Two years ago two major changes happened which have had a huge impact on my ability to find time to fish. I decided to start my doctoral degree, and my wife and I had our first child. All of a sudden those 16 hour weekend round trips to chase big mirrors were unfortunately no longer an option, at least not if I wanted to pass my classes and spend time with my son. In two years’ time when I graduate (fingers crossed) I know I will be able to go back to chasing specimen carp on a more frequent basis. However, I have had to adapt elements of my fishing to even manage get out and catch for a few hours. I am aware that I am not alone in being a busy professional and parent, and I hope that these few tips will help you to maintain a balanced life that still includes getting a bend in the rod.

  1. Pre-baiting

If a water is close enough that you can get down even once a week to drop some bait in then do it. By pre-baiting you are conditioning those carp into revisiting those spots as a place where food is available. Not only does that build up the confidence of the fish by allowing them to feed without lines in the water, but it also means that when you do turn up to fish the fish are normally close by, and a the bites often comes quicker than normal.

 

Pre baiting a local creek led to this snow carp. One of only half a dozen fish I saw there.

Pre baiting a local creek led to this snow carp. One of only half a dozen fish I saw there.

 

  1. Fish easy waters with a good stock of fish

I am not a runs water kind of angler. I like to sit it out for one big fish a season rather than catch 10 doubles in a day. However, I no longer have that luxury. I have spent most of the last two years fishing a small 2 acre pond, with a good head of fish, where a bite an hour is pretty much the norm. This way I can get a few fish in a short afternoon or late evening, and still keep myself on the bank without the risk of blanking.

 

  1. Stalk, and be mobile

If you do not have time for the fish to come to you, then you go to the fish. The warmer months provide lots of opportunities for stalking, both off the top and on the deck in shallow bays. My most recent capture was caught two feet from the bank within a couple of minutes of casting out by finding a couple of fish and flicking some sinking bread a few feet in front of them.  Be sure to travel light, and keep mobile and quiet. I take the bare minimum needed, and leave anything else I may need in the car. It is not uncommon for me to turn up with just a rod, net, small mat, and a loaf of bread for an afternoons fishing. What my local ponds carp lack in size, is replaced by excitement in this style of fishing. With stalking you also get a better understanding of how fish feed, and avoid the hook by watching them come in and pick up the bait.

 

  1. Take your work with you

When I was an undergraduate student with a full time job I decided to join a very exclusive and expensive syndicate called Weston Park knowing I was going to be busy. However, I would spend most of my time in or around my bivvy in one swim. I decided that I would use my bivvy like an office, and would take my laptop, spare batteries, and my books to the lake with me. 48 hours gives you a lot of time to get work done, and the peace and tranquility I got on the bank is a much better studying environment to the house I study in with kids and dogs running around in. I have also fished overnighters where I am fishing out of my car, which is once again a good place to study and keep your work nice and dry.

A winter stunner caught while studying in my car on a 48 hour session

A winter stunner caught while studying in my car on a 48 hour session

 

  1. Take the little guy with you

On days when you have got to be a dad but want to be an angler travel light, get a stroller/push car, and head out for a bit. My son loves to be outside, and so I will try to take him with me for a couple of hours (any longer and he starts to get cranky) if I can keep him safe around the water. As long as he is being pushed he is happy, as long as I can hear my alarms and keep him strapped in I am happy. Not only that but you get some pretty incredible pictures in the meantime.

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Trying to get out and inspire the next generation of carper.

Trying to get out and inspire the next generation of carper.

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