FL09June - Page 139



In Search of Monster Carp
W
e join Pete
this month as
flits
he
between Horton
and
Wraysbury. I
had some more fish from over there,
but I left it alone for a year I think it
was, as I was fishing Horton and flitting about. Now there’s a funny
water. The first trip I had on there was
a Tuesday evening, and I remember
that because I was working the next
morning. I got down there, and everyone was up the top end of the lake, in
what they call the Dog Kennels.
I thought to myself, I’ll fish down by
the car park, as it would be easy for
the morning for packing up, and I had
a 20-something mirror about 5am.
Anyway, I put it in the sack and old
Vic Gillings was fishing, and he was
just packing up to go to work. He
came along and said, “Quiet night,”
and I said, “Yeah, but you can do me a
favour and take a couple of photos for
me?” “Bloody hell,” he said, “You’ve
caught on your first trip?” But I suffered for it after that; it was like a
bogey water to me – I had a few fish
out, but I struggled. Mind you saying
that, the first few years I only fished it
in the winter, but I had loads and
loads of tench out. I was fishing on
there with Dave Lane and Phil
Thompson; we had some lovely winters there in the early days, and either
Dave or Phil would cook up a roast
dinner. We had a really good social
every week down there all through
the winter, and I left Wraysbury for
about a year.
Then I was fishing on Kingsmead
on the islands, because they gave me
permission to fish off of there before
they opened it up. I wanted to get out
on the islands, but the weather was
so rough and wet that it was too bad
to go out in my little boat. So I
thought to myself where can I go? So
I thought I know, I’ll go to Wraysbury;
I might as well do the night sitting
behind the van. I thought if I’m going
over to Wraysbury, where am I going
to go? I thought in these conditions,
it’s got to be Dredger Bay, because
the south westerlies were hacking
through, and it would be hacking into
that bay. So I made up my mind,
because I had waited about an hour
or two to see if the weather was going
to calm down, but it didn’t. I drove
round to Wraysbury, drove into the car
park, straight up to Dredger Bay
Point, and someone was sitting in it –
the only person on the bloody lake,
and they were sitting in the very spot
I wanted to be. It turned out to be
Jock Downs, the Cotswold Baits
bloke. So I thought right, I’m going to
go round into No Carp Bay and get
the wind behind me to have a bit of
shelter, as I was only doing a night
anyway. So I went round there, and
there’s a little opening as you come
round into this bit off this point,
where there was a nice gravel spot
about 10-20yds out, which would do
me. It was hacking it down, and I had
one rod onto this gravel spot, one rod
just off it, and one rod anywhere – I
didn’t care. Anyway, when I was
going onto the island, I had this little
dome tent that folded up to nothing,
so I put that up. I had the wind coming from behind, and I sat there, had
something to eat, and got my head
down.
At first light I got a beep, beep,
beep, and I thought, bloody coot, the
bastard, but at least it’s clear. The
next thing this guy from Dredger Bay,
Jock Downs, came round to me, and
asked could I take a few photos? I
thought to myself, shit, I knew that
was the spot to be, and I said I’d be
round in a minute. So anyway he
went back, and I reeled in and went
round there. I can’t remember what
fish he had, but I know I recognised it,
and it was a 30lb-something. Then he
started telling me about these other
fish he had heard crashing out in the
night, and I thought bloody typical. So
I took the photographs and had a little
chat with him, then said goodbye. I
was going back to my swim, and I
thought I might as well pack up now
and go and see if I can get on the
island. But I thought all my gear is
soaking wet, so I thought I might as
well wait for the sun to dry it out.
I got back and slung my rods back
out onto the same spots, onto the
same gravel patch where the coot
had picked up the bait, and sat back.
While I was waiting for everything to
dry, I packed my bedchair up, put it in
the van, and I think I had a cup of coffee. I was sitting there, and I was
thinking, hurry up and dry for god
sake, willing it to dry, and Phil Thompson came round the corner. “Hello
Pete, fancy seeing you here – I ain’t
seen you here for years.” With that the
indicator went, and the buzzer ripped
off. I grabbed the rod, hit it, and he
said, “Do you want me to reel that
other rod in?” I said, “Well the way
this is going, you had better.” So he
reeled one rod in, and I said, “Reel that
River Thames, 1989.
FREE LINE 139

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