FREE-LINE 01.pdf - Page 145

In Search of Monster Carp
catch; I was only 14, so two years out
of 14 was a long time. It was probably
the hardest thing I ever did up until
that point in my life; it just got the ball
rolling, and I was a hardened carp
angler then. It was very difficult to
compete with all these other guys,
because it was the lake where everyone in the country had been; Jack
Hilton had been there, and Rod
Hutchinson, all with the best baits,
and I was trying to compete with
luncheon meat. Looking back, it was
like float fishing a worm now on
Savay – alright, you might catch one,
but you’re up against it really. But that
was what got me going, it really
started the ball rolling. It was the only
carp I caught that year, because we
still had the closed seasons in those
days, so since it was March, I only
had two weeks left of the season.
So the closed season came, and I
planned to do the opening night of
the next season. I had never fished a
night in my life up until then; it was
all just day fishing. My Dad used to
drop me off in the morning like I said,
and then pick me up, and I said to him
I really wanted to do the first night of
the season. My parents weren’t too
keen, but went along with the idea
anyway. I remember walking round
Brooklands, and there was an area
called the Slaughter House where all
the carp seemed to be in the closed
season, so that was where I had
planned to fish. I remember setting up
the day before, June 15th, getting all
my gear sorted out, and next door to
me was this bloke setting up who I
had never seen before. It turned out
his name was Dennis Davis, who was
one of the real up-and-coming guys
in the Darenth Valley at the time, and
in later years he went on to fish Fox
Pool with Colin Swaden and you
know, caught a lot of the big fish
there. He was one of the top guys at
the time, but I didn’t know him yet; he
was just a nice guy, and he was
friendly enough.
So the first night of the season
came and I caught one on my cube of
luncheon meat again, which was 8lb
8oz or something like that, and Dennis had two- a 13lb’er and a 19lb 10oz.
I remember the weight, 19lb 10oz,
because it was huge, 19lb in them
days was big, and 20lb really was
almost like a 50lb now, that unachievable target. It was great; we had a
picture taken together. My dad came
down in the morning and took a brace
shot of us. I used to pop round and
see him a lot; he was a good guy, and
he knew a hell of a lot. He didn’t tell
me any of his baits – none of them
did, but he was nice, and he helped.
He gave me a few little pointers. I
(Top left) A mid-double mirror from
the famous ‘Stake Point’ swim at
(Top right) One of three carp caught
one chilly autumn morning when I
‘discovered’ sweetcorn.
(Right) Returning a Brooklands mirror
caught during the drought of 1976.


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