DICK WALKER: Original Carp Record
9NO freshwater fish will ever create the same kind of earthquake that Clarissa did when Dick Walker caught her back in 1952.
The iconic image of Walker cradling the huge common is widely considered as signifying the birth of the modern carp scene, and although in subsequent years the record for the species has grown by over 20lb to 68lb 1oz, Walker’s catch is still arguably the most important in carp fishing history.
Landed from the intimate and mysterious Redmire Pool, the fish stunned the angling world, as Chris Yates explained when he spoke to Angling Times on the catch’s 60th anniversary back in 2012.
“I remember reading articles printed in the media at the time leading up to this capture and people thought Dick was mad to suggest that carp could grow in excess of 40lb. It was great when he silenced his critics in such fine style. There was a real innocence and mystery about carp fishing in those days which is no longer there.
“This wasn’t just the capture of Britain’s biggest carp, but a moment in fishing that inspired generations to come,” he added.
Clarissa kept the title as the country’s biggest carp for almost 30 years until Chris himself landed a 51lb 5oz mirror from the same Herefordshire venue in 1980. It is this lengthy gap that Terry Hearn, who held the carp record between 1996 and 1998, believes makes Dick’s capture so special.
“It was made well before my time but looking back it was obviously a very special fish,” he said.
“In those days there were very few carp anglers about and it’s not like today, when people know pretty much what fish are in which lake and what size they are likely to be. Although forties are relatively common now, the fact that it took nearly 30 years for the record to be broken again – the longest-ever gap between records – shows how big the fish was in its day.”
Iconic picture – Dick and the 44lb Clarissa.