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Big Carp Now and Then
What a time I had, culminating in
something I thought I’d never manage in fishing, which was a 30pounder on a centrepin. I managed to
catch fish to nearly 30lb off the top as
well, making it a bumper period in my
The Millennium and Beyond
In the run up to the Millennium,
Tim Paisley talked Kev Clifford and
me into producing a Millennium carp
fishing book (at the time everywhere
you looked there was something
about the Millennium, etc.) Considering the time constraints and production deadlines (by now Carp Fishing
News was mega busy), the book, A
Century of Carp Fishing turned out
well and is the only history carp book
to catalogue the sequence of events
that happened during those momentous 100 years.
In 2001, after spending many years
living in the Surrey area, Lynne and I
moved house to the Lymington area
of the New Forest. Our red-bricked
cottage is only around 1½-miles from
the coast. Many friends thought I was
mad to leave Frimley with so much
good carp fishing around, but there
are great carp waters all over the
place, and soon I was fishing at the
Ringwood pits and other smaller forest pools. But it was a chance meeting with a local carp angler that sent
me on the trail of river carp, from
which I have never looked back. With
the Hampshire Avon and Dorset Stour
less than half an hour’s drive away,
(Top) Fishy perfection: another 20lb
tidal Stour common.
(Right) Released last year, the book
contains some of my favourite big
carp stories.
this was fishing like nothing I had
never experienced before.
To start with, if you fished any tidal
sections you had to contend with
water that went up and down maybe
4ft (or more) twice a day; often parts
of the river would have snaggy areas,
and when a strong tide came it could
move a snag and deposit it elsewhere.
The fish are tremendously nomadic
and present a real challenge, but, and
this is a nice but, there is virtually no
one fishing for the carp stocks of
these rivers. I’ve settled on the tidal
Stour for the last seven
years, fishing in the
winter months as river
traffic in summer
makes for difficult fishing, with holidaymakers
seemingly having little
control over their hired
crafts from the harbour
The fishing is like it
was back in the 1960s
when everything was
fresh and new and
when we had no idea of
what waters held and
fish recognition was
nonexistent. When that
rod top yanks downwards (back leading is
essential) I’ve got no
idea what’s grabbed
hold of the bait. These
virtually uncaught carp
are a tremendous mix
of liquorice allsorts –
fat, dumpy mirrors,
Redmire lookalike commons, big plated, wonderfully shaped mirrors,
etc. Coming to grips
with the challenge has been as
absorbing as any fishing I’ve done
over the years, and that elusive 30pounder is maybe waiting just around
the corner – that really would be
something special.
As back in 1991, floater fishing is
still a big part of my fishing, and in
recent years I’ve managed some marvellous fish with my first UK thirtypound common falling for surface tactics along with a host of other beauties. Also the last 20 years or so has
seen my writing output soar, with
dozens of articles, chapters in countless angling books and another book
in the shape of Best of the Famous
Catches, in which I catalogue some of
this country’s finest carp captures.
Oh, and another thing I nearly forgot –
July 2011 marked 50 years since I
landed (by design) that first double.
So in the last 22 years nothing has
really changed as far as carp fishing
and I are concerned (other than I’m
now a old white-haired dinosaur of a
carp angler), but the pull of carp is still
strong and the words of Obi-Wan
Kenobi of Star Wars fame, “You have
chosen wisely my son,” nicely sums it

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