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Big Carp Now and Then
haven’t really learnt a thing, or perhaps we have, although getting to the
swim is now a lot more painful with a
Wide Boy bedchair and a sleeping
bag to match, three rods plus a
marker and spod rod, a stainless pod
with all the toys that go with it, an
unhooking mat that is big enough to
sleep in, a bivvy that is big enough to
house the entire population of Luxemburg, and an electric barrow that is
required to do the three journeys
required to get to the swim. Sometimes I’m the angler described above,
most times though I’m what I was in
1990, in the swim, mind at peace with
the world, trying to catch these silly
creature that we call carp with a lump
of plastic on the end, and most of all
I’m out there enjoying myself.
Very well done Rob, my friend.
Here’s to the next 200 issues – see
you in the old people’s home! I know
a good one with a nice lake in the
grounds!
By the way mate, I think you still
owe me 100 quid for the Carp Experience article!
Back to the Future
– Chris Ball
When Rob contacted me about writing a piece for the 200th edition he
mentioned about an ‘eighties carp
fishing metamorphosis.’ Well he ain’t
wrong... and by the time Big Carp was
first published it was indeed a brave
new world. Every single facet of carp
fishing I can think of had changed, be
it bait, rigs, tackle, understanding of
the quarry, the availability of waters,
size of the fish and perhaps the most
62 FREE LINE
long-term aspect, the aspirations and
thoughts of thousands of carp anglers
who found that carp and sometimes
really big fish were very much catchable.
In the early 1990s I was still in the
print trade and on the road selling
computer typesetting equipment. My
working patch had been for some
years central and western London
stretching as far west as Slough. This
I used to my advantage for it gave
access to the likes of the Colne Valley
and when travelling further south I
ended up in the Staines area – which
just happened to be where many of
the big carp lived! Over the years, and
in particular the close season, my job
enabled me to get to know places
lake Wraysbury No 1 and Longfield,
plus Savay, Harefield, Pit 4, Rodney
Meadows etc during the mid to late
1980s. For the seasons of 1989 and
1990, Savay was the place I tried my
hand. Though I knew the late Peter
(Above) Part of the Cottage Bay at
Savay.
(Below left) One of the many
Claremont carp caught on mixer from
the Cottage Bay. I wonder what it
weighs now.
(Below right) This old Savay warrior
was caught from the Gate swim.
Broxup for some while before, it was
only when I asked about a season day
ticket did I first do any ‘business’ with
him. I knew it wasn’t going to be
plain sailing, for my name had by then
a firm association with floater fishing;
indeed I remember some jokes about
this at a Carp Society conference
within earshot of Pete with people
remarking, “Pete don’t like floater fishing at Savay.”
So with those thoughts firmly in my
mind, I rang Pete to discuss a ticket.
My waffling was soon cut short with
Pete’s gruff-sounding voice announcing, “You aren’t thinking of doing that
Chum mixer fishing, are you?” “Well...





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