FL10 (All 218 pages) - Page 135

In Search of Monster Carp
(Left) Farlows Lake in
Buckinghamshire was my first
experience of the Colne Valley.
(Middle) I just laughed when I arrived,
as our swims were just a few feet from
the bar!
(Below) First Farlows carp, one of four
or five that first weekend on the
had stitched us up, put us in this
stretch where no one ever catches
anything, but then after about 12
hours, I caught one. It was only a little
one, but I thought at least we’ve got
one, and then all of a sudden we
caught another one, and it just gradually built up, and soon we were catching loads. All these carp suddenly
turned on to the maize that we were
putting in, and we caught loads of
them. I got my first 20lb common, it
was 22lb, and you know, like I say, it
was what I had gone there for. I don’t
know how many carp we caught, but
it was a lot. It would normally be quiet
during the nights, but then in the
morning, they would start to feed, and
that would carry on for most of the
You had to watch out for the barges
and all that, because there were great
big barges going up and down the
canal, and if you didn’t seem them
coming, you’d wake up to a screaming run thinking you’d got a fish, but
you’d got a 20-ton barge on the other
end, and that did happen a few times.
But it was good, and I remember the
last night, John, the Dutch guy who
we had gone over with, had a 27lb or
28lb common, which sort of showed
some of the potential of what was in
there. It was still a very big fish, and I
think it was the biggest common I
had ever seen then, and to put it in
perspective, Albert Romp had had a
34lb common out of Cassien, which
was a lake record at the time. Big
commons just weren’t about then, so
a 27-28lb’er was a big common, and it
looked really nice, so we were quite
impressed with all that, and quite
enjoyed it.
But then it was back to the other
lakes really, and a few things happened. I remember coming home and
finding this letter from Leisure Sport; I
opened it up, and it was something
like, “We are sorry to inform you that
you’ve broken this rule, and that rule,
and you’re banned from Leisure Sport
for life.” I thought, Jesus Christ, what
have I done? I’m no angel and I’ve
done a few things, but I haven’t been
caught for any of them, so I was gobsmacked to get this letter. So first
thing, like you do, I went down to see
the head bailiff, and he said “You need
to speak to the regional coordinator.”
So I rang him up, and he said, “No, you
need to speak to the head bailiff. In
the end, I rang up Jack Ashford, and I
said, “Look, I know I haven’t broken
these rules, so what’s going on?” He
said, “Well, it’s down here that you
have broken these rules,” and I said,
“Well, you just tell me when it was
reported, and when it was meant to
have happened, and I can tell you
exactly where I was, and why it
hasn’t happened.” Anyway, he said,
“Well it doesn’t matter – if we want to
ban you, we can ban you.” So I said,
“Well is there nothing I can say to
change your mind?” He said, “No,
you’re banned” and that was it.
I was gobsmacked because I knew
I hadn’t really done anything to
deserve getting banned. It was year
later when I actually spoke to a few
people who let on that they were old
Darenth bailiffs, and they let on who
was behind it all. I’m not going to go
into the whys and wherefores, but it
was a stitch-up. I knew the bloke who
had put the spoke in for me, and it
was nothing to do with any rule
breaking. It’s the old story; I was
probably catching a few too many
fish and upset a few too many people
– it always happens. It was the first
time, but it wasn’t the last time. It was
a shock though, because it was the
first time it happened to me, and I
wasn’t expecting it. Looking back it
was probably a good thing in a way,
because it got me out fishing other
waters. I probably would have gone
back to Darenth and carried on fishing there when really I needed to get
out and fish other waters. So that was
the boot up the arse I needed.
The other water I had was Johnson’s, so I carried on fishing there for
a while, and to be honest, in the end I
did get it together. The thing that
changed all of my fortune around was
getting a microwave. It sounds daft


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