FREE LINE 03 - Page 218



In Search of Monster Carp
camera,” he said. I said, “I tell you
what, I’m pleased that you’re here so
you can take some good photos for
me.” So he went and got his camera,
and I had my video camera as well. I
wanted to get it on video, so we set
that up on the tripod, and started taking a few of these photos. Of course, I
was concerned about the fish; I didn’t
want him to be out of the water too
long, so we took a few shots on my
camera and a few on Richard’s, and
just let the video do itself. Well, Mick
was snapping away, used up a whole
film, and I thought, I’m going to have
some real good photos here. Anyway,
we took it round where they used to
go in swimming, the sandy bit, so I
could put it back there, and I think
Richard videoed me putting it back.
When I got it out of the sack and held
it for the camera, it looked enormous,
and he said to me, “Where are we
Pete, are we in the South of France or
are we at Wraysbury?” in his northern
accent and slipped it back. I was well
pleased to know that I was spot on
with my weight. A few days later I
had a phone call from this Micky
Tompkins, who said, “You ain’t going
to believe it, Pete, but that was a new
camera I was using, and not one of
those photos came out!” Luckily
enough I had a few come out on my
camera, but I thought it’s Sod’s Law.
He was really, really gutted, and he
was frightened to phone me up, but
that was that. So that was the first
time I had it.
About a year later, there was a guy
called Dave Cumpstone who was
fishing on there, and we were chatting, and he had been fishing for eels
and all sorts. I remember I took Chris
Haswell over there to see Wraysbury,
or he and Kenny might have come
round while I was there, and we saw
this Dave Cumpstone catch a pike on
the opposite bank. Chrissy said, “Oh
let’s go round and see him.” Well, by
the time we had got round there Dave
was cooking it up, but I got chatting
to him. He never really used to take
photographs, but he had one of these
Polaroid cameras, and now and again
he would take one. He said to me,
“I’ve been looking through my photos, and I’ve got a feeling that 45lb’er
is one that I had at 28lb a couple of
years back.” He said he’d bring the
photos down, and of course when he
brought the photos down, it was only
a little Polaroid of it lying on the floor,
218 FREE LINE
but it was the same fish. I wondered
where it had come from, and apparently there were four fish put in there
from Rayners. Rayners was supposed
to be filled in, and someone who I
know caught four fish and put them
in, and it turned out that was one of
them, which turned out to be called
Mary. Then there was Mallin’s and
Cluster, and there was another one,
but the only person who caught that
one was Chris Ball off the top one
year. It’s funny because those fish
piled on the weight – that Mallin’s
fish was about 21lb the first time I had
it, and then a couple of years later I
had it at 34lb.
I could never understand why they
called it Mallin’s fish, because he only
caught it once, I think. There were
some good fish in there, and it’s funny
because Mary’s Mate was one of the
original fish, but they called it Mary’s
Mate because it used to swim around
with, and come out quite often with,
Mary. Mary’s Mate was a really long
fish, and I heard there was another
one they called the Hoover, which
was exactly the same, and they were
like peas in a pod. I’ve caught them
both at about 26lb, or I’ve had them
Sonning Eye.
both at 32lb, in the same season; they
always put on the same amount of
weight. But that one we called
Hoover (when I was catching them
they didn’t have names) went missing
for a couple of years or more. If I
caught one, I’d catch the other one,
and I remember I was beginning to
think that it had died. Then I was sitting there one day, fishing a spot, and
I had my baits about a foot from the
bank, on this little gravel spot under
this bush. I was due to be packing up,
and Richard Skidmore was there, and
someone else. But anyway, we were
packing up, and I had this take and I
hooked this fish, and I could see it in
this gin clear water. It was up and
down, and it turned out to be the one
they called the Hoover, and it was
36lb I think, something like that, and I
was over the moon to see that it was
still alive. I think we were all going off
to breakfast, and they came round to
photograph the fish for me before we
went.
I did have one other fish that was
like that, but it was only about 1617lb, exactly same as those two.
When I first fished for carp on there,
there was a 40lb’er swimming about

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