FeaturesThom AirsFunny

The Carp Angler's Glossary: what we really mean...

FeaturesThom AirsFunny
The Carp Angler's Glossary: what we really mean...

From descriptive phrases to terms carpers should stop using immediately, we’ve pressed our tongue firmly into our cheek to deliver this digest of the secret code that sets anglers apart…



Sample sentence: ‘It was boiling hot but I got the fish Pac-Manning on floaters’

Meaning: If you know your videogame history and are partial to a bit of surface fishing then this beautifully descriptive phrase should instantly conjure up images.

Getting the fish Pac-Manning means inducing such a feeding frenzy that the carp are constantly moving and munching dog biscuits off the top, like Pac-Man charging through his pixelated maze scoffing Pac-Dots (we looked it up, that’s what they’re called).

Origin: We believe this phrase was first used by match anglers, but it has quickly spread to carp anglers on well-stocked waters


Fishing like a drummer

Sample sentence: ‘The fish were crashing all around me, so I ended up fishing like a drummer’

Meaning: It doesn’t happen all that often, but sometimes you’re in a swim and the fish are just giving you too many options.

They might start showing to your left, then in the centre of the peg, then to your right, then back to the left again…and so on.

In your attempts to keep up, you keep casting left and right, flailing your arms like Phil Collins smashing his way into the chorus of In The Air Tonight.

Origin: Just a few months ago we spoke to Rob Hughes about a frustrating trip to Trent View Fishery and he coined this delicious phrase. We love it and hope it sticks.   


Sample sentence: ‘I was the only one catching – all the other anglers were meerkatting’

Meaning: Catching fish on a busy lake will always get you noticed.

Some anglers will subtly hide in their bivvies watching you hauling through a pair of binoculars in an attempt to suss out your tactics. Others are more blatant.

You’ll spot them bobbing up from their bivvies or chairs, straining to get a better view – just like a meerkat on the prairie watching for predators.

Origin: Certainly pre-dates those annoying insurance adverts, and probably originally came from a nature documentary 



Sample sentence: ‘I’d had that swim to myself all year, then I caught the biggie and got sheeped up’

Meaning: The herd mentality can be strong in carp fishing. When a tactic or presentation starts producing results, it’s human nature for us to try to emulate the originator’s success.

There’s a fine line, however, between gaining inspiration and downright copying – and it’s the latter behaviour that has become synonymous with the woolly grass nibbler.

It’s now such a shorthand for piggybacking on others’ hard work that just a ‘baaa’ or sheep emoji in a message or Facebook comment conveys the meaning instantly.

Origin: Jim Shelley might not have invented the term, but, like all his catchphrases, he’s certainly nearly worn it out


Sample sentence: ‘Yeah, I blanked, but it was only a social’

Meaning: An excuse to fish badly. The angler’s equivalent of ‘it was only a pre-season friendly’.

If you say you went down the lake just to have a barbie and beers with your mates then you don’t need to have exhibited any effort to catch fish.

Genuine socials are brilliant and a staple of our sport, but there’s a creeping trend of using your mate’s half-hour visit to your swim for a chat to write off the whole session as a ‘social’ and justify your blank. We’ve all done it!

Origin: In this context, the term has definitely gained more traction in the social-media age

Quick overnighter

Sample sentence: ‘I just did a quick overnighter’ 

Meaning: Your time perception is warped. Nothing that lasts 12 hours is quick. Carp angling itself is rarely quick.

Back in the day, your sessions were boxed off into ‘24s’, ‘48s’ or ‘72s’ – beyond that, the maths is too hard and you have to list number of nights, by law.

Anything shorter than a 24 was an ‘overnighter’ or a ‘day session’, and that’s all you were allowed to say.

This ‘quick’ prefix is a dirty stain on our sport, trying to make fat men in waders feel like CrossFit di…sciples. Enough!

Origin: This one seems to have collectively crept in over many years



Sample sentence: ‘I’m a fieldtester for XYZ Bait & Tackle’

Meaning: This one is a trap that can be difficult to resist. As carp fishing’s popularity has rocketed in the last couple of decades, so too have the number of companies offering bait and tackle.

Particularly in the internet age, plenty of these businesses recruit vast teams of ‘fieldtesters’ whose reward is a supposedly reduced rate on boilies and tackle.

But remember, genuine fieldtesters are there to use and critique stuff before it hits the market, not use existing gear and give no feedback. And if everyone’s on the reduced rate it’s not a reduced rate.

Origin: Twisted over time from something genuine in the 1980s to often (but not always) misused in the 2000s.


Character fish

Sample sentence: ‘It was a character fish, a real old warrior’

Meaning: Are we too afraid to say ‘downright-ugly, bag-of-spanners, dropsy-ridden, missing-gob, ottered-tail, sticky-rib munter’? It seems we are.

Origin: Anglers have sought to polish turds since time began.