All posts in “Monkey Climber”

5 questions to Forge Tackle’s Enrico Parmeggiani

Forge Tackle, one of our loyal print advertisers, is a fairly new brand to the European carp trade, based of years and years of experience in the field. Based in Bled, they do direct sales only which means better prices (no reps, no middlemen, no shops that need to make profit) and ship out to all over Europe, lots into Belgium and Holland too. We asked their main man Enrico Parmeggiani a couple of questions, here we go.

Keen Monkey Climber magazine readers have seen big Forge Tackle adverts in our latest issues, can you present your fairly new brand to our readership and online followers please? 

“Oh well, let’s say that the main idea behind Forge Tackle for me has been to create a company, or a brand if you wish, that could suit my ideas, my ethos, my personal interpretation of carp fishing and my private life, without being forced to the daily rat race of numbers and turnover. I’ve been working full time on product development since 2010 for one of the biggest companies on this business, and to be honest I absolutely love this job, but after the birth of my daughter back in 2017 it wasn’t possible for me anymore to keep up with the tasks and all the travelling involved in my job. So I resigned from my position of product manager in December 2017 and during the following 6 months I’ve been basically working to finalise all the open projects I had and to give a bit of training to the person who was going to take my position over. June 2018 I was ‘free’ (actually jobless is more appropriate) and thinking of what to do… As soon the news about me leaving the company became official I had been contacted by a few other companies in the trade but none of the proposals I received was appealing to me, mostly because I knew I would be ending up exactly in the same situation as before. That is why at the end of August 2018 I decided to create something by myself, and now here it is: Forge Tackle!”

As you just said, you have a long history in the tackle trade yourself so we can imagine Forge Tackle must have some clever items in its range. Can you tell us a bit more and talk us through some highlights in the range please?

“Yes, 2021 will be my 17th year of working full time in the carp fishing business. Started as a sales man, I’ve seen basically all the in and out aspects of this trade, it has been a really nice and funny ride I must say and I’ve been lucky enough to meet hundreds of super cool people from every corner of this planet along the way, some of which became really good friends. In general a great life and professional experience!

This year we also introduced our first two range of rods and it has been a blast to be honest, especially the Bullet as the price tag is incredible for that quality and components used. In the first two months we shipped out approx. 600 rods, and we have received tons of super positive feedback from our customers which is really rewarding!

The biggest highlight from the range at the moment is the Mini Pod X, a super simple product that has been understood and accepted really well, right now as we speak we have shipped out nearly 3500 Mini Pod in just 18 months of business. Nothing relevant for a multi million company for sure but for a small business like us it’s pretty damn good !

If you bare with me i would like to tell a bit about the story behind that specific product… A couple of years ago i made one Mini Pod just for my own use here in Bled, as in many swims where I like to fish banksticks are not really a good solution. I wanted something super light, compact and stable that I can just place everywhere and be ready in a second. One day our mutual friend Felix van der Marel was fishing with me here in Bled and as soon as he saw it he was like ‘Man, what the hell is that? I WANT ONE !’. I didn’t pay too much attention to that (editorial note: neither do we when Felix gets excited, lol), but then overtime Felix was pushing me more and more to have one and we started to discuss that little pod seriously, so I actually realised that if done correctly and sold at the right price it could have been a winner. I mean, if you look at this product it is not rocket science really, it is super simple, made with just a few things in mind: easy and quick to set up, weightless and ultra compact, reliable, cheap. Why cheap? Because in my mind this rod pod is a second set-up for most of the people, something to be used for quick sessions on small lakes or canals, urban fishing and stuff like that. So everyone should be able to get one without being worried of draining the wallet. 

Other than that the Specimen Retention sling with foldable design has been a great success, first production was of 250 pcs and they got sold out in a month, so I can see that people like the idea of having a large retainer sling that pack away in half the size, it will soon be in stock again in two sizes.

Then there’s the Hydra EVA Bags. The four top of the range models are selling REALLY well, and I’m very pleased with that because we have been the first company in the carp angling to propose EVA bags with ultra thick walls and the modular concept of internal trays and pouches, right now I’m working on three new models so stay tuned. Please note I’m talking about the four top of the range bags, to the Classic range which is a very basic waterproof bag already in the market since a few years…

Last but not least, not at all, is our 100% plastic free (!) packaging for hooks and terminal tackle. I personally hate plastic, and i think our industry is using way too much of it, surely it helps to get the products well displayed in shops, but as i don’t really have this need i decided to go plastic free for as many product as i can, and for the others to reduce as much as I can the materials used for packaging.” 

What surprises us more, is that your range even consists of some proper handwork done by yourself (i.e. the rigs in their plastic free packages). Why do you choose to do this with so little time on your hands? What makes these rigs so special?

“I just love making that stuff!! It’s a bit like playing crossword to me, I know I’m a bit of a weirdo on this matter as NO ONE of the people I know loves tying rigs but I do… The Fluorocarbon Ronnie-D was something I used to do for my own fishing for quite some time, I love it because when fishing with a single pop up presentation this solution gives me much more confidence, compared to the traditional Ronnie (or Spinner Rig), the bait has way more freedom of movement and it has a bit more distance from the hook. Yes, I’m mega busy and to produce the Fluorocarbon Ronnie-D takes quite some time, but it’s just a matter of being well organised. Normally one evening every week is enough for me to keep up with the orders, but also when I’m fishing you will not see me fooling around with the mobile phone on social media and stuff, most likely I’m tying up rigs! Right now I’m working on a new model as well that should be ready very soon.

At the moment I’m working as well with some local companies here in Slovenia for the development of hardware products, if everything goes according to plan I will have some more ‘made in Bled’ stuff ready for next season.”

Brings us to Forge Tackle being based in the iconic Bled, Slovenia. You yourself are Italian, you ship out all over Europe. What is the main aim of Forge Tackle and how can people from the Benelux order?

“Yes correct, I left Italy back in 2010 and since then I’ve been living in four different countries, ending up here in Bled, Slovenia. This is a truly beautiful country and since we moved here we decided to stay here and not to move anymore. So it felt logical to set up Forge Tackle here. 

Yes I’m Italian, but over the last decade I spent most of my time abroad and now I have friends and different kind of connections in every European country so it would have been limiting and non sense for me to start a new brand as a ‘local’ brand only. Today’s world is extremely well interconnected and shipping product across Europe is not that expensive anymore. We have a shipping cost flat rate of just 8 Euro for 90% of the countries in Europe and free delivery for orders above 150 Eur. This, together with the really competitive price and our direct sales system (no middlemen, no reps, no shops) makes shopping in our webstore pretty convenient and interesting from everywhere around Europe, and of course in the Benelux too. 

Actually the Benelux has been a really nice surprise for me, even if i didn’t pushed very hard on the promotion of the brand over there I’m shipping products on a daily basis to Belgium and the Netherlands.”

For those of you who haven’t ordered from Enrico at Forge yet, please do. What can we expect in the future from Forge Tackle?

“Who knows! I have a list of ideas that could easily circle up Bled lake if I write it down, but as you can imagine it takes time (and money) to develop your own stuff, especially if you are a new and small company like Forge Tackle, but what I can say is that I will have some new addition on my landing net range, slings and a pretty extensive assortment of terminal tackle soon, including three totally new models of hooks I’ve been developing with Maruto in Japan. On the hardware side I’m working on a couple of rod pods that I’m trying to produce here in Slovenia and a bivvy with a totally new design, but for these products I will take all the time I need to make sure they are done properly. 

Regarding the brand my dream is to grow it slowly but steadily and to be able to involve other passionate carp anglers in the process, to create some kind of open workshop with anglers from different countries to share experiences and ideas, which is exactly what I’m doing today with the guys in the team, just on a bigger scale!!”

Watch this space as we’ll have some mega Forge Tackle news in the coming months! In the meantime, go visit www.forgetackledirect.com 

Carplevel new distro MC Merch

Longtime magazine advertisers Carplevel from Heusden Zolder (BE) now stock a number of our ever growing range of Merch items. They’ve now got Front Cover, Kindred and Streetwise shirts in, plus a selection of our popular headwear items. Stieven, one of the owners of the Limburg based tackle shop, was really chuffed when the stuff arrived. “Need to order for myself too, haha. I am soon Monkey Climber will be popular in our shop as well & we’ll be stocking more and more items very soon!”

Carplevel recently added Speero to their range too, the UK brand we are having a stunning collab with now..

www.carplevel.be

Seven new pin badges in!

At Monkey Climber we just love pin badges! Did a few in the past that are sold out already and you’ll still find three formerly released other styles on our Bigcartel too, but here’s 7 new ones that arrived after a long Brexit wait.

Very limited number made, produced in the UK. Pin ’em on your carpy jacket, wooly jumper, flat cap or bucket hat. Calling all you carpy hipsters out there 🙂

Buy now or cry later!

MC#18 dropping next week!

It’s been a long fucking while, boys & girls! Here’s our second issue of 2020… Erm, wait, 2020? Yep! Due to Covid and everything that came with it we’ve not been able to issue last year’s Summer issue. But here it is, finally!

Killer issue packed with a mega piece by @munemushi_carp_japan about urban carping in Osaka, Japan. Followed by this great grand lac experience by the popular @cheix_n, an old school interview with the crazy Ill Phil Dupont about his upcoming book Chasing Rainbows, a thrilling about saving the last three carp in German gravel pit by @tobiassteinbrueck_specimen ultra low stock style & last but least a huge piece about German carp angling history and the Zeitreise book by our friends in @carpy.online

On the cover @yvess_deuvaert with a sick fish from the MC Syndicate @westkerkepit

Dutch/Flemish written. 100 pages. Single issue 8,95 euros, subscription 15,99 euros Benelux – 24,99 EU/UK

Over 4.000 GBP raised for Mikey’s Wish – Verbal Dyspraxia Awareness

Avid Monkey Climber followers will have noticed all the charity stuff we did recently for Mikey’s Wish, together with the Rod Hutchinson family and Forgotten Flavours! In total we raised over 4k, which is just mindblowing! Thank you all and also thanks to @roncus bobbins for helping us out on a special project!Because we’re a magazine with a big heart we will be involved in three more charities this year, that’s A bite out of cancer, Lucy’s Bowl – Raising funds for Guide Dogs & Jack’s Journey. X

Always #monkeyclimber Leon Manke says

Always #monkeyclimber Leon Manke says

Another update we got during lockdown is from young Leon Manke with a couple of nice and wild fish. There's a lot of bad stuff being said about the young generation in the last week, and here's the proof you can't judge a whole generation on the actions of some individuals! #thekidsarealright

Always Be Kind – Mark Hoedemakers

always be kind - mark hoedemakers

*** GENIET VAN DE NATUUR, CONSUMEER HAAR NIET ***

- een opinie, zomaar geschreven op 'throwback thursday' -


De eikels vallen vroeg uit de bomen dit jaar. Het is pas half juni. Foute berichtgeving natuurlijk, want berust op een synoniem voor de vrucht der natuur die pas in het najaar loslaat. Geef ik ruiterlijk toe, waarvoor mijn excuses. Je kan je nooit snel genoeg excuseren…

Twee dagen geleden kwamen er vier domme filmpjes voorbij. Drie jonge kerels, verblind door hoogmoed en zichzelf voedend met ‘laajks’, werden ontmaskerd toen er enkele filmpjes als fecaliën kwamen bovendrijven in de donkere sloot prut die de sociale media wel eens is. Een moderne misstap werd ouwerwets ontmaskerd, want we hadden het gezien, hadden ze al snel in de smiezen! De veroordeling was dan weer wel modern. Digitale schandpaal. Met een impact van heb ik jou daar! Gisteren kwam er weer eentje boven water. Nummer vijf. Ook een jongeman, aan wat de vooravond had moeten zijn van een roemrijke levenswandel in het karpercircus.

Carrière naar de haaien. Sponsorcontractje naar de filistijnen (waar is trouwens de tijd dat een sponsorcontract een bloedserieuze zaak was?)

Das war einmal, der Influencer.

Als het cijfer volgers belangrijker is dan het IQ en EQ, moet je je trachten goed te omringen. Wellicht ging het daar fout… Hoe hoger het podium, hoe dieper de val als je in de valkuilen trapt. Mijn generatie groeide op met het fenomeen ‘Big Brother’, eind jaren ’90. Toen had je de keuze, als je door de selectie geraakte (doordenkertje), om je doen en laten 7 tot 100 dagen te laten filmen. En om daarna weer hopelijk snel in de anonimiteit te sukkelen, iets dat in het geval van sommigen jammer genoeg mislukte.

Anno 2020 is het anders, staan we verder. We groeien op met Samsungs, Huaweis en Apples. Sommige jonge vissers gaan klaarblijkelijk denken, met bekend worden als doel op zich, dat ze al hun exploten van de ochtend tot de avond en de nacht moeten filmen. Filmen en delen. Delen en filmen. ‘Influencen’. Beïnvloeden. Geen misdaad, wel een teken des tijds.

De nieuwe generatie is wellicht niet meteen slimmer of dommer dan de bende waar we nu zelf nog deel van uitmaken. Wel zijn ze met hun nieuwe normaal dat ‘influencen’ heet, meer zichtbaar in al hun idiotie. Want filmen is niet alleen hip, het is natuurlijk ook al wat nog rest als je amper kan lezen en schrijven (grapje!). Je stoort daar natuurlijk de hele meute niet mee; weet dat er nog steeds meer niet-volgers dan volgers zijn, en ook ‘ontvolgen’ is een basisrecht in digitaal Europa. Weet wel dat de kans groot is dat als je met het etaleren van domheid, of laat het ons jeugdige overmoed noemen, in een valkuil trapt, je ook door de mand valt. Dan werkt dat delen minder productief voor de steile opmars naar het met wrakhout bij elkaar getimmerde podium. Dan sta je voor paal en ga je viraal. Dan pas doe je met verpletterend grote impact wat je zo graag doet: beïnvloeden…

De verwensingen? Meer dan verdiend.

De bedreigingen? Er los over en een brug te ver.

Het feit dat je meer dan alleen vissers bereikt? Destructief!

De drie karpers die respectloos worden terug gegooid in het water overleven dit heus. Laat ons niet hypocriet zijn. De eend, ongewild hoofdrolspeler van een dwaze grap, zwemt in goede gezondheid maar met een meer dan logische aversie voor mensen verder, en de brasem, ook die is al lang vergeten wat ‘m overkwam. Neemt niet weg dat het een wetmatigheid is, zowel geschreven als ongeschreven: zo ga je niet met levende wezens om! Die behandel je altijd en overal met respect. Dat hoort bij het mens zijn.

De wetenschap dat dit hele, trieste gebeuren, koren op de molen is van de anti-hengelsportlobby, is een vaststelling die woede opwekt. Veel van wat deze mensen en organisaties aanhalen, is niet-wetenschappelijke subjectiviteit. Buikgevoel. Vandaag hebben ze vijf extra kogels voor hun bazooka. Gratis en voor niks, cadeautje van de hengelsport zelf. Hopelijk komt het zover niet, maar laat ons niet naïef zijn: de boodschap wordt wellicht ergens door iemand opgepikt, als ze al niet op Dumpert komt. En dan zijn de rapen gaar. Je wordt bekeken als groep, je verwerft rechten als groep, je incasseert als groep. En deze komt aan. Laat ons niet hopen dat het opnieuw tot een inperking van verworven rechten komt. Ik lees – toevallig ook vandaag – dat in Rotterdam zoiets al in de lucht hangt en spoedig bewaarheid wordt.

Een vereniging kan niet één-twee-drie recht trekken wat vijf domme, viraal gegane filmpjes hebben teweeg gebracht. Al die gemotiveerde, beleefde en geduldige bestuursleden die hun nek uitsteken voor de hengelsport, wegen niet op tegen de destructieve beeldvorming die de hengelsport zichzelf soms aandoet in de cultuur van het nieuwe communiceren. Alle mooie beelden, gevleugelde teksten en de goede bedoelingen van duizenden hengelsporters ten spijt: we bloeden straks allemaal even hard. Al zullen die rotte ‘Apples’ na het leegbloeden van de hobby wel andere oorden opzoeken. Tijdelijk voor wat ongemak gezorgd, even slikken, en weer doorgaan. Op naar de volgende ‘passie’…

Tot hier mijn oprispingen. Wat nog volgt is een oproep. Laat als hengelaar zien dat 99,9% van de bende wél geschikt is. Wél natuur liefheeft in plaats van ze enkel en alleen te consumeren. Stop met het delen van die filmpjes, die niets te maken hebben met hetgeen onze hobby inhoudt. Ga uit van je eigen verantwoordelijkheid, en die van je collega. Toon hoe het moet. Hoe het hoort.

Eentje van Monkey Climber, waar ik me 100% achter schaar: be kind to carp, or...