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An email exchange with Mick Brown

Mick Brown is a well known pike angler from the U.K. He’s most known for staring in a number of BBC shows along side Matt Hayes, another well know British angler. Mick has been a tackle consultant for some big name tackle companies such as Fox, Shimano and Rapala. Earlier this year, I inquired via email if he shipped his new book “Professional Pike Angler” to the US. I was surprised when I received an email from Mick himself. He told me he’d go down to the post office and figure out how much shipping would be and get back to me. I imagined Mick driving his little VW caravan to the post office, down some rural Fenland roads. The next day, he confirmed the shipping cost and eventually I received a signed copy of his book. In his book, Mick covered a number of topics related to his life and making a living as a “professional” angler. In one chapter he mentioned that his “Kebab Rig” was partially inspired by the “chunking” technique he observed on a boat in Rhode Island, while fishing for stripers and blues. Wait a minute? Did he say Rhode Island? Why, that’s where I live! So like any crazed fan, I sent him another email. Mick said his brother-in-law lives in Rhode Island and he’d been over here on vacation a few times.

The Kebab Rig

A few months later I had a dream that Rod Race era Mick Brown and Matt Hayes were in Rhode Island and I’d somehow managed to spend the day with them. In my dream I showed them all of my favorite carp swims and I picked their brains on rigs and tactics. I wish I remembered some of their answers. I’ve never been shy about taking a chance emailing people randomly and in a sleepy stupor I emailed Mick again to tell him about my dream and about my experience carp fishing in the U.S. and that if he was ever in town again, I’d show him around. Once again, Mick was gracious enough to reply and what he said in his email has stayed with me since.

“Hi Angel – thanks for your email. Good to hear that carp fishing is alive and well in RI. Back in the old days, there were just a few of us pioneering carp fishing in the UK and they were great times. You know what though? When EVERYONE got into carp fishing, it just spoilt it for us. It was no longer special and magic as it became competitive and commercialized. That’s where you are now in the USA, and I hope you will appreciate my advice when I say – go carp fishing, enjoy the adventures and the journey, but keep it quiet and under the radar. I wish I had!

Have a great summer, and catch some nice carp!

Best regards,

Mick

Ps – I am not doing so much fishing since I retired recently. Playing blues guitar now, jamming to Freddie King, Albert King and the other Chicago Bluesmen. Wish I could have seen them back in the 60’s, but I spent all my time going fishing!”

After a lifetime of fishing, Mick says that the commercialization of carp fishing is not necessarily a great thing. It is something I think about often when I hear people say that they want to “promote” carp fishing. I mean, I’m all for educating the public but the thought of bass-level interest in carp sounds awful. Fishing crowded banks lined with bivvies and barrows is not something that appeals to me. Imagine Lincoln Woods on opening day of trout season but with way more tackle. Oh and don’t forget the inevitable bow hunters who insist on killing carp needlessly. Wouldn’t it be more of challenge to shoot a bass?

I will heed Mick’s advice and keep my fishing quiet. Don’t bother fishing for carp, they are just trash fish.

You can watch a video about Mick’s Kebab Rig here.