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In Search of Monster Carp
a 50lb fish at one time, or a very high
40lb’er, which was spawnbound. If
there is one place in the whole of the
southeast of England that could
chuck up a monster fish that no one
knows about, that would be it. All the
other reservoirs have got character,
there is history to it, and yes, there is
the unknown, but the Higher Maynard is probably the least fished out of
all the main reservoirs at Walthamstow. You see fish jump, and you think
what the hell was that – it’s sea lions
out in the middle of the lake. It’s
unbelievable water, but at the time I
had never caught any big fish from
there. I had fished the early season,
the odd Saturday and the odd Sunday
with friends, and on this instance, I
went up there on a Saturday too. I had
gone to the gate and queued up as
always; I didn’t actually ever pay a
season ticket, because I wasn’t going
to commit myself to paying £150, as
you’d have to go 15 times to pay for
yourself, so I thought the best way of
doing it was to pay when I went. If
you ended up going more times than
the season ticket cost, then so be it, I
wasn’t really bothered for the sake of
a few quid here and there.
Lower Maynard 34lb.
So I decided to go round the back
on the factory bank. There are some
seriously long chucks; I’ve been up
there with my friend John Carver
many a time and he’s landed on the
other side. Well, a slight exaggeration,
but you know what I mean – he’s a
long chucker. John’s help has definitely given me some knowledge and
some insight on how to cast distances, and I like to think I can chuck
a lead now. I reckon the island has got
to be 120-125yds at the mushroom
end, from the Factory Bank, which is a
long chuck. Obviously you have to
drop your line size, and use shock
leaders. I don’t think I had ever really
used shock leaders, even when I went
over to the Warwick, and caught
those fish out in the open, I was only
using 12lb line straight through. I didn’t use shock leaders at all, but then
John introduced me to them. It’s for
safety of the other anglers on the
other bank as well as yourself; the last
thing you want to do is have a lead to
break free and end up burying itself in
someone on the opposite side. The
biggest lead I have ever used is 4oz,
and if you load up a proper rod and
chuck it in the right way, you can put
a 4oz lead on 10lb line and a 30lb
shock leader a serious, serious distance. I can cast off the floor or overhead, but I’ve never actually measured a cast; I kept saying to John that
we should go down to the field and
measure it, but I never actually did
get round to it because I’m always
fishing or getting ready for a trip.
The Higher Maynard is a big
expanse of water, and if you’re lucky,
you’ve got ten people on it maximum
on a weekend. There are not many
places you can go with big fish in,
where you can get a bit of space on
the bank. There are not many trees or
divisions between anglers, but everyone is courteous to his fellow angler,
and they won’t set up right next door
to you; they’ll give you a length of
bank so you’ve got your own water in
front of you. It averages around the
24ft mark, but shallows up in some
areas. It’s got two big islands in it, one
down the other end, but by the one at
the road end shallows up, so when
you get a fairly bright day or warm
day, the carp going to be are going to
be round the margins of that island;
they have got to be. It’s right out in
the middle of the lake, it’s got loads of


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