FL12Sept - Page 206



In Search Of Monster Carp
a fight that seemed to go on forever,
probably half an hour or more, he
landed a superb common carp of 18lb.
I was only a boy at the time and
remember as we pulled up outside
our house my mother coming to the
front door and me running up the
drive with my mouth wide open. I just
couldn’t wait to tell her about the
spectacle that I had beheld and the
first thing I blurted out of my mouth
was “Moby Dick, Moby Dick… Scrub
caught Moby Dick,” and a picture of
that fish is still etched upon my mind
now. I can see it as if it was yesterday,
such was the impact that huge fish
made upon me.
At the age of 12, I had begun working in my local fishing tackle shop on
Saturdays and after school. A lovely
guy who ran the fishing section there,
Harry Eddington happened to be a
friend of my father’s, and one Saturday my dad took me in there and
asked him if he would mind looking
down the hill, down Farley Hill, from
where I lived in Luton with all my
tackle every Sunday morning at
around 4am. I remember the weight
of it on my shoulders and almost
(Above) 22lb, Arlesey.
(Left) 23lb, Arlesey.
(Bottom) Maylin’s Pool, referred to as
Junelin’s by Dick Walker and later to
be called Withy Pool by Kevin
Maddocks.
retching by the time I got to the bus
stop.
There’d be a couple of other guys
there too sometimes at my stop waiting for the coach to come along, the
Vauxhall coach, and one of them was
Richard Smith who became a well
known fishing and wildlife artist. We
remained friends and still are friends
to this day, and he actually painted
the pictures that became the covers
of my first two books, Tiger Bay and
Fox Pool. I remember sitting there on
the corner of Meyrick Avenue and
London Road waiting for the coach to
after me for the day on Saturdays and
letting me work behind the counter. I
was like a kid in a sweet shop; it was
amazing to listen to the stories of the
older guys coming in there, many of
whom were fishing for carp at the
time, and others who were keen on
the match fishing in the area. Vauxhall Angling Club had a big match
section and they ran a coach every
Sunday, which picked up in about a
dozen places around the Luton area,
for anyone who wanted to go along to
the match. As my father didn’t want
to fish every weekend, this is the
route that I took, and I would walk
204 FREE LINE

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