FL09June - Page 85



In Search of Monster Carp
A shot of me with the ‘60’ that hasn’t seen the light of day for many years.
Nothing happened during the day
as usual, but we were all ready for the
next night. Bear in mind I was still
only using my 11ft 1¾lb tc Sportex
rods here; they were the only rods I
had, with my little reels, and we were
boating these baits out about 140150yds to the edge of these reeds
where it was about 3ft deep. We’d put
the oar down and it was only shallow,
but you couldn’t see the bottom
where the fish had stirred it up I suppose. Pete got the first run the next
night, a 24lb mirror, so he had got his
first Cassien carp. So we had both
caught Cassien carp, 20lb’ers – great,
we hadn’t blanked! Then about midnight, one of mine went off. I got it
away from the reeds, because both
fish we had caught had got stuck in
the reeds – we’d got them out, but it
was a bit of a tussle. This one just
came away from the reeds easily
though, but we went out in the boat
to keep it away from our other lines,
as we had three rods out each. I was
playing this fish, and it started to feel
quite heavy. All of a sudden, it came
up and just sort of whooshed on the
surface, and Pete said, “Bloody hell,
that sounded big.” Then it bumped
into the boat while I was standing up,
and it nearly knocked me off my feet.
I thought bloody hell, that’s got to be
something half decent to do that. It
didn’t fight that hard, but it felt different to anything else I had ever
caught, and as it came up to the net,
we could see the side of it, and it
looked about 40lb too, maybe as big
as the one I had had the other October. We got back to the bank, went to
lift it out, and it was the old story –
you think the net is snagged on the
bottom and all that; you’ve heard it so
many times. Literally, I went to lift the
net out and I thought Jesus Christ,
what’s in here? We put it on the bank
and we stood there looking at it,
thinking Jesus Christ – the size of it. It
was at least two or three times the
size of anything I had ever seen in my
life, and I was speechless, we all were,
just looking at this thing. We put it on
the scales; it was 61lb 8oz, and I
remember we were jumping up and
down. We put the fish in the sack, got
the beers out, and I was just blown
away by the size of it.
We had a bit of a kip for a few
hours, not long, then woke up again
and there was the little pedalo back
out in the bay with Pete Jones and
Travolta in it. We thought Christ,
we’ve got to go and tell them. Well,
unbeknown to us while we were
asleep, they had turned up early and
Travolta had caught a low-30, which
at the time was his personal best, his
first ever 30lb’er, but he was keeping
that as a little wind-up for us. So we
went out there and said, “How did
you get on?” “Yeah not too bad, how
did you get on?” Travolta said, “I’ve
done alright actually, never mind your
28lb’er, I had a 30lb’er. Don’t tell me
you’ve had a 50lb’er that’s got out the
sack.” I said, “Well no, it’s bigger than
that actually, and it’s still in the sack.”
You could see he had been shot down
in flames, but they came across anyway, and he brought his little 30lb’er
across, which we photographed.
Then we got this thing out, and I
remember Pete Jones looking at it
and saying, “It looks like a hippo without legs.” So we called it the Hippo
after that. It was just mind-blowing;
we sat there, and we had all caught –
Pete had his 20lb’er, Travolta had his
30lb’er, and I’d had this 60lb’er! That
was my trip done obviously. I put it
back, and I’ll always remember Pete
Noonan turning round, shaking his
head and saying, “God, I want one of
them.” I thought yeah, I can understand how you feel – if it had been
him catching it, I would have thought
the same. So I said, “All I can do is take
your rod, your bait, and drop it on that
exact spot. I’m happy; I’ll pull away
from that spot, so you can go on that
spot and see what happens.” So that
night, I took his bait out, dropped it on
the spot, and the next morning he had
a 54lb mirror!
So that was like the trip done for
both of us; we had both caught fish
bigger that we had ever expected.
Well, I had actually gone out and
bought a set of Nash’s 120lb scales
before the trip just in case. They did
them in two sets, they did a 60lb and
a 120lb set, and I remember looking at
60lb thinking, yeah possibly, you
never know, but there are fish in there
that are bigger than that, so we
bought the 120lb set, and you know, I
needed them, but only just. We were
lucky really because we got in that
swim when there was hardly anyone
on the lake, but over the next few
days it started to get mobbed out
with Germans and English. Geoff
Shaw had a group on there, and he
was coming down every day trying to
see what we had caught. There were
people asking when we were leaving,
so it was getting a bit busy. Eventu-
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