Thursday, 10 May 2012

On Hope and Expectation.

The expertly crafted piece written by Jeff on Luck and Fortune was one of the most enjoyable posts I've read for some time; and if you haven't read it yet, I commend it to you.

I enjoyed it because it resonated in my thoughts for days afterwards, and revealed an aspect of our sport to which I'd given little thought before. I cast my mind back over trips past and could easily pick out the truly lucky events from those where I'd forced fortune's hand through my own efforts - a four a.m. swim move because of a quiet previous night which lead to the subsequent capture of a big fish cannot all be down to luck? But it also thrust home the difference in perspective between Jeff and I, and made me think that I too should make room for the unseen forces at play. Sun, wind and rain are obvious elements the fisherman encounters, but maybe there's simply more to it?

I'm a scientist - obsessed with the mechanisms of fishing and their effectiveness. Always on the lookout for a pattern, a trend, a formula or some other collection of data which will achieve my end.

Jeff is an artist. You can tell that within a minute of meeting him or looking at his eye for a photo. Our perspectives on things naturally differ, and with that variety comes enrichment.

But this post isn't about the differences between a pair of semi-pro loafers like us, it's about another couple of characters who since reading his piece I've identified as accompanying me lately: Hope and Expectation.

I have to mention Hope first as he's the one who shouts the loudest. He keeps you awake the night before you go and wakes you up before your alarm. Flamboyant, imaginative and persistent, Hope is good company to have around. There is always Hope.

Expectation on the other hand fails to get over-excited easily. Sustaining himself purely on a diet of experience and hard-nosed optimism he is tough to kick out of bed in the morning, but when a plan falls into place and everything is going 'best case scenario', Expectation becomes so strong that there is little need to resort to Hope.

Think about the first time you fish a new venue. It's hope that's shouting in your ear as you look at the water and try to pick out a likely spot. Expectation struggles to get a word in edgeways. Once set up and quiet though, Hope is easily distracted and if nothing has happened within the hour he'll quickly wander off and get in someone else's ear. It's only then that Expectation will sit by your side. 

Expectation will tell you one of two things. He'll either confirm that everything looks good for a bite and affirm confidence in your approach, or more worryingly he'll niggle away that something's not right here:  either it's the wrong weather or the wrong method etc. etc. Believe me, if you're going to achieve anything noteworthy then you may have to ignore Expectation for short periods in order to do so. 

Now here's the rub. If Expectation is whispering positives you'll sit there all day, perhaps biteless, perhaps not, but it'll be enough to keep your feet on the ground in front of you. But if he cocks a snook and leaves you then I guarantee you'll be either moving, changing tack, or making for home tout suite.

If you tell me you fish 'More in Hope than Expectation', then you're doing it wrong. That is unless Hope has hooked-up with Luck on that day and then the extraordinary is truly on the cards.

If you fish without Hope then you're standing still. It's either time to take up golf or better still go and have a bite-filled day on a commercial somewhere and recharge.

Personally, I welcome Hope with open arms as it's he that keeps me coming back year after year, but Expectation is the one I've come to rely upon as the years tick by.....


And now to some fishing!

A recent trip to Snitterfield was fruitless for crucians but bumper for plump roach down the edge. Switching to surface tactics in the evening I caught a mint twenty pound two ounce common off the top. Although I was hoping for a grass carp any capture of a twenty pound common carp is still special to me and so I went home happy.

20lb 2oz Snitterfield Common Carp.
1lb Snitterfield Roach
Here's a tip for you: when fishing for grass carp and you hook a fish, look out for the tail appearing about three foot behind where your line enters the water! If it does then you might be in luck. The carp's tail above was a mere two foot back.

Whilst hoping for a silver bream I hooked a carp on the canal - my first one in years - it had an enormous paddle on it and kept me and my 2lb hook length occupied for over ten minutes whilst it charged about the pound.

And finally for the sake of admin, here are our Challenge scores this evening.



  1. i remember 20 years ago you took a complete novice to long itchington where said novice landed a scale perfect 1.5lb roach. hope and luck held hands and waved your expectation goodbye. good memories eh keith.

    1. Never leave me those Gaz. Remember staying awake all night watching those floats.... and that bloody big eel!!

  2. Very poetic writing, that first part. A lot of truth there too. I think I could deal with a 20 lb. Carp very nicely.


  3. Hope and expectation. I'd forgotten about those two! I employed them both last night and finally banked a few fish from the pit. I went in hoping for tench but expected them only when the bait was in just the right place. Intuition. Now there's another thing. They came along, in the end.