I have probably just covered more miles in my van in the last week, than I did in the last eight months in Italy! I have literally driven the length and breadth of the UK, visiting a few of my sponsors to have meetings about the coming year, and to pick up some new products too. I even had a chance to wet a line for a couple of hours, so that was an added bonus, and the hardcore road trip all started last Tuesday.
I left Wiltshire with a short 150 mile drive to Sheffield. I had a meeting planned with Dynamite Baits the following day in Nottingham, so Martin Ford, and his lovely wife Caroline, put me up, once again, for the night. This makes three nights in the last year, and I may have to give them the vote for the best B & B in the North! Last time I stayed with MF we popped down to his local water to have a dabble. It proved unsuccessful. This time round we popped down to see if we could sneak one off the top. I had a slight chance after getting them cagily taking DB mixers of the top in the ripple, but once again we left without getting the net wet. Martin swears he catches every time he pops down for a couple of hours, so either I jinx him, or he is a liar!!
The following morning, and with my bait-sponsor meeting done and dusted, it was then time to clock up another 120 miles, and travel north-west to Lancaster, to stay with my good mate Matt Dent. Matt recently wrote a two-part Orellana piece for International Carper, and is someone I met at Cassien in 2008. After popping to a couple of rivers to check for salmon and sea trout – (he is an Environmental Agency worker), we nipped out for a few pints at his local, where I managed to persuade a George Formby impersonator to play “When I’m Cleaning Windows” at the weekly open-mic night. I had a very early start the following day as I had to drive east towards Northumberland where SONIK are based, so I got quite a shock when I noticed the time was 1.30am!
With four and a half hours sleep under my belt I left Lancaster and was soon driving across the top of the lake district before veering right and cutting cross-country towards Newcastle. I made good time covering the 130 miles and was in the north-east by 8ish. The Little Thief (Chef) breakfast went down well, and before I knew it I was sat having a coffee in the Blyth based company office belonging to SONIK. After discussing a few products with them and looking at some new things in the pipeline, I left armed with some new rods, including the SK3 2.5lb tc carp rods, and a 9ft 2.5lb tc margin rod. The SK3′s are perfect for close range snag fishing of which I am a big fan, and I look forward to using them as soon as possible.
If you remember reading my early blog chapters about Cassien in 2009 when I fished at Aviron, you might recall a female came to visit me for a week. Well…it just so happens that Heidi, the shower girl, lives in Newcastle, so I figured it would be rude not to look her up, and a wise decision it was!
The following morning dawned, quicker than I would have liked, and I was back on the road again, heading 150 miles down the A1/M1 towards Sheffield. I had a meeting organised with Trakker, and I was keen to see how the pictures for the catalogue had come out – very well as it turns out! I picked up some new products whilst I was there, and within thirty minutes I was back on the road, covering the short 50 mile trip towards Nottingham.
I had some bait to pick up, so a healthy amount of the Fresh Fish, Mussel and Oyster boilies, were carefully loaded onto my van. I will use these on my way down to Spain, as I have a few waters in mind that I would like to fish before crossing the Spanish border. In Spain I will be back on the Carp-Tec range.
After the bait was on board I now had to make it over to the Forest of Dean – another 120 mile journey! Through the magic of the Dynamite Baits website, an old school friend had tracked me down, and it was twenty-three years since we had seen each other! My friend James has three children, two of which are mad-keen match anglers, and in fact, Ethan and Blake had a match the very next morning, so after a quick chat with my generous bait sponsor, the two young lads were kitted out with matching DB caps, and a few bags and tubs of match fishing bait. Naturally they were chuffed to bits, and I must say a personal thanks to Chris and Jonathan for sorting that out.
Four mornings after beginning my road trip I arrived back in one piece at my parents house in Wiltshire, after covering approximately 1000 miles. Where am I now you may ask? In Surrey of all places, as I still have a few important things to do before I return to France, including a meeting down in Southampton with Ross Honey (aka WCC promoter) to discuss the upcoming carp-competition. One of my other sponsors Edgar Brothers Outdoor have kindly agreed to supply some great products for the event for the Marshals and for prizes. These will include products from the BlackHawk and Surefire brands. I am really looking forward to the event – in fact I can’t wait!
Well, this will be the last blog till I return to France in a week or so.
See you then, in the mean time ”enjoy” your carping, wherever you may be!
Jake and the dogs.