freeline-27 - Page 186



Made In England
Yatesy’s Redmire 51 and the biggest
known carp at the time was probably
Bazil, which was still only around
mid-forties. Mary had yet to exceed
forty pounds, and Two Tone was a
mere thirty pounder. And to top it all
we’re talking about a common carp,
no specimen of which had ever
exceeded Walker’s 44 (more of that in
a while) and I think maybe only three
had ever been reported over the forty
pound mark. Martin was adamant
that he would not reveal the whereabouts of the lake, although he did say
that it wasn’t a syndicate but a water
open to anybody, and obviously the
specimen hunters of the day, Sir Pete
included, were soon trying to piece
together clues in order to track down
this incredible water. To make it even
harder, Martin had cut the background of the photos out with a pair
of scissors so that no visible clues
were left. As with David, Martin could
surely not have thought that a catch
like this would have quietly drifted
into the annals of history and pretty
soon the knives were out. It turned
out that he’d been to Canada earlier
in the year with his wife, and as his
wife had been the one to take the
photos, two and two were put
together and produced ‘Liar’. Many of
the great names in carp angling were
soon labelling him as such, and he
was soon ostracised from the sport by
many who had once been his friends.
(Top) Such a glorious sight.
(Right) A wall of weed between me
and the carp.
186 FREE LINE
He died a few years ago but never
c h a n g e d h i s s t o r y, a b s o l u t e l y
adamant that the fish were caught
from an English water, but many
wondered whether he’d gone so far
with his lie that to backtrack would
be just as bad as carrying it on.
What made him come to that decision, if it was a lie, nobody will ever
know, but it was a very sad time for a
very well respected angler, and to this
day nobody knows the full story. But
it’s not new, as we know, and for different reasons some people see fit to
manipulate the truth.
There is still a strong suggestion
that Richard Walker’s record carp didn’t weigh the 44lb that it’s recorded
at, and a number of people still maintain that it was smaller. One of the
popular stories is that it actually
weighed 41lb, which was exactly ten
pounds bigger than the record held
by his friend, Bob Reynolds, and as
Dick didn’t want to ‘beat’ Bob by
exactly ten pounds, he changed it. Of
course, he could just as easily have
made the fish 42lb, or even 40lb, but
whether that story is true or not, there
are a lot of people who doubt the
actual weight. The thing is, whatever
he settled on, it was still a massive
carp and well in excess of the record,
but there’s just that lingering doubt…
Chris Yates’ capture of The Bishop
from Redmire was not without controversy itself because, as a member
of the BRFC had not been present
they initially didn’t ‘recognise’ the
capture, nor its place in the British
fish records, but after some time, and
much correspondence, the record
was eventually ratified. Interestingly,
Chris himself was one of the voices
who put doubt on the next record. In
1995 the close season was officially
gone for fishing on lakes, and Roddy
Porter caught a heavily spawn-bound
carp of 53lb 15oz from Mid-Northants
fishery, just three days before the
‘start’ of the old season, and so
claimed the record. The contention
was that, as it was still in the old close
season it shouldn’t count, but then
that point became moot when Alex
White caught the same fish just a day
or so after June 16th, therefore
‘legally’ breaking the record. The fish
weighed 55lb 4oz but died shortly
after that capture, and was eventually
surpassed a year and a half later
when Terry Hearn caught Mary at
55lb 13oz.
Since then only two fish have contested the record – Mary and TwoTone – and to my knowledge there
has been no contention about subsequent captures, but it certainly has
proved an emotive subject.
The need, if that is the right word,
to be seen to catch bigger carp has
become more powerful over recent
years, when carp angling has become
a credible avenue to earn a living in,
and with the coming of the digital age
and applications like Photoshop, it
has become increasingly easy to
‘catch’ carp without leaving your
computer. A few years ago an angler
was exposed in Carp-Talk when he

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