What’s new? Carp Fishing Development

Over the last couple of years I have built up a reasonable size library of Angling books and on a number of species. Now I don’t just buy new/modern books but also old ones by the likes of Richard Walker etc, as I believe it gives you a really rounded overview of our favourite pastime.

At the moment I am reading “Confession’s of a Carp Fisher”, by B.B. This book was first published in around 1950 and a couple of the things I have read in some of the chapters really took me by surprise and got me thinking: what is really new in carp fishing?

Now a lot of the fishing in the 1940/1950’s (and afterwards) was done with floating bread crust (pre ledger weights) and with it came the inherent problem of trying to get the bait out any distance. One chapter describes how large pike floats fished with a floating line were used to drift the bait into position.

Another chapter describes how wind-up toy boats were used to get the bread crust well out into the lake. So nearly 70 years ago we have evidence of the first surface controller and also the first bait boat! The first radio/remote controlled boat I can recall reading about was in about 1981!

old carp fishing books

The book that got me thinking!

Probably the biggest invention that changed the face of carp fishing was the ‘hair rig’, but that’s been around now under various guises for approximately 35 years, so we could hardly call it new. I think I first used it about 1982 when the ‘hair’ consisted of about 1 1/2 inches of 1lb 7oz breaking strain mono.

None of today’s rigs would be around if the hair rig had not been invented! Obviously today’s rigs have come on leaps and bounds but it would take pages and pages to go into that.

old carp fishing rigs blog

One of the early hair rigs.

One of the more ‘modern’ methods appears to be that of the Zig Rig. But again this is not a recent idea. I caught my first carp when I was 6 years old (a 6lb 7oz common in 1975), on a piece of anchored crust. With this rig you could present a bait on the surface or at any water level you required, by adjusting the hook length. It was a very common rig of the day, but was never named after anybody.

Another one of the ‘modern’ methods is that of plastic baits. Once again this isn’t really new. Whilst fishing on Patshull’s Church Pool (around 1990) I saw a guy using chopped down yellow industrial ear plugs soaked in flavour and catching. So were these the first plastic/imitation baits to be used?

There were loads of things being developed on that lake, such things as ‘washed out baits’, critically balanced baits (which we now called wafters) etc.

the history of carp fishing

Were these the first ‘plastic’ baits?

The use of paste is another item that is now back in the forefront of angling. Now I caught my first double when I was 11 in 1980 on a foul smelling sardine paste that my dad used to make. The use of a honey and bread flake paste is also dated back to the 1940’s by BB in “Confession’s of a Carp Fisher”, so again paste has been around for ages!

I mention the above examples, not to have a go at modern day carping but more to highlight to the more recent converts to the sport that what you consider to be new ideas, are just variations on things that have been around for years. What it does highlight though is how carp anglers have always been very innovative when trying to solve any problems/situations they have faced.

Apart from the ongoing technical advancements in rods and reels, the biggest improvement I can see in ‘modern’ carping, is the supreme comfort we now have. Without this comfort there would be nowhere near as carp anglers are there are today.

I grew up fishing all night on a deck chair or sleeping on the floor on a sheet of polythene whilst listening out for the ‘hiss’ of silver foil on a knitting needle. This was done under a little 45” nylon brolly. It was bloody hard work at times and that was one of the reasons why so few anglers fished through the night for carp. These days we have relative luxury!

old carp fishing methods

No excuse to get cold! The Sundridge Igloo suit is superb! A February caught mid 20.

Superb bed chairs not sun loungers, excellent clothing and footwear that will keep you warm in any weather (no more wearing 2 or 3 pairs of trouser and socks in wellies that still left you freezing your ‘cobs’ off), also the development of ultra reliable bite alarms (no more silver foil or alarms that packed up with the first bit of rain) that will allow you to go to sleep safely in the knowledge that you will be woken up, when a carp takes your bait.

So there we are, a couple of my thoughts on modern carp fishing developments. What do youthink are the best developments in modern carp fishing?

Pat Gillett







3 thoughts on “What’s new? Carp Fishing Development

  1. Pat Gillett says:

    There are a couple of comments on this subject here http://www.questbaits.com/blog/whats-new-carp-fishing-development/#comments


  2. Shaun Harrison says:

    Must say I enjoyed that Pat and the paste references stretch right back to Izaac Walton in his Complete Angler book which was first published in 1653!
    I think it is those of us who have been around a fair while that find so much of the modern scene so entertaining (if that is the right choice of word)? So many revolutionary things I read in the comics have me smiling but keeping quiet to let each have their glory.
    For me the best developments in carp fishing have definitely been the comfort element as you so rightly pointed out. It seems so strange in this day and age when the newbies comment on using what now seem tiny 50″ brolly systems and saying they are doing it ‘old school’ yet when I started we were still several years away from the first 50″ umbrella being produced. All that was available to anglers were 36″ or 45″. I remember buying the first 50″ umbrella as soon as it was released (they used to have white spokes) and it seemed massive, you could almost fit a sun lounger under it (my local lake didn’t allow sides on umbrellas)!
    Fortunately Kevin Nash extended the ribs on 50″ umbrellas so we saw the birth of the Oval umbrella (50″ and 60″ ribs so you could get a bed right under) and eventually the first 60″ umbrellas hit the scene although these were forever taking off if you didn’t have sides attached to hold them down.
    Most of the carp waters I was brought up on you could barely squeeze a 50″ brolly in and there is no way you would get a modern bivvy in them. I don’t miss our old bivvies but I do miss our old intimate swims.

  3. Paul Cooper says:

    A very good read Pat.
    I first stated targeting carp when I was 18, and at that time a carp of around 8lb was a good sized fish and your maximum target fish would be around 15lb. The waters that I had access too just did not contain many reasonably sized carp, and the stocking levels were very low, in fact there were lots of waters that had never seen a carp.
    So carp fishing was for the hardy and you were classed as a specimen hunter. Now nearly every water in the country has 20lb plus carp, in fact in certain parts of the country, anglers would not entertain fishing a lake that does not contain 30′s or even 40′s.
    As for comfort, you hit it right on the nail. 90% of anglers would stay at home if they had to endure the discomfort that we had to put up with. It’s not a bad thing though. I must admit I do like my comforts. I would have packed up carp fishing years ago if I was still having to lie around all night on a sun lounger under a small brolly with a bivvy wrap made of tarpoline and watching a fairy liquid top bottle on my line for a bite.
    The first rig that I ever used for floating crust is the now named “Zig” rig. It is simple and works in certain situations, and anyway it was either the “Zig” or a running rig. No one had thought of anything else. Advances in carp fishing certainly have increased my catch rate, plus the carp are now in the lakes. It is no use living in the past, we can all harp on about how we suffered during a fishing session, but more fool us.
    I love the advances in angling technology and I do like to see anglers thinking about new rigs and technics, as they all seem to revolve around fish welfare. More comfort please.

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