Rupert looks back on his fishing journey over the last 30 years
The year 1988 seems such a very long time ago now. When the first issue of Carpworld appeared I was just over a year into a mourning spell, brought on by the mighty Spurs’ shock defeat to Coventry in the F.A. Cup final of the summer before. I don’t know about you lot but I can vividly remember issue No.1 like it was yesterday. I couldn‘t afford it, mind. But I definitely remember it!
The cover was as iconic a shot as I’ve seen over the years, certainly from a magazine’s perspective, so I hope you all like this month’s offering, an homage to the original. And the man. All the more poignant in light of recent events... Many thanks to Craig Stannard for taking the time out of his life to ‘rustle something up’ at short notice – the end result is perfect!
So much has happened over the past 30 years that if I tried to put it all into words, I’d probably have to rope off the next couple of issues just for myself. Don’t worry though, I won’t, as I dread having to commit to these few, short words each month as it is!
In 1988, the fire was just beginning to burn for me. Summer holidays had been spent with friends as usual. We’d been having a go for a year or two by that stage but, even in those days, the struggle was already real and the singles and low to mid-doubles I was catching from farm ponds, neighbour’s gardens and the odd day out to a club water close to the nearest town, really didn’t seem to be quite what it was all about. Especially when you’d overhear the occasional rumour, in hushed tones, as to what they were catching just down the road, on waters such as LSA’S Amwell and the Abbotts – and also Carthagena, the Crown and those pits snaking further up the valley towards London that were shrouded in mystique.
For a young teenager living in the countryside in the 80s, just being able to visit the nearest fishing emporium, Simpson’s of Turnford, was one of life’s luxuries, a rare treat, and even if my Mum got bored and wanted to go after 15-30 minutes, that opportunity to walk around, wide-eyed, gazing at all the latest, newfangled bits, baits and gadgets for a short time was treated as a proper, special outing!
Things were (very) different back then, with life in general and not just fishing. It’s amazing to sit back and see how far we’ve come, or regressed, in a relatively short period of time. Most of the people I associate with on the bank and in the office would struggle to believe that we had to get by on a deflated football, a hand-me-down pushbike of some description and the occasional gunshaped branch for entertainment back then.
So, to be in possession of two mismatched rods, a shiny pair of Mitchells and, if I remember, just the one Heron indicator was not to be sniffed at. In days of short supply, I had to be content with the fishing at my disposal and reading about those hallowed waters would have to suffice. Despite none being more than ten miles away from my front door, they were tantalisingly out of reach. The stories conjured up imaginary scenes and landscapes, to be kept in my subconscious, until I would be able to drive and experience them for myself.
I’d love to wax lyrical about how upon receiving my first set of car keys, I hit the loud pedal and made my way south, emptying the Colne and
Things were (very) different back then, with life in general and not just fishing
Blackwater valleys, à la Hearn, as I went. Unfortunately, life got in the way and by the time I was old enough to drive, other things proved far more of a distraction and it was to be quite a while before I found myself sat by the water again...
To quote Rod Stewart: “I wish I knew what I know now, when I was younger!”
Back to the present and as per, I’m running around, having a juggle and trying to keep more than a few bits airborne. As of last week, that became a little easier as I parted ways with RK Leisure after nearly four years gainful – depending who you speak to, of course – employment.
I had a wonderful time (see on these pages) and met some great people along the way, more than a few of whom, I’ll be keeping in touch with in the future. I’m genuinely sad to no longer be working there as the last few months had threatened to give me the opportunity to present my daughter with a way of life I didn’t think was possible until recently. But, such is life and as is always the way, opportunities seem to present themselves at just the right time and as much as nothing is set in stone just yet, I’m sure things will be sorted once again by the time you are reading this. Every cloud, and all that jazz...
On to more pressing matters and as already covered in just about every editorial so far, there is another impending trip to Abbey. As planned, it’ll be the fantastic four from the first trip, plus guests, but we’ve got the whole lake this time, although the booking comprises another group of three who will be joining us for the duration. This one will most definitely be a fishing holiday too. Once I’m checked in and reported back safe ‘n’ sound to the powers that be in the UK, the phone is going off and a much needed break from reality will be strictly enforced!
It will undoubtedly be searingly hot. Whilst we have all been moaning about the sun over here of late, routinely, their weather appears to have been some ten degrees warmer, in the upper 30s. I know for a fact, sitting in that for seven days will be absolutely no fun whatsoever. Every flying, biting, crawling thingy will be zipping about, fully charged. The rivers of sweat will not stop and any preconceived ideas you have on keeping liquids cool just will not work, no matter what you try.
On a plus note, the fish are all seasoned campaigners, having been there over 20 years. They know the ‘apple’ by now. And so long as one or two play ball, all the mozzies in the world couldn’t make it worse than a week stuck in an office.
Hopefully October’s editorial will be smothered in big carps once again, although I’ll be the right side of the lens for a change...
Closing the gates for the last time. It’s been emotional
THE FAMOUS HORTON CHURCH, ANOTHER ICONIC FEATURE OF THE PAST 30 YEARS
I’m sure this is but one of many lasting reminders TO A BONA fide LEGEND DOTTED AROUND THE COUNTRY
Having a little freelance dabble to keep my eye in
I told you he was just tossing them back last time... Hopefully he’ll try a bit harder this time around
My wingman for the upcoming trip across the channel will once again be the charming Mr Wright
I’m fairly sure winters won’t be the same at any other venue I made some good friends along the way. Rob Mcgloin and Fingers at 50lb-plus