THIS week has seen the full England football debut for angling addict Bobby Zamora, who narrowly missed going to the 2010 World Cup. Many anglers and football fans will say he was lucky NOT to go!
Bobby – who impressed up front in England’s 2-1 win over Hungary – is a mad keen angler with a total passion for carp. He has starred several times in Angler’s Mail magazine.
Bobby carp fished for a full week at a French lake straight after last football season. That was soon after the super striker played for Fulham FC in the 2010 Europa Cup Final.
In this special interview (below), exclusively for Angler’s Mail magazine back in May, the new England cap talks fishing.
Read more fascinating interviews in the Mail each week. And see Premiership star Lee Bowyer in this week’s mag with a huge carp!
Hi Bobby. How has it been on the banks in recent times?
Fishing? What’s that?! Whilst this has been my most prolific season on the pitch, it’s been my most un-prolific in fishing terms. Other than a few sessions last July and August, I literally haven’t been on the bank once and it’s driving me mad!
It’s been an amazing season for Fulham FC. We’re happy with our league position and we’ve enjoyed a great FA Cup run. The Europa Cup has been phenomenal, but all this success means we’re working seven days a week! Any chance of fishing gets thrown out of the window.
What do you fish for?
It’s big carp or nothing! I love the thrill of knowing that when the alarms scream off, it’s going to be a big (hopefully) hard-fighting carp!
I’ve had the chance to try other forms of the sport, but it just doesn’t appeal to me as much as carp fishing.
Do you fish for anything other than carp?
No and at the moment, I’m enjoying carp fishing so much I don’t really want to. With my time on the bank so limited, I want to ensure that every session is used to its maximum so, for now, that’s… carp fishing!
What are your PBs?
37 lb 9 oz – I had this from an Essex syndicate on one of my last sessions before this mammoth break in fishing! I was buzzing when I landed this fish as it’s one of the biggest in the lake. It also came within an hour of setting up in the middle of the day.
When and how did you get into fishing?
I’ve loved fishing from a kid. My granddad used to take me out on a boat, sea fishing, and whilst I loved that I soon got into fishing on small, commercial waters. Once I had caught my first carp, I knew this was for me. I suppose I love the relaxed nature of carp fishing as when I get a rare day off, I want to be able to chill out. However, when I get a fish on I want a battle to commence rather than just reeling in a small, less powerful species. It ticks all of the right boxes!
It must be difficult trying to balance the two sports, especially as you must have limited time. How and when do you fit fishing in?
It’s often a last-minute thing. It’s rare we know in advance when we have a day off and even then, it can be cancelled if we have a bad result. I’m often told after training that tomorrow is a day off, so it’s a race to get my gear and get fishing!
When we have no competitions other than weekend league games, we often get a mid-week day off, but now we have mid-week games too, often abroad, which means every day is busy!
It’s strange, because more success means less free time – it’s just the nature of playing more games. You have more training to stay match sharp and more light, warm-down training sessions after every game!
Any favourite venues over the years?
I have joined a cracking southern syndicate water. It’s picturesque, quiet and full of big carp – what more can I ask for?! This is my favourite venue ever – quiet, picturesque and full of big fish!
Can you tell us about when your fishing plans came together for a great result?
It was in May last year. It was scorching hot and really awful conditions for catching carp. To be honest, I think the carp were getting ready to spawn so my chances were low. I had spent a few hours fishing a bottom bait, which usually works on this venue but I just knew it wasn’t right for this day. I had been talking to other anglers who all said floaters never work on this venue. One even said he thought no one had ever caught on a floater!
This comment was like a red rag to a bull, so armed with my Fox Controller rod and a few dog biscuits I walked to a quiet corner, chucked it out and latched into a 23 lb mirror within minutes! This is one of my smallest fish from this lake, but one of the most rewarding. It just goes to show, if you feel a tactic is worth trying, give it a go – you never know what could happen!
And maybe a time when it all went wrong?
It never goes wrong… or not that I’ll admit to anyway!!!
Do you have any goals in angling?
Just to keep enjoying it. I enjoy catching big fish, so I’d love to land a 40 lb fish this year. But as long as I keep enjoying my time on the bank, this is all that matters!
You first made your name scoring loads on the south coast with Brighton and Hove Albion. The Mail’s production editor used the same tackle shop as you. So did you fish much down there?
Never. At the moment I am only fishing this syndicate water I have joined. With time so limited, I’m reluctant to venture to new waters just yet. In the (football) closed season, I may start fishing other venues but for now I intend to get as much time on this water as possible!
Do your team-mates ever give you any stick about fishing?
Not really. They don’t understand the attraction and most of them play golf in their spare time. To be honest, I don’t see the appeal in golf – but we’re all different I suppose. As long as we all find relaxation in our hobbies, it’s got to be good for the team as a whole!
The tidal Thames famously runs beside your team’s ground, Craven Cottage. Have you checked it out?
I haven’t, even though I understand it’s meant to be good for fishing! Any big 40 lb carp in there?
The Angler’s Mail editor is a Fulham fan. He reckons some good bags of big dace were caught behind the stadium last season, by the very few anglers who bothered. That wouldn’t tempt you to have a dabble?
Dace? Do they run to 40 lb? Only kidding.
Did you and your old Fulham team-mate Jimmy Bullard talk fishing, or maybe you talk fishing with other footballers?
Sometimes but Jimmy loved the thrill of match fishing. You can probably tell from his personality, Jimmy is so lively he has to be doing something all of the time, that’s why match fishing is perfect for him. Sitting behind a set of buzzers would drive him crazy. He’d end up throwing stuff in or playing with a bait boat!
If you had to choose between fishing football, purely for enjoyment rather than financial reasons, which would it be?
That’s a hard one as both satisfy me in different ways. Fishing relaxes me, but probably because football satisfies me in other ways – together they work, but in isolation would they have the same effect? I’m going to wimp out and say I need both in my life! Ask me again when I retire!
Made any fishing plans for this summer?
My search for a 40 lb carp is taking me to France. A week in the sun, catching big carp, hopefully. (Bobby did catch big ‘uns, but no 40 – yet. Ed.)
Apart from that I intend to get out in the UK as much as possible too. The (football) closed season is the only time I really get to do a lot of fishing, so I try to maximize this time as much as I can.
Good luck with the football, and out on the banks.