Alan Blair Q&A

Alan Blair Q&A
blair-for-web.jpg

Q How did you get started in the fishing industry?

A At the age of 13 I started working in a tackle shop on a Saturday, just generally helping out and taking care of the maggots!

From there, I just kept my head down and worked hard, and basically got to where I am today through meeting people along the way. If you want anything badly enough and are prepared to put the time in, anything’s possible.

QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS

Age: 33

UK PB: 54lb 4oz

European PB: 59lb 15oz

Hobbies outside of fishing? Spending time with the family, and occasionally going out and having a bit of a party!

Music to accompany your perfect session? Anything by Etherwood 

Pot Noodle or toastie? Toastie every time.

Q What is the strangest venue that you have caught a carp from?

A Too many to mention! I’ve caught carp from the tiniest little streams to truly mammoth reservoirs. Carp are just so adaptable about where they can live that nothing surprises me any longer. Basically, they turn up in all the kinds of places where you wouldn’t expect to find them.

Q What is your idea of a perfect day’s fishing?

A If I were carp fishing, then it would be the classic, misty and warm morning, and I’d be flicking out floaters into the lily pads, before spotting a particularly dark mirror that I wanted to catch homing in on my freelined bait, hooking it and then having an epic battle!

I don’t just fish for carp, so outside of this area it would have to be feeding maggots and hemp and long-trotting a float to put a bag of fish together. A really great day’s fishing for me is when I don’t know what is going to be on the end of the line the next time the float dips. They are truly the greatest days.

Q Are there any places that you’d like to fish but haven’t, or any other angling targets?

A I’d love to catch a carp in Japan, and similarly I would love to catch a carp in America. For a few years now I’ve also wanted to catch a really big carp, say over 40lb, on a fly.

Q If you couldn’t use boilies, what baits would you go carp fishing with?

A Maggots, definitely, along with perhaps sweetcorn and bread. You can catch almost anything on those three!

Q What bit of tackle would you be lost without?

A Definitely my polarised sunglasses, sharp hooks and – these days – my little sawn-off rod. I’ve discovered it’s an essential little bit of kit for me.

Q What, in your opinion, are the most essential skills for catching big carp regularly?

A Until recently I would have said getting your location skills honed, and using good bait and rigs. Lately, however, I’ve been thinking about this subject in a bit more depth, and I now think that above all of this comes the energy, drive and motivation to make it happen. Often I will go on sessions where I am tired and am just going through the motions and basically not ‘feeling it’. If you don’t go there with the drive and confidence that you’re going to catch, then it doesn’t even matter if the fish are stacked up in from of you when you arrive, you’re going to struggle to catch.

Q Can you tell us any funny stories about things that have happened while you’ve been filming your EuroBanx series with Oli Davies?

A There are loads! Perhaps the thing that people don’t realise, because we don’t show it on camera, is that Oli and I are always falling out. We are great mates, but we sometimes have massive hissy-fits and go storming off in different directions.

We’ve had all sorts of howlers while filming Eurobanx… including losing cameras, generally when we have left them on the roof of the car, and having to drive back and find them. It is a lot less slick than it might sometimes come across as!

Q The Scope concept (shorter rods, less kit, more mobility) seems to have really captured people’s imaginations, so what do you see as being the ‘next big thing’ in carp fishing tackle?

A Without a crystal ball, it’s obviously quite hard to answer that question. I think that there will be possibly a bigger divide between the two genres of carp fishing that I sense have begun to emerge in recent years – those who like to fish for the unknown, in wild and urban places, and doing things that are a bit more off the beaten track; and the guys who like to put together big hits of fish. The latter are guys with only limited time, who are fishing the prestigious day-ticket fisheries, such as  Linear, as well as syndicate waters.

As for tackle developments, I can see the main changes being technology-based. A few months ago I sent Carl Smith (Nash Tackle video media manager) out with his drone to photograph a gravel pit that I want to fish. We were able to stitch some photos together and they showed features that I never knew existed in amazing detail. That kind of thing is going to be a real gamechanger.

The sooner I can learn how to operate one of these things, the sooner I will using it to find the fish for me on some of the big low-stocked pits. Deeper sounders, Fish Spy cameras – all of these pieces of kit that until recently we could of only have dreamed of, are going to revolutionise fishing as we know it.

Q What advice would you give to someone wanting to get into the fishing tackle industry?

A Get a foot in the door and go from there.This could be like me riddling maggots on a Saturday morning, it could be helping out at a local fishery, or just getting involved in an angling club. Not only will you learn loads, but you will start to build up contacts.

Once you get a bit older, you can’t go far wrong doing a fish-husbandry coarse at college. This will lead to work placements, and if you work really hard then you might get an opportunity at the end of it. It is up to you to open the doors by working hard and impressing people.

A final avenue could be through going to college to study things like graphic design, photography, video editing and the like.

Most tackle companies – including Nash – are increasingly looking to employ people in all those roles. Talented folk who could fill those positions and who understand carp fishing are very thin on the ground!