Where It All Began
The moment I mention to anyone that I am a female angler, one of the most common questions I get asked with a huge expression of surprise is how on earth did you get in to fishing??
This is a question that I love to give an in depth answer to with the background of exactly how and why I started fishing properly just over four years a go.
You see a few years a go I really had no knowledge about fishing or what it involved or could have ever imagined that I too myself would be obsessed with this amazing sport and that one day fishing would rule my heart and my head.
When I first met my husband Dave, who is a fanatical and super keen fisherman, he was keen to share with me his passion of fishing, and many a night he would sit and tell me stories of his fishing experiences from when he started fishing as a child himself, his greatest captures and of course the one that got away!
For Dave fishing was life and a few days off from work would only mean one thing, get out on the bank to fish and get away from it all!
As much as I supported his passion, being a non angler at the time I really couldn’t grasp how he was more than happy to be fishing on his days off on a remote lake all by himself rather than spend that time with me.
I thought that the only solution to be able to spend some quality time together was to join him on his next session out and see for myself what all the fuss was about.
As the old saying goes “if you can’t beat them join them!!”
I really didn’t know what to expect in all honesty especially as I had never been an outdoorsy kind of a girl and I can honestly say I have always enjoyed all my home comforts.
Eager to see for myself I thought the best opportunity to explore this sport would be to book a surprise luxury cabin lodge for his birthday which was situated close to a few specimen lakes so I too could have a dabble and if it wasn’t for me there was always the hot tub and sauna!
I still remember it like it was yesterday, it was snowing and so cold, and definitely not the weather to be outdoors, and there I was unprepared for the cold and freezing temperatures with a float rod in hand sitting on a tiny stool waiting and watching my float to dip under the water anticipating my first bite.
Not failing to disappoint within no time I had hooked my first ever fish which was a lovely, modest size perch and the excitement I felt at that moment was like nothing I had ever felt before!
As the excitement and euphoria coursed through my veins, I knew from that moment that I was well and truly hooked and like any addict I had to go back for more.
Within no time at all my husband got me enrolled with two local club waters and I was joining him on regular day sessions which quickly turned in to two day sessions where I really started to excel and learn all the things there is too know about this fantastic sport from making my own rigs, casting out, baiting my spots and fishing independently. If I say so my self I was soon becoming quiet good at this!! 😂😂
You see when I was growing up I didn’t have an easy time at school and felt very isolated.
No matter how hard I tried I seemed to be the lonely little girl who struggled to make any friends or achieve anything and this continued all the way up to my teenage years.
When I found fishing for the first time in my life not only did I find something that I was so passionate about, but I had found something that I was good at!
Fishing for me as I’m sure it does for so many other Anglers opens up so many different avenues in life, the places we go the things we see and above all fishing feels like a belonging ,being a part of something, something so exciting, being involved in a culture of new adventures and meeting such exciting and wonderful people I can now call my friends.
Finding fishing for me has pulled me from the shadows, allowed me to leave that lonely girl who I once knew, who was never good at anything in the past and overall has greatly improved my wellbeing helping me to become a more positive person, brimming with confidence and keen to learn and improve my own skills and knowledge everyday.
Without sounding too cliche, fishing is a drug and a medicine I have found to my liking.
Some of the best times of my life have been spent on the bank with my husband learning from him, sharing our catches, enjoying being away from it all in a peaceful and tranquil remote location and talking and waiting for our next bite, whether it be from the screaming of the alarms or the more tranquil and enigmatic sight of a float disappearing beneath the surface on that old estate lake.
In the past four years I feel that I have truly come a long way and have achieved so much in so little time but I suppose really for me it all began back in 2016 when I caught a 38lb + catfish. Subsequently I entered my capture in to the Angling Directs prestigious“king of the catch” competition.
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would I could actually win!!!
The prize itself was a week fishing with the one and only, Sir John Wilson himself on his own private lake in Thailand which was something only I could’ve dreamt off.
You see at the time when I entered the king of the catch competition there wasn’t even a Queen category so to be the 1st female to win such an iconic competition and set a precedent was to me one of the biggest achievements on its own.
Since this time I’ve been fortunate enough to catch some of the most stunning fish, and travelled to so many exciting and new venues and for me each and everyone holds its own significant and special memory.
One of which being a trip Elphicks in Kent on a social event back in 2017 where I caught my new U.K. PB of 44lb 2oz after two nights of blanking whilst watching everyone else bag so many fish.
I still remember the moment my husband slipped the net under what was a stunning mirror and saying “oh my god Az it’s absolutely huge”, my palms were all sweaty, my heart was beating so fast and I was petrified of losing the one run I had that whole session.
I had fallen in love with fishing so much that it was agreed with my husband Dave (who didn’t need too much persuading) that we would spend two weeks fishing in Thailand for our honeymoon at the amazing Ghillams fishing resort, home to some of the biggest fish on the planet!!
Needless to say our honeymoon was a truly unforgettable experience and one we hope too relive one day soon …
When the day finally came for both myself and my husband to fly back to Thailand, this time to fish with John Wilson himself I really wasn’t sure what to expect.
Dave had already met and fished with John when he was younger so I think secretly he was more excited than me.
The morning after we arrived in Chumpon Thailand we were greeted by John himself who came to collect us to go to his lake to fish for the week.
I felt nervous but so excited and remember giving him a big hug and thinking how surreal it all felt.
For the next week we fished with John, spent so much quality time with him and his beautiful wife, talked about anything and everything and spent so many unforgettable moments together. I guess these are the moments that as anglers truly make fishing so special.
After fishing all day for all the different species that John had nurtured himself we would sit on his porch with his lovely wife Jo every evening watching the sun go down, drinking and talking about all the fish we caught throughout the day.
It was mesmerising to see Johns passion for fishing and we were both truly in awe as we sat as if children learning from the greatest teacher of them all , listening and captivated by the tales of fishing adventures in far away lands, where it all began for him and how hard he had worked all his life to make it all happen.
John Wilson was truly an idol to me, an inspirational figure who was extremely knowledgeable about fishing and regardless of his huge success managed to remain humble and so down to earth.
A true gentleman who looked after us in every way.
Sadly John passed away this year and will be missed so much by both myself and my husband.
I will always carry with me so many fond memories of John and our time spent with him , along with the wealth of knowledge tips and everything I learned from him through my own fishing career and he will always remain close to my heart.
My adventures didn’t end there and four months after returning from
Thailand I was on my way to France for my first ever fishing trip with my husband and his friends.
Through the years I had always seen everyone’s catches from France some of which were true monsters and had always thought how I too would love to catch a French carp.
One thing about me is that I’m a very positive person and use that positive energy when it comes to fishing and have found that my positive attitude can truly influence my fishing.
Before going to France I was adamant that I would land a 60lb carp and whilst everyone else laughed at this and simply brushed it off I remained optimistic and focused on catching my first French carp.
A few days in to the trip I still hadn’t even had a single bleep on my rods so felt that in order to get on the fish my best option would be to move pegs and ended up moving three times in order to get on the fish.
From seeing everyone’s catches over the years I had somehow got the impression that fishing in France would be easy but throughout the week found it to be just the complete opposite.
Despite all the moving and watching everyone else catch around me I remained hopeful and kept the dream of that 60lb carp in my head.
Finally on day 5 at 3am I was woken with the sound of my screaming Delkims and was playing my first fish.
It was still dark and pouring rain and I knew that what I was playing was a big fish but wasn’t sure just how big it would be as my main focus was to land this fish and not get a hook pull.
Finally after a short battle with my heart in my mouth he was in the net, oh my god I couldn’t believe it.
On the scales he was a whopping 66lb 5oz ! and my jaw nearly dropped to the ground seeing them scales as I couldn’t believe that not only had I caught my first ever massive French carp but in fact one of the biggest fish in the lake.
Now I’m no lightweight and consider myself quite strong for a petite woman but this fish was so heavy I physically couldn’t lift it up as my arms just wouldn’t go all the way around it’s body so had no option but to get in the water with my husbands very oversized waders for some trophy shots.
Not only had my vision of a 60lb carp become a reality but it was even bigger than what I had imagined.
Even though I found fishing in France to be quite challenging after catching a fish of a lifetime like that I would definitely return for another trip and I’m looking forward to hopefully beating my French PB if that’s at all possible haha.
My fishing adventures then continued with a fantastic trip to Poland in 2018 fishing the mighty lake Goslawice where I took part in an international Carp cup competition with my husband amongst 20 international groups.
The fishing application was mainly by boat and a completely different fishing experience. Needless to say we landed some truly epic fish in excess of 35lbs and ended up finishing in 4th place which even though I didn’t manage to bring home the trophy was a fantastic achievement for my first international competition.
Domestically my fishing has gone from strength to strength and has seen me boost my portfolio by landing an array of gorgeous carp, bream to in excess of 11lb as well as be Tench Pb in the form of a gorgeous 9lb male.
In addition to my bankside adventures I am proud to be part of the Angling Direct family and also in becoming part of the Spotted Fin team.
As if this wasn’t enough I have laid the foundation for my own company starting my own website “Carpin’Pink” which is dedicated to promoting female angling.
On the back of my website I have also created my own ladies team, the launch of my own Carpin’Pink leads “Candy Coated leads” and also a clothing range to be launched very soon.
I think in the world of carp fishing the possibilities are truly endless and it’s so refreshing to see more and more females getting involved.
Wether you’re new to the sport or have been an angler all your life our feelings about fishing are all the same, we spend our life daydreaming about being on the bank especially whilst in work, we count down the days and minutes before our next session and hardly get a wink of sleep as we are overwhelmed with excitement of getting to the bank and when that day finally arrives we feel like a child all over again watching our problems drift a million miles away from us with the only thing left on our minds is to catch that fish.
It’s overwhelming to see that both men and woman are now becoming equals in the sport and that there is so much support out there for everyone.
The world of carp fishing in my eyes is something that brings people together from all walks off life and no matter what race, sex or religion I think we all have one thing in common and that’s our passion and dedication to this fantastic sport.
I’m excited to see what adventures 2019
has in store for me and I’m looking forward to meeting and seeing so many of you on the bank.
Until then tight lines to you all. 🎣🎣😘😘