FL12Sept - Page 205

In Search Of Monster Carp
first day I saw him, tearing his silver
paper in half telling me that it was too
heavy for the eels that he was fishing
for. He had several large rusk sacks
submerged in the margins in front of
his swim, which he reliably told me
were full of eels. He and his friends
were very partial to jellied eels, and
they would take the eels from the
lake. Little did I know in my naivety
that it was actually carp in the sacks
and they were moving the carp from
the Shovel Lake through a copse of
trees by the side of the Shovel onto
another lake, which was within the
grounds of a plastic bottle factory
known as Plysu. This lake obviously
had a large head of carp, which had
been moved from surrounding venues. Although the movement of carp
these days is massively frowned
upon, in those days, and we’re talking
the 60’s and 70’s, it seemed fairly
acceptable, and as long as the fish
measured up to the size indicated on
your rod licence, you were able to
take them away with you, dead or
Of course these guys had the fishing rights to the lake within the factory grounds and they were stocking
it up. This is the way all the lakes
were stocked in the early days, especially around the Bedfordshire area,
which became a bit of a hotbed for
early days carp fishing. Of course,
Richard Walker lived in both Flitwick
and Biggleswade, so carp fishing was
well known in that area, and a lot of
the top carp anglers of that day lived
(Above) Arlesey Lake – ‘The Logs’.
(Right) Kempston Angling Club
permit 1974.
around there and wrote letters backwards and forwards to Richard about
their carp fishing exploits.
By 1964 at the age of eight, a carp is
what I wanted to catch more than
anything else in the world. This was
brought about by a fishing trip organised by my father and another BCSG
member whose name once again I
d o n ’t k n o w, b u t h i s n i c k n a m e I
remember was Scrub Nut as he had a
very short haircut. At the time he was
a keen carp angler, one of the top
guys at the time, and he took my
father and I over to a lake at Sharpenhoe in Bedfordshire called the PTA
(Left) Wilds, where I worked as a boy in Luton.
(Right) Early advert for ‘Leslie’, yet to move to Luton, where I also worked as a
Saturday boy alongside Mat Hayes and Max Cottis.
Tool Factory Lake, another lake in the
factory grounds. I think a lot of these
factories had lakes within their
grounds, which were probably dug for
the workers to fish as a hobby, but of
course the workforce would all go out
in the summer and sit round the lake
with their sandwiches, throw lumps
of bread in and watch these carp
coming up feeding from them. Anyway on this particular session we
fished during the day for the small
tench, which abounded in the lake.
I’ve never fished a lake in my life with
so many tiny little tench in there, anything from an ounce to a pound, and
you could catch them all day long
float fishing with flour and water
paste. In the evening my father came
and got me and said we were going to
sit behind Scrub and he was going to
fish for carp with floating crust. It was
the catalyst that started a fire within
me that’s still burning now, some 40
years later. Well into darkness, and
after seeing several swirls at Scrub’s
crust, suddenly he tightened up, his
centrepin reel burst into life, and after


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