FL09June - Page 80

In Search of Monster Carp
My first 40lb carp and one of my most memorable fish. It’s impossible to explain the impact that first trip had on me.
these jumbo peanuts, and when he
left, there were loads of them scattered all round the bank, and I
thought yeah, I’ll have them, so I went
round picking them all up. I thought
they would be brilliant hook baits,
because I’d cast them out, and next
morning they were still on; the crayfish couldn’t eat the peanuts, so I’d
found my first crayfish-proof bait.
It was the time of one of the early
Paul Regent trips as well, and of
course they had to fish the days only
and then go back to the hotel at night.
The action would just stop before
they arrived in the morning, and then
it would be dead all day. Nothing
would happen during the day at all,
and then you would see all these pedalos and boats go back down the lake,
the coach would go across the bridge,
and then all the fish would start jumping. Once Phil Smith and Joe had
gone, I started to get a couple more
runs. I caught another 20lb’er and a
little common, 10lb or something. A
few of the guys on the Regent trip
stopped, and I said, “If you want to
risk doing a night, come over and stop
with us,” so they did. There were a
few people about, but I don’t think
they caught. They lost a couple, but
by and large, Mandy and I had the
north arm to ourselves, and it was just
like being cast away on a desert
island; I was loving every minute of it.
It was just an incredible experience
being up there, and to have so much
water to myself, that was the thing. I
mean my normal fishing was being
crammed into a little swim on a little
lake and being very restricted, or even
getting the last swim that was left.
But now, all of a sudden I had hundreds of acres of water to myself, and
not only that, but it was lovely water
too. You could swim every day, you
could sunbathe on the beach, and
there were carp out there as well – it
was fantastic.
The peanuts made a difference; I
remember getting my first run on
them, and going out in the boat. Until
then, I had tried to play them in from
the bank, and I was losing quite a few
of them, so we’d hired a boat from
Pierre’s, which was about a tenner a
day or something like that. I thought
to myself, well we’re not staying in a
hotel, so we might as well have a boat
instead. So I went out in the boat to
play this fish, and I was out there for
about half an hour with it. I got it in,
and I knew it was bigger than any-
thing I’d caught before. I knew it wasn’t monstrous, but I only had Avon
scales with me that went up to 32lb –
that was how confident I was that I
was going to catch something big! I
just went there expecting maybe to
catch a double or a 20, so I took Avon
scales. Anyway, it bottomed out the
scales like I thought it would, so all I
could do was sack it up and go and
find someone in the morning. I rowed
about two miles up the lake to these
English guys who were down for the
day, and I borrowed their scales. One
of them came back up with me, and
the fish weighed was just over 39lb, a
mirror. I remember there were these
handfuls of crayfish shell in the sack,
because that was what the carp ate
naturally. I had never seen fish that
ate crayfish before properly, and there
were all these crayfish shells and
peanuts – two handfuls in the sack.
So possibly it might have been close
at the 40lb mark when I actually
landed it, but it was just over 39lb
anyway, and a personal best at the
time. It was like the trip was complete; I had gone there and I had
caught a fish bigger than I had ever
caught before, but I still had a few
days left.


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