‘Brave New World’
Well, here we are, finally… 18 months down the line from conception, thousands of emails and phone calls later, after endless hours of discussions and months of careful development, proofing and design, we proudly present you with Issue 1 of Subsurface.
Subsurface is in many ways just an idea, nothing more, nothing less. It isn’t here to aim to please everyone and play the diplomat, or to try to be accessible to all, and it isn’t here to be a purveyor of cool and spurt clichés about ‘keeping it real’. It isn’t here to get you to go and buy more products that you more than likely don’t need, and it certainly isn’t here to answer all your questions either. If anything, Subsurface is here to try to get people thinking for themselves again, and to pose just as many questions as it answers, if not more. Not by discussing pva bag mixes, or bobbin mechanics, or bait soaks … but by documenting quite simply, and unashamedly, things that we really believe in. It’s a philosophy changer, and unapologetically aligned with different aims; quieter, more reflective, and tuned into something deeper, but something we believe is a whole lot stronger.
There are some familiar faces, and some you will not recognise, so the material for Issue 1 is as diverse as a beautifully penned Thames story about the build up to the ‘16th’ by Terry Hearn, through to a piece about avoiding the authorities by underground angler and prolific world renowned street artist, Hadley Ever. Worlds apart. Issue 1 hopes to provide little of what you might expect, and much of what you don’t… There are a few threads and links that evolved and developed throughout the production of this debutant issue, and far from being a script we ran with and followed to conclusion, rather we let it ‘build itself’ in many ways.
The major interviews with Terry Dempsey, Terry Pethybridge and Geoff Bowers are all intrinsically linked, through the early fishmeal days and Darenth and Yateley scenes, but each discusses the times with much different perspectives and viewpoints, Terry Dempsey’s being an unapologetically ‘magical’ experience, and we dig much deeper than anyone else has into the psyche of one of the most captivating and interesting anglers out there. Pethybridge’s story is a working mans reality of laying bricks 5 days a week and rolling 360 eggs worth of fishmeal in his kitchen and Geoff’s story is one we should all know, as in many ways it is the story we are all now part of; the history of the modern day fishmeal. Gritty old slide photos, wooly jumpers and characterful mirrors abound…
Another thread that winds its way through Issue 1 is that of strains, and stocking, an area usually shunned by the media as it focuses on 6-12 inch long carp, not thirty and forty pounders, but the colossal importance to the UK scene, and consequently to the whole development of carp fishing worldwide has in so many ways been influenced by certain strains and heritage of carp, ones that we are in serious danger of losing touch with as commercial concerns continue to take priority in so many instances. Ross Jelfs talks to us about why he is hanging on to our roots by breeding Leneys, and Simon Bartlam explains how he walks a tightrope at Dinton Pastures between providing a sustainable council run facility and offering a pair of big carp waters that have had a substantial impact on the southern big fish scene and produced some of the prettiest carp in the country.
We don’t see any boundaries in the carp scene, and so Issue 1 also features some of the cream of the European underground. Bart Spruijt takes us on a journey back into his ‘silent sanctuary’ full of prehistoric creatures and wardens with shotguns, Geert Ooms talks us through a romanticised, but melancholic look back at twenty years of fishing through the wild landscapes of France, and how the rise of publicity has changed the face of that wilderness. But the cornerstone of the overseas material is undoubtedly Belgian ‘godfather’ of carp fishing, Luc De Baets interviewing the most prolific captor of big carp, and relentless bounty hunter, Kurt Van Cawenburgh. Gio Vanhooren discusses a fresh perspective on the media and documenting carp fishing through his new Belgian publication, and Gilles Lambert takes an uncompromising look at yet more ways that the scene is being pushed into different directions through design and film.
We also have interviews with Ben Hamilton and Steve Fantuzzi, looking at how they balance their work with angling for some of the biggest fish in the country on a ‘worknight’ basis, Simon Hartop and John Gard discuss the history of the UK’s arterial river, the mighty Thames. Sharply astute and tactical Scott Karabowicz relays the subtleties and frustrations in compelling drama of a season on his circuit water, and so the list continues on, Steve Neville, Sean Leverett, John Carver, Dave Ellyatt, Mark Casper. We wouldn’t want to reveal too much, then there’d be no surprises…
It is a brave new world, this is just the beginning.