I was 5 years old when my father first plucked up the courage to take me fishing. After hours of my father pulling floats out of the trees and untangling the numerous bird’s nests, I was finally fishing. I remember my father somehow knowing there was going to be a bite just from the slight twitch of the float and the odd pinprick bubble, I was fascinated. He counted me down and as if by magic the float slid away. We struck the rod together and I was hooked into my first-ever fish. After a clumsy battle, I landed my first fish, a 2.5lb Tench. After that, I was well and truly hooked!
As a teenager, I couldn’t get enough of fishing. I worked in my local tackle shop as a ‘Saturday boy’ for a number of years, where I would work relentlessly during the weekends and holidays to fund the latest tackle and bait for my next trip. The information and knowledge gained from working in the shop proved invaluable. I soon got involved in match fishing at the local club events and was surprisingly successful, eventually fishing Senior matches as a junior, often managing to get in the ‘top 5.’

Each year, my father and I would go on a fishing holiday in the UK to venues which would often have a ‘Specimen Lake’. The mystery of these lakes captured my imagination and competitive nature. This was where my hunger for specimen carp and other species began.

At the age of 17, I joined the Army and my fishing was put on the back foot for the first couple of years. As soon as I was deployed to my first posting, I was out and about exploring opportunities in the local areas. Not having much choice of where I was posted, my fishing was done on a wide array of venues across the UK. I could only fish the days I was allowed so needed to make the most of the situation regardless of the conditions. I soon learnt the importance of being in tune with a venue as I would often visit my chosen venue applying some bait to optimise my limited opportunities.

Soon after leaving the Army, I found myself in a job working shifts. Now in my late twenties, I made the most of this time and applied myself to the numerous busy waters in Essex and the Lee Valley areas. No doubt about it, time was on my side and It reflected in both my results and my angling style. I continued with the prebaiting strategy, which still forms part of my approach today, however, I now had the time to bore them out over a lot of bait. Looking back, I was completely committed and reaped the rewards accordingly. I don’t regret it as I would never have the time to repeat this – you only live once!

Now with a manic work life, working Monday to Friday, and a family at home, the time I get to go fishing is cherished. I find myself avoiding the busy circuit waters in exchange for venues off the beaten track. With all the hustle and bustle of life, I have grown an increasing intolerance to the carp fishing rumour mill. I don’t want to know spots, who has caught what, or the last weight of the ‘biggun’ in drams and ounces. A number of years ago I found the perfect venue where none of this seemed to exist – the Belgian Canal network. In place of expensive syndicate tickets, I invest in numerous trips across the continent each year.

To this day, I still dabble for a variety of species. I believe it is a great advantage to have a multitude of skills in your angling. Most carp anglers could learn a thing or two from match/specimen anglers, especially when it comes to bait application. I don’t have any strategy or patterns to my angling these days, I simply pick a venue, species and enjoy. Whether it’s trotting a float on the Frome for grayling or sitting in the snow on a reservoir for Pike, I’ll be out there unwinding. Angling for me is a form of escapism and there is far more to this form of therapy than catching fish. If I’ve got a window to take, I’m taking it. If I didn’t, I would go mad!

Fact File

Name: Karl White
Nickname: Karlos
Location: Hertfordshire
UK PB: 52lb 4oz
Favourite venue: Belgian Canal network
Favourite bait: Sticky Baits Krill and Tiger Nuts
Favourite rig: ‘Multi Hinge Stiff’ for pop-ups, ‘Slip D’ for bottom baits/wafters
Interests: Other than the obvious, I spend way too much time on old German cars and trainers!