Knowing that Carp will play a major part in my 2023 angling I find myself searching through incredible amounts of Youtube content in the hope of discovering a few snippets which might be of use? It was forty years ago when I first spent any prolonged effort in pursuit of these "non-native" fish. Stanborough Lake in Welwyn Garden City, Herts, is a fantastic piece of my angling jigsaw as, at this time, it was a premier day ticket fishery which contained a stock of Carp which were as good as they got. I've just watched a Korda podcast with Martin Locke in which he recalls the details of the accidental drowning of Keith Sellick, then proprietor of Middlesex Angling Centre, a guy with whom I enjoyed many days on the banks of this crazy venue. It was Keith who first showed me back leads, used to avoid the keels of the yachts and sail boards rather than any other reason. He was also responsible for providing me with my first specific bait flavours, as opposed to Nesquik, custard powders and ice cream toppings which I'd been using in my semolina and soya flour boilies prior to this. Obviously I learned of Keiths passing at the time but, Martin's podcast was the first time I've ever heard the real story behind this tragic event.
|Keith was in the swim next to me, at Stanborough, when I caught three "twenties" in three casts,
6th November 1983, and I'm fairly sure these photos were taken by him?
I have to admit that not getting drawn into the Carp angling circus is one of the best things I can say about my personal journey through life. Head on collisions with the likes of Kevin Maddocks and Tim Paisley certainly played a part, yet the "speccy hunting" scene, of the period, was far more attractive than the tunnel visioned pursuit of a single species - still is ! Now living in Kent it would appear that I've located to Carp Central and every fishery is there to cater for the whims of those anglers who know no different. With this as the background, it was an incredible quirk of fate which led to my discovery of the Carp angling potential of the drains and dykes out on the East Kent flatlands.
|The Carp which re-ignited the flame - my first "twenty" since February 1984.
|Alan Wilson poses with 13 lbs 12 oz of Startops End Res. magic
To be fair, during Alan's period of dominance, I also subscribed to this "time bandit" approach to big fish angling. So what's changed ? Forty bloody years, well that's certainly a major factor in the equation. I no longer have the desire to push limits beyond a comfort zone that growing old has given me. In all honesty I can put my hand on my heart and say that I'm a far better angler today than I was back in those crazy, full on, speccy hunting times. If I can't catch a fish within four/five hours then tomorrow's another day and I don't need to make "one more cast" just in case.