This is one of the best, most balanced posts I have read on here. Like you, I fish for a multitude of species throughout the year and I feel that this 'fishing identity politics' that we see now is damaging to the sport in some respects. I can just as easily fish for carp in a low stock, snaggy, tricky water with one rod, my centerpin and few bits and pieces, roving the margins. In fact, that is my preferred method.I often get the impression from the many of the disparaging posts on here about carp angling that carp are easy to catch and that carp anglers aren’t very good anglers. Personally nothing could be further from the truth in my experience, I can only think that those who are always having a dig about carp angling haven’t ever properly fished for the species and proper venues.
Like barbel angling, carp angling is a broad church. For every easy ‘runs water’ such as the Rob Hales fisheries, or some of the venues at Linear etc (not my cup of tea) there are many more waters that are far from easy and provide a stern test of watercraft and angling skill to those fishing them, and require no small amount of determination. There is a famous carp water about 15 mins drive from where I live, where such is the low stock of fish that an angler catching say 2-3 carp during the course of a whole season is thought to have had an exceptional year. I know plenty of ‘carp’ anglers who go barbel fishing a few times of year on the Trent and Severn and enjoy the transition to a bit of ‘easier’ fishing. There is far too much talked about the tackle used by ‘carp’ anglers. The anglers I know might take a lot of stuff with them, but they are constantly on the move and mobile, thinking of nothing of packing everything up and chucking it on the barrow and wheeling it the best part of a mile to the other side of the lake if it puts them in front of fish. Even in the rain and sometimes in the dark.
Stereotyping those who fish for carp based on some of the would-be carp anglers you encounter at commercial runs waters is like stereotyping those who fish for barbel based on some of the anglers who fish Cromwell Weir week in week out.
And I think a lot of folks forget that many of us like to fish for a variety of species over the course of a year. I’d no more describe myself a ‘barbel’ angler than a ‘dace’ angler, I’m just an angler. I couldn’t fish for just one species all year round, I’m sure I would get bored witless.
Btw - when Dick Walker caught ‘Clarissa’ 1952, he was using electronic bite alarms. Not sure why I’ve added that, but I read it last night and it struck me that 68 years ago is a long time ago, and yet we still hear ‘traditionalists’ bemoaning their use, despite the fact many of them are using tackle that wasn’t available long after bite alarms were first being used.
I think that some of the stereotypes that carp are easy to catch comes from some of the online content we have access to nowadays where swims have been heavily pre-baited and 'roped off' on well known runs waters. After all, who is going to watch an hour long film of an angler blanking? (Answer: me! I watched the Sticky Baits film of Bowler and Yates fishing an estate lake and although Yates blanks, he is still mesmerising to observe).
Fishing three carp rods and baitrunners on alarms and bolt rigs is just as boring to me as sitting behind two Barbel rods in a tripod hurling big feeders into big rivers. It just isn't my thing. Do I care if that is the trendy method of the day and what most people are doing? Not one bit! In fact, if most people are using trendy methods and techniques, I find that my simple, scaled back roving tactics work even better.
I do find that some 'Barbel Anglers' and 'Carp Anglers' can have an elitist attitude towards other species but in my experience, a specimen fish of any species is difficult to catch by design.