I’VE always been proud to be an angler; when I got my first car, long ago, stickers for every club, manufacturer and organisation soon appeared on the back window and on every dent and scratch – and there were quite a few of them.
I later realised that it made me a target for tackle thieves, as well as a pariah to the ladies (in the late-80s, one’s XR3i was expected to sport a tail fin and tinted windows, not a declaration of loyalty to The Carp Society).
The stickers are long gone but the pride is still there – and never more so than last Saturday. I attended the fourth Baitworks Cotswold Carp Event at Hoburne on the Water Park, and witnessed the power of a like-minded community.
The event was organised by Mark and Kate from Baitworks, with assistance from Dave Gawthorn, a legend in carp circles and a friend to many of us. Previous years have raised funds for stocking local club lakes, but this year’s was a little different.
The 200 anglers in attendance, who had travelled from as far away as Manchester and Cornwall, listened first to a talk from Mark about the very real issue of otter predation on the Water Park. There was none of the gung-ho vigilantism seen in the weekly angling press, but instead a practical approach to building otter fences. Mark’s suggestions were compelling, and it was pleasing to hear that the night’s profits would go towards fencing projects on local, open-access waters.
The main guest speaker was Adam Penning from Korda Tackle, who entertained with a long slide show in two parts – which was mercifully free of product placement and strong on laughs. He covered his exploits on two notoriously difficult waters, and reassured the large crowd that even the sponsored, known anglers get it wrong at times.
The evening closed with an auction and raffle, with impressive donations from the companies in the trade room. Kate told me, as the evening came to a close, that more than £3,000 had been raised.
I slipped away quietly when talk of a late curry and beers in town began, knowing from previous experience that these events can last until dawn, but feeling very satisfied all the same. It was a great event, and one which will do much to preserve our local sport. I’m looking forward to next year’s already.
Catch reports: firstname.lastname@example.org