LOCKDOWN LOW-DOWN – ALEX BRANSBY
1) If your life depended on somebody catching a carp for you, who would you pick and why?
I can only go on experience rather than speculation to answer this, and all things considered, it would have to be none other than Dave Lane. His portfolio of big-fish captures from very challenging waters speaks for itself and, having had the privilege to share the bank with this man on a number of occasions, his watercraft in pursuit of his quarry is quite simply astounding.
2) If you could change one thing about carp fishing, what would it be?
The need in recent times to fence our carp waters from predators. This, in turn, forces fishery managers to increase ticket prices and exclusivity of waters up and down the country. The knock-on effect of this is that it is turning pleasure fishing for carp into a very expensive hobby and therefore not easily accessible to the masses.
3) What’s your biggest regret in carp fishing?
Having a ticket for Fen Drayton back in the day, only for the place to flood out completely before I had chance to start a proper campaign on there. Heart-breaking to say the least!
4) What’s your idea of an angling paradise and what’s the closest you’ve come to fishing one?
Imagine a large, untouched, overgrown, mature gravel pit in the middle of nowhere with lots of mystery and all to play for, then that would be it! They are out there to discover if you’re willing to put your heart and soul on the line.
5) If you could bottle one emotion you’ve felt whilst carp fishing and keep it with you forever, what would that be?
Catching my first 20lb-plus fish all those years ago as a boy and sharing the occasion with great mates. I think I speak for many an angler when I say those earliest memories are usually the best!
6) Have you ever experienced an epiphany-like moment when something just clicked and your results escalated as a consequence?
Not so much an epiphany, but more of a sudden realisation. I once fished a very tricky water and made a lot of effort with the marker rod to scour the lakebed for every half-decent area I could find out in the lake. That took some doing, I can tell you! As the months rolled by, I just couldn’t understand why my prime baited spots just weren’t being fed on. On one overnighter, I decided to stay awake most of the night in an effort to pinpoint the resident carp’s movements, as no signs came throughout the day. The penny dropped at 2am one warm summer night when in the moonlight I located a few good fish feeding right in the margin right under my feet. From then on, the puzzle came together pretty quickly.
7) What is the most significant, thought-provoking thing you’ve ever seen whilst watching carp and how did it affect your angling?
I was once targeting a particular large fish in a very low-stock water. This fish always had a sidekick with it in the shape of a smaller, rather ravenous common that was always first to the dinner table, letting his larger, more timid buddy hang back eating the crumbs from the table. Quite inevitably, it was always the smaller of the two that sprung the trap first, thus scuppering my chances of nailing the big ’un. Upon observing this repetitive behaviour, I’d worked out my best chance of catching my target was to make the extra effort in the days right after the sidekick had been caught and was away on his own sulking in a weedbed. This effort was worthwhile, as sure enough, whilst temporarily feeding on her own and without her trusty sidekick spoiling the game, she duly slipped up!
8) Is there a product on the market that you initially dismissed as a gimmick, only to change your mind over time? If so, what was it and why did you change your mind?
Yes, indeed. I used to stay well clear of shelf-life boilies, believing them to be far superior to the frozen versions. A couple of years ago, I moved house and just didn’t have room for a proper bait freezer, so my hand was forced to move forward with shelf-life bait I have to admit, my initial thoughts couldn’t be any further from the truth, and I now wouldn’t look back after catching many fish on the S7 shelf-life bait. In fact, I now never leave home without a bag or two in the car.
9) What’s the most inspirational piece of carp-fishing literature you’ve ever read and why?
Without hesitation, it would have to be Terry Hearn’s first book, In Pursuit of the Largest. As a young, impressionable carp angler, the stories really caught my imagination like nothing before or since.
10) If you were to describe your perfect carp, what would it look like?
A large (50lb-plus) linear of classic Leney origins that would live in a very quiet, mature, crystal-clear gravel pit that only I knew about!