FL13 - Page 174

In Search Of Monster Carp
oing up to Waveney
Valley Lakes that
first time in 1982
was, I suppose, my
introduction to the
‘Big League’.
Although I’d fished quite a few
waters in the last 12 years including
Woburn Sands, Wyboston gravel pits,
Stanborough Lake, Fairlands Valley
L a k e a n d t h e Va u x h a l l w a t e r s ,
Tingrith Manor and the Oxford water
Stanton Harcourt and of course
Arlesey, at this point I hadn’t really
fished any known waters. By known
waters I mean waters that had
received a lot of publicity in recent
years; waters where the big carp
anglers of the day would go and fish.
These were waters such as Redmire
Pool, Ashlea Pool and Billing
Aquadrome to name a few – waters
that had been well written about over
the years. There had been films made
too; I remember an excellent film at
one of the early BCSG annual conferences in London. It was made down
at Ashlea Pool featuring a guy called
Vic Gillings, who is unfortunately
dead now. The effort that these guys
put in to catch these fish was mindblowing, along with the knowledge
that they had of baits and successful
rigs of the day.
I suppose Arlesey Lake was the
best known in my area; at that time in
the late 70’s and early 80’s it contained a 30lb carp, called the Big Girl.
I never saw it on the bank; it died
before I actually fished there, or
maybe the first year I fished there.
There were some quite good anglers
fishing the lake at the time; a couple
of BCSG guys who had written articles about waters in the area. I can’t
for the life of me think of the surname
of a guy who I spent quite a lot of time
with round about 1980 on the lake.
His first name was Alan; I can’t
remember his surname, but he’d written a few articles in the old BCSG
magazines, and knew his stuff. Also,
of course, a young Dave Thorpe lived
local to the lake. Dave was a good
angler, very, very competitive, and I
might even say quite a jealous angler
too. He didn’t handle other people
catching fish very well and would
often end up in a big strop if someone
else was catching a lot, but he certainly caught more than his fair share.
I mean this guy virtually lived at
Arlesey in those first few years of the
80’s. He went on to Elstow from
Arlesey at a time when there were
very few 20lb’ers in there, and no 30’s
at all. He certainly could never have
dreamt how the lake would be today
with its fair number of 40’s, but I
remember he went on there and
caught 100 doubles in a season,
which was a massive achievement for
that time.
Dave was a good surface angler as
well. I remember he made this controller, which looked like a hand
grenade. It was a huge ball of polystyrene with a 2oz lead in the middle,
and it was like a brick when it hit the
(Above) Prentice and me, set up on E
Lake, 1982.
(Bottom left) 25lb 3oz mirror on a
side-hooked boilie, from E Lake.
water, but he certainly nailed some
fish off the top with it. Arlesey was an
exceptional water for surface fishing;
a water that I was actually fishing at
this time, but hadn’t fished for a couple of years, and my first 20lb’ers all
came from Arlesey in the late 70’s.
Redmire was a syndicate, Ashlea Pool
w a s a s y n d i c a t e, a n d B i l l i n g
A q u a d r o m e, w e l l , I c a n ’t r e a l l y
remember, but it was certainly a tall
order to catch a fish out of there. It
was one of the waters that Duncan
Kaye had written to me about, and
said that there was a 30lb’er in there,
and that it was a water that perhaps I
should have a look at if I wanted to
catch a 30, which I did at this time.
But Waveney Valley of course was a
water that was accessible to everybody – a day ticket venue with about
eight lakes.
I remember arriving at the venue;
three of us went on that first trip, and
we really wanted to get on D Lake,
which was the one that seemed to
have the bigger fish – the one where
the serious anglers concentrated their
efforts. There were two 30lb’ers at the
time – a fish called Big Scale, a mirror
of around about 31-32lb I think, and
the Leather, one of only about three
leather carp in the country that went
over 30lbs that were known about at
the time, or that were written about,
let’s say. Savay ended up having a


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