Ben Hervey-Murray

Every Wednesday sees a new blog by Angler’s Mail magazine’s HQ, focussing on happenings in the wonderful world of fishing, including latest tackle.

There will be something for everyone – whether you are into pleasure fishing, carp fishing, match fishing, specialist fishing or anything else.

This week’s Angler’s Mail HQ blog is by Ben Hervey-Murray, our sub-editor.

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URBAN fishing really comes into its own in winter months, with quality fish shoaling up in the warmer waters of built-up areas and long, overnight sessions often impractical (and unnecessary), meaning a few hours close to home is good option.

Urban angling is great for all species, including big perch!

Living in London, I have several waters nearby but few people realise this. The misconception that the capital is a concrete jungle is far wide of the mark.

For example, go just two stops from my place on a train (taking all of six minutes) and you’re on the doorstep of the brilliant Thames Water Walthamstow fishery, or head West on the same line and the carp-filled Hampstead Heath lakes are minutes away. Go North for a dozen miles and the Lea Valley offers first-class sport on rivers and stillwaters.

Thames Water’s Walthamstow Reservoir fishery.

A glance at this week’s issue – in particular, page four – shows the potential of possibly our greatest urban river in the country – the Thames. Big chub, barbel, carp and pike – the river has it all in abundance and often in or near town centres, as specimen angler extraordinaire Fred Healey shows.

One thing that I’ve worked on this year is getting kit suitable for roving urban angling. It’s something that few companies pay attention to because of the near-universal ownership of cars and vans amongst anglers, which means you can chuck kit in the back without too much thought to space and weight.

Gone are the multi-rod holdalls, giant carryalls and big buckets of bait. Instead, I’ve been using a neat two-rod sleeve (which also carries a landing net and pole), simple backpack and a lightweight stalking-style chair for almost all of my fishing since mid-summer.

I actually feel quite smug when, as has happened several times this year, the guys with enough kit to launch their own angling show fish near me and blank, whilst my compact, roving approach produces a few fish.

I get to relax on the way home, traffic and stress-free on the train, whilst they battle with a loaded barrow and then heavy London congestion. Not to mention the cost of fuel, taxes and the environmental aspect of us all driving everywhere…

And this weekend I am trying out a very interesting piece of kit for some urban angling – the new Nash Scope rods. When I first heard about the concept of having short (nine to ten feet) rods that are engineered and designed to perform like a more conventional 12 ft carp stick, I knew they’d be great for the sort of fishing I do.

The Scope set-up is compact and perfect for a roving approach.

A big problem with getting rods on public transport is that six-foot sections are unwieldy and prone to getting trapped in sliding doors and other rod-breaking traps. With a standard two-section 12 ft rod, this is what you’re up against.

Make that same section 3 ft 6 in. (with a clever telescopic handle) and it goes from being a pain in the butt ring to something that’s barely bigger than a sports holdall in terms of length. This makes a huge difference, to the point where I will be able to get the commuter train down to the Thames on Friday evening after the magazine is sent to print, whereas before I wouldn’t even attempt to board a busy train carrying a six-foot rod sleeve.

So this opens up a whole new world of urban angling for me, and I can’t wait! A double-figure barbel, big chub or carp beats standing in the pub after work, any day.


AM likes…

The new ladies World Record carp in the current issue has to be one of the great angling stories of the year. The Fox-sponsored Dutch angler caught ‘Shoulders’ at 84lb 5oz on her first wedding anniversary, in front of her friends and partner Bianca (who also matted carp to over 54lb during the trip), and the fish is simply immense. Well done Lizette Beunders!


Lizette (holding ‘Shoulders’) and the Fox team celebrating a new Ladies World Record.


AM dislikes…

Recent floods have seen many fisheries and rivers close, and that’s never good news. Hopefully the insane winters of the past two years will not be repeated and fishery owners, clubs and the trade in general can enjoy a profitable and productive few months.


Video of the week

There’s been a lot of talk about Kevin Nash’s new book. Colin Davidson’s brilliant piece in Angler’s Mail went down well and really nailed it – these memoirs make a cracking read! Here’s the official promo vid – and also be sure to read our online story about how you can win a session on Kevin Nash’s Church Lake.




Be sure to get the latest Angler’s Mail magazine – out now, only £1.80.