Matt Townend, editor-at-large of Total Carp, on the reasons behind fishing’s success on the internet and why he often spends 48 hours drinking tea.
What is Total Carp?
The UK’s biggest-selling carp fishing magazine with around 10,000 newsstand sales per issue and around 2,000 subscriptions. It was founded in 1999 by David Hall Publishing and we’re based in Daventry – cheaper than London and central.
Have you always been interested in fishing?
Since I was 10. I studied marine biology and when I graduated in 2015 I became editor of Advanced Carp Fishing. I moved to Total Carp in 2018.
What do you need to work for a fishing magazine?
Writing skills, camera skills and an interest in fishing. The combination of these things seems to be rare in anglers.
What does editor-at-large involve?
I’m responsible for the editorial content. Much of it is also created by me, which is what sets me apart from other editors. I’m out in the field, shooting and writing features, as well as organising what goes into each issue.
Hence the ‘at-large’?
That’s because I’m a freelance agent. It works the same as a normal editorship, but they call it something different. There’s me, a sub-editor, a designer and an operations director.
What is it like being out in the field constantly?
It’s a combination of very high and very low intensity work. I might write more than I did for my Master’s dissertation in one day, then spend the next two drinking tea and waiting. I’m only in the office five days a month. One day I might be in Kent, the next I might be in Manchester.
What are the advantages?
Because we make most of our content ourselves, we can make sure it’s up to our standards. Being out there means we have more of a connection to our audience.
How did Total Carp survive the rise of social media?
We had a massive digital overhaul in the past year. Previously, the magazines at David Hall were run as if print was the only thing that mattered, but that just isn’t sustainable.
What platforms do you use?
The new website, which we can push our content through, as well as Instagram and Facebook pages. We’ve also just created a YouTube channel, which is steadily growing and bringing in advertising revenue. Instagram has been especially successful for us and we have 56,000 followers.
Why does fishing do well on Instagram?
You spend a lot of time waiting. You’d spend 48 hours fishing, and only catch one or two. You’ve got a lot of time on your hands to take pictures and flick through your phone.
What is the future for Total Carp?
I’m hoping we can become the go-to website in carp fishing. There isn’t anything like that right now. The magazine industry is shrinking, so keeping print circulation at a stable level would be a success.