I have been carp fishing for over 40 years and at times I have been quite successful.
My first carp came in 1973 and took a bait intended for tench. It weighed about a pound and a half and came in a bag of tench with many over 4lbs. These were big tench then but the carp stuck in my mind. They were supposed to be difficult to catch but I got one by mistake.
Very soon the roach rods were cut down by 18 inches and I was in business. Quite a few carp came my way to just under 20lbs in those years but the high light must have been when I met the legendary Jack Hilton. This was part of an Angling Times feature and not only did I make the paper, I even landed his last ever carp for him.
During the 1980's I fished many syndicate and club waters plus had a few visits to the hard Colne Valley pits. I got one from Harefield first trip by floatfishing in the margins. Everybody else at the time thought you could only get them from 100 yds plus out. Then came the French revolution plus during the late 1980's I got into the old Mid Northants fishery close to home whilst starting off Mistral. What a water - twenty twenties a year was very easy to do if you got it right. It was a learning water because of the clarity - you could see a bug from 50 paces. This really brought home the fact that float fishing was a far better way of getting a bite than either free lining or legering. I had lots of fish from this lake with the biggest at 39:14.
Then came the demise of the Mid Northants fishery - it was to be re worked for gravel. The water was drained and netted and all of the fish were transferred to Ringstead. At this point the fishery became a bit of a bitchy place to be so I dropped out. No worries; Mistral was getting busier and busier and the French bug really got to me. I was there as often as possible and had some pretty good catches.
I had a stroll around the old Mid Northants fishery in the late 1990's and saw something that had to be fished for. First night out I had a 39:08 and a week later during another overnight session I got the one that re kindled the Mid Northants fire that I saw a few weeks previously. It went 36:00. Then came the 1998 Easter floods and that was that.
I joined a syndicate full of 7 pounders a few years previously and these soon became an interesting size. The beauty is that the water is non profit making so the syndicate is very small and peaceful. I also got permission to fish an estate lake in eastern England - totally private and the carp are all English warriors with a traceable heritage. There are some very young but huge beasts in this water and I held the lake record at a tad under 50lbs for many years. Now a different fish has taken that top spot at over 55lbs so I may well try to regain the crown one day.
Last year was a good one for me considering I rarely get to go out for more than 12 hours, every other week on average – and that is only from April to October. Just about every carp I caught in 2015 was over 30lbs. Not bad going but the one I really wanted evaded me. Let us see what spring brings!!