us look like we are part timers, and I like that enthusiasm.
Zwolle is the only show in Holland and you’re talking about an event that people genuinely look forward to all year. From memory they get around 15,000 people over two days, this year it’s being extended to run over three days because of the popularity of the show.
Recently we exhibited at the Carp Austria show. It’s a two day event but logistically there’s a lot involved. Before we even turn the ignition key to leave we’ll spend at least a day loading the show vans up – typically two sprinters carrying everything we can get in.
We have to make sure we have everything, from every one of the boilie flavours for people to sniff down to the right selection of hardware to display.
Each show needs its own line up of products to suit the target carp fishing audience, so for Carp Austria it was more important to take some of the larger session style bivvies like the Double Tops than some of the smaller shelters.
Door to door it’s a 20-hour drive, so we left at left 3pm on a Wednesday drove through the night and arrived around midday on the Thursday, giving us a day and a half to get the stand set up and looking smart.
There’s a lot of heavy work sorting out the display, which has to be built from flat panels and metal frames at each show. Then there’s sorting out the right products on the right bits of the stand, and everything from checking all the alarms have batteries in them to the right tip and butt sections with all the rods, to reels loaded with line and looking smart, there’s always plenty to do.
When the doors open there are times when you just feel like people are swamping the stand, the numbers can be incredible. Generally the interest is two things, the new tackle items just being launched, and also rigs.
The big thing is European carpers wanting to get inside your head about rigs – there’s a feeling that English rigs have to be a cut above what they might be using.
Abroad the focus tends to be on strength, and that’s partly because of the size and the nature of the venues being fished and that relatively many venues are fished less intensively than English fisheries.
In Austria I saw a hinged stiff rig with the choddy section made using Chod-Link as usual but with a massive bit of shrink tube all over it and then the boom section made from a length of one of our D-Cam leaders. Most UK carpers would recoil in horror looking at it, I’d never think to use a section of leader as a boom, but strength is the key factor for many European carpers.
We also see quite a lot of Multi Rigs made using the heavy Cling-On leadless leader material, and again a 40 or 65 lb link material isn’t something that seems to worry the guys over there.
There’s always something to learn about the fishing itself when you are at the Euro shows, and I was surprised to discover that on syndicate venues in Austria the way it works is that you pay for a swim rather than a membership to fish the entire lake – so you have your own personal swim for 12 months.
Every swim will tend to have three marker poles permanently in place and when you turn up you go and fish your own swim safe in the knowledge no-one else can be in it – and you won’t need a marker rod to find the best spots!