Smart Carping Blog - Coaching Online

Stories, photos, tips & advice from recent coaching & pleasure angling sessions and events. Years of experience, knowledge and advice passed down with in-depth tutorials.

January 27, 2009

" A poacher turned game keeper"

Recently the Fishing Magic website offered a charity auction in aid of the James Farrow Memorial. I donated a days coaching in the hope that it would make the memorial some money and I am pleased to report that it succeeded in doing so.

The winner of the auction, Graham Elliot, is a specialist Barbel angling coach. To say I was nervous was an understatement but I had no need to be as Graham was easy to get along with and had a great sense of humour, which he used on me at every opportunity!

Graham has since written a book about his fishing and included a chapter about our coaching session. See below a sample from his book, "Guiding, Barbel, and Other Fishing Days"...

Guiding, Barbel, and Other Fishing Days

Graham Elliot

A Day 'Smartcarping' with Ian Gemson

A bit of poacher turned gamekeeper but the generous offer by Ian Gemson in donating a day 'Smartcarping' to the charity auction being run by Cakey for the James Farrow Memorial, was too good to turn down. It's also great that Fishing Magic are prepared to support these charitable events.

Ian is a PAA qualified angling coach and I was interested to see his approach to tuition as well as bring myself pretty sharply up to date with the latest methods being employed to consistently catch carp. I also wanted to determine if any of the methods would convince me that barbel would also respond to them.

It was obvious from our initial exchange of messages that it would be fun.

My offer to bring a wheelbarrow, spare guest bed, cooking stove with microwave and copious amounts of lager were all taken in good humour. Even the request for a portable bite alarm, so I could spend the time in the 'chippies,' was met with the comment, “If you bring your butler!”

Ian was there when I arrived on the dot and after a warm handshake, we headed off with enough tackle (on a wheelbarrow!) to open a shop. It was fun to see Ian's face as I offered to carry his expensive rods - just a moment's hesitation before he said it was OK, then spent the next five minute's walk watching my Sherpa efforts like a hawk.

It was soon pretty clear to me that Ian had the day's tuition and lesson pretty much planned out to the finest detail. We started with the good old Elf ‘n’ Safety, a must when taking paying guests within a professional organisation. Ian's attention to detail never flagged, telling me hooks are very sharp and also having a life rope for any unplanned swimming adventures.

This was followed by a demonstration of the tackle we would use, the rod's TC rating and details about the reels he uses. When I commented that a couple of the rods seemed pretty firm he pointed to an Island that, after straining my eyes, seemed to be about 200 yards away - he was having a laugh, surely. That is until he popped a lead out 5 yards short of the Island. Bloody hell!

Great instruction and demonstrations followed. Spodding, bait choice, spod mixes, marker floats, casting, line marking, use of the line clips, rig makeup and the variations, lead core usage and how to make lengths of it up. This was followed by leading to establish the water depth in front of our swim - a drop-off after a plateau being the choice Ian said we would concentrate on.

Beep beep is yours, Buzz buzz is mine and Ring ring is probably your mobile

Hook types and their uses, lead weights, hook length choices and knot selection. It continued without pause until it was time to have a go at casting and spodding.
Well I have to say I thought my casting was fairly good, but it improved with Ian's instruction. I was actually getting it out fairly consistently within 20 feet of the marker float, while Ian did miss by a couple of feet…once!

Spodding, something totally alien to me, was great fun and I reckon I was between OK and not so OK until I felt brave enough to remember these rods were not my 1.5 TC barbel rods and would not snap!

Whatever you do Graham, Don't tell anyone about this bait

Ian generously offered encouragement throughout on my efforts, but I have to be honest and say I prefer an underarm lob to a far bank that's 5 yards away. What you get with Ian is a top-level professional approach that would help every angler who fishes for all species. He is also great fun to be with and picked up quickly on my rather odd humour.

In an attempt to get fishing I told Ian that I had a rather nice surprise to share if and when we caught the first carp.

So because I told you we would be making sausages you brought a Frying Pan?

Anyway, after watching the carp cartwheel about in our chosen spod spot, it was time to put all the instruction to the test. The first run was after about five minutes in coming to Ian's rod, and after two seconds thought……….I grabbed it. A fish that kept out in the deeps was persuaded grudgingly to the landing net.

The shared surprise was finally uncorked, with a bottle of chilled Sancere being poured and steadily consumed until another carp followed, slightly bigger and much harder fighting than the first. This one simply did not want to come that last five yards into the shallower water.

Fame………One a lot bigger than Ian's - for 5 minutes

A couple of carp later and time for some more spodding. I managed a first spod cast directly onto the marker float - of the chap in the next swim! He seemed rather pleased, as he had blanked while we had started to rack up the runs and fish.
Ian was like a man possessed. It's obvious that his prime intention is to ensure that his customers have a great day and catch some of the superb carp on offer at the venue, Thorpe Lea. Beautifully coloured golden orange fish, including near linears, came to pay us a visit. Many had mouth damage, a legacy from their days in the past when stocked in a heavily fished match lake.

Much banter and many fish later we called it a day at 5pm, with the fish starting once again to crash on the surface over our baited area. The best fish was around 16lb and all were doubles. I have no doubt a dozen or more would have followed had we fished until dusk.

There were a number of innovations and ideas regarding potential barbel opportunities during the day, especially regarding rigs and baits / bait sizes. I will of course be trying them out on some of my AnglingExperience customers over the busy next few months on the rivers. Now, if I can offer some advice, book a day with Ian Gemson of Smartcarping. Not only will you have an exciting day in great company but also you will learn plenty, and no doubt, adapt your current approach and catch more.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

Stories, photos, tips & advice from recent coaching & pleasure angling sessions and events. Years of experience, knowledge and advice passed down with in-depth tutorials.

Get in touch

Contact Smart Carping today to ask for advice, check availability and discuss a tailored training course that's right for you.

07864 959163

Contact us today