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In Search of Monster Carp
(Left) Lockey and me taking on the
world in Romania.
(Below) On the scoreboard at
Horseshoe.
of sense. Anyway, the following morning, I had this fish of about 25-30lb
jumping on my close in rod. All morning it was jumping, but I just couldn’t
get a bite. I reeled it in, changed the
boilie for a peanut, cast it back out on
the same spot, and within 10-15 minutes off it went. I don’t know why, but
instead of doing my normal thing of
playing it really hard (I mean, I had
strong tackle and everything), I
decided to do what Ritchie had said,
and I completely slackened off on it.
Ritchie said they come up on the surface and you can land them easily
then. Well I slackened off a little bit,
and this fish went through so many
weedbeds, it was a joke, and I lost it. I
think I did about four more nights on
Longfield after that. I never actually
managed to land another one, but I
hooked two more carp on two more
occasions. It’s a fantastic water, but
obviously years later they lost the
fishing on there, the fish got transferred to Horton, and that was a little
bit of carp fishing history gone as far
as I was concerned.
One fairly important water that I
haven’t mentioned is Cotton Farm.
It’s very near to the Dartford Crossing,
very near to the Thames. Cotton Farm
was a water that was run by Gerry
Savage. Once upon a time, I think the
lake was probably around about 15
acres, big and open. I don’t think it’s a
gravel pit, as there’s not much in the
way of gravel bars in there, but for
whatever reason it was dug it was
around about 15 acres, and I fished it
in the early years. I can remember the
story of Alan Smith and Robin Munday poaching it, and getting caught
by the bailiff and the bailiff, who actu-
166 FREE LINE
ally cut Alan’s rod in half with a pair of
secateurs. They decided not to take
the proceedings any further, because
if it had have gone to court they
decided the bailiff would have come
off worse. By this time I had started
working for the Tackle Box; I had
spent 14 years as a dustman, and
always knew that at some stage the
job would change. We got away with
it for years, starting work at 7.30am,
and sometimes we had finished by
8.30am, depending on where we were
going fishing in the afternoon. The
council offered redundancy pay, and I
decided to take a chance, take my
£8000 and move on in life. So, by this
time I was working for the Tackle Box
part time on Saturdays, and really
enjoyed it, mixing with anglers all the
time, and passing on a few tips and all
that. Anyway, when I packed up the
dust, I was working for Gary and
Kevin during the week a little bit as
well, and Gary said to me one day,
“You’re not interested in working for
us full time are you?” I said “Well to be
honest with you, you’ve never asked,
but if you tell me how much you’re
going to pay me, I know how much I
need to live on, and I’ll say yes or no.”
So they said they’d pay me blah, blah,
blah, to which I said, “Yes,” and that
was probably the best move I have
ever made. My ex-missus was a little
bit put out about it, because now I
was on the phone about fishing all the
time, sitting there tying up rigs or
making bait all the time, and now my
whole life was carp fishing. But at the
e n d o f t h e d a y, I t h i n k s h e h a d
resigned herself to the fact that that’s
how I make a living. I was not trained
as an engineer or a plumber or anything like that; I’m a fisherman, and
this is what was putting food on the
table and paying the mortgage. Gary
and Kevin are two great lads, and

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