FL12Sept - Page 213



In Search Of Monster Carp
just used to do it, and whipping
became something that you learned
to do. You could whip the rings on
yourself, and glue the reel fittings on
with Araldite in the position you
wanted them, and the rods were very
much exclusive to you.
When it came to bite indicators, the
only one that was readily available
was the Heron bite alarm. These were
a little bit temperamental if it was
windy or anything as they just had a
little lever that the line was put
behind, and as the line tightened, it
pulled the lever across and made two
contacts touch each other inside,
sending out an audible warning and
turning on a big red bulb on the front.
In the late 70’s I actually designed my
own bite indicators and had them
first couple of proper carp fishing trips
on Arlesey Lake with James Gregg.
The methods that were used at the
time were crust or balanced crust,
which doesn’t seem all that exciting
these days, but at the time it was
pretty high tech. The balanced crust
was made by using a piece of crust
from a normal loaf of bread and a blob
of Pillsbury dough. This is a sort of
bread dough for making your own
bread that you could squeeze around
the shank of the hook and put just
enough on so that it sank very slowly
into the water, much the same concept of critical balancing that I came
up with in the early 80’s using popups. There were boilies around I
believe, certainly towards the end of
the 70’s; Fred Wilton had come up
made at Vauxhall Motors funnily
enough. I had some friends and
friends of my father’s who worked in
the design studios there. I actually got
a job there in the end after six years at
Luton University studying engineering, and I became a draftsman in the
design studios. In the prototype build
section in the same building, a few
friends of mine were busily making
lots of fishing tackle, and the little bite
indicators that I had made were
based on the same contact type
alarms as the old Herons, but I just
made them a little bit better and they
wouldn’t go off in the wind. They
weren’t quite so sensitive, but certainly did the job.
So armed with my new carp rod
and my Mitchell 300 reel loaded up
with Maxima line, I went off on my
with his theory of high nutritional
value baits and I’ll get on to my first
experiences of those in a moment, but
at the time no one was using boilies
or anything like that. It was all specials as they were known, which were
pastes made out of sausage meat or
cat food combined with some cereal
to hold it together, or bread type baits.
Trout pellets became a big favourite
as well, though not used in the form
we use them today in the pellet form;
we would actually scald them with
boiling water and put eggs in there
cane or tank aerials – yes, the actual
metal aerials that were used on the
tanks had rings whipped on them and
were used as fishing rods. That story I
told you about Scrub Nut catching his
18lb common out of the Tool Factory
Lake, well that was actually caught on
a tank aerial. So I purchased rings and
reel fittings and that carp rod was the
first rod that I actually made myself. I
went on to make dozens of rods for
myself in those early years. People
(Top) A Royalty barbel.
(Above) Wyboston gravel pit,
showing the entrance to the
backwater and the little island I
fished.
(Left) Linford Lakes pike.
FREE LINE 211

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