Being brought up in the East End of London I guess I was a bit of a tom boy always tagging along with the boys, from football, to biking, to fishing in fact any sport, if the boys could do it so could I, being brought up on a 42ft Narrow boat called “The Red Baron ”of London, I guess I was 7 or 8 years of age then when I started fishing, learning this and that off the local fisherman that gave me the time of day, I think that’s important to the fishing nowadays, new technology is there for the taking, you have to listen and learn, no one will ever know everything about fishing, it’s a learning curve each and every time you go, I still have my first fishing rod a local lock keeper gave me, cork handle it is as well, who knows what fish I caught? No camera back then, not saying how old it is, let’s just say it’s getting on.
I went back to fishing after my two children left home to have their own families I guess I was redundant for a while, I have a loving husband and fantastic job, but there was something missing, being back on the bank meant so much to me, I could be Karen again, not a wife, or a mother, a nanny, or daughter, just Karen well “Essex” as I have now become known throughout the fishing industry in the UK.
As a very male dominated sport that fishing has become this didn’t sway me at all, I would normally be fishing alone most of the time starting off just fishing a day ticket water and I can honestly say I have never had any reason to feel concerned or vulnerable around male anglers, in fact I have always been treated with respect, first, they are surprised that my husband doesn’t fish or have any interest in the sport, and two, I have the gift of the gab and can hold my own around most men, I’m straight talking and I tell it like it is, please or offend, of course that’s not to say one or two have got a bit cheeky but it’s just general banter, I am not easily offended.
Most of the time I turn up at a lake looking for a swim for 2 or 3 days. now that I have the confidence to fish on overnighters, and I hear things like ”he has made her carry all that stuff” lol they don’t realise It’s my fishing equipment until I start setting up, and in many cases the guys on the bank have made themselves known and come over and introduced themselves, most of them tell me to let them know if they can help in any way, which is really reassuring to me not that I can’t cope but if I did get into difficulty landing a fish, or even falling in, this has happened I was hanging on by the cheeks of my bottom on the edge of the bank landing a fish one time and was grateful for the guy next door coming to help me out of the water so I could land the fish, I don’t know how he kept a straight face, I wouldn’t of been able to help myself, I would have been laughing and videoing it!
My Favourite play is Orchid Lakes in Oxford Run by Mr Marshell Pratly, I’m safe there, you have to get past Marsh first to fish here, a quick hour round the lake to pick a peg or leave, and its where I caught my PB mirror Angie, Pic attached 34lb something I believe.
And of course Gillhams in Thailand Krabi, what a place, an anglers dream, a Pb of 178lb Siamese carp,, 6 over 100lb, 2 Amazon red tails, an Asian red tail, and an arapaima of 80lb, incredible adventure which I hope to do all over again this coming April. Pic attached
So in conclusion being a woman on the bank has always been a positive experience for me, guys are happy to assist in giving advice on the lake or advice on making rigs and using bait, I am learning all the time, and if it wasn’t for some of the guys I have met on the bank I wouldn’t be where I am now, confidently catching fish over 30lb, I try to get out as much as I can weather permitting I really can’t stand it when it’s too cold, but nothing beats waking up in a bivvy while the sunrises and the smell of a good old English breakfast cooking, and some of the guys that I have fished with will tell you I make a mean Breakfast, I’ve no real interest in the completion side of angling, good luck to the ones that do, but it’s far too much hard work for me, give me a Bivvy, my binoculars, and my rods, a nice crisp morning with the sun coming up, mist on the lake, a fish is a bonus.