FL02 PDF (212pp) - Page 190

In Search Of Monster Carp
The Pilgrim from Darenth Long Lake at 28lb 12oz, prior to it being moved to the
Tip. Guess the bait…
or Ron Middleton, was in the swim
that I was in. Alan was absolutely disgusted; he couldn’t believe it. The
funny thing was that on the Tuesday,
we all had bites in the morning, and
we all had a little inkling that the fish
may have moved. So we got there on
t h e W e d n e s d a y m o r n i n g, A l a n
stormed off, and I said, “I’m going to
have a little word with Kevin.” I
walked along there, and I said to
Kevin, “I see you found out where we
caught the fish from then,” and he
said, “Nah,” so I said, “Don’t tell lies;
you knew exactly where we caught
from, because you’re in the same
swims.” He had a little smirk on his
Now bearing in mind we’d fished
alongside each other on Darenth, I
knew how intent he was on getting in
the right swim, and as I walked away
from him, I turned round to him and
said, “Still, we’re not really bothered
because the fish have moved.” I
turned back and looked at him again,
and his face was a picture of shock
and horror. Sure enough, Alan and I
went round to the Factory Bank, and
Alan caught the second biggest carp
in there at the time, a 29lb leather, and
then I think I caught another three or
four. By the end of the session, Kevin
was round the back of us waiting for
me to pack up. Anyway, the next day
I went down there, and sure enough
Kevin was now in this swim along the
Factory Bank, so I went in a swim
called the Point just for an afternoon.
We had a real strong downpour of
rain, and all of a sudden right in the
depth of this real heavy rain I had a
bite. I couldn’t see anything; I needed
windscreen wipers on my glasses, but
I played this fish in, a fish by the name
of Cluster, which turned out to be
quite a friendly carp for me – in latter
years I landed it about six times. Anyway, the same thing happened; I
c a u g h t a n o t h e r f o u r, a n d Ke v i n
blanked, despite the fact that he tried
to cast on top of me. He moved in
after I went, and then I think we
fished it once more on the Saturday,
but that’s where the fish stayed, out
from the Point. I think having said
that, I did manage to catch two more,
but Kevin had a really good session. I
think Alan only caught four fish for
the week, but they were all 20’s, the
smallest being 21lb, and the biggest
2 9 l b, s o h e d i d w e l l s i z e - w i s e,
whereas I think I finished up with 13
fish, and my biggest was 18lb.
This was a day-ticket water, but on
the strength of that we were dead
keen to get membership. We found
out there was a little way in through
the back door, so we went down to
this bloke’s caravan, handed him our
membership money, and got a ticket.
The following season, I went down
there for a walk round with my exwife about a week before the season
started, and the fish were all stacked
up along the Factory bank, about
40yds out from the second bar, loads
of them, and I sat there watching for a
while. Anyway a few days later, the
start of the season, June 15th, I pulled
into the car park and it was packed,
absolutely chock-a-block, and I
couldn’t believe it. There were bivvies
everywhere, but I looked across at the
Factory Bank, and there wasn’t one
person on there, so I thought well,
they must have moved. So I went over
on the Factory Bank and sat there for
a little while, rolled a cigarette, and
sure enough the carp were still there
– I couldn’t believe it. Not knocking
the local anglers, but obviously they
had their brand new bivvies, and they
wanted nice big, flat swims to pitch
them in, and so I set up on the Middle
Swim. By now I was using peanuts,
and during the course of the day I
kept them going in, in line between
me and Micky Sloane who joined me
later. Anyway Mick turned up, and I
think the first night I caught four, but
I can’t remember what the biggest
was. Mick caught three, and the rest
of the lake between them caught one.
As it happens though, that one fish
happened to be the biggest one in
there, She, and that was actually the
first time I saw that fish on the bank.
I am not really sure what the year
was, but a 30lb carp was a pretty rare
animal still, and having a lake fairly
near to where I lived with two
30lb’ers was something else. My
favourite fishing story of all time is
Andy Spreadbury’s Story of She; I
read it over and over again. I think it
was Andy who named the fish back in
1972 when his mate Pete Handley
caught it. I started fishing the School
Pool, and it really became an obsession; I really wanted to catch that fish.
I was catching well every time I went
there, but I just couldn’t catch that
one fish, and it really did become an
But as well as that lake, there was
another nearby club water that I
fished, which was completely by accident really. I turned up at the pool one


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