We talk to Steve Renyard following his capture of 300 UK thirties and delve into his never quit attitude to angling that stems from his angling in the late-80’s!

We talk to Steve Renyard following his capture of 300 UK thirties and delve into his never quit attitude to angling that stems from his angling in the late-80’s!

Wow, 300 thirties! That’s incredible. But let’s go back to the start: when and where did you catch your first one?

Wow, 300 thirties! That’s incredible. But let’s go back to the start: when and where did you catch your first one?

My first English thirty was caught back in 1989 from a lake called Withy Pool. It was the old mirror, which was a fantastic fish for any generation, but back then it was absolutely huge. That was when I initially messed around with the Withy Pool rig, back when we didn’t have shrink tube, rings and fancy swivels, so it was a bit of a dinosaur rig if you were to see it now.

Withy was 120 miles away, so I made the effort and it cost me a third of my wages to do so, fishing the lake every other weekend. I was fortunate in those days too, as I had access to an old refinery, which the likes of Maddox and Maylin would ring me desperately pleading for permission to fish. But unfortunately for them it was only my dad, brother and I that were allowed to.

There was a load of twenties in there, which were and still are good fish. I even managed to catch one at just over 30lb too, so for those days I guess I was putting myself in the right places to go and catch these fish. It wasn’t all about the big fish though, I just loved catching carp and it gave me even more of a rush knowing that it could be a bigger one on the end.

My first English thirty was caught back in 1989 from a lake called Withy Pool. It was the old mirror, which was a fantastic fish for any generation, but back then it was absolutely huge. That was when I initially messed around with the Withy Pool rig, back when we didn’t have shrink tube, rings and fancy swivels, so it was a bit of a dinosaur rig if you were to see it now.

Withy was 120 miles away, so I made the effort and it cost me a third of my wages to do so, fishing the lake every other weekend. I was fortunate in those days too, as I had access to an old refinery, which the likes of Maddox and Maylin would ring me desperately pleading for permission to fish. But unfortunately for them it was only my dad, brother and I that were allowed to.

There was a load of twenties in there, which were and still are good fish. I even managed to catch one at just over 30lb too, so for those days I guess I was putting myself in the right places to go and catch these fish. It wasn’t all about the big fish though, I just loved catching carp and it gave me even more of a rush knowing that it could be a bigger one on the end.

From that point until now, what are the biggest changes within fishing you’ve encountered and seen during this journey?

From that point until now, what are the biggest changes within fishing you’ve encountered and seen during this journey?

In some respects, not a lot has changed, but in others it’s like a different world. I feel like tackle has come a long way; for instance Thinking Anglers’ swivels are so much smoother than all the ones I had back in the day and this makes them perfect for my 360 rig! PTFE hooks and the like are so much better and more efficient for sure too.

However, the biggest change is certainly the ease at which you can gain information. The internet is a wonderful thing. Gone are the days of going to the local phone box to ring a friend, who knows a friend, who knows of a lake with a few fish in! I remember once on Welly, not long after the mobile phone became common place, I was just netting a fish and my phone rang with someone asking what I had, before I had even landed it! Secrecy was lost there and then.

Fish and fisheries themselves changed a bit too. Faster growing strains, like Simmos and the like, made big carp far more prolific. Suddenly venues like Welly weren’t so rare, with big carp accessible for almost everyone. Even to this day, I haven’t caught a UK fifty, I simply haven’t fished anywhere with them to any extent. But I will, I am sure of it!

In some respects, not a lot has changed, but in others it’s like a different world. I feel like tackle has come a long way; for instance Thinking Anglers’ swivels are so much smoother than all the ones I had back in the day and this makes them perfect for my 360 rig! PTFE hooks and the like are so much better and more efficient for sure too.

However, the biggest change is certainly the ease at which you can gain information. The internet is a wonderful thing. Gone are the days of going to the local phone box to ring a friend, who knows a friend, who knows of a lake with a few fish in! I remember once on Welly, not long after the mobile phone became common place, I was just netting a fish and my phone rang with someone asking what I had, before I had even landed it! Secrecy was lost there and then.

Fish and fisheries themselves changed a bit too. Faster growing strains, like Simmos and the like, made big carp far more prolific. Suddenly venues like Welly weren’t so rare, with big carp accessible for almost everyone. Even to this day, I haven’t caught a UK fifty, I simply haven’t fished anywhere with them to any extent. But I will, I am sure of it!

It’s become apparent that you generally like to go against the grain and do your own thing. Would you agree with that?

It’s become apparent that you generally like to go against the grain and do your own thing. Would you agree with that?

I would say yes, 100%. I am a stubborn old bugger that’s for sure. People talk and always want to tell you the ‘going method’ and when someone tells me that you can only catch on yellow hookbaits, you can bet your bottom dollar I won’t have a single yellow bait on my rigs.

I remember going to Old Bury Hill a few years ago and I was told the only way I would catch is fish to the island with single hookbaits. If I put bait out, I had no chance, or that’s what I was told. I went straight in with 3kg of boilies out and had 13-fish.

If you can do something slightly different, it will work. Everyone wants big fish, so doing something that others don’t do, will more often than not catch the bigger fish. I have always been a big fan of baiting an area with hemp and smaller boilies and then fish a rod either side of that. I think the smaller ones are ravenous and the bigger ones pick off the edge, which I know has helped me catch a lot of big fish from these pressured lakes.

I would say yes, 100%. I am a stubborn old bugger that’s for sure. People talk and always want to tell you the ‘going method’ and when someone tells me that you can only catch on yellow hookbaits, you can bet your bottom dollar I won’t have a single yellow bait on my rigs.

I remember going to Old Bury Hill a few years ago and I was told the only way I would catch is fish to the island with single hookbaits. If I put bait out, I had no chance, or that’s what I was told. I went straight in with 3kg of boilies out and had 13-fish.

If you can do something slightly different, it will work. Everyone wants big fish, so doing something that others don’t do, will more often than not catch the bigger fish. I have always been a big fan of baiting an area with hemp and smaller boilies and then fish a rod either side of that. I think the smaller ones are ravenous and the bigger ones pick off the edge, which I know has helped me catch a lot of big fish from these pressured lakes.

Your ‘Weekender’ feature, which ran in ACF, was one of the most popular magazine features of that era. Success stories included a run of 10 thirties in back-to-back months! Why were you so successful?

Your ‘Weekender’ feature, which ran in ACF, was one of the most popular magazine features of that era. Success stories included a run of 10 thirties in back-to-back months! Why were you so successful?

The feature was always a tricky, going to a venue you had never seen before, on a weekend and the added pressure of catching. I always strived to catch a 30lb fish too, which piled on the pressure more. I didn’t have swims shut off or baited up. I chose the venue and we rolled with it.

I can remember that year, I’m sure I had 10 thirties consecutively that year but missed out in January and February. I made my own success by adapting to the different venues super quickly and doing things others wouldn’t do. Putting baits in strange places, using new items of tackle that I believed in. I remember I once whipped a piece of moss to my hook to hide it after seeing fish spook from it. It was little things like that which made the difference.

The feature was always a tricky, going to a venue you had never seen before, on a weekend and the added pressure of catching. I always strived to catch a 30lb fish too, which piled on the pressure more. I didn’t have swims shut off or baited up. I chose the venue and we rolled with it.

I can remember that year, I’m sure I had 10 thirties consecutively that year but missed out in January and February. I made my own success by adapting to the different venues super quickly and doing things others wouldn’t do. Putting baits in strange places, using new items of tackle that I believed in. I remember I once whipped a piece of moss to my hook to hide it after seeing fish spook from it. It was little things like that which made the difference.

Have any venues really beaten you up, and which type of water do you generally find hard to crack?

Have any venues really beaten you up, and which type of water do you generally find hard to crack?

That is a difficult one! I have fished hard lakes from being a teenager, so I am used to fishing hard lakes. The hardest lake would be probably the Car Park Lake. I did two sessions and I lost one, which we think was a fish called Ugloe. Withy Pool was rock hard, one guy was in the syndicate for 8-years and caught nothing.

Anywhere can beat you up, especially in the winter. The only one lake that has done me in, where I have been three times and not caught was Kingsmead One. The first time I just couldn’t work out why I didn’t get a bite. The second time the fish were shoaled up and the chap next to me was catching and I couldn’t buy a bite. But then I went on the Island lake next door, which was a lot harder and caught three-fish in a weekend. It’s all swings and roundabouts!

That is a difficult one! I have fished hard lakes from being a teenager, so I am used to fishing hard lakes. The hardest lake would be probably the Car Park Lake. I did two sessions and I lost one, which we think was a fish called Ugloe. Withy Pool was rock hard, one guy was in the syndicate for 8-years and caught nothing.

Anywhere can beat you up, especially in the winter. The only one lake that has done me in, where I have been three times and not caught was Kingsmead One. The first time I just couldn’t work out why I didn’t get a bite. The second time the fish were shoaled up and the chap next to me was catching and I couldn’t buy a bite. But then I went on the Island lake next door, which was a lot harder and caught three-fish in a weekend. It’s all swings and roundabouts!

Your rigs are relatively simple, do you think anglers complicate matters?

Your rigs are relatively simple, do you think anglers complicate matters?

Some of the latest rigs out there are so complicated to make, but it has all come about due to the number of anglers fishing these days. People want to be ahead of the game, but sometimes it can work against you.

Wild animals learn by association and as such so do carp! If there’s a Ronnie rig or Chod rig sat every 10 yards as they swim about, they are soon going to learn what not to eat! I tend to just stick with two rigs, of course the Withy and the Basic-Complicated rig. They have proved time and time again to be super effective and I don’t see any need to change them. Like I have said the only things that have changed are the specific components I use, which have improved the rig’s efficiency massively.

Some of the latest rigs out there are so complicated to make, but it has all come about due to the number of anglers fishing these days. People want to be ahead of the game, but sometimes it can work against you.

Wild animals learn by association and as such so do carp! If there’s a Ronnie rig or Chod rig sat every 10 yards as they swim about, they are soon going to learn what not to eat! I tend to just stick with two rigs, of course the Withy and the Basic-Complicated rig. They have proved time and time again to be super effective and I don’t see any need to change them. Like I have said the only things that have changed are the specific components I use, which have improved the rig’s efficiency massively.

Why do you prefer the Withy Pool Rig over the likes of the Ronnie, Hinged Stiff Link or Multi Rig

I invented it and brought it to the forefront of angling. I have a love for the rig and an association if you like and I have caught so many fish on it, why would I use something different? You want to be hooking carp in the bottom lip and the Withy does exactly that. You don’t have to hook them there, but if you had a choice, that would be where you would want it.

Why do you prefer the Withy Pool Rig over the likes of the Ronnie, Hinged Stiff Link or Multi Rig

I invented it and brought it to the forefront of angling. I have a love for the rig and an association if you like and I have caught so many fish on it, why would I use something different? You want to be hooking carp in the bottom lip and the Withy does exactly that. You don’t have to hook them there, but if you had a choice, that would be where you would want it.

You’ve always been a very open and honest angler… heck, you revealed your tactics and tips every month for seven years! But have you ever given away something that you wish you hadn’t?

You’ve always been a very open and honest angler… heck, you revealed your tactics and tips every month for seven years! But have you ever given away something that you wish you hadn’t?

I have given away everything, but the only thing I did that I regret is a bait recipe. I gave it away and those lads went and caught the fish I was after, but other than that no. I like helping people out, I get enjoyment out of it and it’s what it’s all about to me. I think so many of the public are lovely people and being able to help them is a rewarding thing.

What is your favourite quick bite tactic to take anywhere?

What is your favourite quick bite tactic to take anywhere?

This is old school, not many people use them nowadays, but I love stringers! I use a round stringer with a simple as you like Basic Complicated rig. So long as there’s no weed about this method is absolutely deadly. If I was faced with somewhere with more weed, then I would have to use a solid bag either with a Withy or a little fined down presentation inside.

This is old school, not many people use them nowadays, but I love stringers! I use a round stringer with a simple as you like Basic Complicated rig. So long as there’s no weed about this method is absolutely deadly. If I was faced with somewhere with more weed, then I would have to use a solid bag either with a Withy or a little fined down presentation inside.

In all these years, what has been your golden era - a time when you couldn’t put a foot wrong, both in fishing and in life?

In all these years, what has been your golden era - a time when you couldn’t put a foot wrong, both in fishing and in life?

I have had quite a gifted life really! That is a tricky one that! I would say it has to be recently, going to 5 or 6 different day-ticket lakes and banging out 35 fish over 30lb, four forties and a PB common in the winter, it would have to be this spell. While everyone seems to be going Perch fishing, I have managed to catch some incredible carp in testing conditions.

I first started appearing in the magazines in 1994 for Catch More Carp and I really didn’t want to do it. Then Jim Foster offered me £400 to do it, so I thought ok, why not! I did a thing called “on the bank” and the biggest fish caught was 21lb, live for the cameras. I did my first one and had a 34lb and 36lb mirror, which was a great start to it all.

I have had quite a gifted life really! That is a tricky one that! I would say it has to be recently, going to 5 or 6 different day-ticket lakes and banging out 35 fish over 30lb, four forties and a PB common in the winter, it would have to be this spell. While everyone seems to be going Perch fishing, I have managed to catch some incredible carp in testing conditions.

I first started appearing in the magazines in 1994 for Catch More Carp and I really didn’t want to do it. Then Jim Foster offered me £400 to do it, so I thought ok, why not! I did a thing called “on the bank” and the biggest fish caught was 21lb, live for the cameras. I did my first one and had a 34lb and 36lb mirror, which was a great start to it all.

When and where did you catch your 300th thirty?

It was during that golden period on Christchurch, I landed a brace of fish to take me over the barrier, with the biggest being a carp called Toe Jam at 41lb. I have to say I was absolutely buzzing!

When and where did you catch your 300th thirty?

It was during that golden period on Christchurch, I landed a brace of fish to take me over the barrier, with the biggest being a carp called Toe Jam at 41lb. I have to say I was absolutely buzzing!

Finally, what’s the next target?

Now I have made 300 thirties, I really want to catch a UK fifty, I am going to really make the effort to fish more places with fish of that size present. But not only that, I want it to be a special, nice looking fish. We can but dream!

Finally, what’s the next target?

Now I have made 300 thirties, I really want to catch a UK fifty, I am going to really make the effort to fish more places with fish of that size present. But not only that, I want it to be a special, nice looking fish. We can but dream!

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