Colin Mitchell, our Sunday blogger.

IT’S time for our must-read Sunday blog on this new-look Angler’s Mail website. Every Sunday we welcome coarse fishing all-rounder Colin Mitchell.

For many years Colin was a senior Angler’s Mail magazine staff man and he has enjoyed a long, interesting journalism career. He understands match fishing, pleasure fishing, carp fishing – the lot.

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THERE’S no doubt that carp have saved the fishing tackle industry – and angling – over the past few years. But I’m afraid the species also has to stand accused of spoiling a lot of our sport.

Yes, love it or loathe it I’m afraid good old cypry has a lot to answer for.

I’ll admit that the growth of commercial carp fisheries pushed me away from the match scene. And I know that there are many other anglers who feel the same way.

I’m not going to say those anglers who match fish for carp are rubbish or know nothing. Far from it! I think there is an art in amassing a big weight of the species and a lot of tricks of the trade to fooling these fish on a regular basis. But unless you visit a fishery on a regular basis and know how it is fishing inside out you aren’t going to have much of a chance of framing or winning. That’s a fact – just take a look at the regular results.

The other giveaway is the slump in match fishing attendances. I don’t believe there are that many anglers who have given up – it’s just that there are now far more events for them and they pick wisely where to fish, especially with cash tight. The massive boom in the number of fisheries means you can easily visit new waters every time you venture out.

The problem with carp in that they grow fast! The original idea was that there would be small waters bursting at the seams with smallish fish that were pretty easy to catch.

Are carp ruining match fishing?


Now they are teeming with giant fish that aren’t so easy to extract. Great if you are a pleasure angler, not so good for matchmen. Where’s the fun in waiting for a handful of bites from a peg you didn’t chose from choice but got in a blind draw?

Of course that does lead us on nicely to the lucky pleasure angler who can go and catch big carp at lots of places. Except… I now regard myself as one of those pleasure anglers and am only interested if I can catch a good carp without a silly name and with tactics that involve a bit of watercraft and experience, and the fish haven’t been caught several times in the past few weeks.

But wherever you go there are carp! They are all over the Thames now. I saw an angler catch three specimens from a small tributary. And canal anglers claim – and I side with them on this – that a lot of smaller species, particularly gudgeon, have been scoffed by ravenous carp. I have seen them tempted by deadbaits and even on spinners.

I suppose that over the next few years we will see rows and doubts about carp die down, just like the rucks about zander that began more than two decades ago. The zander was – allegedly – going to wipe out virtually ever other species in the UK when it started its march from the Fenlands. Now, they are an accepted and worthy species in many rivers, including the Severn and Thames. And I can vouch that on parts of the Thames the fishing has never been better!

The answer to all these “problems” is usually something we can’t control. It’s called Mother Nature…

I’m off to try and snaffle some roach as my favourite bit of small river starts to drop after the floods. That’s if the carp haven’t taken up residence….





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