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A Tale of Two Records Canal Carping
ment as I gazed down at it. “God, it’s
big!” I gasped, as I realised it must be
approaching thirty. I safely secured it
in a sack and set off on the couple of
mile round trip back to the van to get
the scales. It seemed the longest journey ever, running and panting to
myself, “It must be thirty; it’s got to be
a thirty.” Eventually I got back with
the scales. The Avons hit the stop,
and I knew I had more than achieved
a burning ambition for a thirty. I had
achieved it with a new fish and from
my beloved RMC. It was later photographed and officially weighed by
the club at 32lb and measured 32
inches long with a 29½ inch girth. It
was a huge fish back then by any
standards. It was later reported to be
the biggest carp from a British canal
ever, and the 8th largest in the UK
that year. My fishing on the RMC for
the next few years was focused on
the very big common that took my
hookless bait; it was big, very, very
big. However, I only saw it a few more
times and never had the opportunity
to present a bait to it again.
In 1981 I was seconded to Nigeria
by my work for about a year, which
pretty much brought my marriage to
the RMC to an end. The biggest lesson I had learned was to find the fish
before attempting to catch them. If
you think about it, a fifteen-mile
stretch of canal is thirty miles of margin, that is effectively one hell of a big
lake. So find them first because you
can’t cast to them even if they are
only a short distance away. Observation, mobility, stealth and determination equals success.
After my return from Nigeria, my
RMC fishing took a back seat while I
concentrated on other waters. By this
time carp fishing had taken off, tackle
had vastly improved and bait was
becoming much more available. I
fished and enjoyed many varied lakes,
rivers and canals in the UK, France
and Holland. Caught some fantastic
carp, but nothing quite came up to
the mark of those early years on the
In 1985 I had a flirtation with the
canals of The Hague in Holland. A fascinating place to fish, it had rows of
what I can only describe as “floating
cabins” on the far bank. They served
as a canopy that the carp liked to get
under, so of course we would always
be chucking leads at the cabins, trying to get as close as possible. Yes,
you’ve guessed it, a dodgy cast went
straight through a window. That
together with a constant peppering
with over-shot boilies from our catapults, the residents were somewhat
irate. Now an irate Dutch man, in his
pyjamas, jumping and screaming
from his veranda, is something to
behold. He spoke better English than
we did Dutch, but still could not
understand the importance of getting
baits under his floating cabin to catch
a fish. We eventually calmed him
down and paid for the window. Unfor-
(Top) 26lb 12oz decent mirror only
seen once, January 2004.
(Left) October 2004, my first run on
the new mooring. The fully scaled at


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