Spe­cial days, spe­cial wa­ters and an­niver­saries

Carpworld - - CONTENTS - - Tim Pais­ley

Tim takes the time to re­flect on some of his favourite venues from the UK and fur­ther afield and in turn, on the mem­o­ries that do­ing so brings with it.

YYou write in your head, or I do. In fact I spend so much time writ­ing in my head, that by the time I sit down to com­mit the next piece to the screen, I have to check back to make sure I haven’t al­ready writ­ten what I have been thought-writ­ing for the past few weeks! When you write re­flec­tive pieces they tend to cause you to re­flect fur­ther. My last fea­ture in­cluded some stuff about favourite wa­ters, which made me think, and then the very next Carp-talk in­cluded a sup­ple­ment by Brig­gsy cov­er­ing 25 of his favourite wa­ters. Twenty-five! I’m not sure I’ve fished enough carp wa­ters to have 25 favourites. In my case that would per­haps be a bit like CD ‘Great­est Hits’ com­pi­la­tions, by peo­ple you have never heard of, or who were one-hit won­ders back in the day. The tim­ing of Brig­gsy’s book­let was mind-open­ing, though, be­cause when I wrote the last piece I had al­ready started to won­der about my own Top Five or Ten favourite wa­ters.

Martin Lawrence was keen on Top Tens and Top Fives in his Bivvy Tramp books, and I liked them, but, of course, never agreed with them. And I think that is the point of Top Tens; they are there to be agreed with, or won­dered about, or at least to make you think. So as a trib­ute to my in­flu­en­tial friend Brig­gsy, to whom I owe most of any carp fish­ing suc­cesses I may have had, here are re­flec­tions on a hand­ful of my favourite carp wa­ters. I would have gone for a Top Ten, but I have other things to write about, and I sus­pect that my ver­bosity does tend to try the pa­tience of the pro­duc­tion de­part­ment. Per­haps an­other time...

But then when you’ve de­cided to se­lect a favourites list, you start to won­der on what ba­sis the se­lec­tion should be made. Nos­tal­gia: at­mos­phere: beauty: pho­to­genic qual­i­ties: re­sults? In the end all that is in­ci­den­tal, a byprod­uct of favouritism. You sim­ply like some­where, then have to find rea­sons to ra­tio­nalise that pref­er­ence. My favourites have to be based upon the in­flu­ence wa­ters have had on me, and if they hap­pened to be pho­to­genic, or at­mo­spheric, or re­warded me dis­pro­por­tion­ately, then so much the bet­ter. Think of five swims you would like to spend time in if you knew your time left on this earth was lim­ited and there are your five favourites. At least some of my favourites have been dis­pro­por­tion­ately kind to me, as I will re­luc­tantly re­veal, but oth­ers were quite def­i­nitely not life-chang­ing, or even es­pe­cially re­ward­ing.

When I moved on from just try­ing to catch carp, to try­ing to catch a big carp, my two im­me­di­ate tar­get wa­ters were Waveney D Lake and Dar­enth Tip Lake – the lat­ter of which, courtesy of Jacko, is back in fash­ion af­ter a few years on the back burner for rea­sons we needn’t ex­plore. The venue is his­toric too, in that the Big Lake at Dar­enth is the first public carp wa­ter where the ‘Hair’ pro­duced re­sults for Lenny Mid­dle­ton and friends. I never fished the Big Lake, al­though I thought it was one of the best-look­ing carp wa­ters I had ever seen. The Tip Lake I fished be­cause it was a big-fish cir­cuit wa­ter, and my friends Mark Sum­mers, Bill Wal­ford and Phil Turner were fish­ing it. I’d de­signed a suc­cess­ful bait for them, which turned out to be the pro­to­type Hinu-val, the pre­cur­sor for the launch of Nu­tra­baits. I liked the lake, but it was

Think of five swims you would like to spend time in if you knew your time left on this earth was lim­ited and there are your five favourites

never high on my list of favourites, al­though one of my favourite pieces of my own writ­ing, ‘To an Un­known An­gler’ was Tip-lake based.

But Waveney D Lake was a favourite and, coin­ci­den­tally was the scene of at least one of my al­ter ego Matthew Black’s bet­ter ar­ti­cles/ chap­ters, ‘En­ter a Tall Dark Stranger’. When I went to Waveney my per­sonal best was of the or­der of 21lb-plus, and I caught a thirty, Big Scale, on my first ses­sion there, which was down to the nod from Crafty Cock­ney Derek Cun­ning­ton on Hutchy’s Maplecreme flavour, and a large slice of luck.

You look back at those days of trail­ing to pop­u­lar, dis­tant wa­ters and re­late to what peo­ple go through when they are carp-lake bound at the week­end and know there will be com­pe­ti­tion for swims. D Lake and the Tip Lake were among the few known thir­ties wa­ters back in the early 80s. I was mad for D Lake af­ter that first ses­sion, suf­fered a strug­gling ten days in Swim One over Christ­mas and New Year 1982, and went back again the fol­low­ing au­tumn, hop­ing and pray­ing that Swim One would be free. It was oc­cu­pied, but com­ing free, so I fished E Lake for a night, then moved into D Lake’s Swim One. It was a mem­o­rable week. D Lake was doable, but not easy, but I stum­bled on a tac­tic which gave me 17 fish in the week, in­clud­ing two thir­ties, Big Scale and the Leather. Stringers were the PVA tac­tic back then, but it was a very windy week and the best ‘stringer’ I could come up with to reach the big oak and the far mar­gin was to PVA one free of­fer­ing to the sin­gle hook­bait. The out­come was so re­mark­able that I could only think that the fish were be­com­ing wary of the ‘dou­ble hook­bait’ tac­tic, and were then thrown when one of the baits sucked in eas­ily; so they took the other one, too. I wrote about the tac­tic and I be­lieve that the fol­low­ing year a smart an­gler pre-baited with dou­ble baits, and then fished the same tac­tic, with the same out­come. The down­side to Waveney was the aw­ful car jour­ney to and from the venue, but when you are mad for it, you live with what­ever fish­ing a par­tic­u­lar venue throws at you.

There was an in­trigu­ing by-prod­uct of the Christ­mas ses­sion in Swim One. There was a snag some way short of the tar­get big oak which was giv­ing me real grief. Even­tu­ally I went out in the boat in the cold and wet, man­ag­ing to res­cue a branch of Christ­mas-tree pro­por­tions, which had pre­sum­ably been blown in some time pre­vi­ously. The lost end tack­les at­tached to the branch were a real ed­u­ca­tion! I recog­nised Hutchy’s stain­lesssteel carp hooks on a cou­ple of the rigs and tugged him about the set-up the next time I saw him. He was sur­prised when I pro­duced the ev­i­dence and had to come clean about the think­ing be­hind the rig. (He usu­ally threw some un­be­liev­able blinds about rigs, like sug­gest­ing that the next stage on from the newly-pub­li­cised Hair was to sim­ply re­move the bait from the hook al­to­gether! We didn’t buy that one...) I won’t elab­o­rate on the end tack­les I res­cued, other than to say that the set-up

demon­strated how far ahead of his time Rod was in try­ing to out-think pres­sured carp. In fact the set-up is still 20 or 30 years ahead of its time, even now.

Lac de Ma­dine was hugely in­flu­en­tial. I first fished it in the first World Carp Clas­sic in 1998. Back then it was a known big-fish wa­ter, but on the back-burner be­cause of the lim­ited ac­cess to the banks. The thought of the ac­cess to nor­mally un­fished swims was a real turn-on for Hutchy, and he turned the rest of his friends and Hutchin­son Dream Team mem­bers on to it, too. Ma­dine is 2,500 acres and I thought I would find the big-wa­ter ex­pe­ri­ence faz­ing, but didn’t. I loved it, and found the fact that there might not be a fish within a mile of me quite at­trac­tive, in a frus­trat­ing sort of way. I was brought up on the idea that carp fish­ing should be dif­fi­cult, and when the carp are nowhere near you and you can’t move it is def­i­nitely that! Since that first Ma­dine ex­pe­ri­ence, I have had no fear of big wa­ters, or blank­ing. You can’t win ’em all, and the higher the stakes, the less frus­trat­ing the slow times and blanks be­come. You never en­joy blanks but when you are aim­ing high you have to ac­cept that they are part of the currency. In Ma­dine’s case, that phi­los­o­phy has stood me in good stead: I’ve had far more blanks than suc­cess­ful ses­sions there, but last year’s World Carp Clas­sic win with Jacko was a mem­o­rable con­so­la­tion prize. This year’s Septem­ber event is the 20th an­niver­sary of that first ses­sion there, and also marks the cen­te­nary of the last few days of the First World War, fought out over that area of France. It will be an oc­ca­sion for happy short-term mem­o­ries, and very sad long-term ones. The tragedy of the nearby war ceme­ter­ies sim­ply em­pha­sises the fu­til­ity of all that con­flict. “They shall not grow old...” – but per­haps they would have liked to have had the chance.

Ma­dine taught me a cru­cial les­son about big­wa­ter fish­ing, which led to my area bait­ing and din­ner plate ap­proach. One of my early ses­sions there was with my friend Marsh Prat­ley. Leon Hoogendijk had en­joyed a ma­jor re­sult there some time pre­vi­ously, which in­cluded a num­ber of big fish. ‘What if twenty 40s turn up on my patch?’ I won­dered. There had to be enough food there to hold them was my ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion of my bait­ing ap­proach to that early, in­flu­en­tial big-wa­ter ses­sion. So I baited the patch ac­cord­ingly. On the drive home af­ter a blank five days I rethought that ap­proach. ‘What if one big fish turned up dur­ing the ses­sion?’ He’d have a quick un­pres­sured snack and wan­der off to pastures new. From then on my

ap­proach has been to make the bait avail­able to them over a wide area of my patch, then nar­row the bait­ing down to loaded din­ner plates in likely-look­ing spots. Keep them hang­ing around your patch, if and when they turn up, and then grad­u­ally ease them into the con­fronta­tion with the hook­bait, in other words.

The Mo­tor­way Pond, barely half a mile from the Carp-talk of­fices, may seem an odd choice as a favourite, but my mem­o­ries of it are happy. Most of my fish­ing there was day-only – one of the few carp wa­ters I’ve ever fished on that ba­sis since I first spread my wings to fish dis­tant na­tional and in­ter­na­tional wa­ters. There was a buzz to those day­only ses­sions. My early hours’ car jour­ney would be to­wards the east, or north east, so the light­en­ing sky and the first signs of the sun com­ing up would sign­post the way to the lake. When Ju­lian fished it – and en­ter­tain­ingly wrote about it – he was even­tu­ally driven off by the sound of the traf­fic from the ad­ja­cent M62 mo­tor­way, but it never fazed me. In fact one of my favourite Mo­tor­way Pond swims was right un­der the mo­tor­way, one of its at­trac­tions be­ing that I could park within a few yards of it. You have to ne­go­ti­ate a railed fence to fish that swim, which re­sulted in me fin­ish­ing up in hos­pi­tal in the mid­dle of the night on one in­aus­pi­cious oc­ca­sion.

One year I suc­cess­fully bid for a Mo­tor­way Pond night per­mit which ex­tended my fish­ing hori­zons for the wa­ter. Thomo’s Point be­came my favourite for that year, when I could get in it. I loved that swim, and fish­ing it was spe­cial. There were al­ter­na­tives, in­clud­ing a very shal­low plateau to the left where you could fol­low the move­ments of the fish com­ing in over the bait. That added a real buzz to the fish­ing, and made you re­alise just how of­ten carp do visit your bot­tom baits in the course of a day. To see the bow waves come in, oc­ca­sion­ally fol­lowed by the buzzer sound­ing, is a spe­cial mem­ory of the place, and the swim.

‘Thomo’ was the late Ge­off Thomp­son from York, whom I later be­came friendly with, and who ac­com­pa­nied me to Do­maine de Boux on one trip, when I got to know him well. He was good com­pany, and af­ter my Mo­tor­way Pond days were be­hind me and I was still in­volved in pro­duc­tion at Carp-talk (CFN pro­duced Carp­world for many years), I used to call in to see him to pass the time of day. On one oc­ca­sion he had a good fish in the sack, but didn’t know which fish it was. “I think it’s only got one eye,” he re­vealed. “Per­haps it’s Nel­son, then,” I sug­gested, putting two and two to­gether and com­ing up with four in iden­ti­fy­ing a fish I had never seen, but knew about! His be­mused si­lence sug­gested he wished he’d thought of that. Nel­son it was.

He was a nice guy, Ge­off, whose pri­vate life went through the wringer be­fore and dur­ing the di­vorce from his first wife, but who then later found hap­pi­ness when he picked up a taxi fare who turned out to be a lovely lady from his past

life. I think they lived hap­pily ever af­ter un­til a brain tu­mour caught up with him and ended his days. I hope ‘his’ swim is still named af­ter him [It is – Kev]. It was a spe­cial place to spend a few days and nights, and yielded one of my most mem­o­rable fish in the form of the Long Fish, which lead me a fran­tic dance late one night un­til it very re­luc­tantly agreed to join me on the bank.

Hav­ing spent over half a year there, on and off, over a 13-year pe­riod, I have to in­clude the scenic and at­mo­spheric Rain­bow Lake among my favourites. Some wa­ters are good to you; oth­ers just give you a maul­ing no mat­ter how much time you spend there, and no mat­ter what you try. Rain­bow falls into the lat­ter cat­e­gory. I had some suc­cess there, and just now and then it re­lented, but ei­ther I didn’t get it, or I was a tad un­lucky. (We’ll not take a vote.) And even that ‘un­lucky’ tag I have to put into per­spec­tive. Com­pared to the most suc­cess­ful Rain­bow an­glers I was a non-starter: com­pared to those who have strug­gled there, I had my share of suc­cess – but on a pared down scale.

We’re told we shouldn’t have favourite swims, but as most of my carp fish­ing has been based on fish­ing swims I like to be in I can’t sub­scribe to that phi­los­o­phy. My Rain­bow favourite was Swim 18, partly be­cause there were usu­ally fish there, and mainly be­cause fish­ing the swim didn’t in­volve scram­bling into the boat ev­ery time the buzzer bleeped. The buzzer sound­ing is what we live for; in some swims at Rain­bow it can be panicin­duc­ing. Tom Dun­can-dun­lop and Brig­gsy act as though they were born in boats. They act and look ac­com­plished in the art of pur­su­ing a mon­ster carp in a boat. In some swims a boat is a ne­ces­sity be­cause there are many mi­nor snags on bars – in ad­di­tion to the more ob­vi­ous ma­jor ones – which can spell disas­ter. Swim 18 is mainly snag fish­ing, which en­tails be­ing on red alert for a week, or a fort­night, but when the buzzer to the locked-up rod does sound and you are alert enough to hang on in there and walk the fish away from the snags into open wa­ter you then have the op­tion of land­ing the fish from the bank, if you so choose. I so choose. Tom jumps into the boat at ev­ery pos­si­ble op­por­tu­nity, on one un­mem­o­rable oc­ca­sion to land a bream at Les Teil­latts! Oc­ca­sion­ally you have to use the boat, even in 18, if a fish comes to a halt in open wa­ter, but al­most all my swim 18 fish have been landed with­out re­course to the boat.

Of my two or three most mem­o­rable one-day re­sults one was in Swim 18 at Rain­bow, as recorded in Bivvy Three, and one at the Man­grove, and they had one thing in com­mon. They both came on a day which dawned with me at the end of my tether with the wa­ter, the swim, carp fish­ing, and life. Both oc­ca­sions were lit­er­ally and metaphor­i­cally ‘the darkest hour is just be­fore the dawn’ mo­ments. The Rain­bow Sun­day came af­ter a day when I’d had prob­lems with a line-trailer in the swim, which meant fre­quently repo­si­tion­ing end tack­les you hoped to have in po­si­tion for days, not hours. What fol­lows is how I de­scribed the

start of both days in Bivvy Three – Rain­bow first:

Sun­day morn­ing, 4.30 a.m. ‘Run­ning out of sleep and feel­ing de­pressed by the ses­sion now. I keep giv­ing it my best shot here, and it keeps giv­ing me a maul­ing, partly through bad luck, I guess, but it must also be down to the fact that I’m not very good at fish­ing here! I’ve been ly­ing lis­ten­ing to the night noises and the sounds of an oc­ca­sional fish top­ping but haven’t been able to suss their po­si­tion from the hor­i­zon­tal, so I’m up to chop some baits and put some hemp in soak...’

My penned whing­ing was in­ter­rupted by the buzzer to the right-hand rod, a take which yielded a com­mon of 48lb 12oz. Through the day that first fish was fol­lowed by com­mons of 56lb 8oz, 62lb, 26lb, 62½lb and 41lb.

There was near-re­peat of that ex­pe­ri­ence, on a lesser scale, on the Man­grove a cou­ple of months later:

Fri­day morn­ing, 5.20 a.m. ‘Rain on and off through the night, with a cou­ple of lin­ers to the left, then the manda­tory orgy-ing ducks through the right-hand lines on half-light. Are rain and low pres­sure a de­pres­sant? I’m never at my hap­pi­est when it’s wet, al­though I sup­pose a de­cent fish would have me singing in the rain. I don’t know what the fore­cast is, and daren’t look. It might de­press me fur­ther. Work party to­mor­row or I’d be away to­day.’

Shortly af­ter that en­try I had a mir­ror of 27lb at around 7am, and then landed a 32lb com­mon, the mir­ror Paw­print at 38½lb, and a mir­ror of 29lb 8oz in two hours that evening. I’ll not in­clude the Man­grove here be­cause I men­tion it fre­quently, and it is be­yond favouritism: it is my life-chang­ing spir­i­tual home.

I sup­pose if you spend long enough in a swim sim­ply be­cause it is your favourite it will even­tu­ally turn up some­thing spe­cial, but not as spe­cial as on those two mem­o­rable oc­ca­sions! And when I re­fer to Swim 18 as be­ing a favourite, ses­sions in it tended to only be ev­ery two or three years. It was many peo­ple’s favourite!

And so to Red­mire, which has in­spired mixed emo­tions in me down the years, but will al­ways re­main a favourite be­cause of its his­tory, the im­pact it has had on all our lives, and be­cause it is a lovely place to spend time on the bank. I was a carp an­gler long be­fore I caught a carp and went on to fish for them. The story of Walker’s com­mon

was in­spi­ra­tional, not just be­cause of the size of the fish, but be­cause of the cir­cum­stances of the cap­ture, too; camp­ing out in the dark and land­ing that huge fish af­ter a pro­longed two-man bat­tle in­volv­ing Pete Thomas. My first ex­pe­ri­ence of camp­ing out to fish had noth­ing to do with carp fish­ing. It hap­pened on the Lan­caster-liver­pool Canal near Garstang, and I camped out be­cause I wanted to be at the wa­ter at first light. The de­tails of Walker’s record fish were vague, but stuck in my mind. Some­where deep in­side I was that man, al­though it took the ac­ci­den­tal cap­ture of a 6lb mir­ror carp to start to trig­ger the meta­mor­pho­sis from nor­mal ci­ti­zen (de­bat­able) to carp an­gler – a quan­tum de­par­ture from nor­mal­ity by any­one’s def­i­ni­tion. I have an ad­dic­tive per­son­al­ity, and was a golfer, and life didn’t al­low for two time-con­sum­ing ad­dic­tions. In ad­di­tion to which, carp were fish in other dis­tant places, which other peo­ple fished for. For the most part they were still the stuff of other peo­ple’s dreams in the 70s, al­though there was un­doubt­edly a grow­ing carp-fish­ing cul­ture, or sub­cul­ture as Jim Gib­bin­son fa­mously de­scribed it.

So from a dis­tant fig­ment of my imag­i­na­tion I grad­u­ally evolved a re­la­tion­ship with Red­mire which evokes many mem­o­ries. I de­fended Yatesy’s record fish in Coarse An­gler, and was ac­cused of at­tack­ing it by the syn­di­cate com­mit­tee! The out­come of that must have been that the syn­di­cate com­mit­tee felt guilty about the mis­un­der­stand­ing and when they wished to be in­ter­viewed over some com­ments by Kevin Mad­docks in the book Red­mire Pool, pub­lished in 1984, I was asked if I would go to Red­mire to do the in­ter­view. Well – yes! So I went to Red­mire and recorded the in­ter­view with Tom Min­tram, John Carver, Dave Short and Barry Mills in the Wil­low Pitch. It was a grey, cool day and not ex­actly an in­spi­ra­tional oc­ca­sion, or one to ig­nite a love af­fair with the wa­ter: more a cov­eted du­ti­ful jour­nal­is­tic one.

The ram­i­fi­ca­tions aris­ing from that day were re­mark­able. The in­ter­view was con­verted to pa­per and sub­mit­ted to the book’s au­thors and pub­lisher, Kevin Clif­ford (with Len Ar­bery) and Kevin Mad­docks for com­ment/ap­proval. There were com­ments KM ob­jected to, so the in­ter­view was grad­u­ally wa­tered down to an ac­cept­able for­mat for all the par­ties in­volved. Then the So­ci­ety com­mit­tee chose not to pub­lish it be­cause it was con­tro­ver­sial, so it wasn’t un­til my book Carp Sea­son was pub­lished in 1988 that it saw the light of day, by which time it was hardly cur­rent, but un­doubt­edly had a place in the Pool’s his­tory. The book also in­cluded my cov­eted in­ter­view with Jack Hil­ton, which came about through the good of­fices of Tom Min­tram, aris­ing from the Red­mire in­ter­view, and a sub­se­quent meet­ing. The dis­cus­sions with Kevin Clif­ford, which in­cluded KM by phone, took place while I was fish­ing the Til­ery, and the sec­ond meet­ing with the Red­mire com­mit­tee while I was fish­ing the Tip Lake. The in­ter­view and af­ter­math took in Red­mire, Til­ery and the Tip Lake all in a few months. I was on my bike in those days!

For some years my re­la­tion­ship with Red­mire was as Les Bam­ford’s co-di­rec­tor in Red­mire Pool Ltd. Grad­u­ally my af­fair with Red­mire be­came an an­gling one, and mor­phed into a love af­fair. A spe­cial mem­ory is my week­end there shared with Colin Dyson, Len Ar­bery, Fred J Tay­lor and black dog. Then I

spent a week on the Pool in the com­pany of Paul Roberts and Ge­off Cartwright, aka Dai-wa and RHM in Carp Sea­son, and Chris Ball, who fished the Wil­low Pitch on the night of 13th Septem­ber, the an­niver­sary of Walker’s record fish cap­ture. Much later I felt the need to go there as a per­sonal pil­grim­age to wal­low in its his­tory and share the at­mos­phere that the Carp Catch­ers had passed down to us from the 50s and 60s. I was able to spend some time there on my own dur­ing two or three years’ of vis­its, which were mag­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ences. The lovely pool was kind to me, too, and I was able to land a num­ber of 25lb-plus fish, in­clud­ing stun­ning 27lb and 28lb com­mons, which are def­i­nitely among my most mem­o­rable-ever fish. I didn’t see any real mon­sters at Red­mire, but I cer­tainly heard one late one night, when a huge fish rolled over/crashed, not more than five yards from my bivvy in the Wil­low Pitch. Hun­dreds of an­glers still can’t wait to make the pil­grim­age to Red­mire. It is the mecca of carp fish­ing, and is cur­rently un­der­go­ing a facelift. It is a very spe­cial place and I look back on my var­ied ex­pe­ri­ences there with nos­tal­gia, and great af­fec­tion.

As a na­tion we love an­niver­saries, and cur­rently there is a great deal be­ing writ­ten about Richard Walker to cel­e­brate the cen­te­nary of his birth. I’m com­pil­ing a chap­ter for a trib­ute book, which is turn­ing out to be a labour of love. Thirty years ago I had the good for­tune to be put in charge of the com­pi­la­tion of Dick Walker... a Mem­oir, the launch of which co­in­cided with the 1988 Carp So­ci­ety Dick Walker Trib­ute Con­fer­ence. Be­com­ing friendly with Dick’s friends Fred J Tay­lor and Mau­rice Ing­ham, el­e­vated Walker’s great­ness in my mind as an in­spi­ra­tion, pi­o­neer and an­gler, be­cause they thought so much of the great man. Any sec­ond-hand knowl­edge I had of Walker, whom I never met, came via his friends Fred J and Mau­rice, whose ad­mi­ra­tion for the great man was bound­less. Fred unashamedly used the word ‘love’ in con­nec­tion with his friend­ship with Walker, and of the num­ber of portraits

Mau­rice painted for me his favourite was the one of Walker, re­pro­duced here­abouts.

Ing­ham and Tay­lor were giants in their own right, but they felt they were dwarfed by Walker, as ev­ery an­gler has been be­fore or since. But it was a para­graph in the Mem­oir trib­ute by Jack Thorndike, one of the early ed­i­tors of An­gling Times, which stuck in my mind and which I re­vis­ited re­cently:

It is the om­buds­man as­pect that has been in­creas­ingly borne in on me over the years – and has been ir­re­place­ably lost to us. I was one of the co-founders of the Carp So­ci­ety, which had po­lit­i­cal as­pi­ra­tions from the out­set and has al­ways done what it can for carp an­glers, and does now in sup­port of the An­gling Trust and the PAG. I have been in­volved with the Pre­da­tion Ac­tion Group for nearly ten years now, and our strug­gle with the un­see­ing and un­car­ing author­i­ties is hot­ting up via the re­cently pub­lished Fact Sheet and DVD. But the more you learn about Richard Walker the more you un­der­stand how ir­re­place­able he has be­come, be­cause he stood astride the an­gling world like a colos­sus, a role no one has been able to ful­fil since he was lost to us. We are 100 years on from the birth of Walker; 66 years on from the cap­ture of that fish, and 30 years on from the So­ci­ety Con­fer­ence to cel­e­brate his life. My book­shelves are groan­ing un­der the weight of copies of his books, books about him, and books ul­ti­mately in­spired by his deeds. His great­ness ap­pears to grow year on year, which is as it should be. His mem­ory is as in­spi­ra­tional as his per­son­al­ity, deeds and pi­o­neer­ing ef­forts were while he was alive.

Thirty years on... We are also near­ing the 30th an­niver­sary of the birth of Carp­world, an event I have been asked to help re­flect on in next month’s is­sue. I’m work­ing on it. Don’t go away: see you next month.

The Carp-talk sup­ple­ment by Brig­gsy which got me think­ing some more about favourite carp wa­ters I en­joyed a mem­o­rable 17-fish week in D Lake’s Swim One, which in­cluded two thir­ties, Big Scale and the Leather, pic­tured here Waveney D Lake was a favourite in the early 80s: ac­tion in Swim One look­ing out to the tar­get area of the big oakTOP LEFT TOP RIGHT ABOVE

LEFT AND ABOVEThe Dry Dock on Dar­enth Tip Lake – in the early 80s a big­fish CIR­CUIT WA­TER AND NOW EN­JOY­ING A RE­VIVAL UN­DER THE STEWARDSHIP OF MY FRIEND LEE JACK­SON, PIC­TURED HERE IN THE NEXT SWIM TO ME DUR­ING MY TIP LAKE PE­RIOD

ABOVELac de Ma­dine was hugely in­flu­en­tial on my carp fish­ing, and big-wa­ter think­ing: a 1999 plea­sure ses­sion in the old night sec­tion, fish­ing with Rob HughesBE­LOWMy big­gest from those early ses­sions weigh­ing in at 39lb 12oz. Ma­dine taught me a cru­cial les­son about big-wa­ter fish­ing

ABOVEThe Mo­tor­way Pond, barely half a mile from Carp-talk’s of­fices. My Favourite swim Is Cen­tre of shot, un­der THE BIG WHITE ARTIC

LEFTA mem­o­rable cap­ture from Thomo’s Point in the form of the Long Fish at 28lbBE­LOWI have to in­clude Rain­bow Lake among my favourites: early hours in Swim 18 at Rain­bow with a rest­less an­gler try­ing to catch the at­mos­phere of the mo­ment Some wa­ters are good to you; oth­ers just give you a maul­ing no mat­ter how much time you spend there, and no mat­ter what you try. Rain­bow falls into the lat­ter cat­e­gory

BE­LOW BOT­TOMThe big­gest fish of my one-day six-fish catch from Swim 18 at 62½lb Shortly af­ter that Man­grove early hours en­try I had a mir­ror of 27lb, the start to an­other mem­o­rable day when all seemed lost. John Dun­ford do­ing the film­ing at the tail end of the TV film star­ring Chilly

I went to Red­mire and recorded the in­ter­view with the syn­di­cate com­mit­tee, pic­tured here on the dam wall: from left Barry Mills, Dave Short, Tom Min­tram and John Carver ‘Camp­ing out in the dark and land­ing that huge fish af­ter a pro­longed two-man bat­tle in­volv­ing Pete Thomas’: the Brian Nay­lor draw­ing de­pict­ing the scene from my first pub­lished book, Carp Fish­ingABOVE TOP LEFT

ABOVEA spe­cial mem­ory is my week­end there shared with Fred J, Colin Dyson, Len Ar­bery, and black dogBE­LOWA 26lb 4oz bar of gold from the Wil­low Pitch

TOPI was given the mem­o­rable duty of com­pil­ing Dick Walker... a Mem­oir to cel­e­brate the 1988 Carp So­ci­ety trib­ute con­fer­enceABOVEOf the se­ries of portraits Mau­rice painted for me, his per­sonal favourites were the ones of his old friends, Dick Walker and Fred J Tay­lor

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