That ‘feeling’ ... You know the one. You can almost smell the water before you see it. Rolling through the gate for the first time, down a narrow wooded track, across a mist shrouded scrubland… wherever it may be. That intoxicating perfume of willow leaf, bull-rushes, waterweed and the humidity of the nettle beds never fails to ignite my senses.

I like to arrive in the dark hours on a new lake... take time to wander the banks, acclimatising and tuning in to the environment. Getting a real ‘feel’ for it if you like. That’s it for me, a ‘feeling’. Angling has to have a feeling , a soul. Something to captivate and fire the imagination. The mirror like surface of any lake is, to me, a looking glass into another realm. One that holds the dreams that push me out into the coldest of weathers, the darkest of stormy nights and for periods away from family and friends. That feeling of mystery unfolding before the eyes, the desire to experience whatever nature puts in your path, that’s what inspires and pushes me on to fulfil those dreams. For the most part it’s guessing and imagination, coupled with watercraft experience. But every so often conditions and circumstance allow a brief glimpse, into a world most non anglers will never see. What a rush watching the oily surface at dawn, as a chunky mirror turns over on a carefully pre-baited spot in a quiet corner. Or hours spent perched in the nook of an Alder tree, shadows ghosting in and out amongst the weed-beds in that over-looked bay. Those little experiences are what I look for and love in angling and are what keeps the fires burning bright so to speak.

For me success is not measured in what I have caught or achieved but in what I have experienced. Those moments clinging onto the spokes of a brolly as a heavy squall rips through the valley at 1am, or watching the stoat dragging a rabbit five times his size off for dinner through the brambles. These things are as special as carefully cradling a 50 year old Leney back to her ancient home in the lillies.

Carp angling not only fires the imagination, it evokes a strong and passionate response in most of us lucky enough to be ‘part’ of it. I always feel priveledged to be part of something so special and continue to look at everything with ‘open’ eyes.