FREE LINE 03 - Page 111

In Search of Monster Carp
32lb – Birch
but I think even he will agree there
was nothing of that magnitude in
there. I went on to catch a couple of
other fish that day too, so that was
one hell of a session. It was my first
ever time seriously fishing the Warwick.
I went back the following week,
and I wondered if I could do any better. I knew they had transferred a few
fish from the Lockwood, one being
the fish that I am just going to mention to you. I fished up the opposite
end this time, and the wind was a
southerly, smacking right up to the
top of the slope. To be totally honest
with you, I couldn’t be bothered to
walk down the other end. I think I had
just got over a cold or something, and
I didn’t feel that well. After 2½ miles
of walking with your gear, it’s not the
easiest thing, and I knew I had to get
back the following night. I didn’t feel
that great, but I was still on a buzz
from the week before when I’d caught
the other fish. I went into the first
swim when I came up the slope; I cast
out, the day went on, but I didn’t have
anything, and I didn’t actually see any
fish. I think at the time the gates
closed around the eight o’clock mark,
or it might have been nine o’clock,
I’m not too sure. Anyway, I had a take
about an hour before I was going to
pack up. Again, it was a bloody steam
train and honestly, as long as I have
been fishing, and I’ve caught a lot of
fish from these reservoirs now since
then, I have never hooked anything
like these two fish, Fungus the named
fish, and then this other thing. Now
I’d heard rumours of a leather, and at
the time you had only two or three big
leathers in the country – obviously
I had caught a
fish of a lifetime,
and still to this
day, 15-17 years
later, I have never
caught a bigger
the famous leather from the Car Park,
and then you’ve got the Frogmore
leather that had done 40lb, but leather
carp are more rare even than common
carp. Now I explained earlier on that
you don’t catch many commons, and
I had caught my first 30lb’er the previous season, but now I thought, hang
on a minute, I think there’s a chance
of catching a leather in here, so let’s
give it a go. So I slipped the net under
the fish, it had a pale back, and I had
never seen a leather carp before.
When you see the photos, honestly, it
is an unbelievable fish, there is nothing like it; you can see the ribs down
the side, and it was like a massive
bream. That fish weighed 35lb 4oz,
and unless I ever get a chance to fish
somewhere like the Car Park in later
years, I am never going to catch a bigger leather. It’s a proper English fish,
and some serious, serious anglers
have caught that in the Lockwood. I
know there was a bit of controversy
about it in the first days, because people were saying, well hang on a
minute, it was in the Lockwood, and it
has been transferred over. I don’t
know why it was transferred over, but
there were a lot of fish transferred
over to the West Warwick at that time
for one reason or another. They may
have drained it, I don’t know, but as
far as I was concerned, I had caught a
fish of a lifetime, and still to this day,
15-17 years later, I have never caught
a bigger leather. What a memorable
catch; I will never forget it – it was
To be honest with you, once I had
caught that, I didn’t go back to the


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