FL02 PDF (212pp) - Page 132

Heritage Is Important
the day went on I would nip out from
my swim, and climb a tree to my
right. Believe it or not I had the whole
lake to myself on this occasion, but
back then Yateley could be like this in
the week. On one occasion I was up
the tree when a dumpy mirror swam
out of the weed, and was virtually sitting underneath me! (I’m pretty sure
it was The Piglet). I was contemplating how I could get a bait to this fish
when I heard my buzzer! I quickly
scrambled down the tree and got to
my rod, but all was solid in the mass
of Canadian pondweed. It was my
own fault for being up the tree. What
was I to do? I was on my own –
should I swim out to the fish or go and
get some help? I gave it the butt
instead, and slowly everything started
to move. As I got it to within 15 or so
yards of the bank, I still wasn’t certain
the fish was on but then I saw an
image that will stay with me forever.
Directly behind the huge ball of weed
I spotted a large mirror carp just letting itself be pulled along. I can’t
remember now ten years later
whether I pulled the weed off the line
or it came free, but I’ll never forget
when it did because the fish went
mental, shooting off across the lake.
After a bit of a tight battle I landed
her, and I absolutely screamed the
place down! It still is one of my most
memorable captures ever. I had to go
and find someone on The Match Lake
First North Lake Carp! 16lb 11oz. 11.8.99.
to do the pictures, and he said, “I
thought I heard someone shouting!”
The fish was The Pretty One, and for
the record was 32lb 2oz.
That was it for me on that side of
the road on Yateley, as I made the
decision to start over the other side of
the road (land of the 40’s), and The
North Lake was where I headed. Bazil
was, and still is, in my mind the most
famous carp that ever lived, and considering all its captures over the years
remained a truly stunning looking
carp. It has always been a tribute to
the calibre of Yateley regulars that the
carp in the Yateley Lakes remained in
such tip-top condition. I think it was
also because the captures were so
hard to come by that when one came
out, virtually everyone on the lake
reeled in and almost became part of
the capture. The term “goalkeepers”
(an angler either side of the mat to
ensure nothing went wrong when the
lucky captor help his prize aloft) was
first coined down on Yateley, I believe.
That first autumn I fished The North
Lake I didn’t catch anything (except
bream!) but I did lose a fish that
weeded me up in the middle of the
night. I had to get the boat from over
on the Car Park Lake and drag it
down the path along the back of The
Dugout and End Works swims. Derek
Rance, bless him, must have seen me
struggling from over the other side of
the lake, and he was soon at my side
giving me a hand, and we set sail from
Bazil’s bush. I got my rod from the
North Lake’s End Works swim, and
made are way out to where I was
weeded up. Alas it was not to be, and
whatever it was had gone. The following year (1999), I started again in
June, and that month I got my first
look at Bazil in the flesh. I was actually fishing in the Christmas Tree
swim when I heard the shout. It was
Danny Morris who was shouting,
“Bazil!” and he was fishing in The
End Works swim. I was then to go
through for the first time the timehonoured tradition of reeling in and
going around to admire Bazil, and
give any help if possible. Everyone
who used to fish The North Lake
would do this. I actually did the video
for Danny, as he didn’t have a video
camera, and a friend of his was coming up from London that morning and
arrived to join in the picture taking
and congratulations. His name was
John Beecher (or “Taxi John”), and he
would go on to become a good friend
of mine on the lake. After that it was
the other time-honoured tradition to
observe after a Bazil capture, and that
was to pack up and head for home!
For the record, Bazil was 44lb 9oz for
The lake was closed for a couple of
weeks after that as a precaution, as
there had been some disease in the
Colne Valley that had affected some of
the carp. When it reopened, I was
down as soon as I could, and in that
session I witnessed Simon Giblin
catch Bazil from The Corral. I broke
my duck on 11th August, which if you
remember was that strange day in
1999 when there was an eclipse of the
sun during the day. I was fishing in
The Corral and had a take on my left
hand rod, which weeded me up pretty
quickly. After a brief scrap in and out
of the weedbeds, I was to land an
incredible dark-looking mirror, which
turned out to be one of the famous
three Tels. This one was Little Tel (the
others being William and Aqua) and
weighed 16lb 11oz. I was getting to
know a lot of the other regulars on
The North in 1999 by then, and one of
those was Craig Dunn from Bristol. It
was my next capture that was to
prove memorable for both Craig and
me. This was the time I believe I came
closest to catching Bazil. I had set up
in The End Works swim, and those of
you who fished that swim when Bazil


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