As a proud father to two boys, Ellis (10) and Zach (5), plus boyfriend to long suffering girlfriend Maxine. Angling time requires a constant life balance, with the inevitable working to bring in the valuable income to keep the family fed and watered. My boys also love football, so a few years ago I qualified as an FA football coach. I am head coach for my eldest son’s football team and help mentor future parent coaches at my youngest son’s level. No rest for the wicked, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Eat, sleep, rave, repeat.

With Covid impacting angling being so open and closed this last year, plus restrictions in place impacting visitors on the bank when open. My family haven’t been able to nip in to say hi to Dad this last year. But at random points in the past, they have dropped by and shared my love for carp angling, and we have made memories together. From a young age, Maxine and I have always tried to induct the boys into why Dad spends time away from the house to chase big carp. Its not getting any easier as the boys get older, but thankfully Maxine gets it and the boys understand it. Having this support is priceless, or Dad feels guilty when sloping off.

I know up and down the country, I am not alone, and a large population of the angling community are juggling with this life balance. But these last few weeks, I have flicked back through and wanted to share some of my favourite pictures and one elaborated story of a few carp I have had along the way with my family present.


Ellis has night fished with me a few times, annually we always try and make the long weekend at Easter and opportunity for a couple of nights on the bank. With Easter falling in the heart of the spring, its favourable for young children with milder weather and even good periods of sunshine. Then as we know, the chance of a bite or two increasing which keeps children more engaged. Ellis has a camo onesie, packs his usual night-time owl clock and a few other essentials. Year on year, he always wants me to cook the same evening meal (pasta and meat balls) and loves breakfast in his bed come morning. In 2016, we had a cracking few days on a private syndicate close to home and bagged a new lake record at 33lb 4oz. The picture of us together went on to win a prize in Carp Talk. The following day after the lake record, Maxine popped in with Zach and we had our second fish of the trip, in the shape of a dark pristine looking common. This was Zach’s first close view of a carp.


April 2019 was our last Easter trip away together, as we didn’t go the year after for one reason or another. But this Easter, was a very special trip. Perfect spring weather and a few carp along the way. I will always remember Ellis waddling out half asleep at 3am one night while I was playing one fish. He was walking around outside the bivvy in the pitch black, no shoes on and muttering “are you ok dad, you won’t catch it without my help”. So cute. If I had known Covid would grip hold like it has, I would have done so much more angling with him in 2020. Never mind, there will soon be plenty of time to make up for lost time.


Between 2016 and 2019, I had three wonderful years on Wellington Country Park. It’s impossible to try and encapsulate in words, just what a special time I enjoyed during my three years, on what I truly believe will one day, rightfully be considered one of the greatest UK history carp waters ever. I initially had an offer for a ticket in 2009 and it was an incredibly tough decision to decline the opportunity to fish there at that time. The sole reason for declining, was that our eldest son, Ellis, was due to arrive in early 2011 and my life priorities had to be focused at home. SO, when the offer returned in 2016, I jumped at the chance. Sadly, and understandably, the fishery had clear rules that anyone under the age of 16 was permitted to stay at the lake overnight with syndicate members. However, daytime visits to the park from the family is permitted all part of the annual syndicate cost. With the park having so much to offer families, Maxine made regular visits to the park and nipped in to see Dad with the boys.

On one spring Saturday in April 2017, Maxine was in the park with the boys and I was in the middle of my inaugural 5-nighter at the lake. On this occasion, I was set up and already doing well in one of my favourite pegs on the lake. My first bite a few days earlier in the shape of the magnificent ‘Small Tail Mirror’ at a jaw-dropping 53lb 6oz. But it was the Saturday that will remain with me forever. After spending an hour with me on the bank, jumping around on my bed chair and eating through all my food provisions. The boys went off to play in the park and I decided to stay behind my rods, because I felt my chances were 50/50 of a daytime bite and they desperately wanted to see Dad catch a big fish. They came back to my peg around 4pm to pretty much say goodbyes. I kissed them all and Maxine was literally about to start the walk back to the car when my faithful left-hand rod let out a one-toner. I lifted into what went on to be another personal best, in the shape of the Big Sutton at a colossal 54lb 6oz. This was one very special, very sought-after carp that didn’t grace the bank frequently, and for my family to witness the whole thing from start to finish made the whole experience ten times better.


Soon, life surely will return to normality. I am keen to get the boys back down with Dad, but it might be time to start looking around for a three-man bivvie ha-ha.

Stay safe, be lucky. Carl.