|The opening pages of Len's inspirational chapter - Giant Tench|
|If you look at that lower rig set-up you will see that it has two hooks! The fishery rules allowed|
this under some bizarre by-law. What it meant, in effect, is that we were allowed to fish four rods!
As I had spent some time working for Kodak Ltd, our group photo boards were, for that time, incredibly impressive because I had a fair idea how to use a 35 mm camera to get the best trophy shots - I got paid a considerable sum to write an advertising feature for Kodak which appeared in the Specialist Angler - the members magazine of The National Association of Specialist Anglers. So, I think it true to say that whilst we weren't the most talented of crews, our antics and publicity were top drawer. It is for this reason, and this reason only, that I ever got invited to do anything. Whenever I went to do a talk, the group who booked me knew what to expect - a pissed up hippy and a slide show of quality images with some raucous tales to go with them. Quite often Cuddles and/or the two Mitch's would tag along - always a recipe for a memorable evenings entertainment for all involved.
Now; this nostalgia fest isn't why I hanker after another chance to go tench fishing - although it has a massive influence on my thoughts. I have to admit that my reading material is of a similar vintage to the tackle which I am going to use, but what I'm seeking is an image - that tiny red eye on an olive-flanked work of art. Tench - there has never been an ugly one? My desire to recreate a scene from those wondrous Wilstone days - me and a 7 lbs+ tench, in digital. If it comes to pass - then I'll know that Mum's smiling.
|I am unable to give the correct photo copyright credit - I don't know who took this image.|
|The top man - Alan with yet another Wilstone "double"|
This single venue was to dominate tench fishing, in the UK, for over a decade.
I was there!
The greatest tench angler I ever met was Alan Wilson - medically retired at the age of 47 - he single-handedly re-wrote the specimen hunters calendar. He was a good technical angler, but not a great thinker, he used time in a manner that no-one previously had been able. In this respect, Alan was so far ahead of the game - what didn't he catch? I've witnessed, and photographed, a 3 lbs 14 oz Roach and a 13 lbs 12 oz Bream from Startops, he had Tench to 14 lbs 8 oz from Wilstone and a 27 lbs Pike from Stamford Res. Northamptonshire. He held the UK Tench record with a Wilstone fish of 12 lbs 8 oz (which he subsequently bettered) but he simply loved the challenge of Wilstone. Along with his fishing companion, Bob Henderson,
In no way do I wish to detract from anything that Alan achieved - he was always a gentleman, a font of knowledge and the maker of the best cuppa anywhere around Tring. Could I recommend him, as a role model, to Benno or my grand-children? Not a chance - obsession is never healthy, as I've discovered to my cost! Doesn't stop it being fun?