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In Search of Monster Carp
e join Craig
this month as
he tackles
Tolpits in the
Colne Valley,
many of its well-known residents.
I had previously applied for a club
up near Watford called Watford Piscators that many of you will know as
Tolpits, a lovely little place. It’s a complex of waters, but only one lake that
stands out and would attract the carp
angler. There are a couple of small
ponds there for general fishing, but
there is one main lake in particular
that I spoke about with Terry on the
banks of Sutton some years previously, which is documented in his
books. It holds some lovely fish, not
only some monsters, but some very
nice back up 20’s and 30’s.
The big commons in there, the Italian, Lesters, and a fish called Plodder.
Lovely fish, lovely venue, but if you
think it’s strange fishing Sutton,
which is three acres of water with 22
swims, well this lake must be two
acres, and I tell you what, it’s got
more swims than Sutton. It takes a
dedicated angler to put up with
someone chucking a lead out in front
of you when they cast 10-20ft, but if
you want to catch these fish and
enjoy your fishing, you have to put up
with it. I said to myself, I’ll join this
water, and I’ll fish it for a couple of
years, on and off. I wasn’t planning on
fishing it for the whole season; the
idea was to go down there in the
spring for the start of the season to
enjoy the place and the banter. Tolpits
is a totally different to what I am used
to, and has a totally different group of
anglers to what I am used to, who
travel from far afield to get there.
Well, on a typical Friday night, I’d
leave work, and to be honest with you
the M25 is a nightmare. Any of you
who travel that sort of distance up to
various waters all over the country,
and who live in the southeast, have to
go round the M25 for some way at
least. I would have a stressful week at
work, and then I’d go and sit on the
M25 and end up more stressed out
than before – it can take two hours. A
prime example was recently; I’d been
up there to do some work parties on
one of my lakes, and it took me 40
minutes, but I am not joking you, the
longest journey I have had is just over
5½ hours from my house in Dartford
to get to Watford after I got stuck in
an M25 traffic jam. It’s an absolute
nightmare, but something you have to
put up with if you want to fish these
venues, for, as many of you know,
you’ve got to take the rough with the
So I decided to go up to Tolpits. I’d
walked there a couple of weeks previously, and I think a month had gone
by between my being at Birch and
talking to you about this session. I
had been round there, and I hadn’t
actually caught anything, but I had
seen some nice fish. I had noticed
though that it was always rammed, so
I was wondering if I was going to get
a swim. If I remember rightly the previous week, I got one of only two
swims left, and now I knew I was four
or five hours later than I normally am,
through quantity of work and travelling etc. I got up there, walked round
the lake, which only takes 20 minutes
maximum, and realised there was a
swim empty, the Bog Swim. I couldn’t
believe it, but there’s a bloody bog
door 20ft behind where you put your
bivvy – not the nicest of places to be
on a hot summer’s day, as I am sure
you can gather. It’s a lovely little swim
apart from that though, and it does
control quite a bit of water. I was surprised that some of the people were in
the swims they were, and that the
Bog Swim was empty. Had something
gone on in there that day or that week
that I had not known about? Had
someone caught a fish out of there,
Lesters – 41lb 10oz.


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