Exclusive interview from the legend of world carp fishing Frank Warwick.
How did you became interested in carp fishing, and became a professional carp fisher?
I began catching carp since I was 10 (1970 year). Before that when I was 6 I tried other types of fishing, and was catching small freshwater fish. But once I first saw a carp being cached, I immediately wanted to catch one too. So began my long 48 years old journey. In those days in England carp fishing was not really popular. Meeting another carp fisher was a rarity. In the history of carp fishing, it was a wonderful time. I experimented a lot, and opened a lot new things in terms of baits and rods. Very soon I earned some reputation of smart fisher, and my trophies won the interest of press. But then I was still a young man 22 years old. I was asked to write an article for the journal “Big Fish Magazine”. I wrote it, and so many of my secrets became unveiled. This article made a big “media-storm”, the magazine received, the biggest number of reviews on that text. They wanted me to write more, and that was the time when big companies from the world of carp fishing spotted me.
What does carp fishing mean for you? I say catching big fish, sport, hunting for the particular fish etc. What is the “soul”, the cause of carp fishing, in your opinion?
I think the pursuit is what catches me the most; I like to find fish in new waters. I get a lot of pleasure from being in the wild, along with nature. I want to watch seasons pass by, and the results of it. Big fish – is a wanted trophy, but a beautiful fish – is a much pleasant bonus for me. For me is the circumstances of catching a fish is essential, I loke, when fish – is a direct result of my hard work. I enjoy staying in the carp camp; I like this carp camping… Like being in the tent, in warmth and comfort, watching the storm behind the door, and you are just laying there in the warm sleeping bag, smiling and thinking about how beautiful carp fishing is. It never stops being something unique.
Besides catching fish, you are the author of many fishing articles. Not so long ago you released the book called “Every bit of blue”. Tell us about the book.
A long time ago my friend Tim Paisley said to me, that I should write a book, because he liked my writing style. I didn’t really wanted to, because I had a lot of work, a lot of fishing, family stuff, and so on. Mainly it was truth I have rich, and pretty busy life. And not that good ability to self organize, for spending months, sitting in front of my laptop writing a book. I still hadn’t left the idea of it. I thought, that through it my family, friends and other people could see, what made me love carp fishing so much, to give it most part of my life. In one moment things changed, I had whole winter, in which I planned not to work, not to catch any fish, but to write every day, to finish the book in that time. As I started, I was absorbed with this process. Very soon my biggest problem became, that my writings always took me too far. It doubled the number of chapters, I had I big book, written in a very short time. I realized how easy it is to summon the memories from the past in many little details. I think I was lucky to have an excellent mind in terms of more information. The feeling you have, seeing your book completed – is awesome. But the best emotions I had was from the realisation of the fact that when I will die, my children will read this book and say: “This, was the life of our father”. This book is the gathering of different stories, technical and even humorous. The book sold well, and I am really glad with that.
Your technique of “side throwing” became almost legendary. It allows throwing the rod, practically speaking, “behind the horizon”. But that type of throwing is regularly banned on the competitions. Tell us about that technique. A lot of people think that this type of throwing is dangerous because of numbers of accidents… What should a carp fisher do, to avoid this unpleasant consequences of side throw?
It’s not a side throw. Yes, I throw a rod at a strange angle – not as other carp fishers do. I got used to it since I was young when I was fishing in the sea. I had a cheap gear, and I watched the adults with their fancy surf rods. They thought that they could throw well, but the distances overcame me for not that far. I trained a lot, so in one of my fishings, for the bad of all the adults, I threw much further, having a gear, that was worse than their regarding cost. I liked it, and soon I began to catch more than them. To have an opportunity for throwing further, I developed my technique, which suited me more. It included using high weights and creating a big arc, to make loads much faster. I had no interest in throwing competitions, and I use my technique to catch carp on long distances, when it is needed. If there are no place on the shore to pitch like that , I use regular classic way. And even like that I can throw pretty far.
I read that in most ways you use the same useful gear. Tell about it to our readers.
I use the long shank hooks because they turn faster if set correctly with the “blow-back” gear. I don’t use a ring on the fore-end, because it gives zero information. I use 4mm of the hard shrinkable tube; it can be moved in fore-end only by carp, but not roach or bream. So if I get tired and see that the tube moved from its place, I know, that my bait was in the carps mouth, that got rid of it. It tells me about two things: first, I need to shorten the line, and second – the fish has accepted the bait. No other gear won’t give you this information. Because it just moves in its original state, or the strong fish, moves the tube down the fore-end, easily distracting you. Also, I use “line liner” to increase the turn of the gear.
Why the “long-shank” hooks, and not the “curve-shank”? What are the pros of the first type?
The curves hooks, as my experience shows, can severely damage a fishes mouth. I don’t like it, so I choose long-shank with direct fore-end they work great, and does not damage the fish at all.
If you were to choose between pop-up or the wafter (or balanced pop-up) for fishing on the algae, what you would’ve chosen and why?
There is no right answer for that question because algae are always different, it can be small, or thick. Wafter can easily get lost in the algae if you will use the too short leash. I determine the algae by sense: how hard is it to dig a weight from it after the throw. If it’s too bad, I go for a pop-up with a gear that I developed in 1997: chog-rig. I developed chog-rig, especially for that cause. I first showed it to Terry Hern and Jim Shelly. If the algae are clean and not rooted, I use a piece of foam on the rod, to elevate the wafter. It melts and secures an excellent presentation of the water. Under right circumstances, I will always choose water in the situation when I catch with a lure. In many Glasses of water of Great Britain, pop-ups were used too often in the resulting fish Staten ignoring it.
You have a vast experience in using non-natural lures. Tell us why do you think that plastic imitations are that effective? Is the deal in the colour, smell, or presentation? We spent a lot of time discussing boilies, the balance of the ingredients, and after that, we suddenly catch big fish using a small “seed” of a falls corn…
Carp doesn’t have arms, and he can’t easily interact with objects that he is interested in after they are in his mouth. Carps by their nature are “vacuuming” the bottom and taste many different things in search of food. As we know carps love sweet corn, it’s their favourite food at all times; they love it. But for us carp fishers it’s a problem that the seeds are too soft for use on carp rods. Besides, healthy fish can quickly take it off the hair. That’s why hard imitation will be perfect for us: it looks just like it, has a floating effect, making the hook lighter, and keeps floating. And of course, it dramatically absorbs the molecules of plastic. Both smelling and not smelling versions. I prefer the smelling one because it has additional attraction and gives a signal, that is especially important in the dark. Regularly plastic imitations work well as a blanket of seeds or pellets. Or you can plant the seed to boilies to attract the carp with colour.
What is the best fishing strategy while catching with non-natural baits?
As I said, plastic works as a blanket. In places where carp actively vacuum’s the bottom. I also like using bags with pellets mixed with salted canned corn. I throw that nozzle in places where bubbles could be seen. I caught a huge carp using just two little pieces of fake corn. How are you planning the fishing on the new spot? What is the first strategy? Before choosing the place for future fishing, I spend a lot of time finding a fish. It can be obvious.
But what can you recommend besides that simple rule?
Surprisingly a lot of fishers choose the best spot in the water. This is the receipt of almost guaranteed failure. If fish doesn’t show itself, I watch and listen near the water all the night. Because in some seas you can hear fish only at night. If the weather is warm, I choose the place on the windy shore. I always look for places where carp will pass during the stream. If the time of the year is cold, then I will choose a place where the wind will blow in the back. But still I will be looking for streams or other similar spots, that will hold and will be interesting for carp.
What’s the story? How did your own company start?
I don’t really like to discuss that, because that was a very sad period of my life. I always had a dream to start the production of my own carp lures. Then I left a very good job at a Dynamite. We begin this work with a friend, that financially supported me. My friend – is not a fisher, but he has a successful company. It all went right and I was happy. Then Jason Ken, fisherman, and his wealthy father wanted to invest in the business. I refused, but my partner agreed – against my will. That was a big mistake because Ken and his father were practically useless. When their part of the company increased, they started acting like it was their company. They knew how to spend money, but didn’t knew how to do the job. I got tired of it and quit. Without me company lasted for 4 weeks, and then got shut down. That’s how ended my dream and 3 years of work, and savings gathered through whole lifetime. You worked with lots of leading carp fishing companies, like Century, Dynamite, Mainline, Korda, Fox, PB Products… Now you are working with the company Spotted Fin. It’s the new brand on the market, but the results of their boilies “Catalyst” are already fascinating.
Did you take part in developing these boilies? What’s so unique about it?
After what happened with my company I received around 20 proposals of cooperation from different companies of carp fishing in Great Britain and Europe and me. But none of them seemed reasonable enough, I thought with all of my respect for them, that they did the same thing as before. I believe that it’s annoying and predictable. I didn’t saw a spark of innovation. Then a friend of mine told me about Spotted Fin . New and different from the others, very dynamical British company. I visited their production not that far from London met with the owner – Pepe Johnson. A brilliant man that I immediately liked. I saw in front of me a person from another place with different ideas. He was like o one I saw before. He spent the day showing me around, and I was shaking: he had all the ingredients from A to Z. Then I saw his top-notch bait – Catalyst, around what was already a cult, because of the result of its work here in Britain, and now in many other countries of Europe. Pepe was welcoming and open. He showed me the secret formula. I know a lot about the baits after the 35 years of fishing , plus my own experience and constant Makin of new lures. Once I saw the formula I knew that it was brilliant, radically different from those that already existed. I immediately understood why fishers are getting such good results with the Catalyst . Then I decided to join the company myself. Now we are working together on some new amazing products. Not so long ago a made a new series of nozzles, along with Spotted Fin, and they became trendy. I noticed an improvement in my own catches while using Catalyst . You are a pioneer in using and developing fluorescent pop-ups.
How did you get that idea, and why these pop-ups are better than regular bright pop-ups?
I started developing my own fluorescent pop-ups in 1981. They were radically different from nozzles used then, and gave me an incredible success. Then I realised, in the fishes place one single attractive nose, on the distance where you can’t use lure. Carp will find that nozzle and will immediately accept it. It was a part of how I got my name: because of my success in using such unique nozzles and tactics of fishing with a single lure. This two things helped each other. Average carp fisher though, that you need to use lure everywhere. I stood up against that trend, because following would’ve mean doing the same thing as everybody else. I thought that you need to be different. Because of that, when I started using my bright single smelling nozzles – it became my revelation. Carp had a hard time ignoring it, and he got caught. Especially when, you threw the nozzle in their sleeping zone, where they felt safe. I such places you don’t need the lure: carp was already there.
What was your record in carp fishing? Do you remember the story of catching that fish? You were in different waters around the globe – what was the closest and precious?
For many people “personal record” meant the biggest fish they caught. I have a different look on that: I think the personal record is the hardest catches, sometimes the most important ones, bringing the most pleasure.B ut I think for the readers I will tell about the biggest fish. I caught it the August of this year in one of the lakes of Croatia. It was a mirror carp weight around 30 kilos and 600 grams. I found it at 150 metres; there was a small play area. It was pretty hard. I had 13 tries from that spot, including this mirror carp. I used Catalyst boilies, and as for a nozzle I used a balanced snowman Catalyst Hard Hooker 15 mm with my pop-up Sweetcorn. I must say, that I love Italy. I am excited about the fishing in the beautiful waters of Parco de la Brenta – it is lovely, just as it’s owners, and it is a place of the habitat of many carps.
If you want to catch your large carp, you can know how to do this when you read the article, Frank Warwick. Carp Fishing and understand all of his secrets!
What can you recommend carp fishers, to have successful fishing?
The main thing is the planning, preparations, and hard work. To regularly achieve good results, you need to practice. I hear people say: “Oh, it’s so easy for you, you’re throwing so far”. How do you think I am capable of doing that? Luck? No, it was raining and unusual work. This concerns all other things in life: the more you are training and practising, the better and luckier you become.