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Big Carp Now and Then
carp from the station pits were successfully netted (when Ian Welch was
in charge of RMC Angling) and
moved to the remaining Frimley pits
further down the valley, which were
renamed Pit 1-4.
Also another local hunting ground,
Hawley Lake on Army property, drew
me back. I’d fished it some years earlier, but Savay, Longfield and Wraysbury had drawn me away. Anyway,
during the later part of the 1990/1
season, I went back and looked under
the rhododendrons and started seeing fish. But these appeared to be
small ones, and some enquires
revealed that youngsters had/were
moving carp from the nearby Basingstoke canal. One day when I
brought a rod with me I got mirror to
take mixers confidently right under
the rod top. It looked around 11lb12lb and I put a mixer on its nose and
soon had it thumping its tail in the net
– it weighed 12lb.
However, when I visited on the last
day of the season (14th March 1991)
there was a much bigger fish about.
After a little while I saw it take a
mixer under the canopy of rhodies
and after a few more minutes take
another in more open water. Deftly
dapping a mixer close to the fish
resulted in it lunging forward, which
resulted in a massive swirl followed
by the rod violently yanked almost
from my grip. I hung on and amid
(Top) Totally immaculate St
Lawrence common.
(Right) You can meet a strange sort of
angler when in Canada!
much crashing around, the fish was
bundled into the net. It turned out to
be a 31½lb mirror that measured
36¼in from nose to the tip of the tail.
A magical Donald Leney Surrey Trout
Fa r m G a l i c i a n c a r p b a b y o f 5 i n
stocked in 1956, and at the time when
I banked it, one of the largest winter
surface caught carp.
In 1991 my first book was published (with co-author Brian Skoyles)
called not surprisingly Floater Fishing, which became a little handbook
for would-be surface fishermen. By
1993 I had my second book published,
The King Carp Waters, which charted
the exploits of Donald Leney’s ‘soft
spot’ for carp that provided the very
foundation of big (and beautiful) carp
of this country. The book met with
good reviews and now 20 years later
(this October) though out of print, it
still commands decent prices on auction-style websites.
My world changed (forever) when
in June 1994, I, along with Tim Paisley
and Kevin Clifford, formed a company,
Carp Fishing News Ltd, which published the first new angling weekly
news magazine for 20 years, CarpTalk. This massive commitment had,
not surprisingly, a detrimental effect
on my fishing for a year or two as we
worked hard to get the business
established. All my friends in the carp
world were called upon as far as news
stories (some exclusive ones) and
advertising business was concerned.
But it worked, and only recently have
I retired from Carp Fishing News after
nearly 19 years in the business. These
days Carp-Talk is Britain’s biggest
selling carp magazine.
Another chapter in my carp fishing
career was about to start when I commenced doing some video work for
Len Gurd of the Original Video Company, which led the a trio of floater
fishing videos from yours truly. I knew
Len from years before through my
involvement with the British Carp
Study Group and the Carp Anglers
Association. He was the head man of
Linear Fisheries and moved this operation from Great Linford, near Milton
Keynes to the pits at Hardwick Village
near Witney, Oxfordshire in 1993. Len
started to produce fishing videos
based around the Linear site at Hardwick, many of which featured up and
coming angling star Matt Hayes.

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