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In Search of Monster Carp
I bought some new Hutchy rods and christened them with this 26lb 2oz mirror.
about 20 or 30 peanuts I suppose, and
I would cast that out on one rod and
where it landed, I would cast my
hookbait right next to the spod. I
think my hookbait was a peanut with
perhaps a little bit of cork or something on it. Basically it was one of the
early balanced rigs, or a bit of a popup. Actually it was probably a pop-up
back then, thinking about it, with a bit
of cork to hold the peanut up. I think I
caught 19 carp that day; I had never
known anything like it. The other two
were gutted because they had taken
me down there, I was stuck in the
middle, and I think the one to the left
of me blanked, and the other one to
the right of me had two. He got the
hump so much he ended up moving
round the other side of the lake,
because every time I cast this little
spod out, the rod was going off all the
time. It was only a day session, and I
landed 19. I lost a few as well, so I
probably hooked 25 carp, but that
was the difference the old particles
could make; they absolutely loved
them. None of the fish were big; there
were some big carp in Layer Pits,
because I remember Zen catching a
mid-30mirror or something like that,
and commons of around 30lb. They
had spawned really heavily years
before, and that was where all these
little carp had come from. They had all
grown on from low to upper doubles I
suppose, somewhere in that range,
and it was unbelievable, just like
being let loose in a sweet shop, do
you know what I mean? I’d cast out
and it was just going off, I was loving
it, and they just wouldn’t talk to me in
t h e e n d, b u t i t w a s g r e a t f u n ,
absolutely great fun.
I suppose the thing I haven’t covered too much yet is all the gear we
were using in those days really – the
rigs and the tackle. It’s changed a lot
from back then; I mean it had already
changed a lot from the 70’s when I
started through to the early 80’s, and
y o u k n o w, m o s t o f t h a t g e a r i s
unrecognisable today with what
we’ve got now. I suppose I notice it
even more being involved with a
tackle company. There are loads of
tackle companies about now and
we’re just one of them, but the materials, the gear that we’ve got at our
disposal now it just such a far cry
from what we had in those days. As
for bedchairs, it was still Argos bedchairs, which were the only thing we
had to sleep on. Well, it was either a
lilo or an Argos sun-lounger. They
came in blue or red, and I suppose it
was a bit like the old yellow bottle
tops from the years before; if you had
a red one, you were a bit of a noddy.
The blue one was the one to be seen
with, because it wasn’t so lairy I suppose, but people used to camouflage
them all up themselves and spray
them. That was what we had to contend with then; it was just before the
real tackle revolution, which was just
starting to happen then really. Probably the biggest revolution in carp fishing happened around the early 80’s.
The invention of the hair rig was the
major thing that brought so many
people into carp fishing. We caught so
many more carp, and people who
were really struggling to catch carp
before then could all of a sudden go
down and catch loads, as suddenly
carp were really easy to catch, all
because of the hair rig.
But there was a lot of things going
on then, like hooks for instance. Leading up to that point, there were probably only three or four patterns of
hooks that were worth using for carp;
you had the old Jack Hiltons, or the
O’Shaughnessy salmon hooks that
you used to cut off and put a solder
blob on, just to have a reasonable
strong carp hook, and there were the
Au Lion d’Ors, which were French
hooks. They were one of the two patterns that had an in-turned point, and
they were good hooks. There was
another pattern called the Speed
Barb, which was a stainless version,
and they were one of my old
favourites. Then there were the Sundridge Specimen hooks, which were
rubbish; everything used to fall off on
them, the points were blunt, and it as
like using an old paperclip or something. As soon as you bent into a fish,
they used to just straighten out, but I
used to use them all the same – I
didn’t know any better in those days.
But then the first chemically sharpened hook came onto the market,
which was the Kamasan. They were
very fine wire hooks, but actually needle-sharp. I remember the first time I
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