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Big Carp Now and Then
(Above) I’ve covered some pretty
amazing captures for Carp-Talk.
(Bottom) A Redmire lookalike 20lbplus common from the tidal Stour.
Talking to Len about the lakes, he told
me that though the word was slow to
get out about the potential for big
fish, he and Matt had seen plenty of
decent carp floating around particularly in the Manor Farm lake.
So I went in the summer of 1994
and banked a fish off the top (on cane
and Mitchell) of 31½lb (later known as
Pin Scale) besides other 20-pounders.
Getting on fisheries before the
crowds cotton on has been a feature
of my fishing during the last twenty
years. In the case of Linear I enjoyed
myself and was fortunate enough to
bank a number of big fish in the relative peace and quiet of the early days.
I still fish at Linear and am still catching off the top. Around the same time
it was a honour to be asked to write
for a Bernard Venables (Mr Crabtree)
tribute book called Red Letter Days,
which twenty years later is a much
sought after book.
Redmire Calling
I have been a Redmire Pool aficionado for countless years; the
house here is a shrine to the place,
and I have a number of artefacts
regarding the pool and the people
who fished there. Though I’d visited
(on the hush-hush) a number of times
with Chris Yates, the first being the
year before he caught the record, I
only cast a line in the water in
September 1995. Because of producing the weekly mag I could only spare
24 hours. The night drew nothing, but
when I’d all but packed away by
lunchtime, I withdrew my little 8ft
Carp Crawler cane stalking rod and
spent a few minutes in the Pitchford’s
swim catapulting out mixers. Within a
few minutes at least two different fish
had engulfed a mixer or two. I made
one single cast into Redmire with a
controller and mixer hookbait, and
soon a mighty swirl indicated I’d
hooked one of the fabled fish – Christ,
I was worried shitless should it come
off. But Lady Luck again dealt me
good fortune, and after jumping in to
net the fish should it get stuck in a
bankside weedbed, in the bottom of
the net lay a marvellous 21½lb common. The most incredible thing about
the capture was that it was 43 years
to the very day that Richard Walker
landed another common from the
pool – this time a new British record
carp of 44lb back in September 1952.
Another thing that happened in the
mid 1990s was the draw of the mighty
St Lawrence River in Canada. My first
trip with Bob Roberts was to visit the
late Bernie Haines, an ex-pat from
Brighton, who created The Complete
Angler holiday company, which operated on the St. Lawrence around the
Cornwall area in upstate New York.
This visit was just fantastic. Can you
imagine the adrenaline rush of touchlegering for 20lb-plus commons from
an airboat with my feet dangling over
the side of the vessel? I was hooked
for life, and have since visited a further five times over the years with
Paul (Nudey) Hunt’s company, Canadian Carpin’.
In 1999 I made one of my first trips
to fish for carp in France and thoroughly enjoyed that too, landing two
forty-pound carp along with a 78lb
catfish (no, not off the top). That year
also saw me gain access to another
Army lake, one on which my friend
Ian ‘Chilly’ Chilcott had had such success. The anglers fishing at this lake
would invariably fish with PVA bags
onto a plateau area sometimes at
range. It turned out that one thing
those carp hadn’t seen for a while
was a float-fished worm in the edge.

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