FREE LINE 03 - Page 102

Small Carp from Small Rivers
weed. I caught one on floating bread
crust, a dark and gnarly old mirror,
only small, but I was more than
My river carping began after that
sighting but still over a decade ago
(bloody hell) when I was working for
Quiet Sports Fisheries based at the
Suffolk Waterpark. A place of much
note for any interested in big river
carp, the complex was Dippy the
wandering mirror’s final feeding
ground before it entered the adjacent
River Gipping. Dippy made headlines
(having been caught by Ted Head at
46lb 8oz in 1995) and became
arguably Britain’s record river carp – a
massive fish nationwide at the time,
let alone from Suffolk and running
water. Before she was relocated to the
Snake pit in Essex, almost certainly
by a long way, Suffolk’s biggest
“accessible” carp was at that point in
the tiny River Gipping. Sadly I was too
young to get involved, and to be fair
was totally oblivious being around
twelve years old. Some older friends
recall sightings of a “beach ball” waddling up the narrow river, and I’ve
been fortunate enough to meet some
who caught her from the river, or even
at double figures and from her original
“designated” venue. Alas, a bit before
my time, but it must have been exciting stuff, and even now it would be an
utterly immense fish for the area.
Dippy had obviously not been too
traumatised and was now getting
hounded at the Snake Pit.
I’d finished college, was back home,
and working on the fish farm at the
time. After passing close by several
other pits, the Gipping flows around
the back of the Waterpark, so after
work on sunny days (when not
angling) I would often set off on walks
hoping to stumble upon a sighting.
Pike, perch, chub, bream, tench, roach
– they were all there! The difference
between walking rivers and lakes
became apparent, teased ever further
on by what might be around the next
bend then having walked as far as I
could face, turning around and realising I had to do it all again! But there
was always hope (whatever happened to Dippy’s Mate?), so on it
went, and to date I have never even
seen one carp in that stretch! No
doubt there are some there and some
have been caught, but not by me!
Dippy was of course huge before she
went into the river, and considering
that the whole Gipping Valley has
found it difficult to produce forty
pound carp the likelihood of a larger
one being caught from the river is
negligible. To be fair, even a genuine
Gipping thirty pounder would be gobsmacking news. Personally I feel a big
carp (the realistic target) for the River
Gipping would be a twenty-plus, so
there lays the bar. Hell, even a double
would do! Of course I would love to
be proven wrong, but my lack of
sightings, and carpless sessions
eventually dented my enthusiasm.
On one of my evening sessions to
the Gipping with a mate I’d plotted
up in a very carpy looking swim
tucked between two large overhanging trees. I’d had a lead about, and by
far the nicest area in the swim was
just to my right and felt to be a very
clean soft/silty spot. Of course I chose
to put a rig on it and when the time
came to reel in and pack up I discovered just why it had felt so soft.
Immediately upon picking up the rod
I could feel I was snagged, which sur(Top) Stour mirror, my river PB.
(Left) Stour common.


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