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In Search of Monster Carp
I’ve got all my mates here, my fishing
all that – I ain’t going to Burton on
Trent. They said, “Well, we’re going,”
and I thought, well I’m not, so I left
home. Looking back, I had no doubts
in my mind that that was what I was
doing, but I was only 16, I had just left
school and I left home. I mean, I coped
alright, but it was obviously very difficult. I had to find a job and somewhere to live and all that, and of
course fishing went out the window. I
didn’t even know where I would be
living from one week to the next, so
there was no chance whatsoever of
carting round a load of fishing gear
and all that. And of course, there were
girls around, and when you’re 16, do
you want to look at a nice girl or a
carp? We’ve all been there, but you
can only do so much with the carp
can’t you?
So the fishing went out the window
properly for about two maybe almost
three years, but I did still go a few
times in between all that time. I
moved around, did various things,
then met a girl that I sort of settled
down with a bit more, and you know,
my thoughts started to switch back to
a bit of fishing again, like they do
once you’ve got a little bit more secu-
rity and a roof over your head. One of
the guys I used to go to the pub drinking with, said “I’m doing the odd
night here and there down at Brooklands, why don’t you come down and
do a night with us?.” So I thought
yeah, that sounds good. So I did a few
odd overnighters with him, and I
remember one morning getting this
run and hooking this fish, and thinking that feels good. I got it in and well
there was good and bad news to it.
The good news was it was one of the
biggest fish in the lake, but the bad
news was that it was foul-hooked. I
was absolutely gutted, because it was
certainly one of the two or three
biggest fish in the lake at 27lb 12oz,
and it was one of the fish that I had
always dreamed of catching that I
thought I never would catch. It would
have been my first 20lb’er, a personal
best, and all that, but it was foulhooked, and I thought to myself, is
there much point in really going fishing because the chances are I might
never catch a bigger fish than that. So
it was a real high and a low, a real disappointment. I forgot it for a couple of
months, but the urge just stays with
you, and it stayed with me. I started
(Top) A winter capture that brought
me my 100th carp of the year – and the
old tank suit was still going strong!
(Left) Back at Brooklands late in the
season and ready to launch a stringer.
148 FREE LINE
venturing out a little bit more on my
own again, and that was it, before
long I was a carp angler again.
I seem to remember one of the
things around that time was that I
bought myself a moped, a Honda 90. I
mean it was horrendous looking back
now; it was like an old man’s bike, one
of those with the leg shields and all
that, and everyone took the micky out
of me, but it gave me my first bit of
independence. My girlfriend at the
time hated it, and everything to do
with fishing. People used to ring me
up to talk about fishing, and she
would either put the phone down or
say, “There’s an angler on the phone
for you,” or something. She hated it,
like they do, but I suppose I sprang it
on her a little bit by surprise. But that
was it; I was back down to Brooklands doing day sessions again. I’d go
down there at first light, probably
about 5am, and stay the day or whatever, and it was still quite tough
going. I remember one thing that
changed then was that a couple of
the guys I used to go out drinking
with said, “Oh, we’ve got a mate over
in Essex, he’s got a little lake he goes
to, and it’s got loads of carp in. He
wants to know if we’ll go over for a
day.” So I thought that sounds alright,
somewhere different, I’d never fished
any of the other waters. So we went
over there, and it was called Bulphan

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