FL12Sept - Page 222

In Search Of Monster Carp
(Above) Fairlands carp.
(Right) Complete with backdrop!
he now realised that what I’d said I’d
caught was true. I think I’d caught
something like 17 30lb’ers, which
again was pretty much unheard of for
the day. I was speaking to him at BK
Publishers up at Henlow, and he said,
“I’ll make you a life member of the
BCSG to make up for it.” Unfortunately he doesn’t have much to do
with the BCSG any more, and I never
ever did receive a membership for the
BCSG. I so dearly wanted one of those
little badges of the carp with the letters BCSG on there and my magazines each year, but I never did get to
be a member. Even to this day I’m not
a member of the BCSG, although I’m
sure most of the members think I
probably am.
So after writing to Duncan Kay on
numerous occasions about these
waters which contained carp over
30lb, one of the waters which he mentioned to me was a lake known as the
Banjo Lake at Stanstead Abbotts in
Hertfordshire. In the early 70’s, I went
on a couple of recce trips over there to
look around this Banjo and its notorious 30lb’er known as Nelson, a carp
with one eye obviously. On applying
to Leisure Sport, when Jack Ashford
was in control, I was unfortunately
told that the venue was full and that I
should apply again next year. Another
water, although just a little bit too far
afield for me to travel to, which was in
the headlines at that time was Darenth and there and the Banjo Lake,
although not the main lake, seemed to
be the places, certainly on Leisure
Sports tickets anyway, where carp
fishing was growing in leaps and
bounds. Now Darenth has been massively written about, but I have never
even walked on its banks I’ve got to
say, as Stanstead Abbotts was nearer.
I told Duncan Kay that I intended to
fish Stanstead Abbotts, and then
wrote to him some weeks later to say
that I unfortunately I couldn’t get in,
as the venue was fully subscribed.
Then Duncan did the most wonderful
thing, as Jack Ashford was a friend of
his. He approached Jack directly and
managed to get a ticket for me, and do
you know, I’m ashamed to say that I
never even went to the venue. It wasn’t until probably 20 or so years later
that I ventured up to Stanstead
Abbotts one September day and cast
a boilie into the main lake, only to
catch the biggest fish in the venue,
which even to this day is known as
Maylin’s Fish, a truly wonderful and
beautiful looking carp from this fantastic venue.
20lb’ers were the target that we all
wanted to achieve, and Arlesey Lake
had given me quite a few in those
early days by fishing floating crust
and corn. But now at the end of the
70’s and the beginning of the 80’s,
armed with the first carbon fibre rods,
the Sportex 2¼lb blank, which
became the first Kevin Maddocks
carp rod marketed by Simpsons of
Turnford, and the new reels, the ultracult reels of the time, the Abu 55, 155,
57 and 157, we felt like we had the
gear and the bait to go and catch 20lb
carp or even bigger by design. Thinking back to my early purchase of
these expensive carp fishing items, I
actually got myself my first credit
card just so that I could go over to the
Carp Cellar and buy a pair of Sportex
11ft 2¼’s and Abu Cardinal reels, and
I went for the larger size, the 57 size,
which were actually stolen from me
up on the Copse Lake at Yateley some
years later when I had all my tackle
nicked, but I digress again.
Yeah, going down to the Carp Cellar in Watford with my credit card in
my hand, I’d loaded it up with rods,


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