Page 1

The Traveller Mark Pitchers


The Venue

continued to pile on the pounds and went on

Graviers comprises two lakes, the Long Lake

to break the world record weight on numerous

and the Main Lake, and while both offer superb

occasions. As if that one wasn’t enough, there’s

fishing, it is the Main Lake that has helped gain

also a carp known as the Brown Fish, which

the fishery its illustrious and legendary status it

recently topped the scales at over 86lb!

has today, and with very good reason. Residing

The Main Lake began life back in 1979,

in the 25-acre lake is a carp of mammoth

when the local community decided to

proportions, which until very recently held the

exploit the gravel deposits found in the

world record at a staggering weight of 99lb!

area for use in the construction of the

This fish has had many names over the years,

autoroute. The lake was, in fact, formed

but to most it is known as the Scarred Mirror.

in three separate stages, over a period of

The fish gets its name from a scar that runs

around 11 years in total, with completion

around its entire body; this came as a result of

being around 1990, when the lake finally

a nylon rope which was presumably tied around

acquired the distinctive shape it has today.

the fish at an earlier stage of its life. The first

It was in the late-1980s when the lake

known capture of the fish was in 1998, when

became increasingly popular with the people

an angler caught the mirror with the rope still

of Dijon for recreational activities such as

attached. The resulting injury was terrible,

swimming and sunbathing, and it was around

with a deep 3ins gash around most of its body

this time that a restaurant was built on the

where the rope had buried under the skin. The

banks of the lake. In 2001 the lake was bought

angler was able to cut the rope and remove it

by Luke Moffatt, who developed the lake into the

as carefully as possible, and then he treated the

wonderful fishery we see today, and renovated

wound before the fish was returned, although

the restaurant building to create his home.

it must be said that its fate was somewhat

Graviers is certainly not a typical French

uncertain. On this occasion its weight was

commercial venue. Angling pressure is kept

estimated to be around 40lb, but the following

to an absolute minimum, and as a result the

season the same angler caught the Scarred

lake has an exclusive syndicate feel to it. The

Mirror at a weight of 49lb. The fish surprised

fishing is far from easy. The stock is relatively

everyone – not only was it alive but it was in

low, with around 200+ fish present, and any

good health; its wounds were healing, and it was

Graviers carp is considered as something

packing on weight. From this point on the fish

a bit special, regardless of its size.


the Long Lake. No single anglers on the Long

Showers and toilets are open 24 hours.

Lake. Long lake anglers are not permitted to

Drinking water is also available. There are

fish the Main Lake. Groups who decide not

fridges and freezers, plus charging points

to bring two anglers for the Long Lake are

for batteries and phones, etc. Rowing

able to fish the Long Lake during the week.

TOP The reels were spooled up with 20lb Warrior XT for the task ahead. ABOVE My end tackle was stepped up for the fish in Graviers. I needed to know it would be able to cope with a possible 90lb carp. RIGHT I dropped a rig in a hole

in the weed on the edge of the treeline where the fish showed.

boats and life jackets are supplied free of charge, providing they are returned clean

A week runs from Saturday 1.00 p.m. and

and undamaged. Electric outboard motors

ends the following Saturday at 11.00 a.m.

are essential at the lake, and although they

Having met up with the two other lads in our

are not provided at present, the fishery

The next available season is 2014, with

party, our plan was to sample the local cuisine and a

hopes to hire them out in the future.

bookings being taken from October 1st 2013.

few beers to toast the week ahead. We would then


To reserve a week you must send an email

• No sacking

via the website to go on the waiting list.

• No braided main lines; no leaders

Invitations to book will be sent out

so the following day we timed our arrival to perfection and

• No long curved shank hooks; hooks must

by email from 1st October.

pulled into the car park at 1.01. We were greeted by fishery

spend the night in the hotel so that we would arrive

have a straight shank and must be barbed • Minimum 0.35mm main line (including hooklengths)

refreshed at the lake the following afternoon. Anglers aren’t permitted at the fishery until 1.00 p.m.,

owner Luke and given a guided tour of the lake, and it was An initial deposit within 10 days of

at this point that the realisation kicked in that I was actually

the reservation confirms your place. A

walking the banks of a lake that contained a 90-pounder!

• Maximum of four rods per angler

confirmation letter will then be sent

The first task was to choose our swims, which in this

• Leads must be able to discharge easily

and a second payment will be due 12

instance was done by a coin toss. I was immediately drawn

• Only the fishery boats to be used;

weeks before the holiday date. The

to the Point swims at the opposite end of the lake; this

final balance is to be paid on arrival.

area featured a number of weedbeds, which were clearly

bait boats are permitted • Fish must remain in the water at all

visible just below the surface, and with a strengthening

times, and anglers must follow the

Directions and Contact Info

southwesterly breeze pushing down the lake, I was sure

carp-care/handling procedure

Luke Moffatt

there would be carp in the vicinity. Thankfully the coin

Le Paquier des Graviers,

fell in my favour, and I was in no doubt of my choice of

Route de Beire le Chatel,

swim. The Point actually comprises three pegs, and with


Tim very kindly allowing me first dibs, I plumped for the


left-hand side, while Tim claimed the other two pegs.

• Anglers must fish in pairs, and must have a boat in their swim

Tickets and Booking System


Full lake bookings only; a week at Graviers is

VERDILAAN 14, 5583X We parked the van behind the swim and unloaded the

mountain of kit and set up our base camp before getting the

based on groups of up to five anglers on the

Tel: 0033 380 233539

rods sorted. Due to the weedy nature of the swim and the

Main Lake, and an optional two anglers on


size of fish present, I was taking no risks, and all the tackle components comprised super-strong reliable kit in which I


Crafty Carper

013-016_Traveller_CC184.indd 2

12/11/2012 16:15

The Traveller Mark Pitchers

The Traveller: Carp Care Procedure



The carp care rules are strict at Graviers, so make sure you abide by them.

1 One angler must remain in the water with the fish at all times, while the other angler prepares the weighing and photographic equipment.

2 Dip the fish’s head below the water by pushing down on its flank (not gill plate) to give the fish some recovery time.


3 Spray the hookhold and any other marks or wounds with the antiseptic spray provided.

5 After taking a few snaps of the fish over the mat, it can be removed if the angler is confident the fish will behave.

4 The unhooking mat is then floated on the water, and the fish is ready to be photographed.

6 And back she goes. It was the last fish of my session, at 33lb 2oz.

had total confidence. The reel line was

feeding areas. Until now there had

was weed-free and that the rig would

sparking up the stove for yet another

Warrior XT in 20lb, and I opted for a

been very few signs of carpy activity,

be presented nicely. A few handfuls

cuppa when the rod positioned in the

5oz in-line pear lead fished drop-off

but as dusk approached a couple of fish

of 14mm and 18mm Mainline MK1

bay let out a few bleeps, signalling

style. The hooklink was constructed

gave away their whereabouts as they

boilies were deposited right over the

a take. I was on it in a flash, and as

from 25lb Gravitron Pro Braid, which

crashed out along the treeline to the

top of the spot, and then I made my

I wound down and struck, the rod

although is technically a reel line braid,

left of the swim. Having made a mental

way back to shore to grab another rod

immediately took on a healthy curve.

is perfect for heavy-duty situations like

note of their location, I jumped in the

and repeat the process. By the time the

No sooner had the fight begun when

boat with a baited

second rod was in position, darkness

everything ground to an abrupt halt

rod and a bucket

had totally descended, but no sooner

as the fish weeded me up solid. Tim

of bait and set sail

had I got out of the boat than I heard

was quickly on hand to prepare the

to investigate the

the distinctive noise of a carp lump

boat for launch while I kept steady

area in more detail.

out at close range in the small bay

pressure on the hooked fish, and in

Once afloat I was

just to the left of the swim. Thinking

no time I was manoeuvring the craft

clearly able to make

I’d best get a bait there pronto, I was

into position where the line entered a

out the weedbeds,

quickly afloat once more, and under

dense weedbed. After applying a bit of

and I noticed two

the illumination of my headtorch I was

pressure I felt the line ping free, and

distinct clear areas

able to locate a clear area amongst

the fish immediately floated up to the

amongst the weed,

the weed, and the third trap was set.

surface, ready to be netted. Although

these. My hook choice was the Fox Arma Point LS hooks in Size 4, which were perfectly suited to the 18mm Mainline MK1 bottom bait that was topped off with a 10mm Clockwork Orange pop-up to create a slow-sinking Snowman hookbait.

“Although I certainly wasn’t angling at maximum efficiency, and if I’m honest I was more hopeful than confident, the excitement and anticipation was still almost unbearable”

By now it was late afternoon, and I was all too aware that

which I guessed were the spots where I had noticed

it was going to be a struggle to get all the fish show just a few moments ANDY STEER four rods in place beforeILLUSTRATIONS nightfall. The earlier. I lowered a rig over the back of N 14, 5583XT WAALRE, THE NETHERLANDS. T +31(0)40 2220908 E Andy.Steer@iae .nl area of water in front of me covered the boat and felt the lead land down around 4 acres, and with less than with a satisfying thud; I repeated this

Although I certainly wasn’t

the fish appeared to be cooperating

angling at maximum efficiency, and

nicely, as soon as I placed the net in the

if I’m honest I was more hopeful

water it went absolutely mental, and it

than confident, the excitement

took an agonising 15 minutes or so to

and anticipation was still almost

get back into a netting position. Luckily

unbearable. Usually I have no problem

it went without a hitch the second

an hour of daylight remaining, there

process a few more times to build up a

getting to sleep when I’m on the bank,

time. I cut the hooklink and broke down

certainly wasn’t time to map out the

better understanding of the lakebed,

but in this instance I just couldn’t

the landing net, and then

entire swim to determine any potential

and was more than convinced the area

switch off. At about 2.30 a.m. I was

steered the boat back to

Crafty Carper 013-016_Traveller_CC184.indd 3

15 12/11/2012 16:16


Martin Bowler ........................... Age 41 ........................... Hometown

Chippenham, Wiltshire ........................... Occupation

Professional angler/journalist ........................... UK PB

45lb 4oz ...........................


Favourite venue

Anywhere quiet and picturesque ........................... Rods

E-S-P Terry Hearn 3¼lb ........................... Reels

Daiwa Windcast Z ........................... Alarms

Fox Micron


With the release of his DVD, Seeking Shadows, being imminent, it’s only right that we once again invite Martin Bowler to the pages of Crafty Carper. Prepare to go down the rabbit hole and into an angling wonderland of how the DVD was made and what lengths the team involved had to go to.

Crafty Carper

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Seeking Shadows Martin Bowler


eep in the Dorset countryside

vast shoals of fish are testimony to

saw a friendship build with the lake

sits the sleepy village of Milton

aquatic bliss. Roach quite literally heave

owner Wayne Little, when four of us

Abbas. Its picture postcard

the fluid mass they inhabit and behave

embarked on a series of adventures at

looks are a magnet for any tourist

more like giant shoals of mackerel, with

Chew Valley Reservoir. The invitation

visiting the county, which is little

flashes of silver everywhere. Given the

to join the syndicate still took time

wonder given its quintessentially

clarity, the perch’s stripes are defined

to arrive, such was, and still is, the

English array of homes, all exhibiting

by the deep ruby red of the tails and

demand for places, and unsurprisingly it

white stonewash walls and thatched

fins, and the pike exhibit camouflage

was hardly an invitation I was going to

roofs alongside the obligatory English

any army would be proud of; they are

refuse. Being a jack of all trades when

pub. It is without question a glorious

numerous and gargantuan, making a

it comes to angling, it wasn’t the carp

scene, but if they cared to look a little

mockery of the text books, which state

but the cornucopia of other specimens

further than the bottom of the road

that such a diminutive 8 acres should

that grabbed my attention initially,

where the valley’s incline sharpens,

never be able to support such a colony.

especially as I had my hands full with

there splayed out before them would

It is indeed an angler’s paradise, and

trying to complete my latest film A Fish

be a sight that would leave the village

that’s without

as nothing more than an ugly sister.

mentioning the

For All Seasons.

“It is indeed an angler’s paradise, and that’s without mentioning the crucians, tench, bream and eels!”

This project was

Here, the percolated gin-clear water

crucians, tench,

finally bursts back through the earth’s

bream and eels!

crust after its journey through the

Enough, I’m sure

aquifers to create two splendid lakes,

you will agree,

and while the surrounding countryside

to keep anyone

is some of the region’s finest, it’s the

happy, but Milton

world beneath this liquid surface that

is the gift that

really can be classed as wondrous.

keeps giving,

Starwart, which is normally reserved for

and in this Capability Brown-inspired

do my day job of being a professional

chalk streams, grows in abundance, and

habitat it’s fitting that carp have also

angler, supplying at times over 100

every strand of weed literally crawls

found a place to live. Little wonder

articles a year, and I had also just

with life. The swan mussel beds are

then that I have been more than happy

completed two books in the same time

evidence of the water’s purity, and the

to call this my second home over the

frame, so physically and creatively

last 2 years, seeking the shadows

I was exhausted. Wayne, however,

within this theatre of dreams.

showed an interest in my work, and

Milton Abbas had been on my radar for a while; my friends and specimen hunting legends Terry Lampard and Tim Norman regaled me with stories of the monster pike they were tempting, and it was also the same species which

another 2-year commitment after the 4 years I had given to Catching The Impossible, and the workload was taking its toll. I still needed to

it was soon obvious that he also enjoyed capturing the aquatic world on film. Indeed, he had been generous while Hugh Miles filmed Catching The Impossible, with Milton supplying many of the underwater scenes, and the unforgettable moment when Bernard Cribbins caught his personal

TOP Deep in the Dorset countryside, Milton really is a piece of heaven on earth. LEFT Poor old Jacko; here he is testing out our tweaked snorkel – and about to pass out!

best pike. For weeks we skated around the subject, and when finally it came to agreeing the start of a new project at Milton, I couldn’t be sure if I had

Crafty Carper 036-041_Bowler_CC184.indd 2

37 12/11/2012 15:46


Nigel Sharp Age 45 Hometown

Camberley, Surrey Occupation

Angler, consultant and writer UK PB

52lb 12oz Favourite venue

Burghfield Rods

Nash NRXD Reels

Daiwa Tournament SS3000 and SS2600 Alarms


NIGEL SHARP Nigel Sharp is well known for his ability to catch big carp, amongst them being the capture of the Burghfield Common, Heather The Leather, plus many, many more. In this Most Memorable he goes back to 2008, a year that sticks in his mind above many others.


hose of you who have read my

of my greatest ever because it was my

in by the small water’s charms. Why

who was having a social with his mate

book will know only too well

first real year of targeting big fish over

it is I don’t know, but the Road Lake

Kev Wilson. During the visit Martin

that I have indeed had many

the 40lb barrier. What happened that

had a way of getting hold of my head,

persuaded me to join him and Kevin, so

memorable captures, ranging from

year was simply mind-blowing, but it’s

and every time I visited it that year,

the following day I found myself setting

a lucky encounter with the Car Park

well in the past so I’ve picked a more

something happened and I kept going

up in a swim adjacent to them. Now at

Lake’s Heather the Leather on my

recent year when things just kept going

back; before I knew it the summer

this point I could tell you a glossed-up

first night on the water, to a 5-year

right and I couldn’t put a rod wrong.

had gone and I was planning an early

story, but in all honesty, watercraft

The year I’m going to write about

start on there the following spring. In

went right out of the window and I was

campaign for the Burghfield Common, with plenty of other very sought after

is the year of 2008. Part of that year

some ways I think this was down to

purely there for a social rather than

carp in between. To pick one of these

forms the last chapter of my book,

having made a few wrong decisions

try my hardest to catch a fish. What

captures would be hard to do, but

where I finished up on the Road Lake

earlier in that year, and right from

went on from there was the start of a

yes, the capture of the great common

near Wraysbury. How I came to be

the off on the quick visit to the Road

year when things just didn’t go wrong

would definitely be at the top of the

fishing the lake at that particular time

Lake things went well, so I just fell

for me. Within a matter of hours of

list. Anyway, having published that

was due to a quick visit to the water

for it again – hook, line and sinker.

casting three Mag-Aligners out, I was

story several times, I’ll not reiterate

during the summer of 2007. On that

it, so as the title suggests, I’ve picked

visit I enjoyed myself so much that

the Road, I’d planned to make an early

fish. After Martin had skilfully netted

a memorable season/year instead.

I just had to do a follow-up session,

start, and whilst doing this in January

the attached fish, our suspicions were

Again, going way back in time, the year

then another, then another, and before

I popped down to the local Sandhurst

confirmed and a very big mirror was

I caught Heather the Leather was one

I knew it I’d once again been drawn

venue to visit a mate, Martin Pick,

lying in the folds of my net. On closer


After bagging a couple of 30s from

doing battle with what felt like a good

Crafty Carper

058-060_MostMem_CC184.indd 1

05/11/2012 13:48

Most Memorable Nigel Sharp

LEFT Nige’s Fish at 41lb 10oz. A great start to the year. BELOW The Road Lake in all its glory. You can see exactly why I just couldn’t keep away.

ABOVE The Scatter Linear from the Road Lake at 35lb 14oz. BELOW The largest fish of the four – Orange Spot at 37lb+.

“After Martin had skilfully netted the attached fish, our suspicions were confirmed and a very big mirror was lying in the folds of my net” inspection with a headtorch we could

my hunt for the Road Lake’s Big Dink.

see it was an old friend of mine, the

After the slight setback of a bad

of March. The other fish caught were

close season was during a short

an upper-20 common called Mickey’s

session on the Yateley Match Lake

Mate, and the other two were a mid-

where I caught an original fish, which,

30 known as the Scattered Linear and

strangely enough, was the first-ever

the much sought after Orange Spot at

Yateley carp I ever caught way back in

37lb+. If this wasn’t enough to make

the summer of 1993. Like Nige’s Fish

2008 memorable, only 2 days after the

and Orange Spot, this was yet another

end of that season I was 40 years old,

recapture for me, but because of the

so another celebration was in order.

time and the fish I’d caught between

I’m not entirely sure why, but for

this and our last meeting, I thanked

one reason or another I couldn’t get

the leathery old Trojan for paying me

lake’s big ’un known as Nige’s Fish.

back, either caused by lifting that 40 or

my head round fishing another water

another visit and giving me the all-

Knowing it was going to be a big

helping my brother move house, I found

that spring, but I do suspect I was

important confidence all those years

weight, we made ready with everything

myself back on the Road Lake around

still suffering from the pull of the

ago at the start of my Yateley days.

before getting her out of the water, and

the end of February. Straightaway I

Road Lake and the Big Dink, which I

when the scales swung round to 41lb

was back in the saddle and banked

had the pleasure of photographing

the season on the Road Lake went

10oz on 23rd January, it was indeed

a lovely-looking stock fish of 24lb;

for my mate Jason at the end of the

well, and I banked The Zip Linear for

a great start to the year. It was just

this was the start of a run of four fish

season. If I remember rightly, I think

the second time, but at

the boost I needed to fire me up for

before the season finished at the end

the highlight capture of the 2-month

a slightly heavier weight

Talking of recaptures, the start of

Crafty Carper 058-060_MostMem_CC184.indd 2

59 05/11/2012 13:48

All you need to know about... ANGLER PROFILE

Martin Locke ........................... Age 49 ........................... Hometown

Dartford ........................... Occupation

Owner of Solar Tackle ........................... UK PB

54lb 12oz ........................... Favourite venue

Rainbow and Savay ........................... Rods

Free Spirit Hi S ........................... Reels

Daiwa Tournament 6000 ........................... Alarms

ACE i3


The head honcho at Solar has always done well using his Kebab Rig abroad; you only have to look at the past world record he held, as well as the fact that he catches 50s for fun, so we had to get the inside information on his rig of choice from the man himself.

espite the name, this carefully engineered setup does not involve heading

down to the local Turkish fast-food establishment, however tempting that may be. There’s no chilli sauce, pitta bread, or strips of greasy, grey matter simply labelled ‘meat’. No, the Kebab Rig is, in fact, Solar Tackle boss Martin Locke’s favourite presentation. Having landed his 100th 50lb carp in October 2012, and as a former world carp record holder in 2010, with a colossal 94lb mirror, the results are difficult to ignore. As any angler knows, there’s far more to successful carp angling than the rig you use, but with Lockey’s incredible success, and his confidence in this rig, Crafty Carper thought it was time to find out why its creator thinks it’s so successful. We’ll let Martin take over from here.

The Thinking Behind It

The whole idea is to make a mouthful that’s easy for a carp to pick up, but one that becomes incredibly difficult for it to eject once inside its mouth. You’ll notice that the Kebab Rig uses a selection of baits on the Hair

RIGHT The world record, at 94lb, in January 2010, was just one of many fish to fall foul to Lockey’s Kebab Rig.


Crafty Carper

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All You Need To Know... Martin Locke


It’s not fiddly to tie, uses just four components, and has been used to land a world record carp – need any more reasons to give it a try?

1 First of all, tie a loop in your chosen hooklink, ready to create the Multi-Rig.

5 Thread it through the swivel and tie it to make a large loop.



Thread it through the eye of the hook and then through the ring swivel, like so.


Now take the loop over the hookpoint like this, and pull it tight.


Time to start attaching your chosen hookbaits now – biggest always last.

Leave a 4-5mm gap between each one and secure in place with a Hair stop.

4 Take some Samson Hair braid and cut the length required for your Kebab.

8 There you have it – the Kebab Rig in all its glory. Now get catching!

LEFT The monumental number 100

(different sizes and shapes), which

when it comes to 50lb fish for Martin.

means you are using more than one type of hookbait. Most of us bait up with a mixture of particles, boilies and

mouth, because it is flexible. Without

pellets, either throwing the concoction

these gaps the three hookbaits

over the side of a boat or spodding it

become one large object, which is

out. The fish in the swim will therefore

easier to deal with. The rig mechanics

be feeding on a variety of baits at

are helped further by placing the

once, so to me it makes sense to use

largest bait at the end of the Hair.

a mixture of baits on the Hair as well.

As a fish tries to eject the bait, the

Not only does it look more natural

entire Hair has to pivot through 180

over the baited area, it also adds an

degrees to leave the mouth, as it

element of confusion when a fish

will always travel biggest bait first.

picks it up, as well as confidence as

When this happens, the bait often

they feed around and on it. Better still,

comes into contact with the roof

with three different baits on one Hair,

of the mouth, which has the effect

you’re not putting all your eggs in one

of pushing the hook down towards

basket regarding hookbait choice. The

the bottom of the mouth and the

original thinking behind the Kebab

bottom lip. Out at Rainbow, and when

Rig came as a follow-on from Albert

using bigger baits, I use Samson Hair

Romp’s original Greedy Pig Rig from

Braid, but when fining down the rig

Savay many years ago. Everyone was using stringers at the time, and once a rod was reeled in there would be three or four baits in a line, which were as safe as houses for the carp

“With three different baits on one Hair you’re not putting all your eggs in one basket regarding hookbait choice”

for doubles and 20s, I use a 25mm Spiker Hairpin. The stiff pin means that the necklace effect is lost, but when the rig is scaled down and I’m using small, light baits, I don’t think it

to eat, and they soon cottoned on to

matters as much. The most important

it. So Albert started mimicking that

aspect is the way it’s set up.

with his hookbaits, and the rest is history. The theory is similar with

The Setup

this rig, in that it mimics what the

The Multi-Rig is my favourite setup for

carp are feeding on confidently.

the Kebab Rig. It allows the hook to be changed quickly and easily without

The Mechanics

needing to tie another hooklink, but

A long Hair, which this rig has, is easy

vitally, it allows the Hair to exit the

for a carp to suck in, but extremely

rig by the eye of the hook. Unlike

difficult to eject because the anti-

most, I pull the loop on the Multi-Rig

ejection is exaggerated further with

tight (usually used to create a D-Rig

the necklace effect. By leaving a gap

presentation), trapping the swivel

of 4mm to 5mm between each bait,

to which the Hair is attached tight

the hookbait becomes exceptionally

to the back of the eye. This creates

difficult to deal with once in the carp’s

an aggressive angle between the baits and the hook, which provides

RIGHT Martin uses Spiker Hairpins for smaller baits when targeting fish at home.

maximum hookability. It ensures that as the

Crafty Carper 122-124_Kebab_CC184.indd 2

123 12/11/2012 16:13

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Crafty Carper Dec 2012  

This issue see's Martin Bowler take us behind the scenes of his latest epic DVD - Seeking Shadows. Ian Russell's essential advice for gettin...

Crafty Carper Dec 2012  

This issue see's Martin Bowler take us behind the scenes of his latest epic DVD - Seeking Shadows. Ian Russell's essential advice for gettin...