Jar­dine mem­o­ries

Anglers Mail - - Carp Crew -

SOME­THING jarred in my mind when I read the ar­ti­cle on Al­fred Jar­dine’s Mote Park pike, caught back in 1877 (AM, Sept. 19). It got me con­sult­ing the rel­e­vant chap­ters on pike that were writ­ten by Jar­dine him­self.

In Vol 2 of Fish­ing, from the Coun­try Life Li­brary of Sport, pub­lished circa 1906-1910, in a list of over a hun­dred big pike caught be­tween 1874 and 1905, Jar­dine counts four 19 lb fish, 16 fish of over 20 lb and three of over 30 lb as his own cap­tures.

Strangely, for a self­pro­moter of rods, reels etc, there was noth­ing recorded of a 20-pounder in 1874, his ear­li­est fish on the list weigh­ing 21 lb, from the River Frome on Jan­uary 2, 1876.

My big­gest prob­lem came with the 36 lb Mote Park fish. So I con­sulted Fred Buller’s The Domes­day Book of Mam­moth Pike and John Bai­ley’s The Great An­glers.

Fish­ing with Fran­cis Fran­cis, ed­i­tor of The Field, Jar­dine al­lowed the pike to gorge his jack live­bait for 15 min­utes be­fore he tight­ened onto the fish and bat­tle en­sued, at the end of which the pike gained free­dom by break­ing the line above the float, fol­low­ing late 19th cen­tury sport­ing con­ven­tions.

Af­ter a lapse of three days, Jar­dine re­ceived a par­cel from the bailiff, con­tain­ing the dead fish, float, gimp trace and sev­eral yards of line.

The fish was later sent to the fa­mous taxi­der­mist Cooper to be set up, and weighed 35 lb 8 oz.

I also found anom­alies re­gard­ing the 37 lb Shard­loe fish, wit­nessed by MVH Broughton, sec­re­tary of the

Richard Break­s­pear: do away with treble hooks. Max size 2 in sin­gle hooks.

ANeal Lees: Method feed­ers, be­cause they badly dam­age the lips of fish, in my opin­ion.

AAl­fred Jar­dine’s in­clu­sion in Matt Sparkes’ lat­est se­ries of his­toric mo­ments prompted Mail reader Alan Baker to scour the ar­chives.

Thames An­gling and Fish Preser­va­tion So­ci­ety.

This fish was weighed on club scales back in London some 12 hours later at 34 lb 12 oz.

And it does seem odd that Jar­dine failed to pub­lish an ac­count of ei­ther fish un­til both Fran­cis and Broughton were dead, which re­ally is a shame, con­sid­er­ing his ob­vi­ous an­gling tal­ent, as it does cast some doubt re­gard­ing the true weights of Jar­dine’s other big pike.

Alan Baker,

Big­gin Hill, Kent.


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