Interview met Gareth Fareham

In deze editie van 'Aan het woord' heeft Willem de man achter Subsurface Journal eens wat vragen voorgeschoteld. We hebben het dan natuurlijk over Gareth Fareham welke misschien nog beter bekend staat als Gaz. Naast Subsurface Journal is hij ook verbonden aan Sticky Baits en Thinking Anglers. 

Gareth, many thanks for your time and contribution to this carpy enquiry. I have to say, i was very surprised that you wanted to spend some time on this article. 

No problem at all, my pleasure, thank you for asking me to contribute!

It seems there is a little more about Gareth Fareham that meets the eye. I saw some art work by your hand, can you tell something about you work?

So I suppose you could say my background is almost entirely ‘art based’, I have drawn since I was young, and went to Art college and then on to study Art at university in Cornwall. During those years my fishing always came secondary, and for a few years I didn’t fish at all, or if I did it was just irregular and a handful of times a year. After that I went back to university to study at MA level to gain my Teaching qualification, and then taught Art and Photography for 12 years after that, ending up leading the Photography course and heading up a team of teachers and a big student base. My other art, my drawings are currently just personal work, although I still hope to exhibit them soon. I also shoot photos at punk gigs, and other bits of commission work as and when it comes up.

What does art means to you?

Art is expression, and communication – a visual communication. For me I suppose my art background weaves its way into absolutely everything I do; from how I take photos, to how I make films, or write even. It is all influenced by that way of thinking and education.

How do you combine the carpscene and art or are they one and the same?

In a way they are one and the same, but also very separate. Carp fishing is my escape from work, but also there is lots of potential within the carpscene for my artistic background to come to the surface.

Can you tell us about your job as a teacher?

I loved my work as a teacher, it was stressful, and very all encompassing, and didn’t leave much time or energy to carp fish seriously, but I loved the energy of the students, the challenge and the sense of satisfaction from students making amazing work, getting the grades they needed, and then getting onto some of the best Uni courses in the country to go and study Art, or Photography or something else in the creative field like fashion design, or illustration etc. I also just loved being able to talk about art and image making every day, and being able to have hopefully some positive effect on students, even if they were younger students that weren’t into art, just making them look a little deeper, or more differently at the world.

What did you wanted to do in life when you were a younger man? What where your ideals and dreams and did they came true?

That’s a hard one to answer, I’ve never really known, and perhaps still don’t know exactly what I’d like to do, I just follow my will and the wind most of the time!

How are your thoughts about goals and expectations in life?

I think these days expectations are so massively high because of social media, and the internet, it seems like anything and everything is possible, which is great, but it can also make expectations unnaturally high because as we know, most social media is a filtered, fake reality. Even if peoples lives look perfect on iG, they are probably still suffering the stress and anxiety and same bullshit that we all are! Really, my goal is to live a quiet and simple life. I grow a lot of my own veg and fruit, and enjoy horticulture, I love my fishing but I also surf and ride and make art, so I suppose my goal is just to have a balanced, creative life, and to enjoy it.

Can you tell something about your experiences on CP?

Yateley was amazing, probably the most intense few years of my angling life. During that spell, almost all my thoughts revolved around those few carp, and with captures of them just once or twice a year, it made it a ‘pressure cooker’ situation. But you would think that would create tensions, and ego and difficulties right? No, it was the most social, friendly and open lake I have fished, and I met a lot of my best friends in angling during my time on there. It was all about lads with a shared dream and interest. I could talk about Yateley for days, and write you a book on it probably!!

You wrote a few books and nice articles as well, can you tell something about your writing skills, and do you prefer video or articles?

I prefer writing if I’m totally honest, personally. But that is probably just because I am more comfortable writing, then being in front of a camera. I also like the way words can create atmospheres, and generate feelings and emotions that are sometimes impossible to do with film, because with writing you conjure the imagination of the reader more. Film is great, and I love making films too, the lens offers so many exciting possibilities, but it also brings difficulties about waters, and publicity to the forefront. It is easier to shroud the identity of a venue through writing, and almost impossible to do so with film. I prefer being ‘behind’ the lens rather than in front of it!

What are your thoughts about today's carpscene, positive and negative things and what that does to you?

There are lists of both as long as my arm – I think it has changed in the last 5 years, people are being more creative finally, and a sub culture has finally emerged that was never really there in the early days, or at least wasn’t represented in the media at all that looks a bit deeper at carp fishing other than just a ‘grip and grin’ – embracing nature, the landscape, the friendships, characters… all these things are for many an absolutely vital part of carp fishing culture. Now there are options, other than just the mainstream for guys that don’t identify with that line of thought, or don’t want to have advertising rammed down their throats every time they pick something up to read or watch. I think that’s really positive, although still has a long way to go – other pursuits like skating, surfing and riding have had countercultural movements for a long time, carp fishing has only embraced that recently really. The theft of carp, and the stocking of inferior strains seems to have slowed, and people seem to be taking a lot more interest and consideration in what they fish for these days, but on the flipside the numbers of people carp fishing now is HUGE, and there is definitely as issue with the busyness of waters, both here in the UK and throughout Europe.

I saw that people can “hire“ you, what's that about? (Personal Angling Tuition website)

Yeah, since I finished teaching I’m not ‘teaching’ carp fishing, one-to-one. It is a massively popular thing in the UK. Usually 24 or 48 hour sessions with guys, learning how to cast accurately, bait up, tie rigs, find fish etc.. all the basics of carp fishing.

What was the idea behind the Subsurface Journal?

Basically much of what I described in the question about the scene – I felt that there was nothing out there that really represented the sub cultures or serious carp anglers that well, and everything was so rife with advertising and product placement. Subsurface aimed to strip all that away, and return to the roots of the pursuit. I wanted it to focus just on the highest quality writing and photography we could find, from all over Europe that brought together a collective of anglers that seemed to share similar ethics and ethos, even if they were hundreds of miles apart. I also wanted to interview and focus on anglers that had working lives, families and fitted their fishing in between, rather than the guys that were getting paid by sponsors to write or be in the media – I felt like back in 2010 when I scripted out the ideas that everyone was getting sick of the same old faces!

What are your thoughts about the commercial side of the carpscene?

It is unavoidable, and the kit we have access to now is incredible compared to when I started back in 1990, 30 years ago. I have seen it grow from the beginning really. I can’t criticize it, as I think it is inevitable, and every pursuit must have a commercial side to it, but I do think carp fishing is more ‘sensitive’ than many pursuits because the more people doing it, the busier waters are, the worse it is for everyone, and the more fish get damaged. In the UK now it is incredibly difficult to find big, nice carp to fish for that have got good mouths and on a quiet water where you can do your own thing. The commercial interests in carp fishing have no concern other than to encourage more and more and more anglers in, to make more money. It is a paradox.

Let's talk about bait and rigs, what's your favorite one and why?

I like to keep it simple, but tied immaculately! I’m very, very fussy about the neatness of my rigs, and think hard and carefully about what to use and why, but really I only have 3-4 that I always use. The ‘Soft Boomed Hinge’ the ‘Amnesia D’ and a simple blow back style rig with a curved extension. Sharp hooks, and the right presentation for the right situation is much more important I think, and being confident in your approach is king above all else!

How do you approach a new venue?

Always the same – like I know nothing. Just look, and look and look until the carp tell you where to fish for them, and then I try to fish for a bite at a time to begin with. Location is everything though, and far too many people spend far too little time looking in my opinion. It is only on the heavily stocked waters you can get away with that.

How do you prep your session?

I struggle for time to prep these days as I’m so busy, working on many different things, so I just try to be ruthlessly organized all the time, and keep my kit ready to go. Usually I only take my food bag and camera kit out of the van between trips to save time.

Brolly or bivvy? 

Always a brolly really, but I do have a Pioneer now that can be both!

Minimal or taking the kitchensink?

Always as minimal as possible, even on 10 night sessions in Europe. It makes me fish better, and you can always move easier with less kit. I like to stay mobile and hate sitting in a swim for more than a few days, even if I’m catching. I keep plenty of spare stuff in the van, it doesn’t need to be carried around everywhere with me!

What jump started your carp virus?

Fishing for other species. My dad always fished, and so he took me from a young age, I grew up appreciating every fish, and many different types of fishing. That is still a strong desire for me now, and I fish the rivers for Roach, Chub and other species through the winter now and enjoy it as much as the carp fishing.

What ‘s your favorite book, can be about anything and why?

Fishing book it would have to be the classic, Terry Hearn’s In Pursuit of the Largest – few books have had the same impact as that, and I re read it on a yearly basis. Outside of fishing, I think ‘Sapiens’ by Yuval Noah Harari out of the ones I’ve read recently anyway, it brings together the ideas about human history in a biological, political and spiritual sense like nothing I’ve read or heard before.

What kind of music do you listen?

My music tastes are really diverse. I grew up on punk, hardcore and metal, and still listen to a lot of that, but I also love bass and beat driven music, as well as electronic soundscape stuff, trip hop, jazz and even folk and acoustic. Anything that is good that has some soul to it!

What are your thoughts about the youngsters, any advice for starters?

Just do it for the love, and stay grounded. It’s a crazy place now the carp angling world with social media, so keeping your motivations simple I think it the hardest, but maybe most important thing to retaining a long term love for carp fishing. Do it for the likes, or ego, or sponsors and it’s likely to be a quick burn out!

Last question: Can you leave a quote or anecdote for the crowd?

Just ignore all the hype, ignore what anyone else thinks, or what is supposedly cool, and what is the next ‘big’ thing in bait, or rigs or gear, and just keep it all simple. If you fish where you want, for the sort of carp you really want to, and you truly enjoy it, that is surely the only end game - enjoyment? It is a pursuit, and if you are fishing for yourself then there is no one to beat, and no targets to hit. Do it for the love, and fuck the likes and hype. 

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