freeline-28 - Page 145

Big Carp Now and Then
starting work with The Tackle Box
and packing up my 14-year job as a
dustman, a job that made me as ‘fit as
a fiddle’ after running around lugging
metal dustbins about all day in an
hurry to get down to the lake. Metal
dustbins? What, no wheelie bins?
Actually no, the only wheelie bins
back then were used in tower blocks,
were made of metal, and were around
four times bigger and about 20 times
heavier than the modern day version.
Oh and most of the wheels were a bit
like those of some supermarket trolleys; they never worked and you were
‘all over the place’ and sometimes
ended up emptying out the contents
in the middle of the road! In a roundabout way I’m very grateful for that
job; it made me very fit, gave me the
ability to go carp fishing early in the
day due to the early finish, made me a
lot of friends and produced a lot of
laughs along the way. Also, I’m fairly
sure it has had a bit of a ‘knock-on’
effect, because at 56 years old, I still
feel as ‘fit as a fiddle’, and proved to
myself in 2011 that I can keep up with
and beat the youngsters by jointly
winning the Carp Angling World
Championships in the USA. That’s
not a ‘knock’ at the youngsters
though by the way; I watch some of
them on DVDs and on the bank and
they are an inspiration and far better
than I was at their age. Let’s just hope
that they’re still enjoying it and still
catching them in 30 years’ time.
Back to 1990… Fishing wise I was
predominantly fishing a lake in the
Colne Valley, which at the time was
probably the best lake in the country,
as well as fishing for a very famous
carp in Kent by the name of ‘She’. I
was totally ‘obsessed’ with carp fishing, so much so that I would reluctantly get up at 2.30 in the morning
and drive 75 miles for a two-hour session before work, and then drive 75
miles back, and then if I could ‘get
away with it’ with my ex-wife, I’d do
the same in the evening after work!
Such is life; I couldn’t do it now and
wouldn’t want to.
I was always on the lookout for new
waters to fish in the closed season
and the only way to find them was
with an ordinance survey map,
because Google Earth wasn’t about
in those days; in fact, I don’t even
think that the Internet was invented
back then… Well if it was, I’d never
heard of it.
And then there was tackle we
used: Tricast, North Western, Sportex
or Conoflex rods, ABU Cardinal 55s
and 57s, or perhaps very early Shimano Seaspin reels and Sylcast main
line, which was a little bit like the
modern day lines, only stronger. There
was no such thing as coated hook link
materials, so we used ordinary nylon,
Dacron or perhaps an early version of
the Kevlar hooklink materials such as
Kryston Silkworm or Supersilk. In fact,
what a lot of people don’t know is that
I sold Supersilk under my own brand
name of Python Braid before Kryston
asked me if they could sell it. I still
think that this is one of the best hook
link braids ever. PVA? Well we had
the Gardner stuff, which was about it.
And lead clip setups where you lose a
lead on the bite? They gotta be joking
– lose a lead? Coated leads? Well,
wrist rocket elastic covered and protected them fairly well. That was until
I found a plastic coating firm that I
used to collect dustbins from, where a
fella sold me some ‘out of the back
door’ for about two quid for about a
two kilos of it. I managed to coat
about 200 of my own leads with it and
then sell the rest of it for about 200
quid profit at The Carp Society’s Dunstable conference – result.
Rigs? Most of the time I would use
ordinary nylon hook links with a
Sprite hook with the ‘hair’ tied from
the bend – no such thing as the knotless knot in those days. Occasionally I
would use a long hook link with a
pop-up suspended anything from mid
water to just below the surface, or a
pop-up on a short link on a helicopter
rig – ring any bells?
And for the creature comforts – a
Fox Supa Deluxe Bedchair, a Coleman
5-season sleeping bag that easily
folded up inside, a Nash Profile
umbrella that was like sleeping
underneath a tea bag, an Efgeeco
Super Seat that housed all of the
tackle, a Coleman stove that regularly
contaminated your hands with the
cheapest lead-free petrol, all of which
could be easily be carried on you
b a c k . A n d f o r c a r p s a f e t y, w e
unhooked them on the grass, never
ever caused them any mouth damage
because we always used barbed
hooks and never used anything like
Kryston Klin-ik or Nash Medicarp
because it wasn’t invented.
Bait? We desperately searched for
the ‘ultimate bait’ – 92 percent protein with a good biological value, vitamin and mineral content and everything else that goes with it. We then
discovered the humble tiger nut and
Richworth Tutti-Fruttis, and the realisation dawned that that we needn’t
drive ourselves mad searching for the
Twenty-three years later, and we
Still enjoying it.

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