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A Tale of Two Records Canal Carping
somehow produced an air that made
me sit low and quiet, also like a magnetic field that would not release me.
I sat and studied. His tackle was simple, but it looked strong. Where was
his float? All I could see was some
chunks of bread in the marginal lilies
to his right. Now and again he would
slowly lift his finger, point and whisper, “There.” This confused me, but I
did not ask; I just nodded knowingly.
Gradually, over the weeks of that
summer, I got to know a little about
this strange fellow. His name was
Ron, and he was fishing floating crust
for carp. Only once did I see him
catch; it was a common carp of some
six pounds. This virtual stranger, and
the awesome fish I saw him land had
a deep and lasting impression. I was
infected for life, and in fact became a
carrier of the incurable carp fever. I
often wonder if he knew, or if he is
even still alive.
The virus lay semi-dormant for several years while I served a long, enjoyable apprenticeship acquiring the
skills in the art of angling. During this
time, the memory of Ron and his carp
would often haunt me. I knew that
one day, when ready, I would also
catch a monster carp.
Some readers of this magazine are
probably thinking, “Whatever has this
all got to do with big carp fishing?” I
make no apology for this. It is to try
and give modern day carpers an
insight into the apprenticeship that
we old school carp anglers served.
Virtually no carp tackle or bait was
commercially available as it is today.
We had to be innovative, resourceful
and to a degree pioneering. We all
contributed to making the world of
carp fishing what it is today, available
to all.
Marriage, children, career, and creating a home took priority during my
late teens until 1969/70. 1969 was a
watershed. My home and work was
now in Ashford. I had been fishing a
beautiful stretch of the Royal Military
Canal at Aldergate, mainly for tench,
but I had seen carp. Ashford Angling
Club had control of the fishing
between Iden lock and West Hythe
dam, some fifteen or so miles. This
was my favoured stretch of water, full
of character and very pretty. This is
where it all really began.
A love affair resulting in a marriage
that lasted a decade is probably the
(Top) The ‘plopping’ of pads is a
definite sign of carp.
(Below left) A typical early canal
catch laid out on the dreaded hessian
sack.
(Below right) 32lb, RMC, 28th
October, 1978.
FREE LINE 35

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