FL09June - Page 143

In Search of Monster Carp
remember chatting to Vic Gillings,
and he swears he saw the biggest
carp he had ever seen in his life in
Kingsmead at the time. It’s funny
because I fished where Horton is now,
and that was all part of Kingsmead; it
was all one. They have got a swim
there called Springate’s Point, and
that’s where I used to pike fish. I took
Kenny Hodder there; I had a camper
van, and we used to park it there right
by the swim. We used to come in
where the dog kennels are – there
was a gate there.
Crayfish Pool was all part of
Kingsmead too, and then they bulldozed across there, and made it into a
little pool. Then I found out a mate of
mine, Ron Chant I think his name
was, was putting a few fish in there
from Bedfont, and someone else was
as well. Then Richie and Rod had that
big one out of there didn’t they? Well
I hooked that off the top in the only
weed bed, and I lost it. That was the
Crayfish Pool they called it. We fished
a lot of waters in those days, flitting
about here, there and everywhere. We
went to Burghfield, and Kenny did
quite well at Burghfield with Johnny
Holt; they fished there quite a bit.
There was something about that
water; it just didn’t appeal to me for
some reason. I think what it was all
those skiers going up and down all
day long, and it was coloured and
dirty. I had a couple of small fish out of
there though, no big ones, but Kenny
had some nice fish out.
Sonning Eye, now that was a water!
I thought we had found a bit of
heaven there, but that was a dream
turned into a nightmare. Kenny and I
went and had a look at it one day, and
we had heard there had been a big
fish kill – loads and loads of bream
had been wiped out. Anyway, we had
a walk round, saw one or two fish, and
quite liked the look of it – on one of
the islands there was a heronry. It
was a big water, 300 acres or something like that, I can’t remember now,
but we certainly liked the look of it, so
we joined Reading and District. You
weren’t allowed to night fish it for
some reason, and we thought we
can’t go all the way over there and
not night fish. So anyway, we went
over there a few times looking and
whatever, and they were still digging
it at one end. We went and had a
word with the crane driver, and he
said it would be alright to park up
where his crane was, or behind these
gravel mounds, to fish off this bank
that he was digging, and at the same
time we would be looking after his
crane at night, so that was fair
enough. I think Kenny went over
there one weekend, the first weekend,
and fished, and then we went down
there a week or so later. The crane
driver said, “I don’t know why you
don’t go out on one of the islands –
take your boat out.” We didn’t have to
be asked twice – Kenny had a big
inflatable, and I had my small one, and
Kenny had a little electric outboard.
Anyway, he gave us the key to the
gate, so we thought this is handy, and
we gave him a bottle of scotch and
some soap powder from Hoover to
keep him sweet, and we went out
onto the island. He said to us, “Make
sure the bloke in the barge doesn’t
see you,” because he was loading up
the barge with his crane.
He got round the back of the island
and out of sight, and we were loading
up the gear into the boats and going
across. Well it took us longer than we
thought to get across there; we
thought it would only take us a couple of minutes, but as we were getting close to the island, he was coming back on the barge. So anyway, we
had to hurry, and I said to Kenny
“Look, there’s some sweetcorn.” It
was on the bank of the island, and I
said, “Did you come out here last
week?” He said, “No,” so I said,
“Someone has been out here.” So anyway we got the gear off the boats, hid
it all, let the barge come through, and
then we started exploring this island.
Well we got to the middle of this
island, and there was this little camp
set up with unhooking mats, tripods,
bank sticks, markers and slings hanging up, and then we saw these two
guys, “Any good?” “No, no, nothing,
mate.” “Oh, well what’s the sling for?”
“Oh, tench,” came the reply. So I said
Kenny, “You don’t go to all that much
trouble for a bloody tench.”
It became quite obvious they didn’t
want to talk to us, so we left them
where they were. It was too late to go
back, so we went to the far end of the
island, found a couple of little spots,
and fished for the night. We took a
couple of beers up to them to have a
chat, but they still didn’t want to
know – one of them spoke to us, but
the other one ignored us. So I thought
sod them; we’re obviously encroaching on them. So we left them to it, and
we never went back out onto the
island. Anyway we had a scout round
and found a couple of nice spots
where the crane driver had the rights.
It was like an egg box, with bars
everywhere. I went out with a little


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