To suggest Lee Swords is slightly mad is like saying Cyril Smith was a little overweight or Bill Gates isn’t short of a few bob. He’s completely barking and each time he writes something for the site I get an impression that he’s either tipping slowly over the edge or he’s actually trying to come up with something that I’ll say, ‘Hang on Lee, this time you have gone too far!’ After all, not many writers can manage to get so many sexual references into a fishing article. So do be warned if you are of a sensitive nature, or even a carp angler, there are views expressed within this article that may offend you. If that should be the case then you shouldn’t have read it in the first place, are we clear…?!!!! :0
Carp Fishing – A Different View by Lee Swords
Carp are the porn stars of the aquatic world,generating more magazine cover shots and center spreads than any other species of freshwater coarse fish plus more DVD’s more video tape and more gear sold specifically to land them than all other species knocked into one.
So how come I have never had a twenty?
Quite simple really. I don’t like sloppy seconds.
Why the hell would I want to devote a serious chunk of my life trying to catch the fishy equivalent of the village bike? The average carp has lips that have seen more puncture wounds than a staff nurse in the haematology department of a large hospital. If carp were human almost all the pretty ones would be dating Premier league footballers and selling stories via Max Clifford to the Sunday newspapers, scandalous exposes of sordid spit roasting sessions on the banks of the River Nene with Polish Internationals.
The majority of the rest would be mooching around disused reed beds and unseen gravel bars looking for a bit of passing trade, age and hard work having dulled their once good looks they would be like the old-timers that hang around the Neepsend area of Sheffield once the sun has gone down.
Imagine the scenario if you will…
A crooked and in parts almost lipless grin quickly spread across the face of the battle scarred old hag known affectionately as “The Bucket”. She has just caught sight of her next John (angler) nervously sneaking around the corner of the lake, she gently lifts herself away from the silt covered bed and gives the rest of the girls a knowing wink.
Wanting to give her downstairs a quick fettling she flashes to the surface and gently rolls, flicking her ventral fins as she does. Personal hygiene is a must in the this game, there are few things in life as off putting to the punter as arriving on a trick with an unruly and unkempt nest of leaches firmly attached to your lady bits, the very least a professional should do in this type of situation is either keep them whipped off completely or if that isn’t possible at least ensure that they are arranged in some form of aesthetically pleasing order.
The John stops dead in his tracks as he catches his first glimpse of her brassy flanks breaking the surface in the moody red light of the dusky twilight…Oh my Lord, he thought to himself.
He was shocked but by no means surprised to catch sight of her, he had been told to expect seeing her hanging around this little bay and although he was by no means a green horn in such circumstances her sheer size still amazed him. His mouth dried and his throat tightened…, he felt nervous…, he hadn’t felt like this in years.
He had wanted to have an experience like this for so very long, something out of the ordinary. He was tiring of the mundane if truth be told, having tried almost everything there was to try he was quickly running out of options. He had tried to freshen his sport up by becoming an all-rounder. He had even started taking day trips out to the Dogger Bank for the cod and a little queasiness aside he had to admit that he had enjoyed the experience, so much so he decided to broaden his horizons even further by taking up fly-fishing and travelling even further out into the unknown chasing wild salmonids.
Eventually, with rod in hand he found himself staying in a small cottage in the village of Twatt high up in the Orkney Islands. The nearby Loch of Boardhouse was full of wild and unruly trout averaging just under the pound, the place was wonderful, so much so that he spent almost a week there. One night in the pub a local fisherman mentioned that if he like Twatt so much there was also a village of Twatt in the Shetlands Islands and that our man should visit the place sometime soon, an excursion that was declined for as anyone knows…, once you have seen one Twatt you have seen them all.
Fly-fishing soon bored him and so he decided to try his hand at big river fishing indulging himself in an illicit threesome on the banks of the River Trent, a “no strings attached take what comes” encounter that was great fun whilst it lasted but came a cropper when it was discovered that he only had a licence to cover twosomes and no more. And so he felt that he was now swiftly approaching an impasse because with all of those adventures carefully checked from his bucket list he was soon to be like Alexander the Great, with nothing left of the world to conquer.
But still he looked…, and sometimes he looked too far and too hard. He had been tempted to play a round of golf with a so-called friend several months previous…
The smell of freshly mown grass and the buzz he felt from the other players in the clubhouse was exhilarating; he was almost ashamed to say that he had enjoyed the experience. The triumphant pleasure he had gained as his ball fell gently into the hole had taken him back to his youth…, it had been the perfect putt and he knew there and then that he had it in him to go all the way with golf. Golf was something that he could master if he chose to, golf could be for him, of this he was absolutely certain. But he walked away.
Not even Tiger Woods could have managed to hit the ball so sweetly…, standing on the green of the 18th hole with three strokes in hand and only a single putt to make he turned his back and walked away from golf forever, he knew he could have rewritten the record books. But he still walked away.
But golf would not walk away from him…, It haunted him…., it stalked the dark recesses of his mind.
It played the scenario over and over in his head, all his ball had needed to do was to make its way along the white line of chalk dust and past the outstretched robotic fingers designed to impede the balls journey and prevent it from shooting up the glass fibre footballers left nostril whereupon it would taken down into the internal workings and caught in a helter-skelter of pipes and tubes before being fired out of the creations red shorted bottom and into the awaiting hole…
These dreams were all very exiting but at the end of the day he knew that he was a fisherman and he knew that was where his destiny lay…
Peter Drennan did not supply weekly awards for golf therefore there was nothing for him here but social humiliation, especially if ever he was seen wearing a brightly coloured Pringle jumper matched with large chequered trousers – trousers that were too wide too short and fastened with nipple high buttons.
He was horrified by the fashion faux-pas that were so prevalent upon the golf course but the game still had its claws in him and even though he had tried to push the increasingly vivid dreams of hole-in-one scenarios from his mind by immersing himself in meaningless fun encounters, chasing regular girls in regular everyday venues he still couldn’t get the thoughts of golf from out of his mind. “Regular” really did not put a bend in his rod anymore. He needed the extraordinary just to get out of bed and clip on the swingers.
He closed his eyes and visualised a large titanium head upon a long black carbon shaft sweeping through a perfect arc before crashing into the side of a small white ball…, the nightmares haunted him. He needed to exorcise this demon from his soul, he needed to recapture the thrill of fishing.
And that is why he was here…, this wasn’t an average venue, it had a bad reputation with those in the know… It also had a name for breaking new ground and delivering the goods to anyone that wanted to experience something a little on the wild side, just so long as they had the money to pay the piper when the dance was over.
The girls available here had been sourced from all over Europe and even Australia. This was a monument to the extreme. You paid over the odds but once the financial transactions had been taken care of you were free to follow your own path, the girls were easy and up for anything.
His mind focussed…
A final check of his clutch and he was almost ready to make his move. A fleeting sensation of guilt flashed through his consciousness. He wished that he had been able to bring his fishing partner or even his wife, the surrounding villages were full of antique shops and the lake itself was quite beautiful but the rules were very specific.
Nobody need ever know he was here as he would not publicise his actions. Discretion was nine tenths of the game but he needed to cleanse his mind of a demon that could not be sated. He needed this catch. He needed a forty plusser and he needed one fast, for if not he feared that he would lapse and be drawn back to the driving range and into a world of green fees and golf buggies.
And that’s why he had paid over the odds for the chance.
Not that there was much left to chance. After having parted with his hard earned money he was given directions to this overgrown little bay by her pimp (the fishery owner); this is her favourite pitch and as she is by far the oldest working girl in the lake she gets first dibs on where she wants to ply her wares.
He was not that surprised however when he found out that the secret spot was only thirty feet from the back of his 4×4, just around the corner from the car park, a hot spot on any establishment of this type.
Down below the surface “The Bucket” was still eyeing up her John. The Johns amused her, they were so set in their ways, it seems that after the exertions of squeezing their fat lazy bodies out of their cars the average John is either unable or unwilling to make the trek over to the other side of the lake.
They would like it over there, it’s very nice but they do insist on doing business out in the open where all the other John’s can see them. And so that is why she stays close to this bank even though she would prefer the private booths made up of dense lily beds over the other side of the lake. Johns rarely stray more than fifty paces from the back of their car. They seem to be emotionally attached to their provisions maybe the thought of over exiting their vast quantities of canned beverages prevents them from making the arduous trek around the three acre venue…
They love their canned beverages, but it has to be said, it is only Stella Artois that they are in possession of and not nitro-f***ing-glycerine.
The Bucket is getting bored now. Why doesn’t this bloke just get a move on?
The John is taking his time. He loves to stalk his prey. He will do this properly.
Down in the murky depths she is really starting to scratch. She needs her fix. The pimps and Johns had got her hooked on those birdseed and milk protein specials over the summer months but now those hot and heady days were almost over and trade was slowing down the things were getting harder for her to find.
God she needed a fix…
The Johns were also getting tighter with their treats, the “baggies” were almost a thing of legend and even stringers were getting harder to come by. Quite often all she could find was the odd pineapple pop-up or re-hydrated field ration scattered here and there amongst the weed-beds. She doesn’t much care for re-hydrated food nor pineapple pop-ups if she is honest as they both gave her the wind but compared with the girls over on Lake One she knows that she has it easy…
Those girls are in real trouble, they have run out of food completely and are being served nothing but “ersatz food” – fake food that is made completely out of flavoured plastic.
Maggots, corn and even bread…. all fake. The girls are close to starving and are by the very nature of their circumstance being forced into eating anything they can find on the off chance of it actually being edible even the strange tasting bloodworm, slimy snails and those crunchy on the outside juicy in the middle caddis grubs that seem to cover the entire bottom of the lake.
The John was making his move. The trick was finally in the bag. It was time to put on a show for him; she could really turn it on when she wanted to, which shouldn’t be at all surprising as she hadn’t always been the lipless old hag she was now. When she was a young fish, long before she became hooked on 25mm N- Butyric Acid Butter Cream Specials she had been taken under the fin of a famous old Madame brought over from Amsterdam.
The Madame’s journey had been long and hard, twenty four hours she spent in the back of a long wheel base Transit van that had been fitted with a secret compartment. Pressed tightly into a holding tank with four other girls it was found that on arrival she had broken her nose on the glass walls of the tank and from that point onwards both pimps and Johns alike named her “Flatty”
“Flatty” did a good job, she taught her girls well and the Johns went away happy but the pimps were always chasing a bigger pay day so they decided to import more Madame’s, this time from Romania and Hungary.
Alas things didn’t go well. The new arrivals were carrying an infection and Johns being Johns didn’t like to use protection so very soon most of the girls were dead including old “Flatty” herself. The pimps were furious, they only cared that they had lost a huge investment. They burned the girls in a deep pit behind the bath house. Border Control need never know.
The pimps soon arranged for replacements. That’s the name of the game.
Slowly she glided over the gravel bar and into full view “Hello handsome, are you looking for a little bit of business?” slowly dipped her head into the small pockets of silt and began puffing out faint clouds of putrid sludge. She knew from experience that most Johns were feeders by nature and this would drive him wild.
Leisurely and with obvious intent she swung her huge gut over the shelf and into full view so that the punter would be able to see what he was paying for. These John’s liked the girls to be Rubenesque, and this girl was nothing if not Rubenesque.
The John was now in complete thrall, she had him at her mercy but she wasn’t alone in vying for his attention, the tench had arrived. Tench irritated her, they were for the most part nothing but hopeless stoners with squinty blood shot eyes, happy amateurs that only turned tricks when their stash of home grown weed had all ran out. From early May till late July they were on the game but as soon as the beds of weed had replenished themselves the tench disappeared back into the jungle not to be seen again till the following spring.
This lot however were a little more hardcore, hooked on a diet of 10mm Teme Severn chocolate and orange with CBT1 chasers these party minxes had got themselves a fetish following of Johns. Johns that for some reason shunned the more popular girls available because they liked the slimy green flanks and beady red eyes of the tench, something that she could not work out for herself but for all their mysterious failings it had to be said that their Johns were nothing if not generous with their treats. She had even gatecrashed one of their parties just for the hell of it.
A swift slap from her caudal fin soon had the tench on the move. She tried to get a better view of the prospective punter, he was hard to make out as he was dressed as a small coppice of Alder bushes but the disguise was not fooling her she has seen it all before and then some on top… Hawthorn, Crack Willow, Oak and Horse Chestnu, Johns came dressed in any number of arboreal influenced outfits. One guy even went so far as to place what looked to be a stuffed squirrel upon his head to complete his disguise.
She didn’t know why they went to such lengths, she was eas, they had paid their cash, the deal was done.
She only had a few rules, in the mouth was ok but no foul hooking and absolutely no anal. She hated it in the anal fin; the thing was never meant for hooking but try telling that to some of these idiots. All they are after is their thrill. They will laugh long and hard about how she struggled and once they have pulled out they don’t even think about applying a dab of Klinik to take away the sting.
But that’s the name of the game, some times a trick goes bad, the girls just hope the pimp is around to keep the John’s inline and talking of Johns this one is ready to do seal the deal. Now is not the time to be coy, straight to business “Up against the island for a 10mm or round the back for a baggie and a 25mm snowman”.
And back to reality…
It’s not much of a jump really because that is what I think to organised carp fishing for the most part; it is pretty much a case of pimps, Johns and girls on the game. Not that I am knocking it completely, some blokes are natural Johns, they need “Neepsend” type fisheries, they call them “runs waters”.
And for the average John, runs are the name of the game and like any game you get what you pay for, if you want to go for the upmarket Russian model type of carp that looks like it has never been caught before but still bangs like a closet door in a dysentery epidemic you would have to expect to be paying a little bit extra for the privilege, but if all you want is your string pulling then you can get your base urges satisfied at any number of places some of which have less going for them on the aesthetics front than an over-flowing cess pit in mid July.
And that is generally where me and carp fishing diverge, for me it all about the venue, it has to look good, there has to be an aesthetic quality to the place otherwise it is all about chasing fish that are nothing more than fat old dirty whore bags that are potentially carrying more diseases than they know what to do with.
They are too easy.
With a bit of applied spodding and the use of a high quality treat on the hook they will be queuing up to do tricks for the non fussy carp boys amongst us but for the most part all of this leaves me cold. I have no interest in fish that can survive in the most squalid conditions found outside of a Bangkok beer garden.
Don’t kid yourself on that the carp is some type of evolved super creature because it isn’t. Your average carp is utterly dysfunctional, it has produced more children than a thirty five year old crack whore, has noshed more snow men than one of Santa Clause nymphomaniac ice pixies, chugged more glug than a bukkake babe and swallowed more meat than Houston (And I am not talking about the city in Texas either).
Carp are rather vile creatures but at the same time it is these nasty traits that also make them attractive to anglers, just in the same way that Jemma Jameson is attractive to the bloke whose spouse has all the sexual charisma of a sack of molten pork dripping that is dressed in thirty seven layers of fleece and terry towelling.
It is the danger that’s the draw…
You know that getting involved with one of these creatures is going to cost you dearly in the long run but the immediate thrill of becoming attached to something super charged and out of the ordinary is enough to send anyone insane, the whole carp circus is like a bad trip on mescaline and when those that have taken the shot and eaten the worm finally wake up they may find that they have just wasted one, two or even three years of their lives chasing after the rumour of a fish that in reality succumbed to either a marauding otter family, an illegally placed night-line and the accompanying portable barbeque or contracted a fatal dose of KHV, SVC or even SCMS.
Not that you would have ever found ou. Most likely her pimp, being the scummy bastard that he is, buried what was left of her carcass round the back of the bullrushes.
Nobody would ever know. Business as usual.
And if the foxes hadn’t dug her up nobody would have ever been any wiser as an exact replacement had already been ordered from Stepford and Wives Fish dealers and that was the sugar coating that made it all alright. Just so long as there was another gob waiting at the glory hole everything would be forgiven.
Yes, there are indeed many things about modern carp fishing that make my skin crawl (apart from the fish – TB imported in from Japanese Koi farms). But like everything in life nothing is black and white and that is why I do devote a little bit of my time chasing after the one or two real beauties amongst them. The ones I catch may not be the biggest or the most famous but each and every one of them has been a fantastic experience.
I would love to land a twenty and I have come very close more than once but I really don’t want to have to go to one of these upmarket “wine bar” venues to do it. I don’t want to have to stand in line flashing the gold card at a venue where all the fish have been trained to feed under the overhanging branches of the trees on the far bank because everyone on the venue is in possession of the latest all singing all dancing HMS Arc Royal bait boat with ultra-sonic fandaglements and GPS assisted penis massager.
Screw that for a poke in the eye, I would rather drop into the local working men’s club and get off with a bird I know hasn’t been drilled out by every man and his dog and most importantly hasn’t got a stupid name and isn’t poxed up to hell. Seriously, what could be worse than “pulling” then having to listen to your mates the day afterwards telling you that they have all had her over the last month and she gave them all a proper screamer session? Nah, not for me.
That’s why the majority of my carping is now done on the Trent, that isn’t to say that I haven’t had a bit of fun on commercial venues, I have, but I do prefer those unknown fish.