FREE LINE 03 - Page 163

In Search of Monster Carp
e left Lee last
month as he
first laid eyes
on the Herts
C l u b Wa t e r,
and set off on
his first walk around this fantastic
I started to have a walk around, and
I came across a guy who was fishing
on a swim known as the Sign Post,
but in latter years it became known as
the Lawn. This guy was actually set
up, and I said, “I didn’t think you were
actually allowed to night fish,” and he
said, “Well they turn a blind eye to it
the first night,” but I wasn’t going to
take the chance. One thing that
struck me, while I was standing there
talking to him; I could see a seagull
walking on the lake about 80yds out,
and I thought bloody hell, this place is
something else! Although they were
gravel pits, and I had fished in Kent
before, I had not seen anything like
this. Anyway, I walked round to the
other side and then pretty soon Burns
and Kevin Ellis and the other lads
turned up, Little Pete Ridley, Bendy
Toy; they all turned up, and we plotted where we were going to fish. I
remember Kevin saying he was going
back to his car to get a rod to have a
little cast around. He went back to his
car, came back with his rod, and he
had a brand spanking new, shiny 2oz
lead on the end. He had one cast in
the lake, reeled it in, and it got
snagged up, Christ knows how many
times. He reeled it in and it resembled
a lump of shrapnel on the end; we had
never fished a lake with such severe
Then we had to decide where to
fish. We hadn’t actually seen any
carp, but I decided on a swim we call
the Stick because there was a bar
about 40-50yds out, and there was
this white stick sticking out of it,
which was obviously the branch of a
tree that had blown in from a past
storm or something like that. I
thought it would be a good marker to
fish a static rod over quite a bit of bait,
and the other rod I could fish around
with, as you were only allowed to use
two rods. I put in quite a lot of bait
out; I think at the time I was using the
same milk protein bait with the Dutch
casein. Les Bamford had bought a
load of Grenadine flavouring, or
pomegranate flavouring or something
like that. He bought all the company
had, and I think four of us shared the
flavouring. Anyway, I put a load of bait
out, and off we went to the pub,
which was a real experience, because
it was full of carp anglers. Never
before had I ever experienced anything like it; there were some real top
names in there as well, and I must
admit I was a little bit overwhelmed
by it all. Anyway we got back to the
lake, I think it was about 1am, and the
car park was full, but there were no
anglers in there – everyone was all set
up, and we thought we had missed
out. Well, as our swims were quite a
way down the lake, we walked down,
and the swim I was going to fish was
Around about 10am, Pete Ridley
caught a 21lb’er, which was the first
carp we had seen on the bank from
the place. I actually re-told this story
in your first book, Tiger Bay. By
around about 1pm, after I had put a lot
more bait in, there was a bit of bubbling out where my hookbait was,
and I received a drop back. I looked
out over the lake, where I could see
two tufted ducks, and I thought shit, it
was obviously them, but all of a sudden it just roared off. I had never
known anything like it, because the
fish were snagging on the bars. I got
it in the edge; I saw a little glimpse of
it, and at one stage I actually thought
it was a big tench because of the
Rocky (later to be renamed Tyson).


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