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Big Carp Now and Then
Big H from Darenth Tip Lake, which featured in the first issue of Big Carp.
abroad in search of the monsters of
Cassien and other waters that were
just becoming known to us. The early
issues of Big Carp covered the stories
of the fishing I was doing at the time
– and good times they were too!
I first met Rob and the rest of the
Famous Five on Fox Pool, and we had
some awesome times, but really it
was when we went onto Farlows and
Harefield that things really started to
change fast! I met Joan and ended up
moving to the Colne Valley, and we’re
still there today. The hair rig had of
course been around for some time,
but at the start of the 1990s the fishmeal boom was still just spreading
across the land. I used to make my
own baits back then and I had one
really good fishmeal bait that caught
everywhere I took it, and Harefield
was no exception. But there were
other ways to catch, and watching
Rob casting single pop-ups to the
horizon was certainly an eye-opener!
It led to me getting my first
microwave (thanks, Joan) and experimenting with pop-ups. It took some
getting right, but once I found the
right mix my catch rates went up dramatically on Farlows and even on
Johnson’s where I had struggled previously. I only wish I’d had them a few
years earlier on Fox Pool! Search
through the tackle shops and bait catalogues now and you won’t find a
microwave pop-up mix anywhere
(believe me, I’ve looked), which I think
is a real shame, and to be honest I
can’t understand why something that
worked so well just isn’t popular any
The social aspect of fishing those
lakes was also a big part of the fishing
back then. It’s more frowned upon
now, but it was just what we did then,
and it was never to the detriment of
the fish. In fact I think we often benefitted from the swim being rested
from lines for a few hours. I don’t do
any of that now – none of us do, but I
wouldn’t change any of those times
for anything.
I’ve had people say to me recently
that they caught a lot more fish back
then, when the rig innovations were
going on and the fishmeal revolution,
but to be honest I’m catching more
fish now, and bigger than I’ve ever
caught before. That could have something to do with more fish being
around, but I think it has more to do
with clearing my mind of all the clutter that comes with carp fishing and
just using rigs and baits that will
catch me carp. I spent so many years
chasing around in circles getting
nowhere really.
Big Carp really offered me my first
chance to write in the magazines. I
had written previously for the Carp
Catcher magazine, but it was more
regular with Big Carp, and it really
was the mag that got everyone talking back then. Perhaps it was my first
After all those years I finally beat my Cassien best with this 63lb 8oz common in
December 2012 – I caught an even bigger one less than a week later!

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