This month marks the annual drive to encourage new people into the world of angling and, having been blessed with a wealth of memories and experiences thanks to a life spent by the water, I’m always keen to share my passion with friends and family.

Last summer, during National Fishing Month I took good friend and expert photographer Jamie Scott Gobin, of Scott Gobin Photography, out for a day in search of carp.

Jamie hadn’t been fishing before so he was keen to see what it was all about and also take the opportunity to test his photography skills in a new environment.

Our destination was Pool Bridge Farm, near York, as I knew from experience that it would give Jamie just enough of a challenge to make him work for his catch but also give him plenty of action throughout the day.

Jamie was keen to get started so I quickly ran him through the basics of how we would target the carp, both on the bottom and on the surface.

Sufficiently briefed, I helped him position the bottom bait rod in the margins whilst beginning the process of feeding the mixers and floating pellets to encourage the carp to the top in the blistering early morning sun.

There wasn’t a cloud in the sky of this wonderful August day so it didn’t take long before the first carp hesitantly pecked at a mixer or two before disappearing off. This triggered the rest of his shoal mates to appear from nowhere and start to pluck the baits one by one from the surface film.

I could see Jamie was itching to get a bait cast out but assured him that patience is the best weapon in surface fishing and we needed to wait until the carp were feeding with such abandon that our hook bait would be taken without question.

Before we had a chance to cast the surface rod, the alarm on the margin rod screamed into life, only for it to be an opportunist bream to snatch the bait before the carp moved in.

With the bream quickly photographed and returned we turned out attention back to the shoal of carp that were confidently feeding out in front. In the interest of showing Jamie the right way to angle for a carp on the surface I took the first turn and it wasn’t long until a little common was charging around the swim having been tricked by the hook bait.

Pool Bridge2

Jamie couldn’t wait any longer so it was soon his turn to have a go.

Despite having never fished until just an hour or so beforehand, he looked a natural and was soon into his first ever carp on the surface. Watching the mixture of terror and excitement etched on his face brought a smile to mine, as he felt the raw power of his opponent. It’s always a rewarding sight to see a first timer experience the rush of adrenaline as they hook into their first catch.

After a spirited fight I did the honours with the net and Jamie soon had his prize ready to be photographed. It was a beautifully marked mirror carp and with an almost linear scale pattern down its flank.

Jamie with his first ever carp

Jamie with his first ever carp

Showing Jamie how to hold the fish correctly and safely above the unhooking mat, I quickly fired off a few pictures before advising him how to rest and return the fish safely to fight another day.

His beaming smile matched the glorious summer sunshine and the day progressed with us catching countless numbers of hard fighting carp.

The tell tale sign that Jamie was well and truly hooked came at the end of the day when he, like almost all anglers, made around a dozen ’last casts’.

It was hard to get him to leave that evening and I was thrilled to see how much he had taken from our day on the bank together.

Mike Linstead with a Pool Bridge Carp

Fishing is a great leveller I feel and it’s always something that has brought a smile to the face of any newcomer that I’ve had the pleasure to introduce to our wonderful sport.

If you’ve got anyone you think might be interested in a day’s fishing then now’s the time to go, so you can share them magic of fishing with them at this great time of year.

National Fishing Month runs until 29th August this year. To find out more about the initiative and any events near you, visit

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