freeline-22 - Page 219



The Traveller
M
y angling career
started as a
young sevenyear-old on the
River Trent with
my father fishing the weirs on many stretches targeting large chub and barbel. Back
then the rivers were full of big fish
with large shoals of bream to be had
especially for the match anglers. I
remember getting up at 4am, making
sandwiches and a flask of coffee, then
heading down to the river, sprinting
to the best swim right on the weir –
I’ll never forget. This taught me so
much regarding tying baits on. Back
then I was using huge cubes of luncheon meat and Edam cheese (the only
cheese I could get to stay on my size
16 hook) along with casting a 2-3oz
bomb or coffin shaped inline –
remember them? I’d cast around 3040 yards into the fast flowing current.
These were simple tactics, but they
worked. Balls of breadcrumb with
added groundbait, chopped worm or
maggots with lake water to bind it all
up and handballed into my area are
still tactics I use to this day with great
results.
It wasn’t till I was at senior school
aged 15 that I started to target carp in
my local pond, strapping two rods,
banksticks and a brolly to my BMX
with a rucksack full of bait, food and
gas to cook my ravioli or chili. The
largest resident then in my local
ponds called the Duck Ponds in Nottingham was a 23lb mirror. There
were four ponds in total with lots a
big tench and pike to go at in the winter. Weekends sat under a brolly
sleeping on the floor targeting the
carp took up so much of my spare
time, along with ice hockey, which I
eventually had a very successful
career out of, playing over 12 years
pro in the top leagues across the
country. Scoring for the national Great
Britain team against Romania at Nottingham was just one highlight.
My first carp was a 12lb mirror on
Pond 3 of the Duck Ponds. I remember hair rigging a double 14mm
strawberry jam and casting to a large
set of lily pads, catapulting several
pouches of hempseed with a handful
of freebies scattered around the pads
early one evening. A take at 6am the
following morning resulted in my first
carp on the bank. My good friend
Daryl Webster was on hand to help
me weigh the carp, take a photo and
get the carp back. It wasn’t a big
carp, but that one fish had me hooked
for life, and I haven’t looked back
since.
During my ice hockey days most
games were played at the weekend.
The season was from August till April,
which only left me three months of
weekends to get my fishing in. I made
the most of my time on the bank and
took every opportunity I could. Things
got better for me, as I’d passed my
driving test, so this meant me driving
to all the surrounding lakes and rivers
in the Nottingham and Newark area
to catch what was my target – a 20lb
carp. There were lots of 20lb carp in
Sapphire Lakes back then, and on
only my second session I caught my
first 20lb mirror carp. Again I used
simple tactics; a pineapple pop-up
alongside lots of overhanging bushes
and snags. I sprayed two pints of
maggots too, and after a hard fought
battle of 20 minutes my old Browning
2¾lb test 12ft rod was doubled, but
the feeling of me slipping my net
under my first 20 was amazing – the
shakes you get and the butterflies in
my stomach told me everything.
As all carp anglers will tell you,
once you’ve caught one big carp you
30lb 4oz from Swarkstone Reservoir.
FREE LINE 219

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