COLIN MITCHELLEvery 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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LOVE ‘EM or hate ‘em you can’t deny that carp and kids are two vital ingredients to our sport.

Carp, once regarded as the most difficult species to catch are now everywhere and are probably the first fish many new anglers land.

Kids, often a pain in the backside when they get bored on the bank, are sadly not  so prolific at the waterside.

We need new, young blood coming into angling but we also want youngsters who are keen to learn and not just going to get hooked on the instant big fish syndrome that can be carp fishing.

Two happy young anglers with carp. These lads got hooked at Bury Hill in Surrey, but the happy scene could have been anywhere around the country.

Two happy young anglers with carp. These lads got hooked at Bury Hill in Surrey, but the happy scene could have been anywhere around the country.

I’ve seen some good kids come through the ranks over the years – none more so than Will Raison who started his junior career in the same Farnborough side as me before exploding to the top of the international match fishing scene.

And last week I was happy to see two other young anglers also making their way into the game.

I can’t tell you their names, they were probably about 12-14 and were fishing on a cold, wet day at a day ticket fishery in Hampshire, where they had obviously been dropped off by an adult.

The bivvy was on the bank when we arrived and I did think ‘mmmm, is this going to cause a problem?’ I was totally wrong.

These two lads approached their fishing with total dedication but the same time enjoyed themselves. And, as important, they were a pleasure to have just along the bank from Music Mike and myself.

There was no noise, they cast with some skill, chatted quietly between themselves and just got on happily with their fishing, each carp being landed carefully, weighed, photographed and returned in a manner that some senior anglers should take note!

Although I did have to smile as they sat outside their shelter in the rain – one of them with no coat, just a hoodie!

We’d greeted the lads with hellos as we arrived so as we left asked how they had got on. I reckon they’d had around eight fish between them but one of the lads had a grin from ear to ear.

He told me how it had been a great session as he’d upped his personal best from seven pounds something to over 11lb.

An 11-pounder may not be earth stopping but at this time of the yearsand for a young angler it is a lovely fish. He deserved his catch and if anyone deserves one of the 20s or 30s in these lakes it’s one of these lads. Good luck fellas!

Carp are still what's bringing anglers into the sport.

Carp are still what’s bringing anglers into the sport.

Back to the carp…and you have to ask if our sport would have survived over the past two decades without this species.

They are now almost everywhere and in some cases places where they are not wanted. The very fact there are silver fish only matches and venues says a lot…

As someone who loved it when waters sprang up with loads of small carp in them I have to confess as they got bigger and changed the face of matchfishing I was gutted.

Now I have to hold my hands up and say I love the waters that have again become great mixed fisheries where you can target other species despite the presence of carp.

And it’s great to know that this is another species that can feed throughout the winter and gives us a further option to target when the likes of roach, bream, perch etc may not be opening their mouths.

The tackle trade is swamped with carp fishing innovations and without this gear many would not have survived. Likewise match-carp fishing has also seen a deluge of new ideas.

I don’t know where fishing will go from here – wish I did as you could make a fortune – but it’s certain that carp of various sizes and strains will have an important part to play.








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