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In Search of Monster Carp
(Above) My second carp ever!
Captured on June 16th 1974 at
Brooklands. Alongside me is Dennis
Davies with the biggest of two fish
that he landed on opening night.
(Below) Returning a carp in 1974, note
the high rods, and you can just make
out the yellow bottle top indicators.
where all my stuff was, but I was getting boxes of pictures out that I
hadn’t seen for years, and some that I
thought I had lost. in the end it actually took me three days to sort all
these pictures out; I knew there were
pictures somewhere of certain fish,
and I just had to find them. I’ve actually ended up finding most of them, so
it’s been really good to go through
them myself, and actually relive the
old memories, and it’s nice to relive
them with you now.
Going back to the real beginnings;
it was my dad that got me fishing
years ago, and I can still remember
the first fish I ever caught – a minnow
from in the stream just up from Horton Kirby, the River Darenth that runs
down behind there. I’ve been back
there a few times and had a look, and
it’s still the same as it was then. There
was a little weirpool there, and my
Dad tried to get me interested early
on. We’re talking early 60’s here when
I was very young, and it was probably
mid to late 60’s when he actually got
me to hold a fishing rod, and then I
caught these minnows. I can still
remember now seeing the float go
under, and not believing how hard
these little fish were pulling on the
other end. It was the first fish I had
caught and I thought, Christ a little
fish like that can pull quite hard, and I
really enjoyed it. I think my dad was
getting a bit fed up because I caught
about a hundred minnows and he had
to unhook them all for me because I
couldn’t do it. I can remember him
saying, “Yeah, we’ll have to move on a
bit and teach you to catch some roach
or something that doesn’t bite as
often as minnow.” But it got me
hooked from that day, and I thought
yeah, I like this, it’s good fun.
So I carried on fishing with my dad
and fishing various waters, all local
stuff. My dad used to be a sheet metal
worker, and he worked right next to
Brooklands Lake. His factory window
actually overlooked the lake, so he
was always around fishing anyway,
and he loved it, but we could never
fish Brooklands Lake because he didn’t like spending money. I think it was
25p for a day ticket on Brooklands,
and he said, “No, no, we’ll go and fish
the river over the back because it’s
free.” But I used to enjoy it, catching
gudgeon and things like that, and
then it moved on a little bit. The first
fish that really excited me were pike,
as carp were out of the question then;
I was too young and they were just a
fish that other people caught. So pike
were the first fish that one, I could
probably catch, and two, they were
big and they looked awesome, with
big teeth and all that. I used to cut out
all the pictures in the Anglers Mail
and Angling Times, and stick them all
over my wall, and I used to wake up
looking at all these pike. The River
Beult in Kent where I caught my first
pike, on a Dartford District Angling
and Preservation Society water, and
they are still going now. They had this
bit of river down in Kent; we went
down there and I remember fishing
little live baits on a pike bung, and I
caught two pike. They were the first
pike I had ever caught in my life, and
that was it, I was a pike angler for a
few years. I suppose I must have been
about eight or nine years old then.
This was late 60’s, and pike dominated for a few years.
We moved on, and I joined Dartford
Club as a junior. My dad was a member as well, and we used to go down
there pike fishing. I always remember
seeing these carp anglers down there;
there were always carp anglers
FREE LINE 141

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