IFD: Jon Shoes Jones has been carping since the early 1980’s. Jon has worked in the tackle and bait industry for a long time on many projects most famously he was the man given the task of setting up well known carp company Avid Carp. With many tackle innovations to his name Jon also loves nothing more than be out on the bank doing what he does best……. and thats catching carp!
What was your earliest fishing memory and how did you catch your very first carp?
One of my first memories of carp was whilst fishing the Trent and Mersey canal with my dad back in the early eighties. We always fished for gudgeon in the edge and on one particular day a very large dead fish floated by and neither of us knew what it was! but it was big and I wanted to catch one. From that day I’ve always wanted to catch carp. I use to walk for miles to get to the local ponds. These ponds only contained wild carp but they where fun to catch. So it wasn’t until I could drive I was allowed to use the company van and off I went. Haven’t stopped yet.
Where did you fish in your early carping career?
Once I had the ok to use the company van on a regular basis we started driving to Pool Hall fishery in Wolverhampton. This was a great place as it contained hundreds of small carp from 3lb to a massive 40lb common called Humpy. Of course this fish was on the hit list of all the dedicated carp anglers in the Midlands and it was a massive leaning curve to be surrounded by the best. Watching these guy’s fish and seeing what tackle they were using was an eye opener to a young lad like me. It wasn’t long before my wages went on one Optonic bite alarm as I didn’t have enough to buy two alarms and I couldn’t wait. So you can visualize the setup, one rod on an Optonic whilst the other along side it was not. This meant I could sleep with one eye open. The trick on this pool was to use hemp as close in as possible and sometimes only in a foot of water. I was amazing how fast the takes were when we did this. The Optonic couldn’t keep up. Happy days.
How did you get the name Shoes?
After fishing Pool Hall for a few years we wanted to join a syndicate. Not far from Pool Hall was the legendary Patshull park Church Lake. This was a mecca for big commons and was known by all in the UK. Our names went on the list and after a couple of years we got in. Now on this lake were some great anglers and a few of them named Jon. At the time I was driving a red Ford escort van and I had on my feet a pair of red basketball boots. (they will be back in fashion soon, if not already) so this is what happened. Have you seen Jon? which Jon? you now the one with the red van and red shoes? oh yes he’s fishing on the end board. That’s how it all started. Red shoes red van went down to red shoes then shoes.
You have made a huge contribution to the advancement of carp tackle, how did Avid Carp come about?
That’s a nice question.. Probably the biggest match company Preston Innovations wanted a Carp brand to increase its stance in the fishing sector. Already in the pleasure specialist and bait market with Korum and Sonu baits it was a logical step. Sarah Phoenix approached me and asked if I could start a Carp brand for Preston Innovations. I jumped at the chance. My feelings for this new brand was that it should have a large degree of innovation and development along side me two products such as swivels, clips, links etc. I think the hardest thing to develop was the brand name and logo. Many many days and sleepless nights went by until I finally came up with the name and the logo. I sure you would agree the name Avid is simple and very memorable along with its logo. I’m very proud of these as they will stay for long time.
Can you tell us about the session where you caught your Pb?
My UK PB was caught on Acton Lower Lake. The Lower Lake can be very difficult at times and blanks are the norm but for some reason I wanted to keep returning as it contained some very special carp. Especially a big common called Bill which at the right time of the year could go 50lb. So on one trip with my mate Jason Umney we joked about catching Bill and another big fish over 40lb so we could have a 100lb brace. We joked how amazing this would be. I didn’t know how close I was going to get.
Not going into all the details but my left hand rod slowly bent around but still without a indication from my alarm I picked up the rod to feel what I thought was one of the small stockie’s which had been introduced. Unfortunately the carp had snagged in some over hanging branches and went solid. At this point I jumped into my chest waders and entered the water to see if I could remove the snagged carp. After a couple of minutes and a bit of hand lining the fish came free and after a short fight with me still in the water a enormous common carp lay on the surface and was quickly netted by Jason. “Its got to be Bill I said” “it’s the only big common in the lake. It must be” It was, and at 47.12lb this was my biggest carp, my PB and a common at that.
Well pleased with this we joked about catching another to get close to 100lb brace. The following morning I had a screaming take from the middle rod and a slow moving carp was attached. After a short fight another monster was netted and this went 44.06lb. In total 92.02lb brace. A tad short of the 100lb barrier but I was over the moon. I don’t think I will do that again.
What has been your favourite water over the years?
I think looking back I have a few favourite waters. Yateley Car Park lake was a massive learning curve for me and the only lake you could predict the carps movements by your watch. The anglers fishing this lake at the time were the best in the country. The likes of Terry Hearn, Rob Maylin, Nigle Sharp and Wyne Dunn to name but a few. Horton Church Lake was a great place fish. The lake was full of awesome carp and surrounded by awesome anglers. But I can’t forget Patshull Church Pool were it all started and my carping life truly took off.
Do you go carping abroad and what do you think of it?
I didn’t agree at first about anglers going over to France to catch massive carp. I thought it was an easy way to get a PB. But as time went by I realized Carp fishing is a global quest and to think the UK is the only place to fish then you are short sighted. Carp fishing is a massive industry and Europe has a big roll in this. I love fishing aboard and will continue to do this as much as I can.
With running a busy tackle firm How often do you get to go fishing nowadays?
Once upon a time I fished 5 nights a week. 3 nights during the working week and then the whole weekend. This is when I wasn’t in the fishing industry. However once a hobby becomes a job your hobby takes a back seat and you start to do less. I try to get out as much as I can and with the increase on social media and videos clips this enables me to get out fishing more often. But it’s been a very long time since I fished for myself and not for work. I can’t see that changing for a long time.
If you could relive any session what would it be? 10. What are your fishing hopes for the future?
Strangely I would go back to my Patshull days we had such a great time on there. They have to be my most enjoyable fishing years. I remember one cold December weekend when I turned up and both car parks were empty and the lake was free. With clear skies above and a massive bright full moon I settled on the road point swim and set up my brolly for the weekend. There wasn’t a breath of wind and the lake was flat calm you could see across to the other side by the brightness of the moon. If anything moved I would see it or hear it. I was sitting watching the dark water when I heard footsteps coming along the short leaf filled path which lead to the swim. ‘Oi Oi’ I said and looked around the brolly to be greeted by nothing. Know body was there. But I heard the footsteps, it must be someone. I walked up and down the path and down to the car park but know body was here. The Moon lit up the whole lake but I was still on my own. Still to this day I think about what or who walked in to the swim. I returned to my swim convincing myself it was nothing and as you can imagine I couldn’t sleep. At around 2:30am I had a drop back on one of the rods and a slow strong fighting carp was on the other end. As it was a full moon I thought it’s going to be one of the big commons. But to my surprise it was the sort after biggest carp in the lake a mirror called Billy. I was over the moon with this as it was my first 30lb fish.
What are your fishing hopes for the future?
As for the future? I will continue in the fishing industry as a consultant or sponsored angler or I might even do something myself. My fishing will continue and I hope to enjoy the next stage in my career
All the very best.