A few months ago we picked up an email from our friends at Hustle PR containing a promo copy of the second release on Trevino’s Birdie label. It was by an artist we’d not heard of before – Causa. Besides the four slick, deep techy cuts that were on the EP, what also caught our attention was the press release that came with it… or what was written in the press release. Apparently Causa had taken a six-year break from music to go fishing, this needed investigating further… and while you’re reading this piece, have a listen to Causa’s brilliant two and a half hour long mix, which includes 45 minutes of his own material performed live.
Without putting too fine a point on it, the wonders of the internet allowed DLTM to make contact with Causa (in actual fact, he hit us up after we’d played one of the tracks from his EP on our radio show). We immediately asked if he really was a fisherman, to which he told us, “Yeah the fishing thing is true, in fact I’m going for a few weeks fishing to France on Saturday this week…” And that was that, we made the decision right there and then to ask Causa if we could accompany him on a fishing trip.
After some back and forth via Soundcloud we finally managed to find a weekend when we were both able to meet and Causa booked us in as a guest at a plot that was equidistant from us both. Cromwell Lake in Nottinghamshire was the spot, one he’d never been to before and, as newbies to this pastime, neither had we. A quick look at their website demonstrated how green and serene the lake was, beautiful in fact. We were already looking forward to the peace and quiet, a day of solace away from the din of the city, and the pictures we saw on the Cromwell Lake website made us even more excited about making the journey north of our beloved capital.
Fishing is a hobby that we’d never partaken in, being from the city. Not to blame our environment for our lack of experience in the outdoors, we’re sure there was the odd family from the estate we grew up on who indulged in a spot of fishing of some description. Perhaps. Who knows? For us though, fishing was a brand new experience and one we couldn’t wait to get stuck into.
A hour and a half journey on the train to Newark North Gate brought us to our first meeting with Causa, who kindly picked us up at the station in his van (loaded with fishing gear) and drove us to Cromwell Lake.
After getting slightly lost, damn GPS couldn’t alert us to the sneaky side road that takes you up to the gate of the private fishing lake, we made it and immediately introduced ourselves to the staff there. The lake was beautiful, and just as calming as we’d imagine it would be. Once a quarry, it has since long since been decommissioned, naturally filled with water and landscaped, treated and protected to become the oasis that it is today.
The first thing we learn is that there’s an abundance of strict rules at fishing lakes. Causa was only allowed to sign in one guest for instance and it took some time to find a lake that didn’t limit its clientele only to those who were in possession of a fishing licence. You can pay £27 for a licence to fish non-migratory trout and coarse, or up to £72 for a salmon and sea trout licence. Overseas prices vary from country to country.
“You might want to give Swim 15 a try,” Nathan, the head of staff, tells us. Over the weekend a big group have been holed up around the lake and filled it with ‘boilies’, the little balls of bait that are used to entice the fish to the hooks. We’re advised to steer slightly clear of the area where the group were fishing and head over to the middle part of the lake. We join Causa for a reconnaissance/getting to know each other stroll around the lake before we set up shop. Getting an understanding of Causa himself, as well as his hobby is the aim of this trip and immediately we get into the nitty gritty behind it all. A keen fisherman since his formative years, Causa often takes himself off to wild lakes and rivers in France, where he sometimes spends up to six months in the wilderness, alone apart from maybe the odd angler here and there or member of the public walking their dog. Sounds fantastic.
There are, of course, many different types of fishing out there, in Causa’s case the fish are never hurt, caught to be eaten or kept as trophies. They are usually photographed when caught, but immediately put back into their habitat. Causa assures me that, at worst, it’s uncomfortable for the fish, mainly carp, that he catches. He explains how the fish learn to avoid bait. Call us ignorant, but we’d always imagined that most fish have short memories like their golden species – not so, we discover. Not only that, but they also learn to avoid certain parts of lakes that fisherman frequent, it’s a fascinating start to the day and we’re only just touching the surface of the knowledge that can be gleaned from immersing one’s self in the world of fishing.
The sun shines down on us and we encounter a mother duck and its young as we inspect one of the swims on our route around the lake. It’s all very wholesome and refreshing, about as far removed from the clubs and festivals we both frequent as one can imagine. Causa has recently played Beat-Hearder, a little festival held in lovely Lancashire. There he played a live set for only the second time in his career. The stress encountered when he was setting up that performance just a few weeks ago is incomparable to the relaxation of going through the motions of prepping his area at Swim 15. Though he tells me about a wrist injury (which he wears a strap for) and a long-running back complaint, Causa unpacks his equipment, carries the majority of it to our spot and sets everything up with little assistance required and without a single complaint. Passion clearly overrides any physical pain and spurns him on to get on with the job at hand.
The set up, once complete, feels like home; from his ‘bivvy’ (tent) with a camp bed and various creature comforts inside, to his rods, the boilies attached to the hooks, a collection of cool boxes containing food and drink, tea cups, packet of tobacco, rolling paper and the all-important gas heater and a proper little grill as well, plus a fair amount of petrol to keep the respective cooking and tea-making implements running.
That feeling of home, a settlement from which one can survey the lake in front of him, take in the surrounding area and become at one with nature, is one that feels innate. Being outdoors, transient, nomadic, building temporary habitats as a base for the purpose of hunting and gathering – this is what our ancestors did thousands of years ago, before the agricultural revolution encouraged the proliferation of more permanent residencies. Here we are going back to our roots, and it feels great. Away from the constant high pressure of city life, at the lake you reclaim ownership of time and fill it whichever way you please.
Through his marathon sessions in France and the UK, Causa has built up an ability to read the movement of the fish, gauging where they’ll be feeding according to the contours of the lake’s bed, taking into account the weather conditions and so forth. DLTM struggles to connect with the water in such a deep way, and we marvel at his knowledge.
In the bivvy we kick back and enjoy a couple of beers, “I was about four I reckon, when I first came into contact with fishing. We lived about a mile away from a pond. My mum always had dogs when I was a kid, so we were always out with them – one day we were walking the dogs at the pond and I found a bit of fishing line in a bush, so I attached it to a stick and went straight to the pond,” he explains, reminiscing about the origins of his pastime. “Later on, we’d moved to another village, there was a pond there in a pig field. By that time I’d got my own fishing rod, so I used to walk down there before my paper round in the morning – there were thousands of fish in there. It all went from there really… I got into the kind of fishing I do now when I was about 17 or 18. A boyfriend of my sister’s had been introduced to carp fishing by a mate of his from down south, that’s where it originated.”
Around the same time as he discovered fishing Causa had also become proficient with his BMX, landing himself in the British finals at the Birmingham NEC, where he came fifth – “I fell off on the telly!” – but fishing was ingrained in his subconscious, even when his life was taken over by the world of clubbing. For five years, in his late teens to early twenties, Causa was entrenched in the club scene in the north. So much so that he opened his own record shop, East Village, which is where he met Trevino. With releases on labels like DIY and 20:20, gigs coming in thick and fast and residencies across the north Causa wasn’t doing too badly for himself. But as the digital revolution kicked in, gigs started to peter out, the fees went down and in 2006 he decided to move to France for six months to fish some of the world’s most famous lakes, in beautiful settings like Cassien in the south-east of the country. “I didn’t have anything left to do in England at the time, fees for gigs were going down and down, records were getting harder to sell to distributors… I think I made about seven grand in a year, whereas the year before it were twenty grand. So, what do you do? I was like, ‘sod it, I’m going fishing!’. I lasted six months on £1,800. I ended up testing bait for a French company out there, they’d give it to me and I’d send them pictures of what I caught,” he tells us.
Causa also explains the bizarre, though not completely surprising, way in which some of the most famous anglers now manage to get hold of their prize catches. “A German angler paid a couple of young guys to go and fish at a swim one February because he wanted to fish where I was by April. I caught two fish before I left there, in February, and… bloody hell, they were over every day asking me about it. As I was packing up to leave, they already had their tackle laid down by the Swim ready to take it over,” he says. “There’s a famous carp angler in Germany who writes for the magazines, it’s his living, he was paying them to wait for that Swim because, in April, every fish in that lake passes within a hundred yards of that Swim. Some of the are famous old fish, they give them names… I’m not interested in that side of it, personally. I don’t want to give a fucking fish a name, it’s a fish. They can’t speak.”
“That’s the worst experience I’ve had with it first-hand. I wouldn’t fish there again. I caught a 51 pound carp at Cassien and they don’t grow on trees. A lot of people would pay a lot of cash to be able to do that. It was hard graft, a lot of bad weather and periods of nothingness. Hardest session I’ve ever done, not unexpected though, it was hardcore thing to do. Proper,” he asserts. “Not being able to have a shower is one of the hardest parts for me. You have a wash, but hot showers are definitely missed. It’s a lot to tackle, you’ve got to be set up properly for it or you’ll die, waste away. I guess that battle keeps you going for start, it’s like, ‘What’s coming tomorrow?’. Don’t get me wrong, some days are bloody lovely, but some days are really hard. I never understand people who want to climb Everest, but I guess it’s that same battle against the elements to a degree.”
His approach, to us, seems slightly unorthodox. We like it.
As a veteran of outdoor living, Causa is a dab hand in the kitchen and rustles up some homemade burgers for us. As he digs through his big bag of supplies, he pulls out a bottle of red wine, keeping it classy of course. The burgers go down a treat, we could really get used to this way of life.
As we chat further, it becomes clear that Causa’s attachment to fishing has parallels with making music; usually quite isolating, cathartic, centred around a singular focus, time losing its grip… “A lot of people say it’s like meditating. I’ve never meditated so I don’t know. It’s good thinking time, I do like to have a think,” he says. “I guess there are parallels with the producing, I can sit in the studio and hours go by, which is similar to this. If I go on a long session, like months I mean, time really goes. Once you’re settled in, it goes.”
Having that time to think not only helps to keep the mind clear of unwanted noise, but it also gives way to ideas. Ideas for new music, ideas for where you want to go in life and ideas on how the world of fishing can be improved. In respect of the latter, Causa casually informs us that he has invented a piece of fishing tackle. He patented the product and it’s now produced by a fishing tackle manufacturer.
Over the years, both music and fishing have kept Causa motivated, investing his time in both, and excelling. His sometimes treacherous adventures in France definitely eclipse any club experiences in terms of the physical demands, but, again, there are parallels. They’re hobbies that can feed into each other, though he rarely combines the two – hardly ever listening to music while he camps by a lake, only sometimes putting down a loop if an idea pops into his head. We’re sure though, that spending time alone as he does, for months on end, definitely makes locking himself away in the studio much easier.
After a couple more drinks in the chilled sanctuary of Cromwell Lake, unfortunately it’s time for DLTM to head back to the smoke. We could easily have stayed another two days, like Causa did, but London life was calling. In the space of a few hours we’ve learned so much about fishing, and Causa himself, a fascinating man whose lifestyle is inspiring. We can imagine there are millions of people out there who would love to be able to drop everything for a few months to reconnect with nature and themselves. For most of us though, it’s an impossible dream.
As we head back to London we go back over the day’s events and smile as we remember one of the quotes of the day, “If you’re not there to catch a fish, it’s not fishing,” he told us.
Two days later we get an email from Causa, “Caught two fish on Tuesday morning at the lake, both around 18lb so not massive but nobody else caught any so I didn’t do too bad to get a few.” Of all the anglers at the lake, we knew that Causa would be the one to catch something, his dedication to fishing and experience puts him way ahead of most of the weekend warriors we came across. And his music’s not half bad either…
Here are a few snaps from Cassien in December 2010, where he spent Christmas Day – and cooked a makeshift Xmas dinner.