Here at the Angling Trust we all chip in to help out at the various angling and trade shows that the Trust attends throughout the year. We now have a great display stand where people can come along for a chat, to join the Trust or renew their membership. Everything is organised by our highly efficient membership team of Will Smith and Nick Simmonds who are ably assisted by some of our Regional Angling Development Officers and a pool of willing volunteers. Despite only being an occasional carp fisher I never miss the Carp Society Winter Show at Sandown which is where I was this weekend. I was particularly keen to get down there this year to catch up with good friend and Carp Society boss Dave Mannall before he jets off on his forthcoming Cyprus adventure. Dave is one of the people for whom I have great respect and has been a steadfast supporter of the Angling Trust since the early days. He also shares my passion for catching big roach on the float so we’ve always got plenty to talk about aside from angling politics.
There were plenty of big names at the show. Some with books to plug, some with sponsors to turn out for and quite a few who were just happy to schmooze with the punters and enjoy the occasion. It was great to see how willing some of our most prominent anglers now are to visit the Angling Trust stand to assist our membership drive.
I was particularly pleased to finally have an opportunity to have a chat with Duncan Charman whose great new book ‘Evolution of an Angler’ is well worth a read. I like Duncan’s articles, not least because he is a fine all round angler who fishes many of my favourite rivers. I knew we had probably fished the same stretches of the Loddon, Kennet and Thames but it was something of a coincidence to find that we had both, at different times, secured access to a highly prized and extremely private beat on the Itchen where the grayling are not only prolific but sometimes of a specimen size. We had a good chat about some exciting new plans that I’m working on to promote the establishment of more true crucian carp fisheries. Duncan is a huge fan of these delightful little fish and will be a great ally.
It was also nice to catch up with the crew from Predator Publications who produce the excellent Coarse Angling Today – in my view one the best fishing mags on the market today. Mind you I’m completely biased as I occasionally scrawl the odd piece for them. Bev Clifford may have been struggling with a hangover but we were pleased she was well enough to come and visit us at the Angling Trust stall.
And of course there are the products. All those bargains and bits of kit that we probably don’t but need must have. I was reasonably restrained this year but I did stock up on some keenly prized tungsten rig tubing in preparation for next year’s tenching. There’s a fair cross over between some of the more modest carp fishing items and quite a bit of what a lot of us now use for gravel pit tench fishing. I was particularly impressed by the innovative range on offer from Bank BUG who are relatively new boys on the block. They do a great little storage case for artificial baits which can be kept glugged and flavoured. Definitely an improvement on my dodgy pots holding flavoured rubber casters and corn which keep leaking into my tackle bag.
We signed up nearly 100 new members over the weekend but I can’t pretend it was hard work. Meeting up with old friends, making new ones and talking fishing, coupled with a bit of angling retail therapy – there are worse ways to earn a living!