FL09June - Page 82

In Search of Monster Carp
only light; it was like a Christmas tree
up that end, and there was this huge
powerful fish on the line that was just
fighting so hard. I had never felt
power like it, and the fight went on for
over half an hour. In the end I got it up
to the top, and there was this big
creamy flank in the moonlight. I netted it, went back to the bank, and
Christ it looked big – certainly bigger
than the last fish I’d had. I woke
Mandy up and I said, “I think I’ve got
one that might be 45-50lb,” and she
just said, “I don’t believe you,” and
went back to sleep… cheers.
Anyway I went down and sacked it
up, and of course, I had no scales
again, so in the morning I had to row
all the way down to the west arm,
because Phil Smith and Johnny Allen
had gone home. The only people I
knew on the lake were these German
guys, so I rowed down to them, and I
mean it was a mile and half row at
least. Just as I got round the corner
where they were, two of them were
out in the boat playing a fish, and
they’d already been playing this fish
for half and hour as well. The fish just
fought incredibly hard, and he said,
“Maybe it’s the Kevin Ellis fish or a
catfish.” Anyway, he got it in, and I
think it was 47lb-48lb, actually one of
the well known Cassien fish, Floppy
Tail they used to call it, but it was the
first time I had seen it. When we got
back to the bank he said his mate had
had one as well, and he pointed to a
45lb mirror in the sack and he said,
“My other friend has had one as well.”
I thought Christ Almighty, he didn’t
say! Still, I said, “Can I borrow your
scales?” I shot off, and weighed my
fish at 43lb 8oz – my first 40lb fish,
and probably to this day one of my
favourite carp. People always ask
what’s your favourite carp, and there
have been so many down the years,
it’s impossible to pick one, but that is
definitely one of them. It was my first
trip to France, my first 40lb carp, and
it just looked massive to me.
So, I did the photographs, and took
the scales back, but when I got back,
the Germans weren’t there. All their
gear was there, but they had gone off
somewhere, so I just left the scales,
but I didn’t get to find out what they
had caught. A little while later
though, I saw the pictures, which
were actually used on one of the TriCast adverts in the early years of carbon rods. There was a picture of all
three of them; there was the guy with
the 45lb’er, and there was this guy in
the middle with the 48 that I had seen
them land, and the other guy, Dieter
Tillenburg, had had a 58lb mirror. I
had had a 43lb 8oz, as well, so there
were only four of us fishing that night,
and we’d all caught fish over 40lb,
which was mind-blowing stuff in
those days. I had never seen a 40lb
carp before, and we were all catching
them. But that was it; I had to pack up
and go home. I had always said to
myself on the lead up to the trip, I love
my English fish and I still do, but I
wanted to try Cassien, to have a go at
France. I thought well, I’m going to go
out there, have one trip just to say I’d
experienced it, and then get back on
with my English fishing. But even
driving back home from Cassien I was
thinking to myself, Christ this is
incredible; it’s the best thing I have
ever done – everything about it. The
“There are
naked women
everywhere and
sunshine, and
you’ll be lying
out on the
fishing was fantastic and the fish
were brilliant, but it was the whole
atmosphere, the scenery, where it
was, and the people – a great experience.
I got back to Darenth, saw Pete
Noonan, and I said to him, “You’ve got
to have some of that, it’s unbelievable.” He wasn’t too keen first of all,
but I showed him the pictures, and he
thought, yeah, I do quite fancy some
of that. So we planned a trip for May
the following year, 1987. In the meantime I had been a naughty boy and
had got done for drink driving. I had
only been driving six months, but it
wasn’t just the lakes that were easy to
get to in the car; it was the pubs as
well. I think it was actually coming
back from a wedding, and I got
caught outside my house. It was a
stupid thing to do, looking back, really
stupid, but I’d done it, and the ban
was going to start before the next
Cassien trip. So I said to Pete, “We’re
going to have to go in your motor.” All
he had was a little white Mini van,
and half the room in the back of that
was taken up with his speakers. He
was well into his sounds, and he had
made this speaker box himself out of
this big wooden box – I mean the van
used to shake going down the road.
We didn’t know how we were going
to do it because Mandy went as well,
but she had to fly out.
The drive down in the Mini van is a
story in itself, because he’d had this
1200 engine put in it that was the
absolute nuts. It was really soupedup, but to start it, you had to put a
screwdriver through the grill at the
front to hold the starter motor
together. You needed two people just
to drive the thing; one to poke the
screwdriver through while the other
turned the ignition. I said to Pete
before we left, “Get a few spares,
because you never know,” and he
said, “Yeah, yeah,” but Pete was the
tightest bloke I knew. Before we even
got to Paris the fan belt snapped, so I
said, “Put the spare one on.” He said,
“Oh I didn’t get one,” so we had to get
towed into a garage. Then we overheated about five or six times, and
just before we got to Cassien, after a
two-day trip, we felt the engine sort of
lurching a bit. We both felt it, but we
didn’t say anything to one another,
hoping that we didn’t really feel it, but
it didn’t matter if you know what I
mean, because we were nearly there.
In the end it got us there; we arrived
at the lake, and it was pissing with
rain. I’d said to Pete, “There are naked
women everywhere, and sunshine,
and you’ll be lying out on the beach.”
I think he was more impressed by the
naked women than the fish; he just
wanted to see them, as I don’t think
he had ever seen a naked woman
before, so he was looking forward to
that. But it was chucking it down
with rain; there was no one there at
all, and he said, “It’s just like England,
this is.” Anyway, we decided to have a
go at the west arm, as even in those
early days we knew that the fish went
to the west arm to spawn, so they
should be there. I said, “Well, we’ll
have a go there, and if we can’t find
them there, we’ll go up the north arm
where I fished before.”
So we went and set up in the start
of the west arm, and three days in it
was still raining. Nothing had happened whatsoever, but you know I
was still confident something was
going to happen. It was slow going
though, and this guy came up from


Powered by

Full screen Click to read
Paperturn flipbook
Download as PDF
Shopping cart
Full screen
Exit full screen