FREE-LINE 01.pdf - Page 156



In Search of Monster Carp
saw one, a guy down at Brooklands
came round, Chris his name was; he
was floater fishing, and he said, “Feel
that hook.” I felt it; it was like a little
needle, and he said, “I’ve had four
carp on that hook today, on that one
h o o k a l o n e.” I t h o u g h t C h r i s t
Almighty, he’s had four carp on that
hook, and it’s sharper than all the
hooks I had in my rig wallet. That was
my first experience of the chemically
sharpened hooks, but nowadays, we
just take sharp hooks for granted; it’s
just a matter of which ones you want
to use for which rig.
The early 80’s were the days when
all this was just beginning really,
proper hooks really dedicated to carp.
We were coming up with all sorts of
rigs; it was like an explosion of crea t i v i t y c o m i n g o u t o f e v e r y o n e,
because the hair rig had been
invented, and everyone thought there
was going to be loads more super
rigs, but of course there wasn’t, and
everyone was just making variations.
I used to use this sliding hook link
where it was basically two hook
lengths, PVA’d up and all that so
when the carp picked up the rig, the
hook length slid down. It was a load
of rubbish when I think back, but I
thought I was the nuts using it, and it
was all top secret. It didn’t really
catch me any more carp, but everyone was doing things like that; they
were all searching for their own little
bit of individuality with hooks and
hook lengths. As for leads, a 4oz lead
is quite a standard lead for us to use I
suppose, but back then 4oz leads
were for sea anglers and that was it. I
remember going into Bob Morris’ the
first time I started using 4oz leads,
and all we could do was buy the sea
leads and convert them. I used to buy
these 4oz breakaway leads, clip all the
metal bits off, then drill through the
middle, and put a bit of tubing in to
make them an inline lead. I asked for
these 4oz leads and the bloke said,
“What are you going to use them for,”
and I said, “Carp fishing, to hook them
properly,” and he went right into one.
He was a big bloke as well, so I couldn’t say too much but he was going
nuts, “You’re going to rip the carp up
– that’s not fair,” and I thought Jesus
Christ, I wish I had never bothered,
but that was the sort of reaction people had to 4oz leads on those days.
It was a huge step up in carp fishing gear; it was all getting stronger
156 FREE LINE
and bigger and sharper, and everything in carp fishing that you wanted,
all of a sudden, someone was starting
to make it. The first bed chairs came
onto the market, and we were talking
about this a little while ago – Kevin
Maddocks bed chairs were something like £250-£300, and people
bought them. I didn’t, because I just
couldn’t afford them, but people went
out and paid £300 for a bed chair, and
you know, even now, it seems amazing that they cost that much, but it
was obviously people making a few
bob out of us. People started to realise
that carp fishing was becoming big
business; there was a lot more people
coming into it, and there was a lot
more tackle to be sold. There was an
explosion of baits coming onto the
market too. Rod Hutchinson had been
around donkey’s years even then, and
he had his own bait company that
was quite prolific in those days. I
already mentioned Geoff Kemp, but
there were a lot of them. John Baker
was starting to do his own flavours
and all that, and I seem to remember
they were very good and well
respected.
It wasn’t just the tackle either;
there was also the shows and the
Carp Society magazine, which was
the first magazine I remember reading – a whole magazine dedicated to
carp fishing; it was brilliant. Before
then it was just the odd article that
someone might write in a coarse fishing magazine. I remember John Baker
writing one on bait that I have still got
today, letting out a few secrets on
baits and flavours in Coarse Fisherman – I bought that straight away.
But yeah, you know, the shows and
things like that started, and all of a
sudden you could go to a show and
meet up with carp anglers. Before
that, the only place you would meet
them was on the bank. And there
were the CAA regional organisations,
and the Carp Society, who were in
competition with each other. It was
the CAA that I first joined I think,
because there were a few of the guys
fishing down at Brooklands were
members, so I thought that was the
one to join. I remember walking into
my first meeting, which must have
been over at Enfield, the one run by
Kevin Maddocks. I remember walking
up to the door and thinking bloody
hell, that’s Kevin Maddocks there.
This was a bloke that you had only
seen in magazines and books, and it
was a bit strange to start venturing
out into the carp fishing world, which
was going from a little localised sort
of hobby to a big countrywide thing
all of a sudden, and they were exciting times.
Join us next month as Steve makes
a move to Darenth. n
Early 80’s setup. I was still on the Mitchell 300’s, but at least I’d moved on to the
original Optonic alarms.

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