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In Search of Monster Carp
(Above) I caught plenty of carp from
the small island, although no real
(Bottom) Early 1990’s at Cassien just
after a big fire had swept through the
region. This was my first trip with
Joan, and we fished on the island in
the centre of the picture.
home after the weekend and think
well, that was alright. That was the
carp fishing culture of the early 90’s in
the Colne Valley, and everyone did it,
well, not everyone, but the vast majority of people did, and they were good
I suppose I should talk about the bit
of French fishing that I still did. Harefield took up my English fishing, but
when I had holidays, I still went away
to France. One thing I had heard of
was a little water in the South of
France. Until this time all my foreign
fishing had been on Cassien, with a
couple of little trips to Holland to get
the 20lb common. I remember being
up at Farlows one time and Starman
and Paul Boyd, who were always up
around Farlows, came in with these
pictures of 30lb and 40lb mirrors, and
they were lovely. They said “We’ve
got a French mate who we’ve been
out to see; he’s got this little lake in
t h e S o u t h o f F r a n c e, a n d w e ’ v e
caught all these fish, but we can’t tell
you where it is.” I was looking at all
these things thinking, ‘Cor, I’ll have
some of that’ and then the final comment was, “We’ll show you the pictures but you aren’t going to find out
where it is.” Oh shit! I could see
where they were coming from, and I
sort of forgot about it, but then a few
weeks later I was talking to a carp
angler up in Uxbridge; I mentioned
this lake, and he said “Oh yeah, I
know that lake,” and he blurted out
the name. He said, “Yeah, it’s that
such-and-such lake down near
Toulouse.” So I went straight home,
got the map out, looked for this lake,
and sure enough I found it. I thought
right, I know where it is, and I’ve got
to go.
I know it wasn’t a problem for me
getting the time off work, but Joan
had a bit of a problem, as we had just
been to Cassien. I’d had another trip
to Cassien and had a few there; a 30lb
common or something like that. Anyw a y, s o m e h o w w e w a n g l e d h e r
a n o t h e r w e e k o f f ; I d o n ’t k n o w
whether she said she wasn’t well or
something. It was when Mickey Fry
was running Farlows, and it was hard
to put one over on him, but we managed to do it. I told Paul Boyd we
were going down to this lake, because
I thought if he finds out we’ve been,
he isn’t going to be happy, because it
was all top secret. I went up to him in
the bar and I said, “Look Paul, I know
where the lake is now, and we’re
going to go down there, but I just
wanted to tell you first.” He just
looked shocked, and asked, “How did
you find out about it?” But what could
he say? It was a public lake, so anyone could go and fish it. I could see he
didn’t like it, but he agreed anyway.
So we went down to this lake, and
it was different to the other lakes I
had fished. It was a man made lake,
and had a little beach on one end. In
fact we called it the Secret Beach
Lake, just to keep it quiet. I remember
it rained the whole week; it was horrible weather, and it wasn’t that easy.
With a boat you could more or less
fish the whole lake from wherever you
were on the bank. We tried a couple of
swims, and I remember seeing these


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