FL09June - Page 76



In Search of
Monster Carp
Rob Maylin chats to Steve Briggs – Part 3
W
e join Steve as
he plans his
first trip to
Cassien with
his girlfriend.
Now it was
about this time that my other girlfriend who had put up with me fishing all these years finally got the
hump and did the off.
I can’t blame her; she put up with it
for about four or five years I think, and
that was it. Then I started going out
with another girl called Mandy, who
most of us around at that time knew.
She said, “Why don’t we go out to
Cassien?” I thought, yeah, I quite
fancy the idea of that. Before then it
was just something I had thought
about. I mean to be honest, I had read
all about 50’s coming out regularly,
and I thought no, that just can’t be
true. I mean England was the centre
of the carp fishing world, it always has
been, and yet it had only produced
one 50lb carp. Chris Yates had caught
a 51lb carp from Redmire in 1980 or
1981, and that was it. There was one
50lb carp in existence, and then all of
a sudden there was this story about a
lake that held loads of them, and you
were thinking, it can’t be true. But
then all of a sudden, pictures started
to filter back to prove that people
were catching these fish. Then Rod
Hutchinson went out there and he
caught three 50’s, but it wasn’t just
the fish. It was when Kevin Ellis
caught his fish, the 76lb’er, that I
thought to myself, I want to catch one
like that! I remember people were
saying to me, that it wasn’t a real
carp, it was a freak, and things like
that, but I thought, yeah, I’ll have it. It
sort of excited me; it got me going a
bit.
So it was in late September 1986
that I went off to Cassien for the first
time with Mandy. There was just the
two of us, and it was a proper adventure in those days. I mean I had literally only been driving for about six
months. In England if I went two
hours up to my mum and dad’s, that
was an adventure, but this was like
the other side of Europe, and it felt like
the other side of the world. It was a
nightmare journey; I remember everyone said to me, “Before you get to
Paris, there is a turning for Lyon, and
you’ve got to take that turning
because then you go on the motorway down south.” I remember looking
up and seeing this sign for Lyon and
going past it, and thinking that there
would be another one in a minute. But
of course there wasn’t, and the next
minute we were in the centre of Paris,
and French drivers are just nutters at
the best of times. We saw all the
sights; we went round the Le Champs
Elysees, the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, and I was pulling my hair
out – it was doing my head in. The
best thing that could have happened
to me was when I went through two
red lights and got pulled up by a gendarme. He waved me over and said,
“Do you realise you have driven
through two red lights?” I never even
saw them, and he must have looked
In 1986 I went to Cassien for the first time. The beauty of the place just blew me away, and my fishing would never be the
same from that moment on.
76 FREE LINE

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