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The Woodcarving… With Half a Worm Exclusive
hen I first
applied for a
ticket on Horton’s Church
Lake it was
fuelled by the
desire to pit my limited wits against
the last two remaining members of
the Famous A-Team: the wonderfully
repulsive Parrot and the unit that was
Shoulders. With them both being so
old I was well aware that their time
was limited before they would be off
to join their brethren in the great lake
in the sky, which of course meant my
time to potentially get my hands on
them was also limited. Though Shoulders and the Parrot sat at the very top
of my list of desirables for their sheer
size and history they were certainly
not the best looking or most difficult
to catch, so alongside those two ultimate targets were several others
almost equally desirable. Some were
other Longfield originals and others
were fish such as Dumpy, the Thorpe
Park Common, the Boxer and of
course the stunning Woodcarving
were all fish I dearly wished to catch.
Though I wasn’t fortunate (or skilled)
enough to capture either of my primary targets before their passing, I
was blessed by some of the venue’s
other special ones, one in particular
being the Woodcarving, a fish that
several years prior one carp magazine
had voted as the best looking carp in
the UK.
I’d been fishing Wraysbury 1 and
the Yateley Car Park Lake for the summer into late autumn, managing an
average of two nights a week on each
and was looking forward to more of
the same next season. Unfortunately
my Horton application dropped
through the letterbox that winter
alongside my renewals for the Car
Park and Wraysbury 1. I say unfortunately, but of course it was a letter I
h a d a p p l i e d f o r, w a s e x p e c t i n g
(though not so soon) and desired
greatly. The unfortunate bit was what
it would do to my bank account. Yateley and Wraysbury 1 (which at the
time was on the coverall ticket) with a
few local tickets had taken my previous season’s tickets bill to well over
£700 and adding a Horton ticket
would bump it up to well over a
grand. Hmm, could I justify that? I
was working at a Morrison’s supermarket as a fishmonger with some
nice carpy shifts, which, although it
provided sufficient cash, didn’t leave
much extra, and a Horton ticket was
sufficiently extra to make things
much less luxurious!
It wasn’t only financial issues
either: I had enough on my plate
already with two head-bangers, and
Horton making it three could potentially cause some significant psychological issues. However, because I
already had them by the bucketload,
the main consideration for me was
that should I decide to refuse it, new
rules meant that I’d be put back on
the bottom of what was now apparently a seven-year waiting list, and
just like the Yateley and Wraysbury
originals, I doubted that the Horton
ones had that sort of time left. I’d
fallen in love with Wraysbury 1, and
while I couldn’t honestly say the
same about the Car Park (at the time),
I was more than keen to hold another
of its fish, a bigger, older one. So I didn’t really want to lose any time there,
though the chance for a go at Shoulders soon persuaded me to make the
Spike, my first Church Lake carp.


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