freeline-22 - Page 94



Rotary Letter
computer and do this sort of thing. I
know that Sean’s been giving him a
little bit of a hand with it, but I’m
totally in agreement with a lot of
things. I’m going to find that I will be
in agreement with a lot of what these
guys are saying. One thing I did pick
up in Jon’s last piece was about these
big commons being caught in a full
moon. I don’t know quite where this
has come from; I hope it’s not from
the fact that I said I caught three big
commons on a full moon, because I
don’t associate commons with full
moons at all, or new moons, or any
other particular moon phases. But
obviously some big commons have
been caught over the years when
there’s a full moon or a new moon,
and, as commons are sometimes
quite elusive creatures, maybe only
getting caught once or twice a year;
maybe they’ve made the headlines
and been under that full moon banner.
But I totally agree with Jon there that
it’s not specifically with commons
that these moon phases work; it’s
with all sorts of carp – commons, mirrors and leathers alike.
Now I’ve got a little extra bit that
will be in the Big Carp Rotary Letter.
The Rotary Letter is not open to
everybody, and I don’t want loads of
people writing stuff in for the Rotary
Letter. I need to keep it small otherwise it takes over the magazine like it
did last time I did it with Terry and Co.
We started off with about four of five
of us doing the Rotary Letter, and it
ended up with about 20 contributors,
and the whole magazine was the
Rotary Letter. Whereas a lot of people
like the Rotary Letter, it can’t all be
Rotary Letter. Some people like other
stuff too, so I have to try and have different subjects in the magazine every
month. But an old friend of mine, Bill
R o w l e y, g i a n t c a r p c a t c h e r a n d
explorer from the frozen north, has
been studying moon phases with a
friend of his. He kindly sent me down
a little graph of catches based on the
different moon phases and results
that he’s had over the years. He’s got
a very unique style of writing, which I
really like. He won our article of the
year competition for the north way
back in about 1992 I think it was, and
has been reading Big Carp every
month since. (Terry Hearn won it for
the south by the way). Obviously he’s
read the magazine every month since,
but Bill’s kindly sent a little bit in, and
94 FREE LINE
as it was very relevant and quite
interesting, I thought I would include
it on this one instance in the magazine. But don’t think this means the
door’s open for everybody to write
something in; I really do need to keep
it limited to a certain number of pages
each month.
Ed Betteridge posed a question a
couple of issues ago about carp
matches and I haven’t responded to it
because my views on carp matches
have changed over the years. Many
people will know that my angling
background is match fishing; I have a
whole cabinet full of trophies and
medals and great big silver cups and
stuff I won in match fishing years ago.
I fished for the Vauxhall Club and the
l o c a l l e a g u e, t h e n t h e E m b a s s y
league, which was very popular at the
time, and also in the national finals. I
fished about four national finals and
of course I loved match fishing. I
started carp fishing around about
1968, the same time I was match fishing and the two were totally separate.
Match fishing was all about the
money. Obviously you’re put in a spot
and you don’t go off and find the fish,
which is what I loved about carp fishing right from the beginning.
Match fishing is very political and
you get people cheating, trying to win
the money and this sort of thing,
which you don’t seem to get with
carp fishing. There was a period of a
few years where I did both carp fishing and match fishing and then gave
up match fishing when I got very disillusioned with the political side of it.
I then just carried on my carp fishing
with the solitude and the location of
the fish being an important factor – all
the sorts of things I loved. Then again
some years ago, probably 20 years
ago now, I was invited to fish one of
the first ever carp fishing matches at
Horseshoe Lake where quite a few
matches are held now. It was the
same old thing really and somebody
cheated, but I don’t want to go into it
all now. There was a big scene with
people crying and fighting and I
thought this is why I gave up match
fishing in the first place. I wanted to
get away from this sort of thing and
made a stand that I wouldn’t get
involved in any more carp matches
from that point on.
Match fishermen keep all their fish
in keep nets – hundreds of pounds of
them in one keep net – and they tip
them into a grid to have them
weighed. There’s no concern given
for the fish, and when the weighing
tray is tipped back into the river after
the weigh-in, you can see dozens of
fish belly up, floating down the river,
and a big pack of seagulls a little bit
further downstream diving down eating all the dead ones as they float
along. It’s totally opposite to carp fishing. I know we don’t kill them in carp
matches; I’m not saying we do, and
we don’t use keep nets, but there is a
big difference between them and regular carp fishing. That’s how I felt for
quite a number of years until a guy
called Scott Grant got me involved
with a fishing match that he was
doing in aid of Great Ormond Street.
You teamed up in pairs and there was
a leader board where people were
moving up and down as fish were
caught and you’d get that sort of
adrenaline thing. To be honest, they
were such a great bunch of guys at
Geezer Grant’s charity match that
I’ve done it for the last five or six
years. It’s a great event; in fact my
partner, John, and I have won it two or
three times and we’ve had some
great banter down there. It seems to
be the same old guys with only one or
two changes every year, but we didn’t
have it last year unfortunately. Geezer
decided to call it off as he had a few
problems of his own and couldn’t take
care of it, which was a bit of a shame
really. I’m not too sure whether it’s
going on this year or not, but if it is

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