Those who dare to deal with carp fishing, have for sure run into this magazine. We all can follow and admire it´s iconic pictures, modern and innovative designs on social media, maybe also to gain some inspiration. This mag became a cult, even if it´s released in flamish language and doesn´t sell on every kiosk on the corner. This fact thought didn´t kept it to become an icon amongst the anglers. The head behind this mag is a young man from Belgium Gio Vanhooren who´s working on it on everyday basis and releasing issues twice a year. So to the mags tenth anniversary I made an interview with the man himself for you.
So Gio tell us about yourself, your fishing, how did you became a carpangler?
So my name is Gio, that’s short for Giovanni, an Italian name, but that is where the Italy links stops. I’ve never even been to Italy, neither did my parents. Got a sister who has an Italian name too though, she’s called Romina. I hail from Belgium, Oudenburg near Ostend to be precise, got a house on the canal, where I live with my girlfriend Eve and our nearly three year old boy Loki. My parents live in the same street, and also by the canal, needless to explain how I became a carp angler, eh 🙂
I understand you fish primarily public waters? Any favorite venue?
True, but got some syndicate tickets too (interesting places, but hardly fish on them though). I grew up on the canal so canal fishing is one thing I’ve always liked doing, but in my hometown there’s also this big, understocked nature reserve where we fished as teenagers and never stopped doing this. This is what gives me the real buzz in fishing really. These days, with too much work on my hands, all fishing related, I like to be easy when fishing, not seeing too many people, just me, myself and I you know. So these days I try more and more to avoid too busy venues, which is really hard to find over here nowadays. I mainly do overnighters due lack of time, but when I find 3-4 nights in a row, I always go on a French adventure with a good friend.
What kind of waters are the most common in Belgium?
Canals like the historic Albert and Kempisch, but also big sandpits which have been dug mainly in the seventies to excavate sand for the construction of motorways. You will find these all over the country and most hold good to massive fish.
I’m really interested in the Belgian/Holland fishing subculture. Could you tell us something about it?
I think our scene, the Belgian one, leans a lot to the UK, due to it’s vicinity, the Dutch scene stands more on its own really. From my point of view anyway. There are loads of carp anglers in both countries, with the only difference that Holland holds loads of water.
What was the spark that ignited the Monkey Climber magazine?
My girlfriend Eve really. When we first met around 2010 we we were soon talking about hobbies and interests. She’s a designer, coming from the skating/surfing scene, and she asked me why I never had started my own mag in fishing. I told her we did talk about it, but that costs were simply too high. Especially if you have to pay a designer, run good quality paper, etc. Next question she asked was what I would call my magazine and I told her I definitely wanted to avoid having a title with ‘carp’ in it, as most titles do. So I came straight up with ‘Monkey Climber’, as that was the first thing that reminded me of my early days carp fishing. I would be fishing with a feeder rod, fully concentrating myself to my swingtip, with two carp rods next to me. Having no money for electronic buzzers, all I had for indication where orange monkey climbers. When I got a bite on my special paste baits back then, those monkeys would smack against my blank and that is exactly why I have the fondest memories using them. So six months later it was my birthday and Eve have me a dummy of the magazine, with me on the cover. From there on, without a proper business plan or anything, we just started to work on the first issue and here we are today, eight years later and sixteen issues strong! If only Eve had known back then, I think she wouldn’t have given me that present 🙂
Unique design and pictures are what we can enjoy while reading your magazine of course in flamish for now. Where do you go for inspiration?
To be honest, graphic and design wise most of the inspiration comes from my GF, who is, as said, not an angler, but a skater/surfer and foremost a creator. A lot of people probably don’t know this but Monkey Climber would be nowhere near as where it is today without Eve. So hands down to you my babe! I myself do everything content wise and as an anglers, copywriter, etc. I have a very open mind. I get inspired by lots of things, hardcore/punk music being my main source of inspiration. I just love to create things or work out good ideas, stuff that hasn’t been done before in angling. Just take a look at all our cover concepts over the years, no one did that before in carp fishing. We still have loads and loads of ideas, which I try to collect all on a secret Pinterest account until I find the time to do something with them. Always gets me buzzing, a bit like the feeling of catching a (big) carp 🙂
How many people are involved with the creation of an issue?
Monkey Climber is proper Do It Yourself, so it is mainly us (Eve and me) plus the writers basically. But we get help by good friends, we got a proofreader for instance, someone who is very good at it. A lot of people think we are a huge company with tens of people working for us but everything is done from our home offices really.
Any future plans?
Continue what we’re doing, being creative, and hopefully finally doing that best of issue in English! Would be a dream come true!
Some easy questions.
Hinged Stiffs and 360’s.
Boilies! Currently a big, big fan of CC Moore’s Odyssey XXX. A bait made for big fish, especially if you can set up a baiting campaign they just keep coming.
Favorite fishing tool?
My old foldable bike, ideal for finding them carp on the canals!
Haha, I quit drinking when I was 15 lol. So I haven’t drunk a single bit of alcohol in over 20 years. Far from a typical carp angler 🙂
Currently using a Canon EOS 5D Mk.3, with a 40mm pancake lense.
Overnighter or more day sessionist?
Overnighter really, due to the shitty fact that I just don’t have time to be fishing during daytime. Too much work going on.
Fishing alone or with a buddy?
Usually a loner but nothing beats shared fun with a good friend on the bank! Tail of Friendship, eh!? :p
If you´d like to show some love for the mag, you can do so by purchasing some of the good stuff from the link below. Gio is making a lot of stuff by himself or by customizing them. There´re also some limited products made in collab with famous carp companies.
Monkey Climber magazine: https://monkeyclimber.be
Monkey Climber store: https://monkeyclimber.bigcartel.com/