FL02 PDF (212pp) - Page 134

Heritage Is Important
left. The fish activity continued that
day, and it seemed like one of us had
a great chance, and again it was no
surprise when a buzzer rang out late
that afternoon. It was Craig’s, and I
went around to help. The fish weeded
him up, but I helped him into his
waders, and he went out to get a better angle on the weeded fish. He got it
moving, and was eventually able to
land an obviously big fish, but neither
of us at that point could quite see
which one it was (it could only be
Scale on the Shoulder, an upper-30, or
Bazil, judging by the size of it). Craig
peered into the net, and the “Bazil!”
shout confirmed which one it was!
My third look at Bazil in a little under
two months! I had one other fish that
year, a stockie common from The
Wa i t i n g M a n ’s s w i m , a n d B a z i l
proved a bit more elusive for us all
after that in 1999. I know Bazil was
caught at least a couple more times
that year, but I wasn’t to witness it
myself. I remember the last capture
though that autumn when John Claridge caught him, as it was into October and was turning cold. I arrived for
my usual Tuesday night, only to discover John had caught him the day
The following year, I had another
three fish but unfortunately not Bazil.
I only saw him on the bank once that
year when “Mad” Martin caught him
from The Destiny swim. More regulars were now beginning to fish for
Bazil, and many would go on to
become good friends. The likes of
Rick Harrison, Odd, Big Tony, Steve
Fudge, Simon Croft, Little Jon Coxhead, Mark Hunter, Dave Miller, Nigel
Hodgson, Mark Rosewell, Brummie
Jason, and John Beecher. Apologies
to those of you I must have missed
out; the memory’s not what it was! I
also met a few people on The Car Park
Lake who became mates as well. One
of these was Ian Bates, and he was to
influence my next water after Yateley,
but more of that later. The next year,
2001, was, as it turned out, my final
one at Yateley. I had two more fish
including my best one from The
North, The Pit 10 Fish at 28lb 8oz. I
went on holiday at the end of that
summer to Jamaica, and on my return
heard the sad news that Bazil had
been found dead. That was the end of
an era, and Bazil, having made so
many anglers’ dreams come true, was
given a proper burial and even a
‘Pit 10 Fish’ 28lb 8oz, 2001.
headstone. I remember one idiot posting on one of the angling website
forums saying how ridiculous that
was, which just proves to me how little some people value history and heritage. Still, I suppose as long as they
can get their dome tent in a big
enough swim to be able to drink
themselves silly catching stockies
then they’re out of my way. This, I
suppose, is why I am so sad at what
has happened at Yateley – only the
Car Park remains. Yes, I know you
have to move on, but there are plenty
of lakes you can stock up with carp to
make a buck. Why devalue the name
of Yateley by turning heritage waters
like The North, The Pads and The
Copse into comfortable catching
waters? That’s not what their heritage is, and they could have been
kept pretty much the same with a low
stock of good quality carp every now
and again, instead of raping each lake,
destroying the trees and banks, and
filling them up with pellet-fed stockies. You have Sandhurst and The
South Lake, which nobody was ever
interested in back then to do this on,
and they are good waters now, but
you don’t have to turn all the lakes
with all their history into the same
sort of water. To me the water is as
important as the fish, but the name
can be ruined if you try to change
what the water was/is about. Rant
The death of Bazil left me with a
dilemma; I wanted to catch a true
pukka English 40, and remember this
was 2001 before every little puddle
had got one in, as it seems these days.
Should I stay on Yateley and fish The
Car Park Lake? I didn’t think that my
one night a week would be enough
for this busy and demanding water, so
I looked at a few waters; Vauxhall
Lake near my home in Oxfordshire,
Bullfield near Radley in Oxfordshire,
Twyford B.B.O.N.T. in Berkshire, and
Barnet and The Causeway the other
side of the railway bridge. There was
another water I found near my home,
which was a gravel pit situated on a
trout fishing complex. I was able to
get permission to fish this lake, but it
was restricted to days only fishing,
and the stock was completely
unknown. I was very interested in this
one, so I kept it for the future, as I
wanted that 40, and couldn’t guarantee that one was swimming around in
that Pit. Linch Hill down the road
from me had Petals, but was deemed
far too busy as a day ticket water. It
was Ian Bates, as I wrote earlier, who


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