Kevin needs no introduction. The driving force behind Nash Tackle and one of the few Godfathers of carp angling; a true innovator, risk taker and the man who has revolutionised modern carp angling yet still retains his faith and love for the magic. We caught up with him with a few searching questions…
Most anglers would love to be able to call themselves ‘professional’. How did you manage it?
I am laughing as I try and answer this, as I don’t think I ever managed my way to professionalism. I was a kid, wondering what I wanted to do in life. Indeed, trying to understand how you could ever have the opportunity to do something that you enjoyed for a living. In a roundabout way, it could be suggested that because I so hated working in an engineering factory that all my focus went to the escape of being near water, and best of all fishing for carp and so through this contempt for my work I became absorbed in carp fishing – and with that total focus I found a way to make a living out of my passion.
How often do you fish and what do you fish for?
This may surprise many, as actually my fishing time is limited to, on average, 40 nights a year. It’s been that way for at least 15 years and frankly speaking it is enough time on the bank for me, when balancing the rest of my life. The only thing I sometimes miss is that I do not have the time to concentrate on other species, as I need those 40 nights for carp. Just occasionally I will have a go in the winter for my favourite fish of all – a big perch – and I do confess to have a growing interest in Bass. So, I might be doing some Bass fishing next summer.
What do you think are the most pressing issues in angling today?
Have you got enough space! In my opinion it is that we have no governing body properly representing us and ensuring the correct message gets across to the public at large and to the politicians. I think it’s a disgrace that the BBC have a reluctance to entertain angling programmes and that the countries fish stocks (as well as many species of bird and mammal) are now threatened because of the irresponsible release of Otters. Where are the people who should be stopping this for us? I believe, with a passion, that angling has so much to offer society and is a brilliant sport to teach youngsters the respect for the environment which is increasingly endangered. I know from my own experiences how angling can bridge the age gap between adults and kids and is a great vehicle to teach social values as well as helping youngsters grow their self-esteem. All very important in today’s current climate.
What are you most proud of and why?
I am most proud of my two sons and the role I have played in steering them to be wonderful young men – and the youngsters I have met who have not been so lucky to have an interested parent or mentor, with whom, through the hook of angling, I have helped from a rocky road to a different path where they can be proud of what they have achieved.
What are your earliest fishing memories? Who taught you?
My earliest fishing memories are of a farm pond called Kingston’s and watching my friend Tim catch tiny Rudd. I came from a family of non-anglers. Throughout my life I have made it up as I have gone along. Maybe that is why it worked – I had no references which may have blinkered me to fresh innovation.
How influential has Mr Crabtree been in your angling life?
Mr Crabtree was very influential. I told the story briefly in the front of my book, Memoirs of a carp fisher, of how, whilst pond dipping for tadpoles and newts, I caught this wondrous golden scaled creature and wanted to know what it was, so I went to the local library and was attracted to Mr Crabtree’s book. It was in this book that I discovered I had caught a crucian carp and it was through the writings of Mr Crabtree that I became hooked on rod and line fishing.
Is there anything in fishing that you haven’t done? What are your ambitions?
There is more that I haven’t done than have done. I am contempt in my captures and really do not feel that I need to catch any fish now for the sake of the camera or the scales. For me it is about learning and understanding – especially carp. They are so intelligent and interesting. My ambition will always be to understand carp so deeply that every time I go I cannot fail to catch. I hope I go to my grave without fulfilling that ambition – as I surely will.
Do you have any angling heroes? What do you most admire about them?
Actually, I don’t. There have been anglers that have had an influence on me for a time because of their innovative thinking, but I have met so many anglers who you would never hear of with an amazing knack of catching, so I can’t say that today I have an angling hero, rather I have massive respect for thinkers such as Dick Walker, Jack Hilton Rod Hutchinson and Fred Wilton; as well as the naturally gifted hunters – Chris Ladds, Punky John and Nash Tackles very own immense young talent, Alan Blair.
What lessons would you pass on to today’s young anglers?
There is only one – learn the craft. Start small and do not run before you can walk. Fishing is no different from schooling; the more you put into the learning the greater will be your achievements.
Kevin’s book is being printed as we speak, for more info check it out here.