I promised myself last year that this May I would spend a lot of time on the bank. The best-laid plans and all that et cetera et cetera and an operation on my wife’s ankle ligaments back at the end of April meant that fishing had to go on the back burner. Of course, my family comes first and all well thank heaven. There will always be other events and times to go fishing but I’ve still managed to get the rods out a few times.

Underwater Answers

A real highlight of the month for me was at the beginning of May when I met up with Harry Charrington for the next episode of my Underwater Answers filming with Fox. It was a pleasure being out with Harry. He is entertaining, witty, and makes pretty mean film too. We had two days to play with and the idea was that we would be looking Zigs. How they work, the difference between different colours and types, and some indication tests too.

The venue we chose was Thorpe Lea and what a brilliant trip it turned out to be. We got loads of interesting stuff ticked off and managed to get some amazing underwater footage. Let’s say the carp were very obliging. I caught shed-loads, all on zigs, but more to the point we busted a few myths and will open peoples eyes with their understanding of why and how zigs work. At one stage I was actually doing an underwater indication test with about half a dozen carp over my shoulder watching what was going on. It was surreal. I’ve done loads of these tests, but not very often do I have an audience. I could just imagine chatting with themselves looking at what I was doing either becoming a little perplexed with what was going on or maybe even figuring out how they could get around what we are doing. The film will be out very soon on Fox fishing TV and if you want to be one of the first to see it, please sign up to the syndicate here

Carp After Combat

Straight after the underwater session, I headed down to Medway Valley Fisheries in Kent for the Carp After Combat annual charity fish in. For those of you that don’t know, Carp After Combat is a fundraising group that helps out servicemen and ex-servicemen who are having difficulties. They offer a fishing weekend, and also raise money, some of which is used for the benefit of soldiers, and the rest goes to Jim Davidson’s charity Care After Combat. I’m ever so proud to by the patron of Carp After Combat and support the great work that it does. This weekend was a brilliant one as ever and although pretty warm with not a massive amount of fish caught, there were some good ones and the biggest went to Caroline Flowers at 43lbs. Each year it proves to be a brilliant weekend. Jim comes down and joins in the fun and there’s a great atmosphere. Quite a few of the great and the good of angling show their support too so if you fancy joining in why not register in interest at and come along to next years event whilst supporting a great cause.

A bit of fishing – Dynamite Social Sessions

Duty dealt with it was back on the banks for a bit of carp fishing with the boys from Dynamite and a new film series called Social Sessions. Basically what we will be doing is heading out on the bank with some of the lads that are using Dynamite successfully and seeing what they do and how they do it. The crazy gang of Jas Mooney, John Flewin, Rich Leat, AshBailey and Pete Castle all descended on to a southern syndicate water to film for a few days. I joined the lads for the last 36 hours and they’d had some great fish off the top, including a stunning 43 common for Rich. Amazing to get that sort of quality carp on film, and I managed to chip in with a cracking mirror off the deck making that 11 different venues this year so far, and fortunately 11 results and no blanks.

Team England.

The latter part of the month has been taken up with international duties. As manager of the England Mens and Womens squads, I have to look at coaching tactics, team selection, and all sometimes are running of the events as well. We had a first international competition of the year, the Anglo / Welsh Cup which flips between England and Wales. It was our turn to host, and I’m pleased to say we won it. The prize is the Clifford cup, a trophy donated by Carp Talk and named after Kev Clifford. It’s becoming a big part of angling history now and women’s carp fishing is growing and growing. The girls were brilliant, from both sides, and England’s ladies just keep getting stronger. The next event is a European Tri-Nations where Holland England and Wales meet, and we’ve encouraged France to form a team too. They will join the scene next year and we are working towards a full World Championships for ladies in 2019. It’s looking very exciting as word of the women’s scene starts spreading around the globe.

TV Stuff

A lot of the rest of the month is been taken up with planning for the new TV series, filming for on the bank, which returns to BT Sports screens on 16th of July, and also a number of my other roles and responsibilities. The TV work is going exceptionally well at the moment and not only do I work in fishing but I’ve also spread my wings into jet ski racing too. Its brilliant fun and something completely different to what I do most of the day. I think that’s one of the things that we will need to realise. Balance is important in life. It’s not all about work or fishing it’s about having a mix of all sorts to keep a healthy state of mind and a balanced life.

As part of the new series, I headed down to see the guys at Second Chance charity at Titchfield in Hampshire. What a wonderful set up they have. They’re in the beautiful countryside in the Meon Valley and have three lakes and a stretch of river.  They offer kids that have had tough times and a difficult upbringing the opportunity to simply get off the world for while and experience the joys of both natures, wildlife and most importantly fishing. There were six lads on the course when I was there and some of them had fished before, but for some, it was the first time.  Each and every one of them found it amazing. They were engaged, their behaviour was brilliant, and I also met a couple guys that have been through the scheme already and they have shown that it really can help get people back on the right track. The whole experience, especially the fishing part had completely change their lives.

This, along with health benefits are some of the things that we really need to push to those that don’t understand angling. It isn’t just a past time, it’s a whole state of mind. The skills required to be an angler offer an awful lot to day-to-day living.

Patience, understanding, thinking around problems, they are all things we have to do in life but sometimes in other situations, we struggle to do them. I’ve seen this repeated time and time again whether it’s with my own efforts with Carp After Combat or the likes of a second chance.

Fishing is brilliant and I need to tell the world about it.