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In Search of Monster Carp
A Layer Pits double. The place was full of carp and the action was like nothing I’d
experienced before. This was one of 19 carp that day.
didn’t like them, which gutted me
after catching a hundred carp on
them at Bulphan Park.
I thought I was going to slaughter
them at Brooklands, but I went down
there and never caught a fish on
them, so I thought well, I’ve got to do
something else here, and everyone
was talking about protein baits,
“You’ve got to have a good protein
bait to catch carp.” Out of the baits
that were on the market then, the one
I went for was Jeff Kemp’s Ultra Mix.
He just seemed to be the main man
around at the time, there were a few
others but Geoff Kemp’s were the
ones that were making the headlines
if you like, so I bought this little bag,
probably about 1lb in weight, and a
little bottle of flavour and that would
have to last me a month or something.
But I do remember using it and catching fish, but all I could do really in
those days was to fish single hook
baits. There was no way I could bait
up with these baits like some people
did, because I just couldn’t afford it.
So I’d have this bag of about 30
boilies, and they would last me the
best part of a month. I remember sitting in the corner one day at Brooklands with the wind blowing in, and
the carp were there. They used to follow the wind all the time at Brooklands, and I caught three carp that
day, all upper doubles, reasonably
good fish for those days. The Brooklands fish were lovely fish as well, all
big, old, scaly things, the old Galician
strain, and they were donkey’s years
old. I remember these guys coming
down, I don’t know who they were,
but they were interested in what baits
I was using, so I showed them this
bag. I think I had eight boilies in there,
and they couldn’t believe it. I said
“Well that’s it, that’s got to last me the
rest of the week yet.” They said,
“You’ve caught three carp today and
you’ve got a bag of ten boilies?” That
was literally all I had, and once I’d
used them, I couldn’t go fishing until I
had saved up for my next bag, but single hook baits were enough to catch
them. I found out that if you could
find the fish, and if you put a good bait
in front of them, you could catch
them. I literally used to go down, and
put two hook baits on, and even if I
caught one, if the bait was still on, I
used it again, and that was the bait for
that day.
I quickly found out there were loads
of different ways of fishing, and loads
of different ways of catching fish; you
had the mixer fishing and the single
hookbait approach, but there were
the people who were using the particles. It all started off with peanuts,
and then gradually went on to tiger
nuts. People would fill the lake in with
peanuts and tiger nuts, and I used to
watch them and think Christ
Almighty, they’re putting in tons and
tons of bait, and they’re only here for
a night, but then by the morning, they
might have half a dozen carp, and it
opened up my eyes a bit. In the early
days, Dicky Cauldwell was the main
one who did that; he was a serious
particle angler. Another guy called
Stalker Dave used to fish at Brooklands all the time, and he was either a
floater fisherman or a particle angler,
that was all he did. If he fished on the
top, he’d wander round with a floater
rod, mixer fishing, and if he fished on
the bottom, he’d fish with peanuts – a
very simple approach, but it worked,
as he caught loads of carp. It was the
thing then that everyone was searching for a new particle, and there were
lots of little blinds going on and
things like that. People would come
up with a new particle, maple peas or
something like that, and keep it under
their hat. I remember someone using
almonds too, and cashews, which
cost a fortune, but you could tell from
the other side of the lake if they were
using cashews because they’d all
come down like little helicopters.
We’d all pretend to sneeze from the
o t h e r s i d e o f t h e l a k e g o i n g, “A
cashew,” and things like that, just to
wind them up because they had a little secret.
New particles were the thing that
everyone was looking for, and I
remember Stalker Dave pulling one of
the best little blinds at the time


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